Adonis Diaries

Archive for the ‘economy/finance’ Category

The effects of whaling and its end.
“Whales are the canaries of the ocean,” says Philip Hoare, “the measure of all that is healthy, and all that is sick on earth.”

An epic struggle for survival is unfolding in the pristine Arctic – as the planet gets warmer, the ice is melting and instead of governments finding a plan to save it, the US is allowing Shell to go in and drill for oil. It is insane, but this week, one woman can stop it, and it’s up to us to make sure that she does just that.

Lisa Jackson, Environmental Protection Agency head can right now withdraw the permit because Shell has violated the conditions and last week the company lost control of one of its rigs, narrowly avoiding disaster off Alaska. Environmental activists are raising the alarm, but unless we make it a global scandal, Shell — the biggest company in the world — will get their way and others will soon follow the charge.

Lisa Jackson stood up to Big Oil before, but Shell has invested billions and won’t be easily turned back. Let’s make this decision the line in the sand that protects this great wilderness from becoming an oil field. Click below to send Lisa Jackson a message and share this with everyone — let’s flood her with global encouragement to save the Arctic:  

http://www.avaaz.org/en/save_the_arctic_a/?bFAfecb&v=16546

The Arctic is melting faster than even most scientists predicted. Climate change is driving dangerous temperature rises — just last week, a chunk of a glacier nearly 40 kilometres long broke off Greenland. Some estimates predict that in just 4 years, the arctic will be completely free of ice in the summer months, soaring temperatures even higher and leading to the melting the Greenland ice sheet which would raise sea levels by 6 metres.


Yet for some this planetary disaster is the 21st century gold rush. Companies and countries who hope to make billions are lining up to frantically grab their share of oil, gas, and minerals. To them the Arctic is not a home to whales and polar bears, it is a new frontier, and it’s one of the reasons why nations like the USA, Canada and Russia have spent years blocking global climate treaties.


This is a simple decision: the people and planet’s future or increasing Big Oil’s profits with a 40% possibility of a catastrophic oil spill. If Lisa Jackson gives Shell the permit now then Exxon, Chevron and the rest of Big Oil will cover these beautiful icy wastelands with dirty rigs, pumps and pipes. Let’s now urge Lisa Jackson to stop Shell before it’s too late. Click now to send a message and share this with everyone:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/save_the_arctic_a/?bFAfecb&v=16546

Arctic drilling has already been condemned by the British government, Insurance companies, the US Coast Guard, and in the last week, Greenpeace and others have been taking to the streets. But to stop this madness we all need to join together to target the one person that can stop it. Let’s ensure that the Arctic is saved from the danger of drilling and instead protected as a global treasure.

With hope,

Iain, Alice, Sam, David, Aldine, Diego, Ricken and the rest of the Avaaz team


100 Mexican firms agree to pay employees at least 6,500 pesos a month

Organization wishes to contribute to building ‘middle-class Mexico’

One hundred Mexican companies have announced they will raise the minimum monthly salary of their employees to 6,500 pesos (US $340).

Corporate directors from Citibanamex, Corporación Zapata, Tajín and Grupo Pochteca, representing the 100-member organization Empresas Por El Bienestar (Companies for Wellbeing), told a press conference on Wednesday that the initiative will contribute to the construction of a “middle-class Mexico.”

“Starting from a base of the average home containing 1.7 workers, the 6,500-peso monthly payment will put us just above the poverty threshold determined by [the social development agency] Coneval,” they told reporters.

The company representatives emphasized that participation is not obligatory, but the group has been working on the initiative for 5 years and expects it to have a positive impact that will be reflected in the growth of the country.

“The impact in the short and long term will be positive, in the consumption and incomes of Mexican families. It will become a virtuous cycle and that’s why we’re making this sacrifice to push the country’s economy to be even stronger.”

They stressed that 48% of formal jobs in the country offer less than 6,500 pesos per month, but the companies in the group will all pay all their employees at least that much beginning on December 1.

Although the first year of President López Obrador’s administration has brought doubt to many in the private sector, the 100 companies see a more favorable and receptive environment ahead.

In accordance with what they have seen in the current international economic climate, they believe they can implement the change without causing higher inflation.

“These 100 companies promise that [the raise] will not have a negative impact on prices, therefore it won’t have an inflationary effect . . . the objective is to increase the attraction of formal employment.”

A full list of the member companies to the group can be found at the 100 Empresas Por El Bienestar website.

“العالم الثالث” دلالة الإرث الشاذ في السياق الحضاري”

في مقولة “العالم الثالث”

Michel Nab3a. ميشال نبعة

المصطلح

عبارة “العالم الثالث” هي ترجمة غير دقيقة لعبارة Tiers – monde الفرنسية التي ظهرت في أدبيات القرن التاسع عشر.

وفي الأصل، إنّ عبارة Tiers – monde  وإن بدت موازية للمرتبة الثالثة في التسلسل الرقمي فإن معناها الضمني يدل على شخص ما (آخر) من خارج ثنائية المخاطِب (بكسر الطاء).

كل ما ليس هو أنا وأنت ممكن أن يكون هذا الشخص الـ”ما”. فهو الآخر، غير المحدد، والمبهم، والذي ينحصر تحديده في كونه ليس أنا ولا أنت. تحديد هذا الشخص ليس من / أو في ذاته، بل بالنسبة لي ولك. وإذا ما انفلشت ثنائية المخاطِب والمخاطَب على دائرة الجماعة، فإن تراتب التسلسل الرقمي لا يعود مهماً ويبقى هذا الشخص الـ”ما” (أيّاً كان) ممن ليس هو (نحن)، فهو الآخر المجهول، والذي هو بدون (الـ) التعريف لأنه نكرة، والأصح (النكرة) مع (الـ) التعريف. وهذا هو تحديده الوحيد.

تسهيلاً للمعالجة الكتابية، أتوقف هنا عن استعمال التعبير الفرنسي وأعتمد تعبير “العالم الثالث”، ولكن بمعناه الأصلي، وليس بالمعنى المعطِل للفهم، الذي أكسبته إياه الترجمة المسطحة، والذي بدا لاحقاً، وبمفعول رجعي، وكأنه يعني أو يعبّر عن مدلول جغرافي- سياسي ناتج عن الحرب العالمية الثانية، وعن تبسيط المفهوم “الواقعي” لتقسيم العالم إلى كتلة الدول الغربية وكتلة الدول الاشتراكية، اللتين تمثلان العالمين الأول والثاني، فيكون الباقي، حسب تراتب التسلسل الرقمي، هو العالم الثالث، ومن دون أن يشكل كتلة واحدة.

يوم وجد “العالم الثالث” في الذهن الأوروبي لم يكن هناك لا عالم أول ولا عالم ثان، فعندما خرجت الانتلجنسيا الأوروبية من القارة، لاحقة بالعسكر والتجار، أطلقت على كافة الأقطار التي وصلتها الجيوش والبضائع، وبدأ استثمارها، وتلك التي لم تكن قد طالتها اليد الأوروبية بعد، أطلقت عليها هذه التسمية الشاملة، والتي ليست هي بإسم، فكان “العالم الثالث”، حسب التعريف الأوروبي، هو “الآخر” المجهول، البلا إسم.

واستعملت بالمناسبة عبارة أخرى هي  Les indigenes  وتعني السكان الأصليين. والترجمة هي بالغة التهذيب بالنسبة للمعنى الأصلي.

وهكذا يكون “العالم الثالث” كل ما هو خارج حفافي القارة الأوروبية، وهو بلا اسم. ويكون كل ما يدب في هذا “العالم الثالث” هم السكان البلا أصل.

الخلفية

إنّ هذه التعابير ليست ذات صفة أدبية لتصوير وقفة تجاه المجهول، أو الغريب المكتشف حديثاً. إنها تتضمن موقفاً من “الآخر”، من كل ما ليس هو (أنا وأنت ونحن).

لهذا الموقف أصلان بارزان في تاريخ البشرية: في أثينا وفي التوراة. فكل ما هو خارج أسوار المدينة بربري، وكل من ليس هو من القبيلة “غوييم”. والجامع المشترك بين كل هذه التسميات – الموقف، هو أنّ “الآخر” مصنّف بالجملة، ولا تحديداً ذاتياً له، أو تعريفاً موضوعياً به، وإنما، بالنسبة لحافّة قارة أو سور مدينة أو فخذ قبيلة. ولا أحد ينكر الإرث التوراتي – الأثنيني في الإيدولوجية الأوروبية على مختلف فروعها ومناهجها.

المقولة

بعد الحرب العالمية الثانية، حيث رسا العالم على عملية استقطاب ثنائي تفرّدت به القوى “الواقعية” المسيطرة على الكرة الأرضية، بدأت تصفية التركة الاستعمارية الأوروبية، مع الحرص على إبقاء عناصر التركة في السلة الغربية، فظهرت المقولات الاقتصادية والسياسية والثقافية حول موضوعات التخلف والنمو، والإنماء والتنمية، وأُغرقت السوق بالنظريات المعلّبة – الجاهزة، والمعدّة لإنشاء أُطر جديدة قادرة على الإمساك بمقدرات “العالم الثالث”، بدلاً عن أُطر الاستعمار المباشر، البائدة والهشة، في ظروف تنافس وصراع مِحورَي الاستقطاب العالمي.

فالعالم الثالث متخلّف، والعالم الغربي هو النموذج الحضاري الحصري، ومشوار المدنية يمر عبر محطات مرحلية يجتازها طالب التقدم، أو المقدم على عملية التطور والتطوير، طوعاً أو إكراهاً، تتمثل بحوافز نفسية وبما يشبه الشهادات المدرسية. فهناك الدول النامية، وتلك التي لا تزال في بداية طور النمو والأخرى الراسبة والتي بقيت متخلفة.

ولما كانت الحرية ركناً أساسياً في ملكوت هذه المدنية، المحتّم علينا أن نصبو إليها، فإنّ دول “العالم الثالث”، وأفراد “العالم الثالث”، وجماعات “العالم الثالث”، تستطيع أن تختار بين مجموعات من شركات المقاولة، بين مجموعات من النظم الدراسية، بين مجموعات من النظريات السياسية، بين مجموعات من المنشآت الصناعية، وخاصة بين مجموعات من وسائل إنتاج المواد الاستهلاكية. الكل يستطيع أن يختار ما يحتاج إليه، وما لا يحتاج إليه، وخاصة ما لا يحتاج إليه، إلّا حرية خيار النموذج، فهو حصري والمشوار باتجاهه مفروض، والاعتراف بالتخلف قياساً إلى ملكوته أمر قسّري.

ظروف الصراع بين محوري الاستقطاب العالمي أوجدت بالمقابل نظريات معدّة لإنشاء أُطر إنمائية جديدة مغايرة، تبيح لمركزي الاستقطاب العالمي العمل بقانون الجذب، وتتيح لدول”العالم الثالث” فرص الانجذاب. فأصبح العالم الصناعي، كما هو قائم حالياً، أو كما كان قائماً لبرهة تاريخية وجيزة، يشكّل النموذج، وللعالم الثالث، المتخلف، “الخيار الديموقراطي” بين طريقين في مشواره القسّري باتجاه هذا الملكوت.

