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Index February 2007

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One Year Of Evo – Economic Boom

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Published on countercurrents.org, 27 February, 2007.

The Threat Of Balkanisation And The Role Of The Military, by Alberto Cruz, analyst at the Center of Political Studies for International Relations and Development. Translated from Rebelion.

Excerpts: … The government of Morales has maintained a more pragmatic behaviour and has not given the state company, Yacimientos Petroliferos Fiscales de Bolivia (YPFB), the predominant role that, for example, Venezuela’s PDVSA has been playing, to push forward a drastic change in the improvement of the living conditions of the great majority of the population. A lost opportunity, where one has to point out the important role that Lula’s Brazil has played in “moderating” the application of the nationalisation. Regardless of this, it is not just a few voices who are asking for a “refoundation” of YPFB so that production and exploitation of hydrocarbons is really in the hands of this state institution.

The oligarchy’s game plan: The moderate nationalisation of hydrocarbons did not expressly disturb the oligarchy (according to the polls 90% of the Bolivian population supported the nationalisation), but what did was the passing of the new agrarian reform law which if applied to the full extent would suppose the redistribution to campesinos of some 123,000 kilometres squared of idle and unproductive land, a size equivalent to two countries, Austria and Switzerland put together.

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LE NOUVEAU MUR DE L’ARGENT

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REALITES DE LA GLOBALISATION FINANCIERE (reçu par Newsletter from ATTAC, Le grain de sable).

Par François Morin, professeur de sciences économiques – Université de Toulouse 1, membre du Conseil de la Banque de France (1985-93). Cet article est un bref exposé de la thèse présentée dans le dernier ouvrage de F. Morin : Le nouveau mur de l’argent: essai sur la finance globalisée, Seuil, 2006.

Notre hypothèse est que l’histoire monétaire et financière que la France a connue dans l’entre-deux guerres (avec les gouvernements du Cartel des gauches) est en train de se répéter, mais, cette fois-ci, dans une dimension autrement plus importante puisqu’elle se situe à l’échelle mondiale : un nouveau « mur de l’argent » est dressé depuis une dizaine d’années par les grandes banques internationales qui a pour résultat de contrer la volonté des politiques et notamment des gouvernements démocratiquement élus. C’est à l’architecture, la construction et les dangers de ce mur que se rapporte notre analyse.

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Report says U.S. drawing bombing plans for Iran

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Found on yahoo News, Sunday February 25, 2007.

First my comment:

I had a thought today about this whole mess: I see the US economy going down and the gov knows this very well. Now, if they attack Iran’s oil production, India who takes 40% of its oil from Iran, as the whole Asian block, inclusive the rest of the world, will become deep economic troubles. Even without any extension of war.

What if the US plan to weaken the rest of the world economically, just to be not the poorest themselves, as their dollar is going down more and more?

To weaken your concurrence before you crash, makes your own crash less difficult? Isn’t it?

So, the real goal behind this mess is not oil, like every ones tells, but to eliminate economically a big US concurrence, the Asian block.

And Europe? Our ‘first world banks’ host huge amounts of dollar values, which nobody wants buy them. These values also go down, in any way.

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NEW YORK (Reuters) – Despite the Bush administration’s insistence it has no plans to go to war with Iran, a Pentagon panel has been created to plan a bombing attack that could be implemented within 24 hours of getting the go-ahead from President George W. Bush, The New Yorker magazine reported in its latest issue.

The special planning group was established within the office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in recent months, according to an unidentified former U.S. intelligence official cited in the article by investigative reporter Seymour Hersh in the March 4 issue.

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3 requests for information and help

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Picked up in HREA’s Newsletter of February 23, 2007.

Dear Members, Below is a compilation of requests for information sent to the Global Human Rights Education listserv during the past two weeks. At the bottom of each request you will find an e-mail address, so that you can respond to the request directly.

