The Climate X World Model

Not to be confused with this fabric company.

For my final blog post, I would like to cover an alternative to Neoliberal Capitalist Development that is an intriguing concept within the effect of climate change on Development. As I have mentioned in previous posts, many people believe that climate change will eventually become such a pervasive issue that the global political and economic structures will change to accomodate it.  As I have also mentioned in previous posts, one unique theory (Wainwright and Mann, 2012) is that climate change will catalyze two specific struggles that will define the global framework that emerges to address climate change: a global sovereignty vs. no global sovereignty, and capitalist vs. non-capitalist.  As my final alternative to Neoliberal Development, I am going to look at the result of these two struggles that Wainwright and Mann believe to be the most effective at addressing climate change, and the most ethical in considering issues of justice, but also the least likely.  This would be the Climate X World Model, a theoretical global system that both transcends capitalism and is void of political hegemony.

Wainwright and Mann do not specify what the Climate X World Model looks like, just that it is post-global sovereignty, and post-capitalism, which leaves plenty open to interpretation.  I see it as a global push to remove everything related to the patriarchal, whitewashed western colonialism of the past few centuries, and giving true power over one’s livelihood back to those who have it taken from them in this world system.  To accomplish this, I see a world that moves past globalism, colonialism, and capitalism to local autonomy – what many people would define as a traditional lifestyle – as the Climate X.

I have dedicated a large amount of this blog to the concept of post-capitalism, enough that I do not think I need to explain again why it needs to be a part of the equation in an alternative to Development.  I will instead present why the Climate X includes dissolving a global sovereignty.

Let’s look at the last major decision made by our current global sovereign.  At the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) on Climate Change, a majority of the world agreed to action against the use of carbon emissions that would cap global temperature increase at 2 degrees celsius compared to the preindustrial era, and with a strong effort to keep that as low as 1.5 degrees celsius (Paris Agreement, 2015).  The problem with this agreement, and a global sovereign as a whole, is how when working on such a massive scale, decisions work slowly and only affect a sliver of the issue at a time.  Even ignoring the concept of intersectionality, climate change is result of much more than just carbon emissions.  Deforestation, agriculture, and the meat industry are just as large of contributors, but those are left out both because of how difficult they are to address, and how tied in they are with global economics and politics.  You can start to see with this that a global sovereign stifles change and protects its own interests.  If local autonomy was restored, communities with a care for their environment would more easily be able to make the changes appropriate in preserving it, and groups without a care for the environment would not be able to force the rest of the world into an unfair system that helps them sustain an unsustainable lifestyle.

Another issue with a global sovereign is that there is no way that it can hold all interests in mind at the same time.  This is where Development becomes very relevant.  Education is a large part of Development, but a globalized education system teaches from the perspective of the sovereign.  Our global education system is built on European rationality and objectivity.  History is the same across the world, regardless of where you are from.  This is especially difficult for marginalized groups within a given country.  According to a Kurdish news source called Rudaw, it is only now, following the 28th anniversary of the Anfal genocide, that the crime against the Kurdish people will be taught at the schools in the Kurdistan region (Rudaw, 2016).  This is great news for the education of the region, but shows how long it took to add the curriculum, and begs the question how much more has been forgotten throughout history.  In relation still to a global sovereign not being able to keep all interests in mind, the Development Project often pushes an economic development agenda on places that do not want them.  Even in Western countries, this formula of Development is not completely representative.  For example, in New York City the Movement for Justice in El Barrio has grown to 954 members since its founding in 2004, and has been driving an anti-gentrification movement in New York that continues to pick up steam. In a statement showing the value of autonomy in the movement, member Diana Vega stated “We believe that those who suffer injustice firsthand must design and lead their own struggles for justice” (Davies, 2016).

Many people argue that this description of a global system is not possible because societies do not move backwards.  To this I ask why finally dissolving the racial and gender issues tied up in western colonialism and adequately fixing climate change has to be seen as going backwards.  I think if we were able to value anything other than economic growth as a society, then finally solving the issues of injustice that plague our world system would in fact be seen as progress.  I would go as far to say it would the most ethical way to facilitate the broad social progress that is the goal of the Development Project.

Works Cited:

Conference of the Parties. Twenty-First Session. Adoption of the Paris Agreement. 11/30/2016, 12/11/2016.

Davies, Jessica. “Participatory Democracy Drives Anti-Gentrification Movement in New York’s El Barrio.” Truthout. 16 Apr. 2016. Web.

“Kurdish Children to Be Educated on Anfal Genocide.” Rudaw. 16 Apr. 2016. Web.

Wainwright, Joel, and Geoff Mann. “Climate Leviathan.” Antipode 45.1 (2012): 1-22. Web.

 

Female Genital Mutilation

For all of my blog posts now I have been discussing different forms of Gender Based Violence (GBV). GBV can take place in many ways, one of which is female mutilation. This is an oppression of women’s sexuality that still affects us today. To begin my research I read a policy brief by UNICEF that discusses abandoning Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). I then found an article by the World Health Organization (WHO) that provided some key facts and information about FGM. I then read an article in the New York Times that gives a first account of this experience. Finally, I found an article from the Middle East Forum (MEF) that further discusses FGM in the Middle East.

Female Genital Mutilation refers to any “procedures that intentionally alter or cause injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons” (WHO). This usually involves full, or partial, removal of the female genitalia. These procedures can cause severe bleeding, infections, and later, complications such as cysts and increased rates of newborn deaths. There are no medical health benefits to FGM. “FGM is recognized internationally as a violation of the human rights of girls and women. It reflects deep-rooted inequality between the sexes, and constitutes an extreme form of discrimination against women” (WHO).