من المؤسف أن النظرية المقابلة، ومن دون الدخول بأيّ تفصيل أو مفاضلة، كانت أيضاً معلّبة – جاهزة، وشكّلت تزكية، مبدئية وعملية، لمقولة “العالم الثالث”.

نقض مقولة “العالم الثالث”

في الانتروبولوجيا

في قديم الزمان، استفردت الكائنات من ذوات الضخامة والقوة الجسدية بغابات الأشجار المثمرة وطردت الكائنات الأنحف، والأقل قوة منها، إلى الأراضي الخالية من الثمار.

جاع من جاع، ومات من مات، وبقي من بقي … الذين عاشوا هم الذين انتقلوا من عادة قطف الثمار إلى الاعتماد على الصيد. وقد أكسبهم هذا المراس قدرة على الركض وسرعة في الحركة وليونة للجسد، وذلك نتيجة لملاحقة الطرائد والارتماء عليها للإمساك بها… وجاع من جاع، ومات من مات، وبقي من بقي، فالصيد على هذه الوتيرة، وبهذه التقنية المتاحة، وبهذا المقدار من الغنائم، لا يمكن أن يشكّل اكتفاءً غذائياً.

كان لا بدَّ من الحصول على أدوات الصيد، وكان لا بدَّ من استعمال اليد لصناعة هذه الأدوات. ولحظة تحرك إبهام اليد، بعد مراس طويل، أطلت مرحلة تسارعت فيها الإنجازت. فقد ظهر النموذج البشري الأول، على الشكل الكامل الذي نعرفه الآن، مزوداً بأول آلة صناعية في التاريخ يحملها في كل يد من يديه.

لا لزوم للقول بأنّ هذا الإنسان “الجديد” ارتدّ لاحقاً على الكائنات التي طردته، وبسط سيطرته على غابات الأشجار التي لم تعد ثمارها غذاءه الوحيد.

ولكن من المفيد شرح ميكانيكية الطرد والعودة. فلقد كانت اليد وأصابعها أُحادية الحركة، مجرد طرف للذراع. ففي حالة الصدام الالتحامي يكون الفوز للأضخم، بالضربة القاضية، وفي حالة الصدام من مواقع متباعدة المسافة، يبقى الفوز لمن يستطيع أن يضغط أكبر صخرة بين راحتيه ويرفعها فوق رأسه ويقذف بها إلى أبعد مدى.

بعد نشوء الوضع الجديد، الناتج عن تحريك إبهام اليد، وإمكان استعمال هذه الآلة المحدثة في صناعة الأدوات، لم تعد القوة الجسدية وضخامتها، البليدة الحركة، تشكّل ثقلاً مُرجِّحاً في ميزان القوى المحدث.

لو تلوثت الانتروبولوجيا بنظريات ومقولات من صنف مقولة “العالم الثالث” و”النموذج الحصري” و”المشوار القسري”، لكان انخدع سكان ريف العالم، في تلك الحقبة، فسارعوا إلى استنبات غابات من الأشجار المثمرة في البطاح الجرداء، لا يمكن أن تشكّل إلاَّ احتياطياً استراتيجياً للكائنات الضخمة المتمركزة في الغابات القديمة، ولكانت بقيت هذه الغابات الجديدة، كما القديمة، وبقي سكانها تحت رحمة طرف الذراع الأقوى، والأهم والأخطر من ذلك، أنّ إبهام اليد ما كان ليتحرك، ولما كانت أيدينا على ما هي عليه اليوم. فهل نستطيع أن نتصور ما كان يمكن أن نكون عليه، اليوم، لولا أن تحرك الإبهام؟

إنّ ذلك سيساعدنا، حتماً، على تصور ما يمكن أن نكون لو رمينا مقولة “العالم الثالث” في أول مزبلة نصادفها على منعطف أول شارع من أول مدينة من مدن هذا “العالم الثالث” المتسخ بالنفايات الحضارية. وعلى تصور تحرك شيء ما في إمكانات إنسان جديد يساهم في نقلة نوعية جديدة للحضارة البشرية.

في البيولوجيا

إنّ آخر المكتشفات العلمية الحديثة والتي اُتفق على تسميتها بـ”الثورة البيولوجية” أثبتت أنّ الإنسان كائن بيئي، وكذلك الحيوان. وهذه المعطيات تضع العامل البيئي في أولويات تركيب الكائن البيولوجي – الاجتماعي – الثقافي، وترد مفاعيل التطور إلى عملية متداخلة بين هذه العناصر بعضها مع بعض، وإلى عملية تفاعلية بينها، مجتمعة ومنفصلة، وبين الإطار البيئي.

إن هذا الكشف، المثبت علمياً، ينقض أساساً إمكانية تصنيف العالم بالجملة، أكانت العوالم المصنفة بشكل مسطح هي ثالثة أم أولى أم ثانية.

إنّ هذا الكشف، المثبت علمياً، ينقض جذرياً كل النظريات المعلّبة التي تعتمد وصفة جاهزة، أُحادية البعد والمنطلق، لإنماء وتطوير أقاليم بالجملة، تقيم عليها جماعات بشرية بالجملة، بقطع النظر عن خصوصية الأقاليم وخصوصية الجماعات، وبالتالي الخصوصية الناتجة عن علاقة كل إقليم معيّن بكل جماعة معيّنة، إلا إذا كان القصد هو تشويه وتعطيل عملية التطور البيئي الطبيعي.

إنّ هذا الكشف، المثبت علمياً، لم يندرج بعد في قراءات العلوم الإنسانية وفي المفاهيم السائدة المتفرعة عنها، وإن كان أحدهم قد استبق هذه القراءة كما استبق الكشف.

في السياق الحضاري

تقول الأسطورة إنّ أوروبا هي ابنة صور المحمولة على قرني ثور إلى قلب القارة “الجديدة”، بالنسبة إلى العالم القديم. ولكن في الواقع، لم يتوغل رجال النهضة الأوروبية (Renaissance) في تفتيشهم عن الأبوة الحضارية إلى أبعد من القرن الخامس قبل الميلاد، ولم تحط مراسيهم إلا في أثينا على وجه التحديد. أما التوراة، فقد وصلتهم إلى عقر دارهم جزءاً من “الكتاب المقدس” ممهوراً بخاتم البابوية، ولاحقاً، الواجهة الوحيدة المترجمة إلى اللغات المحلية، والمعممة سنداً أساسياً لحركة الإصلاح (Reforme).

هل التقط الرواد الأوروبيون عَلَم الحضارة من النقطة الأكثر تقدماً، التي وصل إليها، كما يتم في لعبة البدل الأوروبية؟

في العصر الذهبي الأثيني، في الأوج، كان العرف (القانون) يقضي بتكافل وتضامن أهل المدينة مع أي مواطن من بينهم، أكان مصيباً أم مخطئاً، في خلافه مع أي رجل من خارج المدينة. وكان هذا “القانون” يسمح للأثيني بقتل غريمه، ويقضي بمساندة أهل المدينة لمواطنهم في تنفيذ عملية القتل.

الخلافات كانت تنشأ حول علاقات تجارية على وجه العموم، والحق الوحيد الذي يحكم “القانون” في أثينا هو حق ابن المدينة في أن يكون على حق، لأن “الآخر” هو الغريب “البربري” من خارج الأسوار.

قبل أكثر من ألف سنة من ذلك التاريخ، وحسب قانون حمورابي، كان فض النزاع، بين تاجر بابلي وتاجر صيني، يتم في قلب بابل حسب القانون الصيني، إذا كانت الاتفاقية التجارية قد وقعت في الصين.

تعتبر القوانين مقياس تطور الشعوب، وما اختص منها بحقوق الانسان هو دليل المستوى الحضاري، والموقف من “الآخر” هو المحك لحقوق الإنسان. فهل يمكن تصور شريعة، وبالتالي مدنية، تعلن موقفاً لا إنسانياً من “الآخر” ويمكن اعتبارها محطة متقدمة في السياق الحضاري؟.

من حمورابي إلى المدرسة الرواقية، مروراً بالانتشار الكنعاني في غربي المتوسط والمداليل الراقية لأساليب التعاطي العملي مع الشعوب إبّان هذا “الاجتياح السلمي” للعالم القديم، شكل السياق السوري مجالاً ومدى لمدنية ذلك الزمان، وما كانت التوارة وأثينا إلا نقطتي الشواذ في بحر القاعدة الواسع.

ولقد تم تصنيف العالم، في القرن العشرين، إنطلاقاً من الإرث الشاذ.

في النظرة القومية الاجتماعية

حسب النظرة القومية الاجتماعية، لا وجود لعوالم مرقمة أو خاضعة لشبه ترقيم. لا تصنيفات مبسطة ومسطحة (Shematisation). لا تجمعات عشوائية. لا تجمعات اعتباطية. فالعالم واقع مجتمعات بشرية تكونت، وتتكون، تبعاً لظروف دورة الحياة المتفاعلة مع البيئة الطبيعية، وكل تدخل خارجي، قسري، في هذه العملية الخصوصية لا يمكن إن يؤدي إلاَّ إلى نتائج سلبية.

حسب النظرة القومية الاجتماعية، لا وجود لنماذج حصرية. فالنموذج الذي تشكّل في مجتمع معين لا يمكن إلباسه قسراً لمجتمع آخر.  إن مصادرة حقوق الشعوب في تشكيل نماذجها لا يمكن أن تؤدي إلاَّ إلى مخاطر قاتلة لمسيرة الارتقاء البشري، فهي تحد استبدادياً من اتساع التجربة الإنسانية، كما تقضي استبداداً على الأصالة، وهي الشرط البدئي للابداع: محرك النزوع إلى الارتقاء.

وتتجلى وقاحة الادعاء بتمدين البشرية، والانسياق الأبله في مجرى التيار الدارج، بهذا الركام من الظواهر والتراكيب المجتمعية الممسوخة التي شكلت فولكوراً بديلاً يغطي الملامح الأصلية لبلدان “العالم الثالث”، وبهذا التشويه اللاحق بالبشر وبالبيئات الطبيعية.

حسب النظرة القومية الاجتماعية، لا وجود لنظريات معلبة، ولوصفات جاهزة، تدعي إنماء الأقطار وتطوير الشعوب. ولا وجود لمقاييس موحدة، لمراتب التقدم، مرتهنة لتجربة تاريخية معينة. ولا وجود لسلم أولويات واحد موحد. ولا وجود لسلم قيم واحد موحد. كل قيمة هي قيمة مجتمعية، ولا قيمة في المطلق. كل أولوية هي أولوية مجتمعية، ولا أولوية في المطلق، كل آفة هي آفة مجتمعية، ولا آفة في المطلق.

