March 2010

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The Use of Pension Funds for Infrastructure Development can be a Good Idea

Picture: Telestar Logsistics Saliem Fakir - When Minister Ebrahim Patel released his fledgling department’s medium-term strategic plan, he indicated that the Department of Economic Development would investigate the use of pension funds for the purposes of infrastructure development and repair. No sooner had he announced this, did some economists, in a typical knee-jerk reaction, jeer the idea conjecturing that it was bad. In contrast, there have been some others from the same quarters (private capital markets) who thought it...

Why are Humans Prone to Developing Unequal Societies?

Kate Picket, epidemiologist and co-author of, The Spirit Level: Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better, shares her well researched knowledge about this important question. According to Picket: "We've lived in every kind of society. For a lot of our existence as human beings, we've lived in fairly egalitarian hunter gatherer societies. But we've also lived in very hierarchical tyrannies as well. So we clearly can manage to exist in both and develop all kinds of different...

An Open Letter to Ministers Patel, Davies and Gordhan

Picture: South African Government Ebrahim-Khalil Hassen - Dear Ministers, Patel, Davies and Gordhan Consider this letter a criticism that nevertheless appreciates the value of your recent work on creating the building blocks for a new development path in South Africa. After all, as our collective history indicates, power concedes nothing without demand. To which we might add, demands without mobilisation are futile.  I interpret the call for a new development path as a demand and a deliberate undertaking towards a more equal South Africa. On...

Obama's Health Care Bill: Human Rights for Some

On Tuesday, President Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Medicine Act into law, heralding America's first national health insurance scheme. While lauded as a watershed development, the bill lacks a public option, which progressives deem its greatest failure.  To call this a victory for healthcare as a human right is a mistake says media critic and journalist, Norman Solomon. "This is as much a victory for corporate America and for exploitation as it is anything...

Book Review: The Value of Nothing

Picture: rajpatel.org & CIRHR Library Richard Pithouse - Book: The Value of Nothing Author: Raj Patel Publisher: Picador USA Published: January, 2010 ISBN: 978-0-312-42924-9 Raj Patel is a writer whose activism has got him into all sorts of trouble. He’s been tear-gassed on four continents, thrown out of Zimbabwe by Zanu-PF and stood his ground in the face of an impressively wide selection of the range of competing authoritarianisms that have done their best to beat, ban, slander, counsel and discipline democracy into submission in...

What White People Fear

Picture: Mait Juriado Robert Jensen - In the struggle for racial justice, it’s time to pay more attention to the fears of white people.  In a white-dominated world, that may seem counterintuitive. In the racial arena, what do we white people have to be afraid of? There are lots of things to fear in this world, of course; race is not the only aspect of life in which people face injustice and inequality. A majority of people of all colors (including working-class and poor whites) struggles economically in a...