1. SEEKING RESOURCES ON SEXUAL HEALTH AND HUMAN RIGHTS – Dear Global HRE list serve, I am in the process of compiling human rights education resources and workshops session plans for a toolkit for a three day workshop on Sexual Health and Human Rights that will be used by the NGO staff and sex workers in South-East Asia and Southern and Eastern Africa. If you can suggest any good resources please let me know. Many thanks, e-mail.

2. LOOKING FOR MA PROGRAMME IN HRE – I am Harsimran Singh, post-graduate in education (M.Ed.) from Panjab University Chandigarh. I have earned my first bachelor degree (B.Sc.) in physical sciences and second bachelor Degree (B.Ed.) in education. I have chosen education as my professional career; I have fortune to be in great teams as I get on well with most people. So I have earned two years’ experience in teaching secondary school standards. Besides this I have worked with NGO AAGAZ. Presently I am working with ALL INDIA RAMGARHIA VISHAWKARMA FEDERATION (REGD) as volunteer. I would like therefore to pursue my Masters’ degree in human rights education as my main career. However financial debility constrains me. Kindly advise me on existing academic programmes and funding for international students. Your response will be highly appreciated. Yours faithfully, e-mail.

3. LOOKING FOR LESSON PLANS TO TEACH HUMAN RIGHTS IN ENGLISH LANGUAGE INSTRUCTION (IRAN) – Hi, Thank you for the informative emails that you send to me, but my main cocern is to receive guidance or lesson plans to start introducing HRE in my English classes. As you already know we are limited by the authorities and we are not supposed to talk about irrelevant material in our classes, but the thing is that I can use reading passages in my classes, especially this term that I have a reading course and also a simple prose course where I’ll be able to use the material you will send me. I would be grateful to hear from you at your convenience. Thankfully yours, GS, Iran, e-mail.

HREA.org.

Kazakhstan – to uphold fair trial standards

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picked up in HREA Newsletter.

ASTANA, 23 February 2007 — An OSCE trial monitoring report released today in Kazakhstan identifies the need for further steps to be taken to uphold fair trial standards in the country, including the right of the public to attend court, equality between the parties and the presumption of innocence.

The report, presented at a public meeting in Astana, summarizes the results of trial monitoring programme conducted on behalf of the OSCE’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) in 2005 and 2006 in close co-operation with the Supreme Court.

“The right to a fair trial plays a crucial role in the maintenance of order, the rule of law and confidence in State authorities. The purpose of this trial monitoring report is to contribute to that objective,” said Mark Guthrie, deputy head of the human rights programme of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, ODIHR, which initiated the trial monitoring programme in co-operation with the Kazakh authorities.

OSCE participating States have made a commitment to accept court observers as a confidence building measure and in order to ensure transparency in the implementation of their commitments to fair judicial proceedings.

“Improving Kazakhstan’s compliance with OSCE commitments on the right to a fair trial is crucial in light of the ongoing criminal justice reforms,” said Bjorn Halvarsson, Deputy Head of the OSCE Centre in Almaty.

The 25 trial monitors, trained by the ODIHR, monitored 730 court sessions in eight regions. The report includes an assessment of the sessions’ compliance with fair trial requirements, statistics and a list of recommendations to the authorities.

“The OSCE Centre will continue to support the government by following up on the recommendations and carrying out a second round of trial monitoring during 2007,” Mr. Halvarsson said.

Representatives of the Parliament, the Supreme Court, the Constitutional Council, the Office of the General Prosecutor, the Ministry of Justice and civil society participated in today’s meeting, organized by the ODIHR, the OSCE Centre and the Supreme Court.

OSCE Press release / HREA.org.

INDIA – NCEUS prepares draft bills on unorganised workers

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Ministry of Small Scale, Agro & Rural Industries’s PRESS RELEASE:

The National Commission for Enterprises in the Unorganized Sector NCEUS, set up by the Government of India as an advisory body and a watchdog for the informal sector, under the Ministry of Small Scale Industries and Agro and Rural Industries, has examined in depth, the conditions of work and scope of labour laws with respect to the unorganised sector, both in agriculture and non-agriculture.