إذا كان البشر يجتمعون في عموميات إنسانية مجردة فإنهم يتمايزون في الخصوصيات الواقعية للبيئات التي ارتبط بها تكوينهم التاريخي. فالبشر جميعهم يجوعون، ولكن تأمين الاكتفاء الغذائي يختلف بين سورية والهند والسنغال وغواتيمالا. والبشر جيمعهم يخافون، ولكن أسباب الخوف، وطبيعة المخيف، تختلف بين شعون سورية والهند والسنغال وغواتيمالا…

وإذا كانت العلوم المجردة، كالعملة الذهبية، صالحة لكل زمان ومكان، فإنّ التطبيقات العملية المنبثقة عنها ليست بالضرورة متطابقة مع احتياجات بلدان من مستويات معيشية مختلفة وفي أطوار ارتقائية متمايزة وفي ظروف تاريخية متباينة.

وإذا كانت هذه حال القواسم المشتركة الأكثر التصاقاً بعموميات البشر، فكيف تكون وضعية الأحوال المتميزة الأكثر التصاقاً بخصوصيات الجماعات البشرية، كالنظم الاقتصادية والاجتماعية والسياسية، والقوانين والدساتير، وأساليب العيش، والمفاهيم الثقافية الحياتية؟..

ما هي الجدوى من إفقار التجربة الإنسانية؟

ما هي الجدوى من القضاء على غنى التنوع في العالم؟

ما هي الجدوى من إلباس العالم، بالإكراه، زيّاً موحداً (Uniforme)؟

نسأل عن الجدوى قبل السؤال عن النتائج العملية لخربطة العالم بلا جدوى ولكنها مقتضيات السوق…

حقاً إنه السوق. وإنّ أبرز ما في هذا السوق زبائنه الطارئون، والمهرجان الكاريكاتوري المفتوح لمسخرة لعبة التمدن.

شعوب طيبة على اختلافها، مصفوفة على عدم تراتبها، تتخبط في سيرها على وقع موسيقى لا تفهمها باتجاه نموذج لا تكهنه… الإيقاع الوحيد المضبوط هو إيقاع النظرية المعلبة، التي لم تثبت مصداقيتها (التجربة اليابانية تمت على نقيض النظريات المعلبة وهي الوحيدة الناجحة، من خارج مراكز الاستقطاب وفروعها… مشكلة الديون الفاحشة المترتبة على دول “العالم الثالث”، التي أغرقت في مشاريع التنمية، والماثلة حالياً، وبدون حل، لتسفه كل نظريات التنمية).

حسب النظرة القومية الاجتماعية، لا وجود للاوتوبيا، وبالتالي لا وجود لنماذج “الميني اوتوبيا”.

هذا من الناحية المبدئية.

عملياً، يمكننا ولوج مصطلح – مقولة “العالم الثالث” عبر مصطلحين شكّلا عنوانين كبيرين لأوضاع جغرافية – سياسية، محددة من سوانا، أما نتائجها فتنسحب علينا.

إننا في صميم “الشرق الأدنى” وبعده “الشرق الأوسط”. ونحن لا شيء في قضية “الشرق الأوسط” كما كنا لا شيء في قضية “الشرق الأدنى”. المصطلح – العنوان الطارئ حلّ محلنا وسرق منا القضية. فالحل والتعقيد يعودان للأوضاع الجغرافية – السياسية المحددة من سوانا، والتي يعبّر عنها المصطلح الموضوع من سوانا، وليس لقضيتنا. وانتقال الملكية هذا تم بالموافقة الضمنية لكتابنا ومفكرينا وسياسيينا وصحافيينا وتجارنا وطلابنا وفلاحينا وعمالنا ومثقفينا، على اختلاف خلفياتهم وإيديولوجياتهم. فهم يستعملون هذا المصطلح، براحة، وكأنهم هم واضعوه على حساب سواهم. وهم يتصرفون مع هذا المصطلح بموضوعية حيادية نموذجية. إنها عملية تمثُّل فريدة في تاريخ انفصام الشخصية. فلنتصور أنفسنا الآن ونحن نستعمل مقولة “العالم الثالث” بحق أنفسنا. على الأقل، مصطلحا “الشرق الأدنى” و”الشرق الأوسط” لا يضمران معنى الإهانة.

وفي صورة بيانية سريعة لتدرج الاختلاطات الناتجة عن التسليم “الموضوعي” بالمصطلحات والمقولات المشِّوهة لواقع العالم، لصالح الأمر المفروض على العالم، نلاحظ، أنّ مصطلح “الشرق الأدنى” درج في ظروف تنافس بريطانيا وفرنسا، وشمل منطقة جغرافية – سياسية محددة بالاحتياجات الأوروبية للتمركز في شرقي المتوسط، ومطابقة للمفهوم الاستشراقي ولرقعة اهتماماته، الموضوعية وغير الموضوعية، ومطابقة أيضاً (ولا مجال للشكر) لمسرح العمليات الأساسية في السياق الحضاري الطويل، كما في التاريخ الانترنسيوني، منذ البدء وحتى الحرب العالمية الأولى، على الأقل. ولأن “الشرق الأدنى” هو مفهوم جغرافي – سياسي عام حددته المصالح الأوروبية، بذاتها ولذاتها، ولأنه غير محدد بذاته ولذاته، فإنّ تجزئة بيئة طبيعية، وتشليع شعب عريق، لا يعدو كونه عملية من عمليات توزُّع المواقع بين بريطانيا وفرنسا، على هذه الرقعة الجغرافية – السياسية المسماة “الشرق الأدنى”. “سورية الجغرافية”، بذاتها، تاريخياً وحضارياً، هي ركيزة أساسية، بل الركيزة الأساسية في هذا “الشرق الأدنى”. ولكن حسب مصطلح “الشرق الأدنى” كمفهوم جغرافي – سياسي، ذابت سورية وذاب أساسها التاريخي – الحضاري، وامّحت شخصيتها وضاعت قضيتها، وتوزعت بضعة مواقع استراتيجية على رقعة (جغرافية – سياسية) مشاعية.

هذا، ومفهوم “الشرق الأدنى” لم يحدث تغييراً بنيوياً، في الإطار الإقليمي العام، بالنسبة لواقع المنطقة التي شملها المصطلح – التحديد. فكيف ستكون الحال مع حلول “الشرق الأوسط” سيّداً على الساحة؟.

اتسعت الرقعة من عنق شرقي المتوسط لتشمل خطوط التماس الآسيوية بين مناطق نفوذ القوتين العظميين الراهنتين والخطوط الخلفية الأفريقية للقارة الأوروبية. مناطق شاسعة لا يمكن أن يحدها مفهوم جغرافي – سياسي معقول، بيئات طبيعية متباينة الخصائص، نماذج مجتمعية ومستويات وثقافات وخلفيات وطموحات لا قواسم مشتركة بينها، مجموعة كبيرة من الشعوب التي لم يحدث تاريخياً بين غالبيتها أي احتكاك، لا سلباً ولا إيجاباً، جملة قضايا خصوصية، حقيقية وواقعية، ولكنها مختلفة ومتمايزة. كل هذا يشمله مصطلح “الشرق الأوسط”. وكل هذا لا يجمع بينه إلا كونه مناطق التماس، مناطق البين بين، ومن أقصى البين إلى أقصى البين، يستعملون عبارة “الشرق الأوسط” وكأنها تختصر قضيتهم، وقضيتهم أكلها البين.

“القضية” هي فقط قضية “الشرق الأوسط”، هذا الكائن “الجغرافي – السياسي” المشاعي، هذا الوافد الطارئ على الجغرافيا وعلى التاريخ، وليست قضية أحد (سواه) من الذين شُبّه لهم أنهم من أركانه أو من رعاياه. يذهب، فتذهب معه قضيته الطارئة ومجمل القضايا التي ارتهنت له وتلك التي جُيّرت لسلطانه الغابر، ولا تبقى إلاَّ القضايا التي بقيت، كما كانت، قضايا أصحابها. يبقى، فتبقى الاختلاطات، ولا تسلم إلاَّ القضايا التي عرفت كيف تتميز عن مشاعيته الجاهلة المستبدة.

نضيف إلى “الشرق الأوسط” بضعة مناطق، وها نحن في حضن المقولة الأم، في مقبرة “العالم الثالث”.

تراكم القضايا، والاختلاطات الهجينة، في رحاب عالم تمّ تصنيفه بالجملة، طبقاً لموقف “الآخر” منه وخلافاً لذاته – وفي الأصل ذواته – لا ينتج قضية واحدة موحدة. بلى، إنّ اصطناع “عالم ثالث” أوجب اصطناع “عالم ثالث مضاد”، عملاً بقانون الجذب وتطابقاً مع ثنائية الاستقطاب العالمي.

إنّ تمرد الخادمة على ست البيت من وقت إلى آخر، وهي لا تنفك تقلد مشيتها وتسريحة شعرها ونبرة صوتها على الهاتف  ليس موقفاً ثورياً تغييرياً، ولا حتى منطلقاً لمثل هذا الموقف. وكذلك تجمع خادمات الحي، وهن من أصول وخلفيات وثقافات وطموحات مختلفة، لا يشكل تنظيماً ثورياً، إلاَّ إذا كان المقصود هو فقط إزعاج ستات بيوت الحي، ولا ضير في إزعاجهن، ولكن التغيير والتطوير إزعاجه مختلف جداً.

فقط، عندما تعي الخادمة ذاتها وشخصيتها، وأنها ليست خادمة لأحد، وأنّ لا مشية ست البيت، ولا حتى مشية ست بيت الجيران، ولا تسريحتيهما ولا نبرة صوتيهما هما المثال المرتجى، عندها، فقط ينشأ موقف ثوري تغييري. فالتغيير هو شرط الثورة، وليس “الحلول محل”، وإلاَّ اقتصرت المعمعة الصراعية على محاولة تمثُّل وتقليد “الآخر”، وهذا ما هو معروف بالسعدنة.. “وما بيحرز ثورة”.

ونتذكر “تركيا الفتاة”. ونتذكر أتاتورك، ذالك الذي لم يستطع خياله أن يجد محور ارتكاز، لقيام دولة تعاصر الحداثة، لا في فتافيت النظام العثماني، ولا من وحي زحف الجحافل الغازية بغداد، ومن ثم القسطنطينية [ولا فرق إن كانت مشكلته في خياله أم في القيم العثمانية أم من وقع الزحف الرهيب أم في نوعية فهمه للحداثة] فألبس شعبه زيّاً جاهزاً من الطراز الأوروبي، بقي زيّاً هجيناً، على كافة مستويات سلالم القيم، وترك ضمير ناظم حكمت يتمزق من مآسي انفصام الشخصية “المجتمعية”.

***

واقعياً، “العالم الثالث” غير موجود، إنه فقط في الذهن الباهت، وفي النية المضمرة، وعلى خرائط المخططين. على الطبيعة الحية هو شيء آخر. فهل يمكن نشوء حركة تحرر من اللاواقع، من الهيولى؟ هذا موضوع لا نجروء على المجازفة بولوجه، فهو من اختصاص اللاهوت. ولكن مراجعة سريعة لما يبدو أنه تحقق من إنجازات تحررية، على وجه بسيطة “العالم الثالث”، كان في البؤر التي انعتقت من المقولة – الهيولى، عندما وعت ذاتها وشخصيتها، وبالتالي قضيتها. وكل الهيصات المرافقة لم تكن سوى مجرد مجاملات ببغائية من صنف تلك المعتادة في صالونات النفاق الاجتماعي ومؤتمراته.

