The heading of Don Shakows obituary reads, "Don Shakows moral beliefs
put to test in the workplace." Although an economist rather than an engineer,
Shakows commitments and expertise certainly overlapped those of some engineers.
Among other things, he served as an expert witness on the economics of rapid-transit and
public energy proposals. In the mid-70s he joined Mathematical Sciences Northwest to
evaluate proposed power projects for Seattle City Light. His finding that regional energy
needs were seriously over-estimated resulted in Seattle City Light withdrawing its support
for two Washington Public Power supply system nuclear plants. Shakows former
colleague, Frank Miller commented that their eventual construction "resulted in the
largest utility-bond default in U.S. history." Shakow supported organic farming, home
grown food, and food cooperatives. He protested the Vietnam war, co-founding the Little
Bread Co. Which carried messages on its reader board such as, "We Cant Support
One Govt--Let Alone Thieu." No doubt a somewhat controversial figure throughout
his activist life, he was characterized by reporter Carole Beers as "that rare
individual: He fully integrated his moral beliefs into his work life."
Discuss the difficulties of fully integrating ones moral beliefs into ones
work life. Is it desirable to try to do this? Can this ever conflict with moral or ethical
obligations that one has as a professional engineer or employee? If so, how should such a
conflict be resolved?