TheCommission’s findings show that forty per cent of the workers in the unorganised agricultural and non-agricultural sector are wage workers and sixty per cent are self-employed. Among the self-employed, the overwhelming majority are own account or assisting family workers and only 1.15 % (among non-agricultural workers) are employers.

The vast majority of the self-employed in the unorganised sector themselves work under poor conditions and the productivity of their enterprises is low. Measures to protect the livelihood of the self-employed workers and to promote the productivity of the unorganised enterprises, will not only have an impact on the condition of the self-employed, but also on the condition of the unorganised wage workers who work in the unorganised enterprises. Thus, regulation of the condition of work of wage workers needs to go hand in hand with the protection and promotion of livelihood of the self-employed workers and enhancing the growth and productivity of the unorganised sector enterprises.

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Nigeria: Physiological Needs And Crime Rate

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Published on all.Africa.com, as COLUMN, on February 22, 2007, Lagos:

WHEN we talk of human needs, we are talking about the essentials of life. We are talking of the inevitable things of life sometimes, people get confused between the word need and want and thereby using them interchangeably. This is an error. The two words are different and they convey different meanings. While wants are merely excesses or unrealistic wishes, needs are necessity. Wants can be postponed, but needs must be met. The need cuts across human beings and animals, and whenever need is denied in human/animal, the inborn instinct in us would look for a way out in order to get the problem satisfied.

Physiological needs are therefore those needs needed for our daily and generational survival. In his hierarchy of Motivation Theory, a world renowned psychologist, Abraham Maslow, identified some components of physiological needs.

These needs include the following: Food, Shelter, Sex, Clothing, Etc.

When any of these is lacking, then nature will take its position. Nature has a way of taking care of itself. Have you ever wondered how the lunatic (mad) people satisfy these needs?

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The Max-Neef Model of Human-Scale Development

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Linked with Manfred Max-Neef – Chile, with the Centre for Development Alternatives CEPAUR, Chile, and with Statements at the World Future Council.

background: Manfred Max-Neef is a Chilean economist who has worked for many years with the problem of development in the Third World, articulating the inappropriateness of conventional models of development, that have lead to increasing poverty, massive debt and ecological disaster for many Third World communities. He works for the Centre for Development Alternatives in Chile, an organisation dedicated to the reorientation of development which stimulates local needs. It researches new tools, strategies and evaluative techniques to support such development, and Max-Neef’s publication Human Scale Development: an Option for the Future (1987) outlines the results of the Centre’s researches and experiences

Max-Neef and his colleagues have developed a taxonomy of human needs and a process by which communities can identify their “wealths” and “poverties” according to how these needs are satisfied.

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Internet in Central Asia

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INTERNET CAFES OPEN IN TURKMENISTAN: Two Internet cafes have opened in Ashgabat, turkmenistan.ru reported on February 16, 2007. Fifteen more such cafes will soon appear in the capital, with more to come in other parts of Turkmenistan. Greater access to the Internet featured among President Berdymukhammedov’s campaign promises in the February 11 presidential election (see “RFE/RL Newsline,” January 5, 2007). Despite the apparent easing of restrictions on the Internet, Deutsche Welle reported on February 19, citing an unidentified source in Turkmenistan’s National Security Ministry, that Chinese specialists will assist the Turkmen security services in controlling the Internet to ensure that Turkmen citizens cannot access pornography, opposition websites, and media critical of Turkmen authorities, Febr 20, 2007. (DK / full text).

Same on Institute for war and peace reporting, Febr, 19. 2007. (full text).

Internet Governance in Central Asia: The World Summit on Information Society (WSIS), held under the initiative of the United Nations, recognizes the importance of Internet and its role as a key infrastructure element for building information society. At the same time, it was announced the necessity to consolidate all countries’ positions on improvement of mechanisms for Internet governance and policy development related to global Internet.

