The lecture on “why big states destroy nature” was about the role of politics and state power on water control. It was an interesting lecture, as I had never put together the idea of politics and water before. Building dams were considered big projects during the 1880s, and were led by large powers like the USSR. Professor Josephson introduced an ‘equation’: Big Projects+Big Leaders=Political Legitemacy. This, I thought is highly accurate, even to this day. Not only did building large dams directly represent the states’ political legitimacy, but it also meant the state had ‘control over water,’ in other words, it meant power over a resource that is a necessity to human beings. This idea of big powers fighting for power over a natural resource has extended beyond just water today: today, it includes oil, natural gas, and land.
Apart from politics in water control, Professor Josephson also mentioned that during the time that the sent a man to the moon, there was also great (and unmanaged) poverty within the country. This pointed out the irony that big powers find it much easier to put their time and effort into sending a single man to the moon than to manage the more immediate and relevant problems within the country. This holds truth even today.