“العالم الثالث” مقبرة القضايا: الداخل مفقود والخارج مولود.

لسنا من “العالم الثالث”، لا واقعاً ولا مقولة ولا هيولى.

لنا عالمنا، ولهم “العالم الثالث”.

نحن من العالم، من مجتمعاته وشعوبه المقهورة. و”العالم” الذي نحن منه متحرك خارج هوامش الأوصاف والتعاريف المحددة قسراً من قبل الغير، وخارج أطر البرمجة السائدة، تنموية كانت أم توليفية.

نحن مع العالم، مع مجتمعاته وشعوبه المقهورة.

ولسنا ردة فعل. ولا نتمنى، بل لا نريد لشركائنا في الإنسانية أن يتوحدوا، وأن نتوحد في ردات الفعل. وإلا بطلت الأصالة، وبالتالي بطل الإبداع، وبالنتيجة توقف النزوع إلى الارتقاء.

كل ردة فعل تبقى أسيرة ضمن دائرة الفعل المرتدة عليه. مشارف الدائرة الخارجية هي وحدها المكان المحتمل لإنوجاد نقاط انطلاق لفعل مغاير.

قضيتنا، أن تلتقط سورية معلم الارتقاء الحضاري من الموقع المتقدم الذي تركته عليه يوم توقفت عن الفعل – مكرهة أم طائعة؟ – لأن العالم الحديث تأسس انطلاقاً من مرتكزات هي دون ذلك الإنجاز، ولا قضية لنا دون هذه الغاية. النهضة هي لهذه الغاية، وهي، إن كانت لسواها، أو لما دونها، بطلت هذه القضية أن تكون هي بالذات.

وهذه القضية، وإن كانت سوريَّة، فهي ليست لا خصوصية ولا أنانية، إنها ضرورية للعالم بنسبة ضرورتها لنا. فسورية، التي شكلت عصب الحضارة وضمانتها منذ فجر التاريخ، هي أكثر ضرورة في هذا العصر الذي بدأت فيه الانهيارات تخترق حداثة هذا العالم الهشة.

أما أن يكون مقياس النصاب في الديمقراطية بالسنتيمتر أن بالإنش، أو أن يكون مكيال العدالة بالغرام أم بالأونصة، فهذه تفاصيل “بيزنطية” تمَّ إشغال “العالم الثالث” بها، باب ارتزاق للشاغلين، وليبقى عالماً ثالثاً بالفعل…وعلى زود.

قضايا شركائنا في الإنسانية (ورفاق المصيبة في وصمة التسمية بشعوب “العالم الثالث”) هم يحددونها بأنفسهم، وهم يحددون موقع نقطة الانطلاق من ذواتهم المجتمعية.

عندما، يبدأ موكب الانعتاق من مقولة “العالم الثالث” للدخول إلى واقع العالم في حقيقته الإنسانية – المجتمعية.

عندها، يمكن الحديث عن الأصالة – الإبداع – الارتقاء، وليس عن العصرنة – السعدنة – الاستنماء، فقد خرجنا، توَّاً، من مدافن “العالم الثالث”.

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تنويه: نشر هذا النصّ، بالأصل، في مجلة فكر العدد 69 / خريف 1991

What were Lebanon economic and social cost for Lebanon in Israel pre-emptive war in 2006?

هلق صحيح بحرب تموز تضررت ٣٤٥ ضيعة، تدمر ٣٠٥٣٩ بيت، تهجر ١.٥ مليون لبناني، هاجر ٢٠٠ ألف غيرن، تدمر ١٥% من المدارس، تدمرت ١٦ مستشفى، تلف ٩٢٦٧٢٠ ألف شجرة، توقف ١٢٠ إلف موظف عن العمل لمدة ٣٣ يوم، تدمر ٩١ جسر، تضرر ٦٢٠ كيلومتر من الطرقات، قتل ٢٠٠٠ لبناني، أصيب ١٠ الاف غيرهن، و خسر الإقتصاد اللبناني ١٥ مليار

Gift of Doubt? And why are we persecuted for our legitimate doubts?

Note: Re-edit of “Gift of Doubt and Power of Failure. July 12, 2013

Albert O. Hirschman, Malcolm Gladwell…

In the mid-nineteenth century, work began on a crucial section of the railway line connecting Boston to the Hudson River.

The addition would run from Greenfield, Massachusetts, to Troy, New York, and it required tunneling through Hoosac Mountain, a nearly five-mile thick impediment, that blocked passage between the Deerfield Valley and a tributary of the Hudson.

James Hayward, one of New England’s leading railroad engineers, estimated that penetrating the Hoosac would cost, at most, a very manageable $2 million.

The president of Amherst College, an accomplished geologist, said that the mountain was composed of soft rock and that tunneling would be fairly easy once the engineers had breached the surface.

“The Hoosac . . . is believed to be the only barrier between Boston and the Pacific,” the project’s promoter, Alvah Crocker, declared.

published in The New Yorker this June 24, 2013:

Everyone was wrong. Digging through the Hoosac turned out to be a nightmare. The project cost more than ten times the budgeted estimate.

If the people involved had known the true nature of the challenges they faced, they would never have funded the Troy-Greenfield railroad. But, had they not, the factories of northwestern Massachusetts wouldn’t have been able to ship their goods so easily to the expanding West, the cost of freight would have remained stubbornly high, and the State of Massachusetts would have been immeasurably poorer. So is ignorance an impediment to progress or a precondition for it?

The economist Albert O. Hirschman, who died last December, loved paradoxes like this. He was a “planner,” the kind of economist who conceives of grand infrastructure projects and bold schemes. But his eye was drawn to the many ways in which plans did not turn out the way they were supposed to—to unintended consequences and perverse outcomes and the puzzling fact that the shortest line between two points is often a dead end.

Hirschman was a planner who saw virtue in the fact that nothing went as planned. Illustration by Ricardo Martinez.

Hirschman was a planner who saw virtue in the fact that nothing went as planned. Illustration by Ricardo Martinez.

“The Principle of the Hiding Hand,” one of Hirschman’s many memorable essays, drew on an account of the Troy-Greenfield “folly,” and then presented an even more elaborate series of paradoxes. Hirschman had studied the enormous Karnaphuli Paper Mills, in what was then East Pakistan.

The mill was built to exploit the vast bamboo forests of the Chittagong Hill Tracts. But not long after the mill came online, the bamboo unexpectedly flowered and then died, a phenomenon now known to recur every 50 years or so. Dead bamboo was useless for pulping; it fell apart as it was floated down the river.

Because of ignorance and bad planning, a new, multimillion-dollar industrial plant was suddenly without the raw material it needed to function.

But what impressed Hirschman was the response to the crisis.

The mill’s operators quickly found ways to bring in bamboo from villages throughout East Pakistan, building a new supply chain using the country’s many waterways. They started a research program to find faster-growing species of bamboo to replace the dead forests, and planted an experimental tract. They found other kinds of lumber that worked just as well. The result was that the plant was blessed with a far more diversified base of raw materials than had ever been imagined.

If bad planning hadn’t led to the crisis at the Karnaphuli plant, the mill’s operators would never have been forced to be creative. And the plant would not have been nearly as valuable as it became.

“We may be dealing here with a general principle of action,” Hirschman wrote:

Creativity always comes as a surprise to us; therefore we can never count on it and we dare not believe in it until it has happened. We would not consciously engage upon tasks whose success clearly requires that creativity be forthcoming.

Hence, the only way in which we can bring our creative resources fully into play is by misjudging the nature of the task, by presenting it to ourselves as more routine, simple, undemanding of genuine creativity than it will turn out to be.

And from there Hirschman’s analysis took flight. People don’t seek out challenges “They are “apt to take on and plunge into new tasks because of the erroneously presumed absence of a challenge—because the task looks easier and more manageable than it will turn out to be.

This was the Hiding Hand principle—a play on Adam Smith’s Invisible Hand. The entrepreneur takes risks but does not see himself as a risk-taker, because he operates under the useful delusion that what he’s attempting is not risky. Then, trapped in mid-mountain, people discover the truth—and, because it is too late to turn back, they’re forced to finish the job.

“We have ended up here with an economic argument strikingly paralleling Christianity’s oft expressed preference for the repentant sinner over the righteous man who never strays from the path,” Hirschman wrote in this essay from 1967. Success grew from failure:

And essentially the same idea, even though formulated, as one might expect, in a vastly different spirit, is found in Nietzsche’s famous maxim, “That which does not destroy me, makes me stronger.” This sentence admirably epitomizes several of the histories of economic development projects in recent decades.

As was nearly always the case with Hirschman’s writing, he made his argument without mathematical formulas or complex models. His subject was economics, but his spirit was literary. He drew on Brecht, Kafka, Freud, Flaubert, La Rochefoucauld, Montesquieu, Montaigne, and Machiavelli, not to mention Homer—he had committed huge sections of the Odyssey to memory.

The pleasure of reading Hirschman comes not only from the originality of his conclusions but also from the delightfully idiosyncratic path he took to them. Consider this, from the same essay (and, remember, this is an economist who’s writing):

“While we are rather willing and even eager and relieved to agree with a historian’s finding that we stumbled into the more shameful events of history, such as war, we are correspondingly unwilling to concede—in fact we find it intolerable to imagine—that our more lofty achievements, such as economic, social or political progress, could have come about by stumbling rather than through careful planning. . . . Language itself conspires toward this sort of asymmetry: we fall into error, but do not usually speak of falling into truth.

Worldly Philosopher: The Odyssey of Albert O. Hirschman” (Princeton), by the Princeton historian Jeremy Adelman, is a biography worthy of the man. Adelman brilliantly and beautifully brings Hirschman to life, giving us an unforgettable portrait of one of the twentieth century’s most extraordinary intellectuals.

Hirschman was born in Berlin in 1915, into a prosperous family of Jewish origin. His father was a surgeon, and the family lived in the embassy district, near the Tiergarten. Hirschman was slender and handsome, in the mold of Albert Camus. He dressed elegantly, danced skillfully, spoke half a dozen languages, and had a special affection for palindromes.

He was absent-minded and distracted. While lecturing, Adelman writes, “He rambled. He mumbled. Mid-sentence, he would pause, his right hand supporting his chin, his eyes drifting upward to fasten on a spot on the ceiling.” He would call his wife upon taking his car somewhere because—as he once said—“I do not know how to put it among two other cars on the sidewalk.” “When you spoke to him,” a friend said, “it was sometimes five or ten seconds before he would show any sign of having heard you.” He was also deeply charming when he put his mind to it.

The great influence on Hirschman’s life was his brother-in-law, the Italian intellectual Eugenio Colorni. Colorni and Hirschman were as close as siblings, and when Colorni was killed by Fascist thugs in Rome, during the Second World War, Hirschman was inconsolable. Adelman writes:

“Colorni believed that doubt was creative because it allowed for alternative ways to see the world, and seeing alternatives could steer people out of intractable circles and self-feeding despondency. Doubt, in fact, could motivate: freedom from ideological constraints opened up political strategies, and accepting the limits of what one could know liberated agents from their dependence on the belief that one had to know everything before acting, that conviction was a precondition for action.