This procedure is a social construct made to suppress women’s sexuality and pleasure. Many who survive the procedure suffer from significant trauma afterwards. This affects women all over the world, “FGM occurs in non-Muslim societies in Africa. And in Arab states such as Egypt, where perhaps 97 percent of girls suffer genital mutilation,[3] both Christian Copts and Muslims are complicit” (MEF). People often hold that there is a religious aspect to FGM. While others argue the “practice as rooted in poverty, lack of education, and superstition” (MEF).

These women don’t want to continue this practice. In a New York Times article, there is a personal account by Leyla Hussaian, a girl from Saudi Arabia, who was cut at age 7. She was not aware of the procedure until the day of. She recounts, “She was telling me part of my vagina was going to be taken away. While she’s explaining I could hear this screaming inside of the house, which was my sister being cut” (New York Times). She referred to the event as child abuse; regardless of religious or social contexts.

There are efforts being made to combat this horrible procedure, however, many cultural norms are holding us back. Often, having this procedure defines the marriageability of the daughters. UNICEF proposed a policy to combat this dilemma, specifically in Ethiopia. This approach looks at the social norms surrounding FGM. The pre-intervention phase looks at who is for, vs. against, FGM. The intervention phase conducts “community conversations” to increase awareness using the social convention theory. This theory looks at the social conventions and norms within a society and aims to help inform them of the harmful facts about FGM. (UNICEF).

We need to help.

 

http://www.unicef.org/ethiopia/Abandoning_FGM_in_Ethiopia.pdf

http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs241/en/

http://kristof.blogs.nytimes.com/2016/02/04/its-genital-genocide/?rref=collection%2Ftimestopic%2FFemale%20Genital%20Cutting&action=click&contentCollection=health&region=stream&module=stream_unit&version=latest&contentPlacement=4&pgtype=collection&_r=0

http://www.meforum.org/1629/is-female-genital-mutilation-an-islamic-problem

Education and Literacy Rates in Pakistan

Education is a right, not a privilege, yet in many places some cannot afford to get an education. In Pakistan today there is a 58% illiteracy rate and it has been consistent for the past two years. One of the main issues concerning Pakistan’s high illiteracy rates is its small budged for education coupled with education not being as high of a priority. While the government schools tend to be better quality, public schools in Pakistan tend to be lacking in basic resources such as electricity, water, and sanitation.   In addition there are even several unofficial ghost schools have formed. Many who dislike the conditions of public schools in Pakistan have nowhere to turn because private schools have steeper prices, which many people in Pakistan cannot afford. There is a significant disparity in areas with private schooling and in areas with public. Private schools are pretty much only in urban areas where a lot of the more wealthy people are located, whole public schools are located in rural areas where there are more impoverished people. Madrasas are also prominent. These are schools that provide a more Islamic, religious-based education and they are free, so they are more easily accessible for people who cannot afford to send their children to private school.

Above is an image of a ghost school in the province of Sindh, Pakistan.
Above is an image of a ghost school in the province of Sindh, Pakistan.

One issue that is a common trend in many countries is the high gender disparity in literacy with a significantly smaller literacy rate for females. In fact, in Pakistan the female literacy rate has even declined by 2% from 2012-13 while the male literacy rate has stayed the same. In some more rural, tribal areas in Pakistan women are strictly prohibited from getting an education on religious grounds. With social and cultural restrictions and a patriarchal society, women cannot receive the educations that they deserve. In addition, in poorer areas of Pakistan, often women cannot afford to buy sanitary pads if they have their periods, and therefore end up missing school because of it and sacrificing their educations.

Often people are scared to educate women, because along with education comes power. It gives people the power to question social structures and power dynamics. Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani woman dedicated to promoting education in Pakistan and ending the gender disparity in education once said, “Let us picks up our books and pencils. They are our most powerful weapons.” Education is a type of power that Pakistani people need in order to enact change.

 

Works Cited

Ahsan, S. (n.d.). Related Articles. Retrieved April 14, 2016, from http://www.ilmkidunya.com/articles/reasons-for-pakistan-s-low-literacy-rate-719.aspx

Haq, R. (2015, June 05). Education woes: Pakistan misses UN target with 58% literacy rate – The Express Tribune. Retrieved April 15, 2016, from http://tribune.com.pk/story/897995/education-woes-pakistan-misses-un-target-with-58-literacy-rate/

Illiteracy in Pakistan. (n.d.). Retrieved April 14, 2016, from http://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2011/08/10/comment/illiteracy-in-pakistan-2/

Mussadaq, M. (2011, July 20). Female illiteracy: 41% of Pakistani girls fail to complete primary school – The Express Tribune. Retrieved April 14, 2016, from http://tribune.com.pk/story/213419/female-illiteracy-41-of-pakistani-girls-fail-to-complete-primary-school/

Saleem, M. (n.d.). The Development and State of the Art of Adult Learning. Retrieved April 14, 2016, from http://www.unesco.org/fileadmin/MULTIMEDIA/INSTITUTES/UIL/confintea/pdf/National_Reports/Asia – Pacific/Pakistan.pdf

 

Blog 5: Solutions

The last blog… Climate change and the social inequality it brings about is a major issue in our world today. The solutions are out there and ideas are being conjured up, but it will for sure be a difficult process to accept and embrace. Many small scale projects are chipping away at the processes that are destroying our planet. This week I want to focus on one most of us are familiar with, the Leap Manifesto and possible solutions. The Leap Manifesto is a Canadian document that is calling to action radical restructuring of their economy as the use of fossil fuels comes to a close. Fossil fuels are a considerable greenhouse gas emitter and contribute to climate change in a noticeable amount. Extraction and processing of fossil fuels have disrupted the lives of many peoples while benefiting others in an unjust fashion. The release of the Leap Manifesto was during the time of a national election campaign and struck up a lot of discussion about its possibilities and future potentials.

