Adonis Diaries

Archive for March 24th, 2010

How Globalization can function adequately for the poorer countries? (Mar. 24, 2010)

            Joseph Stieglitz, Nobel Prize for economics, had written a book in 2002 “The great disillusion” where he critiques the function and ideological unilateral rules of the games of the international institutions such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the World Trade Organization.  I already published reviews in two parts of the book; this post focuses on Stiglitz’s recommendations for the international institutions (supposed to be public institutions) to reform in order to give a chance for Globalization to coming effectively to the rescue of the developing States. Thus, in order for world economy and financial stability be the norm then three urgent reforms are needed.

            First, the international institutions such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the World Trade Organization have to focus on collective global problems that require collective participation.  For example, when global market economy is not running satisfactorily; when one State harms others and gets away with it (no indemnisation procedures) then there are over production of certain commodities and under production of others. We have to tackle defense spending that does not generate any public benefits.  For example, public education sectors must be financed by international institutions since private sectors have failed to consider that urgent facet in states’ economy.  For example, we have the environment, oceans, atmosphere, CO2 emissions and the other harmful gases, sanitary challenges and discharges, clean water sources, diffusion of contagious diseases, famine, and natural calamities are becoming global problems that require global resolutions and cooperation.  All the global problems are interrelated: poverty leads to degraded environment and deforestation which in return increases poverty.  There are financial interventions that are beneficial locally in reducing local pollution.

            Second, the mode of governance such as control, management, decision making and administration of international institutions has to be drastically reformed.  The economic and financial interests of developed States have established unilateral set of rules and regulations on how to be applied globally without any serious input from the concerned parties in the developing countries. Developing States were targeted for hegemony behaviors. For example, in the IMF administration it is the finance ministers of the developed States and their central banks governors who are presiding as decision makers. In the World Trade Organization it is the ministers of commerce in the developed countries that run the show: they have particular perspective in matters of global trade.  Who has the right of vote in these international institutions? The poor States and the workers have no representatives in these institutions to offer pertinent alternative feedback as to their difficult situations. The voting rules and representation around the table of decision makers have to be reformed drastically.  The fact is that the IMF is rich because it is the developing countries that are reimbursing their debts at high interest rates.

            At least, reforms in the structures of official direction in the IMF and WB can help in the short term. For example, African delegates should be allowed to participate and be listened to even if they still cannot vote. Participation in meetings can aid the developing State representatives gather pertinent information and intelligence on world problems may partially fill the gap in intelligence dissemination. The IMF and WB should invest in developing “think tanks” institutions in the developing countries in order for their representative to be at par with ongoing discussions.

            Third, transparency within the international institutions administrations have to be made public since they are public. Public pressures should be directed toward greater transparency in management and decision processes; on time data should be available for the concerned parties and not only for the multinationals and the developed State governments. There is urgent need to open the working environment to independent and free press and researchers of developing countries.  Transparency is best catalyst to encouraging democratic tendencies in developing States and fair availability of information in a timely fashion.

            Thus, favoritism in behavior and focus on the interests of the richer States must be examined and expressed by the public before conditions escalate to global problems. As deliberations in international institutions become accessed directly to larger audiences, instead of being held in closed chambers, then the environmental challenges and the interests of the poorer sections in world societies will be heard and discussed openly. The current decision processes are not critiqued and analyzed by the public on a timely manner: it is generally too late to critique wrong decisions before they are applied.  Public access to timely information and intelligence would pressure the IMF and WB to reconsider their debatable economic assumptions and ideology; so far, what is decided is restricted on “what is good to the financial institutions”.  Mass protests in World Forums were mainly targeting the secrecy and opacity of the decision processes. So far, the disseminated information by the current structures of the international institutions is viewed with great suspicion by the poor States; so far, reforms were lukewarm and basically the kind of talked intent for reforms but not effective in practice.

Part Two: “When we befriend death”; (Mar. 23, 2010)

In part one, Sylvie, the wife of Pierre Garoche, learned that her husband has an incurable bone cancer.

A treatment was supposed to remiss his disease from developing for an average of two years, but Pierre discovered that his case extended his normal life for only three months.

Within these 3 months, Pierre managed to quit work as physicist researcher and arranged to be free from all social responsibilities in order to tackle his new life conditions.

Pierre had a year to experience the denuding process from all attachments: material, mental, and emotional. He also had to witness during the short periods of relative painless physical well-being the kinds of close friendship with his friends and members of his family, total openness, joy, and laughter.

A few friends had to face death in Pierre and they initially felt relieved that death is not so scary after all.

The example of Pierre’s family cool approach to death was a catalyst for visitors to talk freely and discuss openly on topics they cared about.

The number of cancer markers doubled every 15 days and eventually, the doses of pain-killer had to be changed in quality and in quantity.

Sudden pains, in various parts of Pierre’s body were like knives inserted in these locations. Pierre began to sleep more frequently and for longer duration.  Natural bodily functions degraded.

Soon, morphine was king. When well controlled, morphine does not provoke hallucinations or addiction until it saturates the blood after prolonged constant usage.

As long as he was in his mental capacity, Pierre followed the medical procedures methodically and in details:  he kept statistics and tried to forecast the next phase in his sickness. He wanted to figure out from data the exact date of his death. They redecorated the rooms: “I want to die in a pretty room” said Pierre.

Soon, Pierre needed a specialized hospital bed installed in his room at home. When asked “Why are you in such a hurry to pass away?” Pierre would reply: “Yes, I am in a hurry. It is becoming too difficult to resume living.”

His wife Sylvie once said: “at least you experienced how it is to live in old age, one step of the staircase at a time

There were periods when Pierre could no longer eat or drink.  Pierre wanted to die at home; his wife at first refused to play the nurse because she was untrained for that job.  Then they discovered mobile group care facilities that were associated with a palliative hospital (specialized in focusing on pain and suffering of terminally ill patients).

This 24 by 24 seven days on the job call mobile facility made Sylvie task easier to handle.  Sylvie learned to administer the medicines on time as Pierre gradually relinquished his control and management over details.  Pierre had stopped counting and anticipating.

Once, as Pierre could no longer suffer being among the living, the entire family prayed in the presence of Pierre: “Lord, we ask you to come and fetch Pierre in June, if it is possible…” This prayer reassured Pierre that his family had given him authorization to passing away.

By the by, Pierre reached a phase where dreaming and reality were confounded.  Higher doses of morphine increased secondary deleterious effects.  The palliative hospital was the proper place for a few days to changing his blood and recalibrating the variety of pain killers. Pierre would return home in better state mentally and physically for shorter and shorter durations.  Nurses were hired for the morning washing.

Note 1: You may read part one:

Note 2: I described in two previous articles the denuding process of a terminally ill and how palliative hospital functions as a haven of dignity for these patients.




March 2010

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