The phrase that Hirschman and Colorni would repeat to each other was that they hoped to “prove Hamlet wrong.” Hamlet shouldn’t have been frozen by his doubts; he should have been freed by them. Hamlet took himself too seriously. He thought he needed to be perfect. Colorni and Hirschman didn’t. Courage, Colorni wrote, required the willingness “to always be on guard against oneself.”

Doubt didn’t mean disengagement.

In the summer of 1936, Hirschman volunteered to fight in Spain on the side of the Loyalists, against General Franco’s German-backed Fascists. He was twenty-one and living in Paris, having just got back from studying at the London School of Economics. He was among the first wave of German and Italian volunteers to take the train to Barcelona. “When I heard that there was even a possibility to do something,” Hirschman said, “I went.”

Hirschman rarely spoke about what happened in Spain. Decades later, Adelman recounts, Albert and his wife, Sarah, went to see a film about the Spanish Civil War. Afterward, Sarah asked Albert, “Was it like that?” His response was a deft non-response: “Yeah, that was a pretty good film.” On this subject, as on a few others, Sarah felt a certain reticence in her husband. Still, as Adelman remarks, “the scars on his neck and leg made it impossible for her to forget.”

Adelman interprets Hirschman’s silence as disenchantment: “The endless debate rehearsed in Berlin and Paris over left-wing tactics was more than a farce, it was a tragedy of epic proportions.

Hirschman saw the Communists move in and, in his mind, the spirit of the cause became contaminated. It broke his heart. But Hirschman would come to recognize that action fueled by doubt allows for failures to be left behind. Spain was a tragedy, but it was also, for him, an experiment, and experiments go awry.

Hirschman liked to say that he had “a propensity to self-subversion.” He even gave one of his books that title. He qualified and questioned and hedged as a matter of habit. He never trusted himself enough to indulge in grand theorizing. He pursued the “petite idée,” the attempt, as he said, “to come to an understanding of reality in portions, admitting that the angle may be subjective.”

Once, when a World Bank director sent him a paper that referred to the “Hirschman Doctrine,” Hirschman replied, “Unfortunately (or, I rather tend to think, fortunately), there is no Hirschman school of economic development and I cannot point to a large pool of disciples where one might fish out someone to work with you along those lines.”

Hirschman spent his career in constant motion.

After doing graduate training in London and Italy, fighting in Spain, and spending the first part of the war in France, he left for the United States, by which point he had begun to lose track of his own movements. “This makes my fourth—or is it fifth?—emigration,” he wrote to his mother. He accepted a fellowship at Berkeley (where he met the woman he would marry, Sarah Chapiro, another émigré), did a tour of duty for the O.S.S. in North Africa and Europe, and, with the war concluded, served a stint at the Federal Reserve Board, where he grew so unhappy that he would return home to his wife and two daughters in Chevy Chase, shut the door to his study, and bury himself in Kafka.

He worked for the Marshall Plan in Washington, providing, Adelman says, “the thinking behind the thinking,” only to be turned down for a transfer to Paris because of a failed national-security review. He was in his mid-thirties. On a whim, he packed up the family and moved to Bogotá, Colombia, where he worked on a project for the World Bank.

He crisscrossed Colombia with, Adelman writes, “pen in hand and paper handy, examining irrigation projects, talking to local bankers about their farm loans, and scribbling calculations about the costs of road building.”

Writing to her parents about the family’s decision to move to Colombia, which was then in the midst of a civil war, Sarah explained, “We both realize that you should think of the future—make plans for the children etc. But I think we both somehow feel that it is impossible to know what is best and that the present is so much more important—because if the present is solid and good it will be a surer basis for a good future than any plans that you can make.”

Most people would not have left a home in Chevy Chase and the security of a job in Washington to go to a Third World country where armed gangsters roamed the streets, because they would feel certain that Colombia was a mistake. Hirschman believed, as a matter of principle, that it was impossible to know whether Colombia would be a mistake.

As it happened, the 4 years the family spent in Bogotá were among its happiest. Hirschman returned to Latin America again and again during his career, and what he learned there provided the raw material for his most brilliant work. His doubt was a gift, not a curse.

Hirschman published his first important book, “The Strategy of Economic Development,” in 1958. He had returned from Colombia by then and was at Yale, and the book was an attempt to make sense of his experience of watching a country try to lift itself out of poverty.

At the time, he was reading deeply in the literature of psychology and psychoanalysis, and he became fascinated with the functional uses of negative emotions: frustration, aggression, and, in particular, anxiety. Obstacles led to frustration, and frustration to anxiety. No one wanted to be anxious. But wasn’t anxiety the most powerful motivator—the emotion capable of driving even the most reluctant party toward some kind of solution?

In the field of developmental economics, this was heretical. When people from organizations like the World Bank descended on Third World countries, they always tried to remove obstacles to development, to reduce economic anxiety and uncertainty. They wanted to build bridges and roads and airports and dams to insure that businesses and entrepreneurs encountered as few impediments as possible to growth. But, as Hirschman thought about case studies like the Karnaphuli Paper Mills and the Troy-Greenfield folly, he became convinced that his profession had it backward. His profession ought to embrace anxiety, and not seek to remove it.

As he wrote in a follow-up essay to “The Strategy of Economic Development”:

“Law and order and the absence of civil strife seem to be obvious preconditions for the gradual and patient accumulation of skills, capital and investors’ confidence that must be the foundation for economic progress. We are now told, however, that the presence of war-like Indians in North America and the permanent conflict between them and the Anglo-Saxon settlers was a great advantage, because it made necessary methodical, well-planned, and gradual advances toward an interior which always remained in close logistic and cultural contact with the established communities to the East.

In Brazil, on the contrary, the back-lands were open and virtually uncontested; the result was that once an excessively vast area had been occupied in an incredibly brief time span the pioneers became isolated and regressed economically and culturally.

The impulse of the developmental economist in those days would have been to remove the “impediments” to growth—to swoop in and have some powerful third party deal with the “war-like Indians.” But that would have turned North America into Brazil, and the pioneers would never have been forced to develop methodical, well-planned advances in logistical contact with the East.

Developing countries required more than capital.

They needed practice in making difficult economic decisions. Economic progress was the product of successful habits—and there is no better teacher, Hirschman felt, than a little adversity.

Hirschman would rather encourage settlers and entrepreneurs at the grass-roots level—and make them learn how to cope with those impediments themselves—than run the risk that aid might infantilize its recipient. He loved to tell the story of how, at a dinner party in a Latin American country, he struggled to track down the telephone number of a fellow-academic: “I asked whether there might be a chance that X would be listed in the telephone directory; this suggestion was shrugged off with the remark that the directory makes a point of listing only people who have either emigrated or died. . . .

The economist said that X must be both much in demand and hard to reach, as several people had inquired about how to get in touch with him within the past few days. The subject was dropped as hopeless, and everybody spent a pleasant evening.”

Back in his hotel room, Hirschman looked in the phone book, found his friend’s number, and got him on the line immediately.

A few years after publishing “The Strategy of Economic Development,” Hirschman was invited by the World Bank to conduct a survey of some of its projects. He drew up his own itinerary, which, typically, involved almost an entire circuit of the globe:

a power plant in El Salvador, roads in Ecuador, an irrigation project in Peru, pasture improvement in Uruguay, telecommunication in Ethiopia, power transmission in Uganda, an irrigation project in Sudan, railway modernization in Nigeria, the Damodar Valley Corporation in India, the Karnaphuli Paper Mills, an irrigation project in Thailand and another in the south of Italy.

Adelman is struck by the tone of optimism in Hirschman’s notes on his journey. The economist was interested in all the ways in which projects managed to succeed, both in spite of and because of the difficulties:

Instead of asking: what benefits [has] this project yielded, it would almost be more pertinent to ask: how many conflicts has it brought in its wake? How many crises has it occasioned and passed through? And these conflicts and crises should appear both on the benefit and the cost side, or sometimes on one—sometimes on the other, depending on the outcome (which cannot be known with precision for a long time, if ever).

Only Hirschman would circle the globe and be content to conclude that he couldn’t reach a conclusion—for a long time, if ever. He was a planner who really didn’t believe in planning. He wanted to remind other economists that a lot of the problems they tried to fix were either better off not being fixed or weren’t problems to begin with.

Late in life, Hirschman underwent surgery in Germany. When he emerged from anesthesia, he asked his surgeon, “Why are bananas bent?” The doctor shrugged. Hirschman, even then, could not resist a poke at his fellow economic planners: “Because nobody went to the jungle to adjust it and make it straight.”

While fighting for France during the Second World War, Hirschman persuaded his commander to give him false French papers and he became Albert Hermant. After the country fell to the Germans, Hirschman ended up in Marseilles, along with thousands of other refugees.

There he learned that an American named Varian Fry was coming to France as part of the Emergency Rescue Committee—an American group that sought to get as many Jewish refugees out of France as possible. Hirschman met Fry at the train station and took him back to the Hotel Splendide. They hit it off instantly.

Fry had access to U.S. visas. But he needed Hirschman’s help in figuring out escape routes into Spain, procuring false passports and identity papers, and smuggling in money to fund the operation. Hirschman was invaluable. He spoke Italian like an Italian and German like a German and French like a Frenchman, and had so many fake documents—including a card attesting to membership in the “Club for People Without Clubs”—that Fry joked he was “like a criminal who has too many alibis.”

Fry nicknamed Hirschman Beamish, on account of his irrepressible charm. Beginning in 1940, the Emergency Rescue Committee helped save thousands of people from the clutches of Fascism, among them Hannah Arendt, André Breton, Marc Chagall, Marcel Duchamp, Max Ernst, and Alma Mahler.

Hirschman was as reluctant to talk about his time in Marseilles as he was to talk about the battles he fought in the Spanish Civil War. As a fellow at Berkeley, in the early forties, he was placed in the International House, and the other graduate students urged him to speak about what had happened to him in Europe. “The newcomer sat there,” Adelman writes, “with his handkerchief twisted in his fingers, nervously waiting for the calls to pass.” Hirschman moved out of the International House as soon as he could. “I couldn’t stand being considered as sort of a wonder of the world or something like that,” he later recalled. “I just wanted to be myself.”

The closest Hirschman ever came to explaining his motives was in his most famous work, “Exit, Voice, and Loyalty,” and even then it was only by implication. Hirschman was interested in contrasting the two strategies that people have for dealing with badly performing organizations and institutions. “Exit” is voting with your feet, expressing your displeasure by taking your business elsewhere. “Voice” is staying put and speaking up, choosing to fight for reform from within. There is no denying where his heart lay.

Early in the book, Hirschman quoted the conservative economist Milton Friedman, who argued that school vouchers should replace the current public-school system. “Parents could express their views about schools directly, by withdrawing their children from one school and sending them to another, to a much greater extent than is now possible,”

Friedman wrote. “In general they can now take this step only by changing their place of residence. For the rest, they can express their views only through cumbrous political channels.”