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How the Fed lost control of money supply

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on Asia Times, by Axel Merk

The world is awash in money. This money has flown into all asset classes, from stocks to bonds, from real estate to commodities. In a world priced for perfection, should we enjoy the boom or prepare for a bust? Let us listen to Wall Street’s adage and “follow the money”.

After the tech bubble burst in 2000, policymakers in the US and Asia set a train in motion they have now lost control over. In an effort to preserve US consumer spending, the Federal Reserve lowered interest rates; the administration of President George W Bush lowered taxes, and Asian policymakers kept their currencies artificially weak to subsidize exports to American consumers.

These policies have led to one of the longest booms in consumer spending ever – US consumer growth has not been negative since the early 1990s. However, it is credit expansion, rather than increased purchasing power, that has fueled the growth. (full text).

DES TAXES GLOBALES POUR LE VIVANT

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Reçu par mail:
Sujet: ATTAC INFO 564 – L’ALTERMONDIALISATION, UNE COURSE DE FOND!
De: Grain de sable
À: grain de sable
Date: 17/02/2007 19:59:48

DES TAXES GLOBALES POUR LE VIVANT (1)

Par Aurélie Trouvé et Jean-Marie Harribey, Co-présidents d’ATTAC France.

L’altermondialisme se trouve à un tournant : celui qui mène de la critique du capitalisme néolibéral à l’élaboration de propositions alternatives, à laquelle participent maintenant tous les continents, dont l’Afrique qui vient d’accueillir à Nairobi le 7e Forum social mondial.

Face à la marchandisation accélérée de la société, l’enjeu du XXIe siècle est d’assurer à tous les êtres humains l’accès aux biens publics mondiaux, appelés aussi biens communs de l’humanité, dont il faut affirmer le caractère inaliénable : notamment les connaissances, le climat, l’eau et toutes les ressources vitales. Mais, pour que ces biens soient produits ou protégés, des financements publics sont indispensables. C’est à cet impératif qu’entend répondre la proposition de « taxes globales pour le vivant ». Globales parce qu’elles ont vocation à s’appliquer dans le monde entier et à un grand nombre de sujets. Pour le vivant parce qu’elles portent sur les éléments essentiels à la
perpétuation de la vie et à l’obtention d’une vie digne pour tous, en termes de droits fondamentaux à l’éducation, à la santé et au logement.

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Reflections on an Emancipatory Labour Internationalism …

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Linked with Peter Waterman – England; with The Voice of the Turtle, with Surpassing the binary opposition between reform and revolution.

The Forward March of Labour Recommenced? (August 2003): excerpt: … Conclusion: science, critique, vision and recipe for revolution ‘Marxism’, says my old friend from the 1960s, Bertell Ollman (2003:82), ‘is an unusual, perhaps unique, combination of…science, critique, vision and recipe for revolution…with each of these qualities contributing to and feeding off the others.

I try to apply this to international labour studies, past, present, utopian speculative, and I fail.

His is a statement of such universalistic claim that it encompasses all time, all space, all critique, all vision, every aspiration for human emancipation. This is a Marxism returning to the Jewish messianic tradition from which it – but only in part -descends. As a Liberation Marxist (one who tries to liberate Marxism from the Marxists, from Marxism and from Marx) let me confine myself to The Revolution. This was, of course, part of the secular trilogy of 19th century socialism, which I above generalise as ‘emanicipation’.

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Help keep the vultures at bay

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Linked with  … and specially this publication.

‘Vulture fund’ companies are swooping in to buy poor countries’ debt at hugely discounted prices and then suing for the full amount plus interest and punitive damages. It’s completely legal, and it’s happening right now! What’s needed is a just and comprehensive debt relief system which places the same moral and legal obligations on companies as it does on governments. As Chair of the IMF Finance Committee, Gordon Brown is uniquely placed to prevent this happening again. He must press the IMF, the World Bank and rich country shareholders to work together with poor debtor countries to establish a just and comprehensive debt system.