With the Canadian election campaign focusing on the Leap Manifesto there is a large amount of media coverage on the issue and people’s ideas about it. The Canadian New Democratic Party (NDP) are the main supporters and are seriously debating and looking into the Leap Manifestos potential. An article in The Guardian stated, “If we act according to deep principles of justice, combatting climate change can simultaneously address many other problems: creating hundreds of thousands of good, clean jobs; implementing the land and treaty rights of Indigenous peoples; reducing racial and gender inequalities; welcoming far more refugees and migrants; and localizing agriculture so that people eat healthy” (NEWS) with regards to the acceptance of the manifesto and the NDP’s views. The manifesto was written by the people being impacted by climate change and recognize the social unjust that has come from it: labor unionists, migrant rights activists, feminists, indigenous leaders, environmentalists and many more isolated groups. A local Vancouver news article stated the implications with the Leap Manifesto in that it openly rejects pipelines which is an issue for the province of Alberta whose economy heavily relies on the use of pipelines. The article then points out the NDP’s defense for this struggle with the idea that, “A progressive reduction in our carbon footprint does not mean elimination of pipelines and fossil fuel production. It means we must develop them with lower emissions, water use and greater benefits for our population” (LOCAL NEWS). The attention the Leap Manifesto is getting on media sources and through political debates is important for spreading the awareness of solutions towards climate change and social inequality.

Naomi Klein is a social activist who also supports the Leap Manifesto and was one of the initiating signatories for the document release. Klein has done a lot of work with regards to climate change and social inequality including here book This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate. In this book Klein discusses how we need to deal with a “savagely unjust economic system” which has been the sole mover of climate change. She suggests we need, “game-changing [policy battles] that don’t merely aim to change laws but change patterns of thought” and, “a space for a full-throated debate about values—about what we owe to one another based on our shared humanity, and what it is that we collectively value more than economic growth and corporate profits” (BOOK). It’s the idea of respect for lives and our planet, the ideology of stewardship and unselfishness that will bring about a solution. The paper Global Inequality and Climate Change by Roberts concludes with the idea that, “issues of equity will have to be dealt with at the same time as the environment” and that, “equity and ecology must be dealt with together” (REPORT). These ideas are the frameworks for altering the minds of the people in control towards halting climate change and social inequality. The presence of the issue and distribution of these ideas to a large scale audience whether through news sources, presidential elections, books, or manifestos is a major step towards a solution by which we begin to understand the planet we share together and the respect for all lives with an unselfish view, neglecting capitalism.

 

Works Cited

Klein, Naomi. This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate. N.p.: n.p., n.d. Print.

“Leap Manifesto Dominates National NDP Convention | News Talk 980 CKNW | Vancouver’s News. Vancouver’s Talk.” Leap Manifesto Dominates National NDP Convention | News Talk 980 CKNW | Vancouver’s News. Vancouver’s Talk. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Apr. 2016.

Lukacs, Martin. “The Leap Manifesto Opens Horizon for Bold New Politics in Canada | Martin Lukacs.” The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, 15 Apr. 2016. Web. 16 Apr. 2016.

Roberts, J. Timmons. “Global Inequality and Climate Change.” Society & Natural Resources 14.6 (2001): 501-09. Web.

 

Small Voice, Big World

In my last blog, I will deviate, but not entirely, from the theme that I had been following in my previous blogs. By focusing on the rise of behemoth companies and food chains, I want to highlight the plight and uphill battles that small-scale, traditional and organic farmers face when juxtaposed next to McDonald, Walmart, and the likes, in this ever competitive global food economy.

When I visited my friend’s aunt during fall break, driving to farmers market with her reminded me not only of my home (Nepal), but also the sad fact of how healthy food options here in the US is a luxury and a privilege. With chains like McDonald offering deals like “McPick 2 for $5” on one hand and organic produce costing more than a dollar for just an apple on the other hand, it is no surprise that healthy options are out of the expenditure equation for most of the mass population. And thus, despite the push for awareness regarding healthy diets many people are obliged to resort to cheapened (as Professor Fabos had mentioned in class), mostly sugarcoated, GMO products from the never-ending aisles of Walmart and thus most organic or traditional farmers are dissuaded from implementing sustainable methods in their fields.

Whats-in-That-Big-Mac-copy

Therefore small-scale farmers are unable to compete with juggernaut corporations like Walmart and Target. Among several negative consequences that arise from this dynamic, the ones that stand out to me are:

 

  1. Loss of traditional and sustainable farming methods
  2. Health effects that arise from consumption of GMO products
  3. Exploitation of farmers who give their produce for almost nothing in return

And even though it has been proven time again that GMO products can cause infertility, promote gastrointestinal and immune disorder, increase the use of herbicide (its effects would require a whole new blog post), and the list can go on, governments are nonchalant about these consequences. In fact, “the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), for example, doesn’t require a single safety study, does not mandate labeling of GMOs, and allows companies to put their GM foods onto the market without even notifying the agency” and most of the “health and environmental risks of GMOs are ignored by governments’ superficial regulations and safety assessments.

dossi4

When the governments themselves are oblivious to the health of the people, it is no surprise that mega corporations parasitically suck farmers dry, from grabbing lands to paying abysmally low costs. Raj Patel in Stuffed and Starved paints an eerily gloomy picture of how Nestle makes profit off of Ugandan coffee farmers who are on the verge of slumping below the poverty level. I will never be able to look at a Nestle product the same now with the knowledge that they pay 14 cents per kilo (which is laughably low) of coffee beans to Ugandan farmers while they themselves make profits out of US$ 26.40 per kilo. And this is just a picture that captures one company, one set of farmers and one commodity. In a larger global scale, the exploitation and profits are magnified by insensible degrees.