This was, Hirschman wrote, a “near perfect example of the economist’s bias in favor of exit and against voice”:

In the first place, Friedman considers withdrawal or exit as the “direct” way of expressing one’s unfavorable views of an organization. A person less well trained in economics might naively suggest that the direct way of expressing views is to express them! Secondly, the decision to voice one’s views and efforts to make them prevail are contemptuously referred to by Friedman as a resort to “cumbrous political channels.” But what else is the political, and indeed the democratic, process than the digging, the use, and hopefully the slow improvement of these very channels?

Hirschman pointed out the ways in which “exit” failed to send a useful message to underperformers. Weren’t there cases where monopolists were relieved when their critics left? “Those who hold power in the lazy monopoly may actually have an interest in creating some limited opportunities for exit on the part of those whose voice might be uncomfortable,” he wrote.

The worst thing that ever happened to incompetent public-school districts was the growth of private schools: they siphoned off the kind of parents who would otherwise have agitated more strongly for reform.

Beneath Hirschman’s elegant sentences, you can hear a deeper argument. Exit is passive. It is silent protest. And silent protest, for him, is too easy. “Proving Hamlet wrong” was about the importance of acting in the face of doubt—but also of acting in the face of fear. Voice was courage. He went to fight Fascism in Spain. It ended in failure. When the Nazis came hunting for the Jews, he tried again. “Expanding the operation meant, increasingly, that Beamish’s work was in the streets, bars, and brothels of Marseilles, expanding the tentacles of the operation,” Adelman writes. “If the operation had a fixer, it was Beamish. It was a role he relished.”

Beamish screened the refugees, weeding out potential informers. He cajoled first the Czech, then the Polish, and, finally, the Lithuanian consuls into providing fake passports. He made deals with Marseilles mobsters and a shadowy Russian émigré to get money into France. He held secret meetings in brothels. Several times, he was nearly caught, but he charmed his way out of trouble.

When the authorities finally caught onto Hirschman, he escaped across the Pyrenees to Spain on foot, equipped with false Lithuanian papers. On the ship to America, he played Ping-Pong and chess, and romanced a young Czech woman.

As Adelman’s magnificent biography makes plain, it was hard not to fall for Albert Hirschman. A colleague from his Marseilles days remembered him, years later, as “a handsome fellow with rather soulful eyes . . . taking everything in, his head cocked slightly to one side. One of those German intellectuals, I thought, always trying to figure everything out.” ♦

And what are Lebanon Central Bank accounting gimmick faring with the government?

Note: Greek former finance minister Yanis Varoufakis said: Lebanese must have the courage to nationalize the banks and restructure the Central Bank, issue a new currency and desist from seeking IMF money…”

Les comptes de la Banque du Liban au menu de la réunion du gouvernement Diab Par Newsdesk Libnanews -2 juillet 20202 Après une controverse avec le chef de l’état sur le refus du ministre des Finances Ghazi Wazni de signer le contrat autorisant le cabinet Kroll, ce dossier est à nouveau sur la table du Conseil des Ministre cette fois-ci au Grand Sérail.

Cette réunion du gouvernement Hassan Diab sera en présence du gouverneur de la Banque du Liban Riad Salamé et du Président de l’Association des Banques du Liban Salim Sfeir.

Il s’agit, estiment les observateurs d’unifier la vision de la délégation libanaise concernant les pertes du secteur financier alors que l’audit détaillé devait précédemment y parvenir. Ce mardi, le ministre des finances Ghazi Wazni se serait opposé à la conduite de cet audit, indiquant que ses soutiens politiques s’y opposaient, sur fond de craintes de voir des données être communiquées à l’état hébreu.

Cependant, les experts estiment ces craintes infondées, la plupart des grands cabinets internationaux opérants également en Israël et signant des accords de confidentialité avec leurs clientèles. Ils estiment ainsi que le mouvement Amal et certains des partis avec qui il pourrait constituer une alliance pour faire tomber le gouvernement Diab pourrait plutôt être gêné par la découverte de certaines anomalies dans les comptes de la Banque du Liban.

Certaines sources proches du dossier estiment ainsi que les polémiques, quant aux nominations à la tête du fonds en charge de gérer les fonds détournés récupérés à un proche de Nabih Berri, pourraient ressurgir. Ce dernier, membre du conseil d’administration de la Banque du Liban et de la compagnie aérienne nationale MEA, aurait participé à certains détournements, soulignent ces mêmes sources.

Des négociations avec le FMI qui boutent toujours sur les estimations des pertes du secteur financier Ainsi, si l’Association des Banques du Liban, certains parlementaires, accusés d’être également actionnaires de banques privées par les négociateurs libanais qui sont démissionnaires tentent de minimiser les pertes du secteur financier à seulement 81 000 milliards de Livres Libanaises au taux de parité de 1507 LL/USD, le gouvernement estime ces pertes à 241 000 milliards de Livres Libanaises sur la base d’un taux de change de 3 600 LL/USD, des pertes proches des estimations du Fonds Monétaire International, alors qu’au marché noir, la parité de la livre libanaise dépasse le seuil des 9 000 LL/USD. Selon le FMI, les pertes du secteur bancaires seraient estimées à 90 milliards de dollars, impliquant des faillites d’établissements bancaires en cas d’échec des négociations.

La Banque du Liban estime que ces pertes financières seront réduites par les profits fiduciaires à venir, alors que l’Association des Banques du Liban avait déjà indiqué qu’elle en appellerait aux parlementaires pour bloquer le plan de sauvetage de l’économie libanaise.

La dégradation de la parité de la livre libanaise également sur la table Egalement, le gouvernement devrait aborder la question de la dégradation de la valeur de la Livre Libanaise face au dollar. Le Premier Ministre Hassan Diab avait déjà dénoncé la semaine dernière le gouverneur de la Banque du Liban, responsable selon lui de la chute de la monnaie nationale, sur fond de désaccord quant à l’obtention du prêt de 10 milliards de dollars que demande le Liban.

Lire la suite: https://libnanews.com/les-comptes-de-la-banque-du-liban-au-menu-de-la-reunion-du-gouvernement-diab/

The pandemic driving hundreds of millions of people toward starvation and poverty

By Ishaan TharoorSeptember 25, 2020 at 7:00 a.m. GMT+3

Financiers and traders on Wall Street may be starting to feel optimistic, but for most people the gloom is only deepening.

In the United States, thousands of people continue to die of covid-19 each week, while some 30 million people remain unemployed.

Industrial output and consumer spending are still well below pre-pandemic levels, with experts pointing to evidence of spiraling inequality as winter approaches.

In Europe, a second surge of infections has triggered warnings and shutdowns, compounding the continent’s economic jitters.

Yet the worst pain is centered in the developing world.

In recent weeks, a host of international organizations and agencies have sounded alarms over crises provoked by the novel coronavirus.

While many Western governments managed to hold the line through stimulus programs, poorer nations are floundering amid massive public debt and shortfalls in state revenue. All the while, the roughly 2 billion people who eke out a living in the world’s informal economies face varying degrees of deprivation.

David Beasley, the executive director of the U.N.’s World Food Program, warned during a Sept. 18 briefing that a “wave of hunger and famine still threatens to sweep across the globe.” He said his organization needed close to $5 billion to prevent 30 million people from dying of starvation.

According to the agency, some 135 million people around the world faced acute food insecurity before the pandemic, and that number is expected to double this year.

The World Bank says the pandemic may undermine international efforts to bring down the global extreme poverty rate to 3 percent by 2030 — and projects that existing poverty levels will grow this year for the first time since the 1990s.

Some 160 million people in Asia alone may be forced below the poverty line, according to the Asian Development Bank. In Latin America, that figure is around 45 million people, according to a recent U.N. study.

UNICEF, the U.N. Children’s Fund, calculated that 872 million students in 51 countries are unable to head back to their classrooms. More than half that number live in circumstances where remote learning is impossible — a scale that suggests a generational crisis in education.AD

As hospitals and clinics around the world remain swamped, UNICEF fears new declines in infant and maternal health. “When children are denied access to health services because the system is overrun, and when women are afraid to give birth at the hospital for fear of infection, they, too, may become casualties of COVID-19,” Henrietta Fore, UNICEF’s executive director, said in a statement.

“Without urgent investments to re-start disrupted health systems and services, millions of children under five, especially newborns, could die.

Campaigners who have led the charge to reach the U.N.’s poverty-eradicating “sustainable development goals” warn of an epochal reversal. “We have celebrated decades of historic progress in fighting poverty and disease,” wrote Bill and Melinda Gates in their foundation’s annual “Goalkeepers” report. “But we have to confront the current reality with candor: This progress has now stopped.”

Even with the $18 trillion of stimulus pumped into the global economy, mostly by wealthy governments, the International Monetary Fund projects a cumulative loss of some $12 trillion by the end of 2021.

separate study from the International Labor Organization, a Geneva-based U.N. body, found that the pandemic has already wiped out $3.5 trillion in income from millions of workers around the world. By the ILO’s calculations, projected global working-hour losses in 2020 will be the equivalent of some 245 million lost jobs.

Coronavirus death toll hits 1 million

Some of the worst-hit places are in countries that cannot afford such setbacks. “India’s economic output shrank by 24% in the three months to June compared to the same period last year, worse than any other major economy,” my colleagues Niha Masih and Joanna Slater wrote in a report on Indian university graduates scrambling for meager wages through a government-run rural labor program.

“During the nationwide lockdown, more than 120 million jobs were lost, most of them in the country’s vast informal sector. Many of those workers have returned to work out of sheer necessity, often scraping by on far lower wages.”AD

In Latin America, the economic disaster may be just as acute, if not more so. Leading U.N. officials warn of a “lost decade” in the region, with spiking poverty and entrenched recessions.

The ILO pointed to a “stimulus gap” between rich and poorer countries. “Just as we need to redouble our efforts to beat the virus, so we need to act urgently and at scale to overcome its economic, social and employment impacts,” Guy Ryder, the ILO secretary general, said in a statement. “That includes sustaining support for jobs, businesses and incomes.

By Ishaan TharoorSeptember 25, 2020 at 7:00 a.m. GMT+3

You’re reading an excerpt from the Today’s WorldView newsletter. Sign up to get the rest, including news from around the globe, interesting ideas and opinions to know sent to your inbox every weekday.

Pastor Tito Matheus teaches children in an improvised classroom in a slum in Caracas, Venezuela, on Sept. 16. (Federico Parra/AFP/Getty Images)
Pastor Tito Matheus teaches children in an improvised classroom in a slum in Caracas, Venezuela, on Sept. 16. (Federico Parra/AFP/Getty Images)

Financiers and traders on Wall Street may be starting to feel optimistic, but for most people the gloom is only deepening. In the United States, thousands of people continue to die of covid-19 each week, while some 30 million people remain unemployed. Industrial output and consumer spending are still well below pre-pandemic levels, with experts pointing to evidence of spiraling inequality as winter approaches. In Europe, a second surge of infections has triggered warnings and shutdowns, compounding the continent’s economic jitters.