It is important to protect poor countries from this kind of exploitation. Gordon Brown as Chair of the IMF board is in a unique position to show leadership in protecting poor countries from vulture funds.

Oxfam writes: We would like you to join us in sending Gordon Brown a message: Get Gordon Brown to protect poor countries from vulture funds.

For this, go to this link and fill up the mail with your name and mail-address. Thank you.

Zambia Loses Millions to Company Greed – Act Now!

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Linked with … and specially this publication.
Just received this mail from Oxfam:

Sujet: Zambia Loses Millions to Company Greed – Act Now!
De: Oxfam
À: Heidi Barathieu-Brun
Date: 16/02/2007 16:57:34

Dear Heidi, A predatory commercial company seeking to scavenge a staggering $55 million from Zambia after buying up a ‘bad debt’ of $3.3 million has been reluctantly awarded an estimated $15 million by a British court. That’s rich pickings from a desperately poor country, and ‘vulture fund’ Donegal International should redeem this shameful episode and not claim even the reduced amount.

That’s $15 million too much!

The judge was unable to dismiss the whole claim but it is clear that while the actions of Donegal International were not strictly illegal, they were immoral. When a country is as poor as Zambia, in desperate need of money to pay for basic services like health and education, it is outrageous to pursue an inflated claim for a debt that should have been written off years ago. Donegal should not take the money. Please take this quick action today, join our email action now to get Donegal to do the right thing,

click on the link next: Tell Donegal to stop preying on Zambia!
Thank you, Alison Woodhead, Essential Services campaign manager.

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Surpassing the binary opposition between reform and revolution

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Linked with Peter Waterman – England, with The Voice of the Turtle, with Reflections on an Emancipatory Labour Internationalism … .

(Excerpt – the paper is not dated on their website, obviously these guys are eternal): … However radical the proposals concerning labour internationality might seem at first glance, there is nothing particularly revolutionary about them. This is despite the anti-capitalist attitudes and aspirations of this paper. What is being here proposed is a radical reformism informed by a post-capitalist vision.

The reason for such a `reformist’ proposal is that

  • there is no binary opposition between meaningful reform and realistic radicalism, because
  • each is a condition for the existence of the other, the reformists providing space for the radicals, the radicals providing energy to the reformists, and
  • open global dialogue on international labour and labour relations cannot but be subversive of national chauvinism, institutional closure, ideological conservatism (left, right and centre) and – of course – world monetary fundamentalism.

The reason why all this might be particularly true today is because of the growing centrality of cyberspace – as both demonstrated and furthered by COL2 itself! Whoever `invented’ and whoever `dominates’ it, cyberspace differs quite fundamentally from institutional space, or even from traditional media space (radio, film, TV). Cyberspace is infinite. The computer incorporates a dialectical/dialogical logic. The Web, moreover, potentially surpasses the age-old split between the audiovisual and the verbal (feeling and logic) that went with the just as old division of labour between doers and thinkers.

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The Health Care Crisis …

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Linked with Byllye Avery – USA, with the Avery Institute for Social Change, with the National Black Women’s Health Imperative, with An Open Letter to my Sisters.

Read the transcript: Economist Paul Krugman spoke out on “The Health Care Crisis and What to Do About It“, on May 30, 2006, at the Community Church in New York.

This talk was sponsored by Physicians for a National Health Program-NY Metro Chapter, the Community Church of New York and the New York Review of Books.

You may remember those horrible few days at the end of August and at the beginning of September when Katrina hit New Orleans, and we all watched in horror and in anger as the city of New Orleans suffered, people were stuck, and help failed to arrive. Those days when you just couldn’t believe that this was America. Where is the aid? Why aren’t we saving these people? Why aren’t we coming to the aid of that city?

These were appropriate reactions.

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… Institutions and Economic Development …

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Linked with Ha-Joon Chang – Korea & England, with Kicking Away the Ladder, and with Is Equality Passé?

