13 Oct 2010

Bleg: Help with Glossary for End of Abundance?

Hi Everyone,

Here's a progress report on The End of Abundance:

UC Press has my manuscript out for review by a few academics (to make sure that I am not making any foolish statements). These reviewers will decide if the book is worthwhile and suggest corrections and clarifications. Assuming that they give a thumbs up, I will make corrections before the manuscript goes to members of the UCP editorial board for review in early December. If they give the book a thumbs up, then it will go into production in early January. Yay!

So while I am waiting, I am working on some peripheral aspects of the book. One of them is the Glossary.

What I am hoping is that some of you will be interested enough to take a look at this draft [DOC] and make suggestions for improvements and clarifications. If you make changes, please TURN ON "Track Changes" and save the document before you send it to me.

I realize that it's not easy to read a glossary without the original text, but it should be possible to check your understanding of words against my definitions, to make sure that I am getting the essence of these ideas.

The tricky part, which I explain in the DOC, is how to deal with words/jargon that are used more than once (should I highlight later uses?) or only once (don't put them in the glossary, but do put them in the index?). Any suggestions welcomed!

Oh, and here are a few definitions to whet your appetite:

Acequias: Communal water management districts with semi-formal rules on water allocation and communal maintenance of common infrastructure.

Appropriative rights: The right to divert water from a source for use elsewhere. Often defined by priority (“first in time, first in right"), a quantity (“x units of flow at this diversion point"), and the requirement of continued use (“use it or lose it").

Aquifer: An underground pool of water that’s naturally recharged by surface water.

Asymmetric information: One person knowing more than another. In principal-agent situations, the principal knows less than the agent about the agent’s skill and/or effort, problems of “adverse selection" and “moral hazard," respectively.

Baptists and Bootleggers: An unholy alliance that combines moral righteousness with selfish greed to stop a reform (or enact a “reform") that would benefit degenerates (to the Baptists) and/or the competition (to the bootleggers). Thus, you may see a B&B coalition of environmentalists and corn-processors supporting a law that requires corn ethanol to be blended into gasoline.

[and so on...]


  1. first, a word of support for having the draft almost peer-reviewed before being published. I was thinking of this issue the other day listening to an author commenting on his book, which to my perception should have gone to print after a peer-review type of process that would have highlighted the gross mistakes and biases expressed by the author!
    Second, i read your definition of acequias, and in Spanish, this is just the name for the small channels at the end of the irrigation system that distribute the water to the users, usually open and public. Is your definition the one used in some particular countries or areas?

  2. re: acequias. Yes, that word comes from Arabic and is used in that way in Spain. I'm using it in the SW US manner (referring to the infrastructure AND management organization), with a footnote on its origins. Thanks!

  3. Way too late to be of any use but this one does bug me. An aquifer is not a 'pool' of water. It is not even the body of water contained within the pore-spaces. An aquifer is a body of rock that is water-bearing or capable of bearing water. It may be naturally recharged by surface water as stated but it can also be artificially recharged by injection wells, flooding basins, infiltration galleries etc. The use of the word 'pool' is particularly misleading as it encourages the imagining of a cavern occupied by something you might swim in.


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