Yet the worst pain is centered in the developing world. In recent weeks, a host of international organizations and agencies have sounded alarms over crises provoked by the novel coronavirus. While many Western governments managed to hold the line through stimulus programs, poorer nations are floundering amid massive public debt and shortfalls in state revenue. All the while, the roughly 2 billion people who eke out a living in the world’s informal economies face varying degrees of deprivation.AD

David Beasley, the executive director of the U.N.’s World Food Program, warned during a Sept. 18 briefing that a “wave of hunger and famine still threatens to sweep across the globe.” He said his organization needed close to $5 billion to prevent 30 million people from dying of starvation. According to the agency, some 135 million people around the world faced acute food insecurity before the pandemic, and that number is expected to double this year.

The World Bank says the pandemic may undermine international efforts to bring down the global extreme poverty rate to 3 percent by 2030 — and projects that existing poverty levels will grow this year for the first time since the 1990s. Some 160 million people in Asia alone may be forced below the poverty line, according to the Asian Development Bank. In Latin America, that figure is around 45 million people, according to a recent U.N. study.

UNICEF, the U.N. Children’s Fund, calculated that 872 million students in 51 countries are unable to head back to their classrooms. More than half that number live in circumstances where remote learning is impossible — a scale that suggests a generational crisis in education.AD

As hospitals and clinics around the world remain swamped, UNICEF fears new declines in infant and maternal health. “When children are denied access to health services because the system is overrun, and when women are afraid to give birth at the hospital for fear of infection, they, too, may become casualties of COVID-19,” Henrietta Fore, UNICEF’s executive director, said in a statement. “Without urgent investments to re-start disrupted health systems and services, millions of children under five, especially newborns, could die.

”https://platform.twitter.com/embed/index.html?dnt=false&embedId=twitter-widget-0&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1309141159797837825&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.washingtonpost.com%2Fworld%2F2020%2F09%2F25%2Fpandemic-pushes-hundreds-millions-people-toward-starvation-poverty%2F&siteScreenName=WashingtonPost&theme=light&widgetsVersion=ed20a2b%3A1601588405575&width=550px

Campaigners who have led the charge to reach the U.N.’s poverty-eradicating “sustainable development goals” warn of an epochal reversal. “We have celebrated decades of historic progress in fighting poverty and disease,” wrote Bill and Melinda Gates in their foundation’s annual “Goalkeepers” report. “But we have to confront the current reality with candor: This progress has now stopped.”

Even with the $18 trillion of stimulus pumped into the global economy, mostly by wealthy governments, the International Monetary Fund projects a cumulative loss of some $12 trillion by the end of 2021. A separate study from the International Labor Organization, a Geneva-based U.N. body, found that the pandemic has already wiped out $3.5 trillion in income from millions of workers around the world. By the ILO’s calculations, projected global working-hour losses in 2020 will be the equivalent of some 245 million lost jobs.

Coronavirus death toll hits 1 million

Some of the worst-hit places are in countries that cannot afford such setbacks. “India’s economic output shrank by 24 percent in the three months to June compared to the same period last year, worse than any other major economy,” my colleagues Niha Masih and Joanna Slater wrote in a report on Indian university graduates scrambling for meager wages through a government-run rural labor program. “During the nationwide lockdown, more than 120 million jobs were lost, most of them in the country’s vast informal sector. Many of those workers have returned to work out of sheer necessity, often scraping by on far lower wages.”AD

In Latin America, the economic disaster may be just as acute, if not more so. Leading U.N. officials warn of a “lost decade” in the region, with spiking poverty and entrenched recessions. The ILO pointed to a “stimulus gap” between rich and poorer countries. “Just as we need to redouble our efforts to beat the virus, so we need to act urgently and at scale to overcome its economic, social and employment impacts,” Guy Ryder, the ILO secretary general, said in a statement. “That includes sustaining support for jobs, businesses and incomes.”https://platform.twitter.com/embed/index.html?dnt=false&embedId=twitter-widget-1&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1306713315759009797&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.washingtonpost.com%2Fworld%2F2020%2F09%2F25%2Fpandemic-pushes-hundreds-millions-people-toward-starvation-poverty%2F&siteScreenName=WashingtonPost&theme=light&widgetsVersion=ed20a2b%3A1601588405575&width=550px

But it’s unclear how much more wealthy governments are willing to give in the face of their own budget crunches. “Developing countries have been exposed to manifold shocks in a context of anaemic global growth,” Stephanie Blankenburg, the head of debt and development finance at the U.N. Conference on Trade and Development, told the Financial Times. “The international response has been extraordinarily hesitant — way too little, way too late.”

The focus may have to fall on private donors. “Worldwide, there are over 2,000 billionaires with a net worth of $8 trillion. In my home country, the USA, there are 12 individuals alone worth $1 trillion,” said Beasley of WFP. “In fact, reports state that three of them made billions upon billions during COVID. I am not opposed to people making money, but humanity is facing the greatest crisis any of us have seen in our lifetimes.”

Read more:

In Denmark, the forest is the new classroom

Trump and Xi clash as U.N. marks a gloomy 75th birthday

Bolivia’s left could win an upcoming election. U.S. Democrats don’t want a repeat of last year’s crisis.Updated October 2, 2020

Coronavirus: What you need to read

The Washington Post is providing some coronavirus coverage free, including:

The latest: Live updates on coronavirus

Coronavirus maps: Cases and deaths in the U.S. | Cases and deaths worldwide

What you need to know: Vaccine tracker | Coronavirus etiquette | Summertime activities & coronavirus | Hand sanitizer recall | Your life at home | Personal finance guide | Make your own fabric mask | Follow all of our coronavirus coverage and sign up for our free newsletter.

How to help: Your community | Seniors | Restaurants | Keep at-risk people in mind

Asked and answered: What readers want to know about coronavirus

Have you been hospitalized for covid-19Tell us whether you’ve gotten a bill.15 Comments

Ishaan TharoorIshaan Tharoor is a columnist on the foreign desk of The Washington Post, where he authors the Today’s WorldView newsletter and column. He previously was a senior editor and correspondent at Time magazine, based first in Hong Kong and later in New York.FollowMore from The Post

Today’s Headlines

The most important news stories of the day, curated by Post editors and delivered every morning.

By signing up you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy PolicyPAID PROMOTED STORIES

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The pandemic pushes hundreds of millions of people toward starvation and poverty

By Ishaan TharoorSeptember 25, 2020 at 7:00 a.m. GMT+3

Financiers and traders on Wall Street may be starting to feel optimistic, but for most people the gloom is only deepening.

In the United States, thousands of people continue to die of covid-19 each week, while some 30 million people remain unemployed.

Industrial output and consumer spending are still well below pre-pandemic levels, with experts pointing to evidence of spiraling inequality as winter approaches.

In Europe, a second surge of infections has triggered warnings and shutdowns, compounding the continent’s economic jitters.

Yet the worst pain is centered in the developing world.

In recent weeks, a host of international organizations and agencies have sounded alarms over crises provoked by the novel coronavirus. While many Western governments managed to hold the line through stimulus programs, poorer nations are floundering amid massive public debt and shortfalls in state revenue. All the while, the roughly 2 billion people who eke out a living in the world’s informal economies face varying degrees of deprivation.AD

David Beasley, the executive director of the U.N.’s World Food Program, warned during a Sept. 18 briefing that a “wave of hunger and famine still threatens to sweep across the globe.” He said his organization needed close to $5 billion to prevent 30 million people from dying of starvation. According to the agency, some 135 million people around the world faced acute food insecurity before the pandemic, and that number is expected to double this year.

The World Bank says the pandemic may undermine international efforts to bring down the global extreme poverty rate to 3 percent by 2030 — and projects that existing poverty levels will grow this year for the first time since the 1990s. Some 160 million people in Asia alone may be forced below the poverty line, according to the Asian Development Bank. In Latin America, that figure is around 45 million people, according to a recent U.N. study.

UNICEF, the U.N. Children’s Fund, calculated that 872 million students in 51 countries are unable to head back to their classrooms. More than half that number live in circumstances where remote learning is impossible — a scale that suggests a generational crisis in education.AD

As hospitals and clinics around the world remain swamped, UNICEF fears new declines in infant and maternal health. “When children are denied access to health services because the system is overrun, and when women are afraid to give birth at the hospital for fear of infection, they, too, may become casualties of COVID-19,” Henrietta Fore, UNICEF’s executive director, said in a statement. “Without urgent investments to re-start disrupted health systems and services, millions of children under five, especially newborns, could die.”https://platform.twitter.com/embed/index.html?dnt=false&embedId=twitter-widget-0&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1309141159797837825&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.washingtonpost.com%2Fworld%2F2020%2F09%2F25%2Fpandemic-pushes-hundreds-millions-people-toward-starvation-poverty%2F&siteScreenName=WashingtonPost&theme=light&widgetsVersion=ed20a2b%3A1601588405575&width=550px

Campaigners who have led the charge to reach the U.N.’s poverty-eradicating “sustainable development goals” warn of an epochal reversal. “We have celebrated decades of historic progress in fighting poverty and disease,” wrote Bill and Melinda Gates in their foundation’s annual “Goalkeepers” report. “But we have to confront the current reality with candor: This progress has now stopped.”

Even with the $18 trillion of stimulus pumped into the global economy, mostly by wealthy governments, the International Monetary Fund projects a cumulative loss of some $12 trillion by the end of 2021. A separate study from the International Labor Organization, a Geneva-based U.N. body, found that the pandemic has already wiped out $3.5 trillion in income from millions of workers around the world. By the ILO’s calculations, projected global working-hour losses in 2020 will be the equivalent of some 245 million lost jobs.

Coronavirus death toll hits 1 million

Some of the worst-hit places are in countries that cannot afford such setbacks. “India’s economic output shrank by 24 percent in the three months to June compared to the same period last year, worse than any other major economy,” my colleagues Niha Masih and Joanna Slater wrote in a report on Indian university graduates scrambling for meager wages through a government-run rural labor program. “During the nationwide lockdown, more than 120 million jobs were lost, most of them in the country’s vast informal sector. Many of those workers have returned to work out of sheer necessity, often scraping by on far lower wages.”AD

In Latin America, the economic disaster may be just as acute, if not more so. Leading U.N. officials warn of a “lost decade” in the region, with spiking poverty and entrenched recessions. The ILO pointed to a “stimulus gap” between rich and poorer countries. “Just as we need to redouble our efforts to beat the virus, so we need to act urgently and at scale to overcome its economic, social and employment impacts,” Guy Ryder, the ILO secretary general, said in a statement. “That includes sustaining support for jobs, businesses and incomes.”https://platform.twitter.com/embed/index.html?dnt=false&embedId=twitter-widget-1&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1306713315759009797&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.washingtonpost.com%2Fworld%2F2020%2F09%2F25%2Fpandemic-pushes-hundreds-millions-people-toward-starvation-poverty%2F&siteScreenName=WashingtonPost&theme=light&widgetsVersion=ed20a2b%3A1601588405575&width=550px

But it’s unclear how much more wealthy governments are willing to give in the face of their own budget crunches. “Developing countries have been exposed to manifold shocks in a context of anaemic global growth,” Stephanie Blankenburg, the head of debt and development finance at the U.N. Conference on Trade and Development, told the Financial Times. “The international response has been extraordinarily hesitant — way too little, way too late.”