101013-UKLondonNestleProtest

 

So it was a breath of fresh air when Costco announced that it would be lending money to farmers for their organic produce after it witnessed high demands for those produce, even though it is only a pilot program. And Whole Foods is also embarking on a similar journey. But do these initiatives effectively mitigate all the problems mentioned above? Personally, I don’t think so and I don’t expect them to carry all the weight on their shoulder. We have to remember that corporations like Whole Foods, although great in their own way, are projected towards and can only be afforded by select bourgeoisie and thus do not effectively solve the larger problem at hand.

So the ability to tackle this multifaceted problem that plague not just the US but places all over the globe should be undertaken by the governments. Some of the points that I took away from one of my discussion classes was the need for the governments to provide subsidies to organic and traditional small-scale farmers so they can compete effectively. On personal levels, we should overcome our obsession with perfect and glossy products and support our local farmers. Corporations like McDonald’s should be responsible to notify customers about where the products they use are sourced from (my friend from France told me that McDonald’s there have started doing so).

An Indian farmers reacts to the camera as others work at a paddy field in Mauayma village, about 40 kilometers (25 miles) north of Allahabad, India, Tuesday, Aug. 31, 2010. India's economy grew 8.8 percent in the June quarter, its fastest pace in over two years, as good farm and manufacturing output lifted growth back to its pre-crisis trajectory. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh)

Of course, my blog post does not hold the answer to everything. But it is a small step and I believe every single action, though it may seem inconsequential in a larger scene, is at least a step towards betterment.

Work Cited:

Jeffery Smith. “10 Reasons to Avoid GMOs.” Institute for Responsible Technology. 25 August 2011. http://responsibletechnology.org/10-reasons-to-avoid-gmos/

Ryan Grenoble. “Costco is Selling So Much Organic Produce, Farmers Can’t Keep Up.” The Huffington Post. 13 April 2016. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/costco-organic-produce-farmers-partnership_us_570d0a80e4b01422324a1f6c

Angel Gonzalez. “Largest Organic Grocer Now Costco, Analysts Say.” Seattle Times. 1 June 2015. http://www.seattletimes.com/business/retail/costco-becomes-largest-organic-grocer-analysts-say/

Christine Wang. “McDonald’s McPick 2 for $5 Menu to Feature its Classic.” CNBC. 26 February 2016. http://www.cnbc.com/2016/02/26/mcdonalds-mcpick-2-for-5-menu-to-feature-its-classics.html

Organic Farming Elsewhere

The last four blog posts have all been about organic farming in Cuba. However, organic farming is practiced all around the globe. This blog post will explain the places around the globe where organic farming is practiced and is just as popular as organic farming in Cuba.

In a 2012 status report, it states that Wisconsin has seen an increase in organic farming by 157 percent from 2002 to 2007. Globally, 87 million acres were farmed under organic management in 2008, representing almost 1.4 million producers in 154 countries. The 2008 USDA Organic Agriculture Census ranks Wisconsin second in total number of organic farms; The census reports 2,714 organic farms in California, which is the top- ranked state, and 1,222 organic farms in Wisconsin. Wisconsin is ranked in the top five for many categories like organic hogs and pigs, organic vegetables and melons, Wisconsin also leads the nation in the number of organic dairy and beef farms with a total of 479 dairy farms and and 109 beef farms. Wisconsin ranks first in the number of farms raising several organic field crops including barley for grain or seed; corn for grain or seed; corn for silage or greenchop; hay; haylage, other silage and greenchop; oats for grain or seed; rye for grain or seed; and winter wheat for grain or seed.

The next area that has an expansion of organic farming is Australia. The earliest history of organic farming in Australia was 1944, says John Paull, who wrote the Journal of Organic Systems. Australia is a leading supplier of sustainable and organic fertilizers, and soil and crop health products. In 1999, there was an increase of popularity of Organic farming and three organic organizations were created: BFA, BDAA and NASAA. BDAA stated that it “trains farmers in Bio-dynamic practices”, and that there are three grades of certification; Grades A and B are produced without “artificial fertilizers or synthetic chemicals”, while for Grade C produce, “a minimum of chemical sprays have been applied.” NASAA stated that it promotes “sustainable agriculture”, and that its “systems exclude or severely restrict the use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides.” BFA uses the term “regenerative farming” (and neither of “sustainable” nor “organic”), however it states unequivocally that: “Artificial fertilizers, chemically synthesized weedicides, pesticides, fungicides, fumigants and growth promotants are not tolerated” (AQIS 1989).

Along with Australia, India also has a prominent organic farming system in place. The Organic Farming Association of India (OFAI) was set up by the seniormost members of India’s organic farming community in the year 2002. The association was primarily set up to promote organic farming, lobby with government agencies and departments to pay more attention to sustainable agriculture, and assist farmers using chemicals and pesticides to convert successfully to organic farming methods. Similar to Cuba it India had to make the switch to organic farming: During the 1950s and 1960s, the ever-increasing population of India, along with several natural calamities, led to a severe food scarcity in the country. As a result, the government was forced to import food grains from foreign countries. To increase food security, the government had to drastically increase food production in India. The Green Revolution (under the leadership of M. S. Swaminathan) became the government’s most important program in the 1960s. Several hectares of land were brought under cultivation. Hybrid seeds were introduced. Natural and organic fertilizers were replaced by chemical fertilizers and locally made pesticides were replaced by chemical pesticides. Large chemical factories such as the Rashtriya Chemical Fertilizers were established. (Organic Farming in India | Fun Facts).

