Jim Taylor's Columns - 'Soft Edges' and 'Sharp Edges'

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14

Oct

2023

Learning to live without endless growth

Author: Jim Taylor
Sunday May 21, 2023

I never thought I would write this column. For years, I have ranted about overpopulation. During my lifetime, the world’s population has grown from about two billion to eight billion. Canada has gone from 11 million to 38 million. And while Canada seems to have lots of space to accommodate its growing population, the rest of the world doesn’t.
There isn’t enough arable land on the whole planet for eight billion people. So we draw on capital assets deposited some 300 million years ago. We call them “fossil fuels.”
But now, I discover, we have to deal with the economic implications of declining populations.
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14

Oct

2023

Vaccine lawsuit poses moral questions

Author: Jim Taylor
Sunday May 14, 2023

A pandemic has gripped the world. People are dying like fruit flies, especially in crowded long-term care facilities.
A pharmaceutical giant creates a vaccine to protect millions of people. Initial tests show it’s effective. But there’s a one in about 700,000 chance that the vaccine could trigger some intense, possibly even fatal, complications.
And I stress again, I cite these figures as purely hypothetical.
Do you release the vaccine anyway, to save as many lives as possible? Or do you withhold the vaccine, to protect one potential victim who may suffer life-threatening side effects?
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14

Oct

2023

The plot against human interaction

Author: Jim Taylor
Sunday May 7, 2023

David Byrne suggested, in an article in The Rotarian magazine, that in reality automation has a long-term goal of reducing human interactions.
I doubt if anyone would ever admit to having that goal. They would cite increased speed, fewer mistakes, greater choice, improved productivity.
But as the saying goes, if the only tool you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. If the only tool you have is electronic technology, every problem looks like a software solution.
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14

Oct

2023

The greatest achievement in public health

Author: Jim Taylor
Sunday April 30, 2023

“April 24- April 30 is World Immunization Week,” declares an email that just arrived in my inbox .
Generally speaking, I resent being told what my priorities should be. I tell you all that so that you can understand that I’m not writing about Immunization Week just because someone else thought it was a good thing.
It IS a good thing. And I support it 100%.
Immunization may be the most important medical development in history. Instead of waiting until people get sick and then attempting to treat them, we can ban the disease before it takes hold.
Essentially, we give our bodies their own private security system
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14

Oct

2023

The little publisher that changed the church

Author: Jim Taylor
Sunday April 16, 2023

Forty years ago, I joined in a great adventure.
You see, the United Church of Canada used to have an active and influential publishing company called Ryerson Press. For a variety of reasons, too many to detail here, Ryerson Press folded in 1971. And for ten years, Canada’s biggest Protestant denomination had no printed materials of its own. No Bible studies. No theological texts. And no Sunday school curricula -- at a time when churches had to rent space in nearby schools to house the number of children involved.
Then in 1981, Ralph Milton and I decided we would each publish a book. In our spare time. For the sake of our egos, mostly.
We called it Wood Lake Press, because from the back deck of his home, Ralph could see Wood Lake in the distance.
We thought it would be a hobby. It was more like getting sucked into a vacuum.
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