September 2009

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Thinking Beyond Share Equity Schemes in Land Reform: How about Going Small?

Picture: JP Flanagan Stephen Greenberg - In early September Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform announced a moratorium on share equity schemes as a model for land reform. The immediate response from the mainstream media was to rush to the defence of share equity as the “most commercially successful land reform model to date”. But we need to ask what commercial success is, and who has benefited from it through share equity schemes in practice? Share equity schemes were introduced early on in the land...

From Open Source Software to Open Source Hardware

Picture: www.onthecommons.org David Bollier - The participatory ethic of open source software has become so widespread these days that it is migrating into some unexpected places… like musical instruments, tractors and ecological technology. Chances are you haven’t heard about the Zoybar, — a modular instrument loosely based on the guitar. As its inventor describes it, "Every user can create his own unique instrument by its own voice and needs. We call this Decentralized Innovation. For the first time these...

Battle of the Bankers' Bonuses: France Cracks Down

"Now remember a few months ago it was all about, ooh, if there's too much regulation, it's going to kill creativity in the banking sector. Well, thank you very much for creativity, we don't need too much of that," says Christine Lagarde, the French Finance Minister, who with President Nicolas Sarkozy is spearheading reforms in the French banking sector, aimed at reducing the bonuses of bankers. A BBC poll has found that 67% of French people support more regulatory oversight over...

Goldstone Gaza Report: Credibility Can't Be Challenged

Laura Flanders of GRITtv interviews Phyllis Bennis author of "Understanding the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict" after the release of Justice Richard Goldstone's report on Gaza -- an extremely high level investigative report that looked into the abuse of international human rights law. Bennis is interviewed immediately after the report was released at the United Nations (UN) in a session that she attended. This is the most important report of many that have been released about Gaza...

Backsliding and Slipping Away: Are We Blowing Our Climate Change Obligations?

Picture: idansimpson Glenn Ashton - The South African government is quietly disclosing information about a seismic shift in our national climate change policy. The 15th September communiqué from the new Ministry of Water and Environmental Affairs reinforces this, in stating that our medium term response to our energy crisis is a continued reliance on coal, with a long-term shift away from fossil fuels. Long term? Have we got the time? Unchecked climate change holds an unthinkable threat not just to people but also to...

Cosatu: Riding the Crest of a Wave in Rough Seas

Picture: www.polity.org.za Ebrahim-Khalil Hassen - If a day were a long time in politics, then a decade would be akin to an eternity. As Cosatu members gather for their 10th national congress, they will cast their minds back to 1999, when the labour federation hosted a special national congress.  The primary task of hosting the “special” congress was electing a ‘new leadership’, as many Cosatu national office bearers were ‘deployed’ to serve in the ANC government after the second democratic election....