It is interesting to see how many of these counties/places have practiced organic farming for many years and like Cuba needed to make the switch in order to keep their livelihood.

Works Cited

AQIS, 1989, The Case for a National Approach to Certification of Organically Grown Products, Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service, Department of Primary Industries and Energy, Canberra, ACT, November.

Deller, S. and D. Williams. “Organic Agriculture in Wisconsin by the Numbers.” 2012 Status Report: 2009. http://www.cias.wisc.edu/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/organic-numbers.pdf.

“Organisation – Organic Farming Association of India.” Organic Farming Association of India: 2016. http://ofai.org/organisation/.

“Organic Farming in India | Fun Facts.” 2016. https://www.organicfacts.net/organic-products/organic-cultivation/organic-farming-in-india.html.

Paull, John. “Journal of Organic Systems.” Vol. 3 No. 2: 2008. http://orgprints.org/15089/1/15089new.pdf

 

Culture and Globalization

When globalization is discussed, it is often economically based and the people that are involved in this process are invisible. It is clear that globalization has a great impact on the economy. The people that are involved also suffer great harm from the process. Globalization is great because there is a flow of ideas and information. Additionally, communication among people beyond international borders  is facilitated. However, there is a loss of identity and originality is African nations. Culture is very important to African nations and there has been a history of the importance of these traditions and cultures.

Culture:

The culture of Africa is vast as the continent is. Cultures are usually expressed in arts, crafts, music and much more. Just as Africa is vast in different peoples and culture, so are individual countries. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, there are many ethnic groups that have different cultures and traditions. However, the most common traditions are in greeting customs. A proper handshake is usually done by the right hand or 3 kisses on the cheek. Men share greetings by butting heads from right to left. The family is also very important in African Communities. Men hold the position to make important decisions. However, traditions are being demanded to the modern trend of society as globalization occurs. People even state that change customary traditions allow for the country to become more developed and globalized. “ If they remain stagnant, they actually hinder society’s development” (Kwame, 6). I do not agree with this statement because I don’t think that African nations should have to compromise their individuality in order to be advanced with the society. There are important things that African cultures can contribute to the global society that should not be undermined. “tapping on traditional medicine and knowledge systems to fight diseases like HIV/AIDS” (Kwame, 7). I think that having a one sided story of the West being the best solution is dangerous because we do not get to explore other traditions. There are inhumane cultural traditions such as gender mutilation or trokosi in Ghana. Cultures embedded in African nations are so unique and losing that uniqueness should not be traded for any sum of money. There is always this “white savior” complex that is perpetuated by Western countries. Believing that their ideas are “one size fits all” when it truly is not.  It is important for African nations to not lose their uniqueness and individuality in its rich culture.

Language:

An important component of African culture is its language. Language is important because it has been the way many people have been able to communicate. With the emergence of globalization, and the new flow of ideas and communications, African languages are lost in the mix. Additionally, as a result of colonialism, eurocentric languages such as English and French, Portuguese, were embedded in African societies. English in Africa has been equated to intelligence. A person who is fluent in English is more likely to hold a job than someone that doesn’t. These languages were made so that globalization would occur more easily. The loss of language can signify a loss of culture as language is a large component of culture.  The effect that development and globalization have on African nations is the denial of culture and heritage and acceptance of western values. When I was in the Congo, I saw both sides of this effect of globalization in the culture. When I was driving  down a tourist town in the neighborhood of Gombe, I stumbled upon a stop sign that was in English rather than French.  As a country that it national language is French, it was interesting and almost unsettling that the stop sign said “Stop” rather than “Arrete.” But then I had to remind myself that it was a tourist area. However, there was a different side of globalization and language that I noticed in my summer vacation in Congo. Chinese investors have been in the country and have attempted to learn the national language. Most of them communicated with their clients in poor French mixed with Lingala. It was interesting to view the role that globalization had on language. There was the side where English was romanticized while outsiders were attempting to learn the local and national languages.

Music:

Hip Hop and music has now flown into the African communities through the African diaspora of other African American artists. In Africa hip-hop has been awarded its popularity not due to only commercialization, but also due to its ability to express the realities of life in varying situations around the world” (Ntarangwi, 2010). The commercialization of globalization has contributed to the economy. Additionally, the stories told in hip-hop music perpetuates a way for the disadvantaged people as their voice. Hip Hop is often stated to emerge out of the Civil Rights movement ((Binfield, 2009, p. 175; Neal, 2008, p. 117).  The same way the marginalized people of America had a voice and knew how to use it properly and with style” Africans have used music as their voice. In Congo, the youth has taken it upon themselves to engage in pro-democracy through music. Although there has been a backlash from the government, music gave the youth of Eastern Congo a voice. “Yole! Africa” is a youth cultural center that attempts to create democracy in the Democratic Republic of Congo. How ironic is it that most countries with the word“ democratic” aren’t democracies.

 Thinking Face on Apple iOS 9.3

Through their songs, hip-hop artists at Yole call out the government’s corruption and ineptitude” (Lamb, 2015: 1). In a country where there is not free speech, music is their voice Through this, these youth also demand fair and free democratic elections in November 2016. It is interesting to see the effect that globalization had on influencing people through music. Youth in America uses Hip Hop as their voice to speak on topics such as police brutality while in the Congo, it is used to indicate the country’s corruption. Although through music, some African artist have lost authenticity, they have also found a way to voice their political opinions. Here is the video of the Congolese musicians. 