Understanding the Relationship between Institutions and Economic Development, Some Key Theoretical Issues, Discussion Paper No. 2006/05, by Ha-Joon Chang, July 2006

Abstract: The paper tries to improve our understanding on the role of institutions in development by critically examining the current orthodox discourse on institutions and highlighting some of its key problems. After discussing some definitional problems, the chapter examines a number of problems in the orthodox literature arising from the widespread failure to distinguish between the forms and the functions of institution. Then it critically examines the excessive emphasis on property rights in the orthodox literature. Finally, it discusses a number of problems that arise from the simplistic view on institutional change that underlies the orthodox view on institutional persistence.

Keywords: institutions, forms and functions, institutional change, property rights – JEL classification: B52, D02, P14 – (read the full 16 pages).

Kicking Away the Ladder

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Linked with Ha-Joon Chang – Korea & England, with Is Equality Passé? and with … Institutions and Economic Development … .

How the Economic and Intellectual Histories of Capitalism Have Been Re-Written to Justify Neo-Liberal Capitalism, (Post-Autistic Economics Review), by Ha-Joon Chang.

This article is based on his new book Kicking Away the Ladder – Development Strategy in Historical Perspective, which was published by Anthem Press, London, on 10 June 2002.

Excerpts: … Almost all of today’s rich countries used tariff protection and subsidies to develop their industries. Interestingly, Britain and the USA, the two countries that are supposed to have reached the summit of the world economy through their free-market, free-trade policy, are actually the ones that had most aggressively used protection and subsidies. Contrary to the popular myth, Britain had been an aggressive user, and in certain areas a pioneer, of activist policies intended to promote its industries. Such policies, although limited in scope, date back from the 14th century (Edward III) and the 15th century (Henry VII) in relation to woollen manufacturing, the leading industry of the time.

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Le marché contre l’Etat

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Des théories qui tuent, par Ignacio Ramonet:

On parle parfois des « auteurs intellectuels » d’un délit ou d’un crime, et la justice peut les sanctionner. En formulant, dans son cabinet de travail, et même en toute indépendance, une théorie d’organisation de la société, un penseur prend le risque qu’elle soit appliquée par ceux qui en ont le pouvoir et que, par ricochet, on lui impute la paternité de ses effets négatifs, voire tragiques. Cela est arrivé à Marx, que l’Internationale de la droite et de l’extrême droite – sans que la plupart de ses dirigeants aient jamais lu une ligne de son œuvre – ont tenté de rendre rétrospectivement responsable du stalinisme. Tout comme Voltaire et Rousseau étaient censés avoir enfanté la Terreur… Les dominants excellent dans cet exercice de délégitimation des idées émancipatrices qui, si elles se diffusaient trop, conduiraient les citoyens à se révolter contre leurs privilèges. Ce qui est effectivement arrivé de nombreuses fois dans l’histoire.

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Is Equality Passé?

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Linked with Ha-Joon Chang – Korea & England, and with with Kicking Away the Ladder, and with … Institutions and Economic Development … .

Homo reciprocans and the future of egalitarian politics, by Samuel Bowles and Herbert Gintis, originally published in the December 1998/January 1999 issue of Boston Review – A man ought to be a friend to his friends and repay gift with gift. People should meet smiles with smiles, and lies with treachery (The Edda, a thirteenth-century colection of Norse epic verse).

Is equality passé? We think not … (full text).

Social Preferences and Public Economics

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Linked with Samuel Bowles – USA.

Are good laws a substitute for good citizens?

By Samuel Bowles, Santa Fe Institute and University of Siena1, 14 January, 2007 – Abstract: Laws and policies designed to harness self-regarding preferences to public ends may fail when they compromise the beneficial effects of pro-social preferences. Experimental evidence indicates that incentives that appeal to self interest may reduce the salience of intrinsic motivation, reciprocity, and other civic motives. Motivational crowding in also occurs. The evidence for these processes is reviewed and a model of optimal explicit incentives is presented.

