There's a line in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the one."
It wasn't a new concept in 1982. In the context of the movie, it was Spock's rationale for self-sacrifice.
Now in 2011, floodgates along the Mississippi River are being opened to relieve pressure, so that large cities aren't drowned. As a result, thousands of acres of farmland upriver - along with countless homes in a number of smaller communities -- will be flooded.
The fairness of this is an open question. What did those people in suburban communities do to make the drenching of their lives a necessity?
Cities generally are centers of commercial trade, but in this case, I think it's about oil, which is critical to all of us. If refineries along the Gulf coast are flooded, the already-high cost of gas could hit stratospheric levels. That would, in fact, destroy the economy.
The needs of the many would appear to outweigh the needs of the few.