Works Cited

Binfield, Marnie-Ruth. “Bigger than Hip-hop : Music and Politics in the Hip-hop Generation.” Bigger than Hip-hop : Music and Politics in the Hip-hop Generation. N.p., 2009. Web. 16 Apr. 2016.
Http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCufvkji7Wvo_4CHE5v47Dfg. “Uhaki “Justice” EP 2.” YouTube. YouTube, 13 Sept. 2013. Web. 16 Apr. 2016.
Kwame, Yeboah. “Globalization and Culture.” Winners and Losers in Globalization (n.d.): 166-76. University of Southern Denmark. University of Southern Denmark. Web. 15 Apr. 2016.
Lamb, Kate. “In Congo, Hip-hop Gives Youth a Political Voice.” Congo Hip-Hop Politics. America Al Jazeera, 11 Oct. 2015. Web. 16 Apr. 2016.
Neal, Mark Anthony. “Sold out on Soul: The Corporate Annexation of Black Popular Music.” Academia.edu. N.p., 24 July 2008. Web. 16 Apr. 2016.
Ntarangwi, Mwenda. “University of Illinois Press.” UI Press. N.p., 2010. Web. 16 Apr. 2016.

Sexual Exploitation in Worcester

In last week’s blog post, I discussed the abolitionist v. pro-regulation standpoints within the prostitution debate. I’ve been starting to work with WAASE (Worcester Alliance Against Sexual Assault) over the past semester, and I’ll be working with Professor Sarkis this summer to analyze data from police records of arrests for prostitution and conduct a referral network analysis to outline where the gaps in resources for prostituted women are. I thought it would be helpful for people who have been keeping up with my blog posts on the sex industry to have my last post connect Worcester as a case study of prostitution to the international debates and policies around the sale of sex. WAASE was formed in 2012, and definitely falls under the abolition ideology of approaching prostitution. Although I don’t see that framework as effective for an international baseline, in the context of Worcester I definitely agree that the commodification of sex is not sex work. Almost all of these women were coerced into prostitution; either by a family member at a young age, or through economic necessity or addiction.

The most interesting thing for me about Worcester’s ‘case’ of prostitution is the demography of prostituted women. I don’t have access to data on sexually exploited people of other genders, so this post will be concentrated on the position of women within the Worcester sex industry. Between 2003 and 2013, 77% of arrests were of white-identified people, not including mixed-racial or racially unidentified people (Sarkis). I find the skewed racial breakdown of arrests really intriguing because even though Worcester is in New England, which is a generally white part of the country, I think of the city of Worcester itself is pretty racially diverse.

From my conversations with Professor Sarkis and other activists within WAASE, I’ve gathered that the prostitution industry in Worcester is not gang run. Most of the women in the life have been introduced through familial connections, through a boyfriend or a friend. 95 per cent of women identified as having been prostituted throughout the WAASE outreach surveys and data collection self-report a history of drug abuse or addiction, and 55 per cent of them used drugs before being sexually exploited. 44 per cent are either homeless or without a stable living environment, which is a low estimation for the accurate number of exploited women because long-term housing is not guaranteed within the 44 per cent that report having an immediate living space (WAASE).

So where does this leave us? Main South is a neighborhood within Worcester known for prostitution, associated with crime and gang activity. While the statistics provided seem disheartening, the movement against the ‘prostitution situation’ has made major gains over the last few years. WAASE has made exceptional progress with the Worcester Police Department and the Vice squad in changing the targets of prostitution arrests. In 2013, there were 179 sexually exploited women and only 3 johns arrested (Brindisi). WAASE has worked with the police department to provide alternatives to arrest for sexually exploited women picked up on the street for prostitution, including rehabilitation treatment instead of arrest. At a community forum for prostitution a few weeks back, Lt. Scampini stated that in the last year, 68% of prostitution-related arrests were male. This is not to say that all people who buy sex are male, but the trends in the existing data for Worcester show that johns are overwhelmingly male. Between December of 2014 and October of 2015, there were a total of 473 arrests for selling sex, and a total of 94 women (WAASE). This data clearly shows that if every women who is arrested for prostitution is being arrested 5 times a year, there are a lot more people who buy sex than people who sell sex.

Shop owners and residents of Main South report a clear reduction in the amount of street-based prostitution since WAASE has put pressure on the police department to shift sting arrests to focusing on johns, and offering alternative treatment in place of arrest for prostituted women (Croteau). Throughout my work with WAASE and Abby’s House, it’s become clear to me that sexually exploited women do not fit into a typical women’s shelter or domestic violence shelter model. Prostituted women living in general homeless shelters report additional violence towards them because of their history of sexual exploitation, and ‘regular’ shelters prove to be incompatible with those still engaged in selling sex. Women also are not able to bring clients back to shelters, and are often required to be in the shelter by a certain time of night (Breakstone). The intersection of addiction, abuse, assault, and trauma from the life of prostitution require a survivor-led housing model specific to the recovery of exploitation survivors. WAASE is currently working towards this goal of a survivor housing project, but there needs to be much more support both from the community and the city.

 

Ways to Help

There is a huge need for help with data analysis and community outreach over the summer- get in contact with me if you’re interested!

The #1 thing that members of WAASE have told me is the best way for the community to get engaged on a daily basis is to treat women on the street with respect

Text tips of suspected johns, pimps, license plates etc. to 274637

Visit the WAASE website to learn about volunteer opportunities

 

Citations:

Breakstone, Chelsea. “I DON’T REALLY SLEEP”1: STREET-BASED SEX WORK, PUBLIC HOUSING RIGHTS, AND HARM REDUCTION. Issue brief. 337th ed. Vol. 18. New York City: CUNY LAW REVIEW, 2015. Print.