JEL: D64, D52, H41, H21, Z13, C92

Keywords: Social preferences, implementation theory, incentive contracts, incomplete contracts, framing, behavioral experiments, motivational crowding out, ethical norms, constitutions. (full text of this 27 pages).

Disappearances in Sri Lanka

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Received by mail from HREA – A Statement by the Asian Human Rights Commission, FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

AS-027-2007, February 7, 2007 – The alleged abduction of three persons belonging to the Railway Workers Union who are also associated with the publication of the union’s journal, Akuna, was reported in many publications including the BBC Sinhala Service.

Reporters without Borders also reported these abductions on the 6th February, 2007. The names of the three persons are Nihal Serasinghe, a contributor to Akuna was is said to have been abducted near Fort as he left a printing office, Lalith Senaviratne, a former journalist attached to Hiru and who was in charge of page layout at Akuna, was seized at his home by about seven persons identified by his wife as plain clothed police officers who had shown her an identity card from the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), and Sisira Priyankara, the editor of Akuna, who was snatched from his work place. Sisira Priyankara was also involved in a complaint made to the courts by trade unionists against the salary hikes granted to ministers and the president.

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Status Quo and Future Challenges

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Seminar hold in Trier, 29-30 Mar 2007, by The Academy of European Law. Fee: EUR 500.00, Languages English, Event Number 307D39.

The International Criminal Court ICC is a permanent, treaty-based, international criminal court established to promote the rule of law and ensure that the gravest international crimes do not go unpunished.

Its jurisdiction is governed by the provisions of the Rome Statute which entered into force on 1 July 2002. Now that the Court has begun its formal investigations in Central Africa, the need to train defence lawyers, prosecutors, judges and government officials in international criminal law has become more urgent.

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Germany and Africa

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Picked up in Weitzenegger’s newsletter of February 2007. To read many interesting news and articles, go to ‘The website for International Development Cooperation‘, and its (english) Newsletter.

Germany made Africa one of the key themes for their dual presidency of the EU and G8:

The German Presidency’s development co-operation priorities will include Africa, work on a proposed EU-Africa energy partnership, progress towards economic partnership agreements and measures to combat AIDS and malaria (delivering on the G8’s promise, at the G8 summit in Gleneagles in 2005, of an extra 50 billion dollars per annum in development aid by 2010).

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ONLINE COURSE: The Human Right to Food

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HREA.org publishes this new online course on The Human Right to Food. Course director: George Kent, Minimum number of participants: 5. This description of the spring 2007 TPU course on the Human Right to Food is available online.

Over the last half-century human rights advocates have emphasized civil and political rights, but work on economic and social rights is now progressing rapidly. The human right to adequate food has been clarified under initiatives led by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, and others. Many agencies at both national and global levels are recognizing the right and are working to assure its realization.

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The Mahila Samakhya Programme

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Linked with Duiji – India.

The Mahila Samakhya Programme – Short excerpts of this 16 pages article: … The Mahila Samakhya experience over the past twelve years offers a unique case of trying to explore and understand the issues of women’s education and empowerment and the inter linkages thereof in different regional and rural contexts within India. It offers an example of the importance of empowerment of women as a critical precondition to facilitate greater inclusion of women and their daughters into education. Further, it provides an alternative paradigm to women’s mobilisation and empowerment to the current and dominant focus on economic interventions as the principal strategy for women’s empowerment. The uniqueness of the MS strategy was pithily captured in the Programme Appraisal Report of 1989. “There is no programme comparable to the Education for Women’s Equality programme in terms of the scale and mix of activities, in terms of organisational location and form, or in terms of the long term ambition to grow into a major vehicle for women’s empowerment throughout India.” Has this euphoric expectation been met? Successive evaluations have generally concurred with this early expectation with some limitations. The organisational form and diversity of activities has been an effective vehicle for women’s empowerment and education in the areas where the programme is being implemented. However, it has a long way to go to have an impact across the country.

