July 2008

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Africa: The Next Victim in the Quest for Cheap Oil

Picture credit: Azrainman Scott Thill - Whether or not we have fully arrived at peak oil can be left to the nitpickers and bean counters to decide. What we know for sure is that the cost of black gold has exponentially risen in just a few short years, and the global economy it is built upon is currently straddling a razor waiting for the inevitable slice. That final cut may come from Nigeria, where all the major oil companies have done business, dirty and otherwise, for the last five decades, degrading the environment and...

The G8: Political Posturing Contradicts Change

Picture credit: Sean Coon Glenn Ashton - Looking at the annual gathering of G8 leaders, one could be forgiven for believing that the real reason behind these meetings is to address global concerns. But it is not. The G8 is nothing more than a meeting where a great deal of political posturing takes place to present the image of a sympathetic west. Phantom aid is a neat concept coined by Action Aid to describe the kind of aid given to the developing world by Western powers. Action Aid’s clarification of the flow of...

The State of the World

The 2008 G8 Summit has just drawn to a close. This "On the Map - State of the World" report, released to coincide with last year's G8 summit, shows us that contrary to popular belief, aid money does not flow from the North to the South, but goes in the opposite direction. The poor have paid the rich two trillion dollars for the privilege of staying poor. When you add up all the cash that wealthy nations send south and compare it to the money going in the opposite direction,...

Transnet CEO's Straight 'A' Report Card: Who Scored the Exam?

Picture credit: J. McPherson Mohamed Motala - The emphasis being placed on Transnet and how well its current head has performed has been getting much attention. However, in the midst of all the year to date earnings, positive cash flows and balance sheets that we are being presented with in the press, one issue stands out: the inefficiency of the public train system is being drowned out in the noise of the accolades for the parastatal’s business and leadership performance. There are no figures to gauge the performance of the...

Our Changing World

Noam Chomsky reflects on the changing global power dynamic in 2008, arguing that there are three power systems in the world today - North America, Europe and North East Asia, with Asia showing the most economic dynamism of all. Concurrently, some of the most exciting democratic experiments are taking place in Bolivia. Japan and China and some oil producing countries have been sustaining the United State's economy for a long time, but its not clear how much longer they will continue to do...

Questioning How To Get Paid

Picture credit: Darren Hester Sean Gonsalves - My first-born graduated from high school a few weeks ago. Next month, she’ll be heading off to Clark University in Worcester. If all goes according to plan, she’ll have a master’s degree in five short years. So, naturally, I’ve been thinking about the question adults ask up-and-coming young people all the time: What do you want to be when you grow up? Ever notice that whenever a youngster is asked that question, the response is almost always the same? “I...