City of Worcester, Massachusetts. Division of Public Health. Worcester Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation. By Derek S. Brindisi. Worcester: City of Worcester, 2014. Print.

Croteau, Scott J. “Why Worcester Police Still Target Women in Prostitution Stings.” Mass Live. N.p., 26 Jan. 2016. Web.

Sarkis, Marianne, PhD. Worcester Prostitution-Related Arrests 2003-2013. 2014. Raw data. Worcester, MA.

WAASE, Bell, Nichole, Karen Riley-McNarry, Marianne Sarkis, Heidi-Sue LaBoeuf, Athena Haddon, and Joseph Scampini. “WAASE COMMUNITY FORUM ON PROSTITUTION.” The Woo Church, Worcester, MA. 6 Apr. 2016. Speech.

 

Where Ur Resilience Lies

Seven-year-old Samer is a shy Yazidi girl, but like many of the displaced children she has a flair for the camera. After having her picture taken, she does not like it and wants another, striking a pose, staring into the camera with no smile. When asked why she is here, she says "Da'esh" (the pejorative term for Islamic State in Arabic) and when asked if she is afraid of it, she defiantly says "no". Samer says she is not afraid of the jihadist militants. By Suzanne Kianpour, BBC News, Dohuk, northern Iraq. August 2014.
Seven-year-old Samer is a shy Yazidi girl, but like many of the displaced children she has a flair for the camera. After having her picture taken, she does not like it and wants another, striking a pose, staring into the camera with no smile. When asked why she is here, she says “Da’esh” (the pejorative term for Islamic State in Arabic) and when asked if she is afraid of it, she defiantly says “no”. Samer says she is not afraid of the jihadist militants. By Suzanne Kianpour, BBC News, Dohuk, northern Iraq. August 2014.

 

At the pick-up location, one of the worker’s son had went with him to see his father’s place of employment. He was maybe 8 or 9 years old. “Madam! Madam!” he yells. I went over to him and his father and met the boy eye level. The translator told me that he was offering me his hand in marriage. At first I chuckled, which was rude, but quickly recovered. I asked the translator to explain how I could not accept, and he just looked at me. I looked back at the boy and I could see he was very serious. After a few awkward seconds I reached into my pack and offered him a Pepsi and a candy bar. He threw the Pepsi but kept the sweets. He seemed very upset. I asked the translator how serious this situation was and he told me that marriage brings hope. I tried my very best to leave this boy with some hope…so I asked the translator to explain that I would be a horrible wife. The boy laughed and seemed to accept the rejection. I believed then, that reliance lies within a child’s ability to hope.

Let’s Talk Resilience

I often wondered, and still do, how regions of a conflict nation can remain resilient. I saw firsthand the effects of the north had on the southern region back in 2006. With fewer hours of electricity and potable water, I was aware of the strains that effected the rural regions of Iraq but more importantly I caught a glimpse of how it effects the future generations.

Resilience, in terms of crisis and development, is gaining much attention. The concept of resilience encompasses an array of ideologies and theories; some practical and some unreasonable but with good intentions. Depending on the context it may seem resilience lies at the core of survival or is the new shiny concepts for appropriating funds. Either way it exists, and may be the only stronghold for the Iraqi people.

To date, I have been introduced to many definitions of resilience, mostly linear, and limited to an idea (abstract) rather than an innate component of the human being (credence of resilience). Resilience is both an innate and acquired trait. The focus in this blog has a binary element to resilience and it is generational. Two generations are of importance; the adults and the adolescents. Infants and toddler resilience depends heavily on the resilience of the caretaker, usually a parent or older sibling. The mothers and fathers care-taking abilities are tested, and have been for decades, due to the void of respite. As mentioned before, strong conflict exists in the north of Iraq and Mosul has many vulnerabilities to overcome. In southern Iraq, the burden of war has a different shade of grey. In southern Governates, the disparity is less dense intermittently and often seems if there is no war at all (Al-Khatteeb) which could very well be the catalytic component of a positive shift for Iraq.

Resilience Concentration

Because of the potential resilience boom in the south, government must move quickly and cease the opportunities. Southern Iraq is primed for the onset of major antecedents of development. This is a hunch based on endless readings and sifting through business journals. I happened upon this hunch when I noticed a shift in politics for the southern region, particularly Dhi (Thi) Qar. Capital power (Baghdad) shifted to local provincal authorities. (Sep 2015). This shift gave autonomy to the Governate and no sooner were the engines running. (pun intended). Nasiriya, whom I deemed the seed of resilience, will now have an oil company (Dhi Qar Oil Company (DQOC). These political/industrial shifts antecede development by creating jobs, refurbishing the market, and produce revenue to support more infrastructure rehabilitation.

This is where binary resilience is key. The mentioned shifts will make way for the younger generations to become embedded in the logistics of rehabilitating a nation. Not only will it provide a purpose for generations to come, it offers hope for the IDP generations of now who will be returning home. The college age Iraqi men and woman is where resilience will lie as well. When provincial and urban development begins it will be those generations who will be charged with strategic planning. The more headway made with these small shifts in the right direction will produce higher concentrations of resilient youth but they must be trained and educated.

Ensuing Resilience

The next antecedent is the technological endeavors of establishing communications. Global Access via the internet is by far one of the trademarks of business and development. The Kurdish Region in Iraq now has a .krd domain. (2016) A step in the right direction as well as a potential power struggle via informational propaganda. (We will have to keep our eye on that for the future). A contract was awarded to UltiSat, Inc. for an integrated and managed satellite communication network in Taji, Iraq so long as the electricity can support the project. Reestablishing a nation as a global market is a key endeavor in order to activate and enhance resilience.