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The Development Gateway Foundation

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Picked up in Weitzenegger’s newsletter of February 2007. To read many interesting news and articles, go to ‘The website for International Development Cooperation‘, and its (english) Newsletter.

Welcome to the Development Gateway Foundation’s online resources portal for development information and knowledge-sharing worldwide. The tools on this website bring together people and organizations around the globe who are working to improve life in developing countries.

See the Development-Homepage.
See also the Foundation-Homepage.

Information Tools, Global Partnerships, Effective Aid; DGF is an international nonprofit organization with the mission to reduce poverty and enable change in developing nations through information technology. To this end, DGF provides Web-based platforms that make aid and development efforts more effective around the world.

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IAMCR invitation to 50th Anniversary Conference

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IAMCR is the worldwide professional organisation in the field of media and communication research. Its members promote global inclusiveness and excellence within the best traditions of critical research in the field. Its objectives include strengthening and encouraging the participation of new scholars, women, and those from economically disadvantaged regions, including researchers from African, Asian and South and Central American countries.
Download direct from this website in English (81.80 KB), in Spanish (77.15 KB), in French (74.81 KB), in Portuguese (140.4 KB).

IAMCR extends a warm invitation for you to attend their 50th Anniversary Conference, Media, Communication, Information: Celebrating 50 Years of Theories and Practices” in Paris, at UNESCO, 23-25 July 2007.
The local organizing committee wishes to make some announcements in preparation of this event. (full text), and also on this page.

Contacts: Divina Frau-Meigs (organisation locale); Ole Prehn (secrétariat de l’AIERI); Homepage.

Report says man causing global warming

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PARIS, Feb. 2 (UPI) (science daily) – Human activity is the source of global warming, said a major scientific report on greenhouse gas emissions issued by a United Nations panel in Paris Friday. The report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which released its report at a Friday morning press conference Webcast around the world, also said global warming could not be reversed. The rising sea levels and higher temperatures that accompany global warming “would continue for centuries … even if greenhouse gas concentrations were to be stabilized,” the panel’s report said … (full text).

My comment: meanwhile, thousands of articles worldwide, telling all the same: “we have to reduce … !”. Reduce what?

Sorry, I do not believe that this message, even if true, is made by our big mainstream press for our better world. I am sorry, but my paranoia tells me: here are guys wanting reduce us. I agree for a safe and respectful use of our resources, I agree to take only what I need, not more.

But, why in all these articles pratically no one urges for researches about old frozen ‘free energy projects’? Since 50 years it is known that the energy lobby buys every patent bringing foreward illimited energy! Why no one cries for them? Why only masochist reduction of human activity. As the powerful, you know, the ones having the money and the tools to take what they want, do you really think THEY will reduce anywhat?

Come on …

Hereafter some links for free energy researches: Some may be more serious than others, I am not able to judge any of them, but let’s look seriously at every possibiliy:

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Schools in Kerala, India

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Linked with Leelakumari Amma – India.

KERALA EDUCATION – Education in Kerala represents a success story that many nations might wish to emulate.

Kerala, located in the southern tip of , is an agrarian state with a per capita income of only $265. Yet its literacy rate of 91 percent puts it closer to the than to any other Indian state. (The national literacy rate in is 65 percent.)

Kerala was the first state in to declare total literacy in one town in 1989, and subsequently, total literacy in a whole region in 1990. ’s National Literacy Mission declared total literacy in the whole state of Kerala on April 18, 1991.

“Literacy is a prerequisite for social development,” says P.K. Ravindran, a former president of the Kerala Sastra Sahitya Parishad, a group that gave a push to the state’s literacy movement in the 1980s. “Without literacy you cannot go forward.”

In Kerala, commitment to education pervades society. About 37 percent of the state’s annual budget goes to education. The state supports 12,271 schools. There’s an elementary school within two miles of every settlement.

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