[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: The Friendly Atom

I think that one of the problems in public relations on the "atom" is what
might be termed the "Problem of the Commons".  When property such as an ocean
or land is owned in common but used by everyone, no single individual has much
economic incentive to use the resource in a way that will benefit society at
large or future generations.  The economic incentive encourages only full and
immediate use, whether it is overgrazing or over-fishing, with very little
thought given to conserving the resource.   That is one reason whales were
hunted almost to extinction and why fish catches are declining. 

Try thinking of the good will of the public (towards atomic issues) as a
resource.  Who among us has any significant incentive to correct the thousands
of myths and misconceptions that are now present in the public mind about the
nuclear industry?  The anti-nuclear crowd seem to be far more vocal.  As far
as I know, there are no significant programs out there sponsored by any of our
professional organizations, or if there are, they are not big enough or well
funded enough to make an impact on me or with the public.   Since there is
very little incentive, who will do it?  I don't have any answers, but I hope
that each of us will contribute in some small way, even if it does not make
economic sense.  

                                                            R. Holloway