Abstract Resilience

3,344,334 peoples have been displaced since January 2014. Of these 3plus million, many are lacking education, and training, which is critical to the already high unemployment rate of 61 percent. With high unemployment and rising prices of food, water, and shelter, the reach of burden expands.

These indicators are often shadowed by international development goals such as Sustainable Development Goals, and Millennial Goals. Said goals are funded by the United Nations, international NGO’s and governments. The problem with said goals is that they are ideologically based and intentions are theory based. In the case of Iraq, there must be a multidimensional paradigm shift; credence.

Credence of Resiliency

Resilience is often associated with words like strength, endurance, overcoming, breakthrough, struggle, and etc. What I have not heard often is acceptance. With the exception of few, people are resilient. Biologically is resides in our nervous system. It is our fight or flight mechanism. In the case of the Iraqi people, as well as any population alike, there is an element of unending violence and fear. I would not go as far to say that the Iraq people have accepted this void of respite, however the consistent conditioning to a volatile environment has left them despair. The real development begins with rehabilitating the person as well as the nation. The silver lining is that the children who have not been conditioned for so long, could potentially be the generation of resilient thinkers and be the hope of Iraq.

The Rise of an Alternative to Free Trade

We’ve spent the last few weeks talking about the impact of globalization on developing countries, but this final blog is going to examine an alternative to free trade. Many people have argued that free trade has allowed producers in developing countries, especially in the market for agriculture, to suffer from insufficient wages and safety hazards. The theory of Fair Trade attempts to solve these labor issues by encouraging local production of goods through government assistance.

The main mechanisms for Fair Trade, as explained in the Journal of Economic Perspectives:

  • A price floor is set so that there is a minimum price that a Fair Trade buyer can buy from a Fair Trade producer. Prices can be negotiated higher when considering the quality and other aspects of the goods. This price floor also acts a cushion for when economic recession occurs and there may be cause for worry about being able to sell goods. Only in very recent years has the market price actually exceeded the fair trade price for coffee.
  • There is a Fair Trade premium that is paid from the buyer to the cooperative in addition to the price of the good being sold. The premium is supposed to be used by cooperatives in a democratic style to determine how to enhance production or community infrastructure.
  • Fair Trade buyers gain stable access to credit by agreeing to a long-term contract of at least one year and must “provide some advance crop financing to producer groups (up to 60 percent if requested”.
  • “Free Trade workers must have the freedom of association, safe working conditions, and wages at least equal to the legal minimum. Some forms of child labor are prohibited.”
  • Farmers are encouraged to organize democratic associations or cooperatives that can facilitate sales and manage the premium received from sold products.
  • Fair Trade production prohibits harmful chemicals from being used in food production to maintain a healthier environment. Producers are required to provide basic environmental reports that describe their impacts on the environment. Genetically modified crops are not allowed.
  • For a product to be sold under the mark of Fair Trade, both the buyer and seller must be Fair Trade certified. Standards vary on the particular crop being produced and are analyzed by different Fair Trade leaders such as Fairtrade International and FLO-CERT. Organizations obtain a Fair Trade certification by successfully applying to FLO-CERT and passing an initial inspection. Certifications can only be maintained by renewing with FLO-CERT and allowing for another inspection of the Fair Trade organization. (Dragusanu et al., 219-221)

The Institute for the Study of Labor, a non-profit project that allows scholars to engage in research about labor economics, conducted a study on the economic impact of Fair Trade. The findings, although still in its earliest stages, suggest that there is a positive impact on the prices and income of producers. In contract, the Fair Trade premiums were only earned on a fraction of the producers’ output due to the limited world demand of Fair Trade buyers, and thus the average amount of premium per producer is fairly small. Unfortunately, many other attempted empirical findings from the study were said to come inconclusive, which has become standard due to the inconsistency of studies trying to quantify the negative and positive effects internally and externally of Fair Trade policies and the growth of cooperatives (Dammert and Mohan, 24-25).

Fair Trade has been on the rise over the past couple of decades. In 2006, consumers spent $2.2 billion on Fair Trade certified products, which was a 42% increase over the previous year, ultimately benefitting over seven million producers in developing countries. 3.3% of all coffee sold was Fair Trade certified in 2006 which was eight times the amount sold in 2001 (Downie). Mexico examined its own use of Fair Trade policies and determined the main obstacles to the economic reform are its lack of power in the current world market, its lack of participation from small farmers, unawareness by consumers, and a necessity for more government aid. Regardless, Mexican farmers have expressed optimism in regards to the implementation of Fair Trade throughout the country, which has already developed largely in its market for coffee (Godoy).

Fair Trade is definitely an innovative way to challenge some of the labor issues that plague the current neoliberal practices in agricultural markets. The word of certified Fair Trade companies and foods has spread all over the world, and it has become part of a growing discussion in development and labor economics. If there were enough room in this blog post, I would’ve described a real life example of how Fair Trade has been implemented in the coffee industry for decades and how it compared to similar markets that participated in Free Trade. Thank you for taking a look at the impact of globalization on developing economics with me over the last few weeks.

Sources:
Dammert, Ana C., and Sarah Mohan. “A Survey Of The Economics Of Fair Trade.” Journal of Economic Surveys 29.5 (2014): 855-68. Web.

Downie, Andrew. “Fair Trade in Bloom.” NY Times. 2 Oct. 2007. Web.

Dragusanu, Raluca, Daniele Giovannucci, and Nathan Nunn. “The Economics of Fair Trade.” Journal of Economic Perspectives 28.3 (2014): 217-36. Web.

Godoy, Emilio. “Fair Trade Will Become Major Trend, Say Mexico Growers.” Banderas News. Inter Press Service, 12 Oct. 2009. Web.