The focus may have to fall on private donors. “Worldwide, there are over 2,000 billionaires with a net worth of $8 trillion. In my home country, the USA, there are 12 individuals alone worth $1 trillion,” said Beasley of WFP. “In fact, reports state that three of them made billions upon billions during COVID. I am not opposed to people making money, but humanity is facing the greatest crisis any of us have seen in our lifetimes.”

Read more:

In Denmark, the forest is the new classroom

Trump and Xi clash as U.N. marks a gloomy 75th birthday

Bolivia’s left could win an upcoming election. U.S. Democrats don’t want a repeat of last year’s crisis.Updated October 2, 2020

Coronavirus: What you need to read

The Washington Post is providing some coronavirus coverage free, including:

The latest: Live updates on coronavirus

Coronavirus maps: Cases and deaths in the U.S. | Cases and deaths worldwide

What you need to know: Vaccine tracker | Coronavirus etiquette | Summertime activities & coronavirus | Hand sanitizer recall | Your life at home | Personal finance guide | Make your own fabric mask | Follow all of our coronavirus coverage and sign up for our free newsletter.

How to help: Your community | Seniors | Restaurants | Keep at-risk people in mind

Asked and answered: What readers want to know about coronavirus

Have you been hospitalized for covid-19Tell us whether you’ve gotten a bill.15 Comments

Ishaan TharoorIshaan Tharoor is a columnist on the foreign desk of The Washington Post, where he authors the Today’s WorldView newsletter and column. He previously was a senior editor and correspondent at Time magazine, based first in Hong Kong and later in New York.FollowMore from The Post

Today’s Headlines

The most important news stories of the day, curated by Post editors and delivered every morning.

By signing up you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy PolicyPAID PROMOTED STORIES

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By signing up you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy PolicyPodcastPost ReportsThe Washington Post’s daily podcast: unparalleled reports, expert insight, clear analysis. For your ears.Add to Apple PodcastsGoogle PodcastsAbout Us

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washingtonpost.com © 1996-2020 The Washington Post

Financiers and traders on Wall Street may be starting to feel optimistic, but for most people the gloom is only deepening. In the United States, thousands of people continue to die of covid-19 each week, while some 30 million people remain unemployed. Industrial output and consumer spending are still well below pre-pandemic levels, with experts pointing to evidence of spiraling inequality as winter approaches. In Europe, a second surge of infections has triggered warnings and shutdowns, compounding the continent’s economic jitters.

Yet the worst pain is centered in the developing world. In recent weeks, a host of international organizations and agencies have sounded alarms over crises provoked by the novel coronavirus. While many Western governments managed to hold the line through stimulus programs, poorer nations are floundering amid massive public debt and shortfalls in state revenue. All the while, the roughly 2 billion people who eke out a living in the world’s informal economies face varying degrees of deprivation.AD

David Beasley, the executive director of the U.N.’s World Food Program, warned during a Sept. 18 briefing that a “wave of hunger and famine still threatens to sweep across the globe.” He said his organization needed close to $5 billion to prevent 30 million people from dying of starvation. According to the agency, some 135 million people around the world faced acute food insecurity before the pandemic, and that number is expected to double this year.

The World Bank says the pandemic may undermine international efforts to bring down the global extreme poverty rate to 3 percent by 2030 — and projects that existing poverty levels will grow this year for the first time since the 1990s. Some 160 million people in Asia alone may be forced below the poverty line, according to the Asian Development Bank. In Latin America, that figure is around 45 million people, according to a recent U.N. study.

UNICEF, the U.N. Children’s Fund, calculated that 872 million students in 51 countries are unable to head back to their classrooms. More than half that number live in circumstances where remote learning is impossible — a scale that suggests a generational crisis in education.AD

As hospitals and clinics around the world remain swamped, UNICEF fears new declines in infant and maternal health. “When children are denied access to health services because the system is overrun, and when women are afraid to give birth at the hospital for fear of infection, they, too, may become casualties of COVID-19,” Henrietta Fore, UNICEF’s executive director, said in a statement. “Without urgent investments to re-start disrupted health systems and services, millions of children under five, especially newborns, could die.”https://platform.twitter.com/embed/index.html?dnt=false&embedId=twitter-widget-0&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1309141159797837825&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.washingtonpost.com%2Fworld%2F2020%2F09%2F25%2Fpandemic-pushes-hundreds-millions-people-toward-starvation-poverty%2F&siteScreenName=WashingtonPost&theme=light&widgetsVersion=ed20a2b%3A1601588405575&width=550px

Campaigners who have led the charge to reach the U.N.’s poverty-eradicating “sustainable development goals” warn of an epochal reversal. “We have celebrated decades of historic progress in fighting poverty and disease,” wrote Bill and Melinda Gates in their foundation’s annual “Goalkeepers” report. “But we have to confront the current reality with candor: This progress has now stopped.”

Even with the $18 trillion of stimulus pumped into the global economy, mostly by wealthy governments, the International Monetary Fund projects a cumulative loss of some $12 trillion by the end of 2021. A separate study from the International Labor Organization, a Geneva-based U.N. body, found that the pandemic has already wiped out $3.5 trillion in income from millions of workers around the world. By the ILO’s calculations, projected global working-hour losses in 2020 will be the equivalent of some 245 million lost jobs.

Coronavirus death toll hits 1 million

Some of the worst-hit places are in countries that cannot afford such setbacks. “India’s economic output shrank by 24 percent in the three months to June compared to the same period last year, worse than any other major economy,” my colleagues Niha Masih and Joanna Slater wrote in a report on Indian university graduates scrambling for meager wages through a government-run rural labor program. “During the nationwide lockdown, more than 120 million jobs were lost, most of them in the country’s vast informal sector. Many of those workers have returned to work out of sheer necessity, often scraping by on far lower wages.”AD

In Latin America, the economic disaster may be just as acute, if not more so. Leading U.N. officials warn of a “lost decade” in the region, with spiking poverty and entrenched recessions. The ILO pointed to a “stimulus gap” between rich and poorer countries. “Just as we need to redouble our efforts to beat the virus, so we need to act urgently and at scale to overcome its economic, social and employment impacts,” Guy Ryder, the ILO secretary general, said in a statement. “That includes sustaining support for jobs, businesses and incomes.”https://platform.twitter.com/embed/index.html?dnt=false&embedId=twitter-widget-1&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1306713315759009797&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.washingtonpost.com%2Fworld%2F2020%2F09%2F25%2Fpandemic-pushes-hundreds-millions-people-toward-starvation-poverty%2F&siteScreenName=WashingtonPost&theme=light&widgetsVersion=ed20a2b%3A1601588405575&width=550px

But it’s unclear how much more wealthy governments are willing to give in the face of their own budget crunches. “Developing countries have been exposed to manifold shocks in a context of anaemic global growth,” Stephanie Blankenburg, the head of debt and development finance at the U.N. Conference on Trade and Development, told the Financial Times. “The international response has been extraordinarily hesitant — way too little, way too late.”

The focus may have to fall on private donors. “Worldwide, there are over 2,000 billionaires with a net worth of $8 trillion. In my home country, the USA, there are 12 individuals alone worth $1 trillion,” said Beasley of WFP. “In fact, reports state that three of them made billions upon billions during COVID. I am not opposed to people making money, but humanity is facing the greatest crisis any of us have seen in our lifetimes.”

All kinds of Human trafficking: Forced child labor, sweatshop factories, immigrants, house helpers, sex slavery

Human trafficking is the use of force, fraud or coercion to compel another person’s labor.

By Noy Thrupkaew http://www.ted.com

About 10 years ago, I went through a little bit of a hard time. So I decided to go see a therapist. 

I had been seeing her for a few months, and one day she asked: “Who actually raised you until you were three?” Seemed like a weird question.

I said, “My parents.” And she said, “I don’t think that’s actually the case; because if it were, we’d be dealing with things that are far more complicated than just this.”

It sounded like the setup to a joke, but I knew she was serious. When I first started seeing her, I was trying to be the funniest person in the room. And I would try and crack these jokes, but she caught on to me really quickly, and whenever I tried to make a joke, she would look at me and say, “That is actually really sad.” 

I knew I had to be serious, and I asked my parents who had actually raised me until I was three? And to my surprise, they said my primary caregiver had been a distant relative of the family. I had called her my auntie.

I remember my auntie so clearly, it felt like she had been part of my life when I was much older. 

I remember the thick, straight hair, and how it would come around me like a curtain when she bent to pick me up; her soft, southern Thai accent; the way I would cling to her, even if she just wanted to go to the bathroom or get something to eat. 

I loved her, but [with] the ferocity that a child has sometimes before she understands that love also requires letting go.

But my clearest and sharpest memory of my auntie, is also one of my first memories of life at all. I remember her being beaten and slapped by another member of my family

I remember screaming hysterically and wanting it to stop, as I did every single time it happened, for things as minor as wanting to go out with her friends, or being a little late. I became so hysterical over her treatment, that eventually, she was just beaten behind closed doors.

Things got so bad for her that eventually she ran away

As an adult, I learned later that she had been just 19 when she was brought over from Thailand to the States to care for me, on a tourist visa. She wound up working in Illinois for a time, before eventually returning to Thailand, which is where I ran into her again, at a political rally in Bangkok. 

I clung to her again, as I had when I was a child, and I let go, and then I promised that I would call. I never did, though: I was afraid if I said everything that she meant to me — that I owed perhaps the best parts of who I became to her care, and that the words “I’m sorry” were like a thimble to bail out all the guilt and shame and rage I felt over everything she had endured to care for me for as long as she had.

I thought if I said those words to her, I would never stop crying again. Because she had saved me. And I had not saved her.

I’m a journalist, and I’ve been writing and researching human trafficking for the past 8 years,  and even so, I never put together this personal story with my professional life until pretty recently. 

I think this profound disconnect actually symbolizes most of our understanding about human trafficking. 

Human trafficking is far more prevalent, complex and close to home than most of us realize.

I spent time in jails and brothels, interviewed hundreds of survivors and law enforcement, NGO workers. And when I think about what we’ve done about human trafficking, I am hugely disappointed. Partly because we don’t even talk about the problem right at all.

When I say “human trafficking,” most of you probably don’t think about someone like my auntie. You probably think about a young girl or woman, who’s been brutally forced into prostitution by a violent pimp. That is real suffering, and that is a real story. That story makes me angry for far more than just the reality of that situation, though.

As a journalist, I really care about how we relate to each other through language, and the way we tell that story, with all the gory, violent detail, the salacious aspects — I call that “look at her scars” journalism.

We use that story to convince ourselves that human trafficking is a bad man doing a bad thing to an innocent girl. That story lets us off the hook: “I am Not a bad person. It shouldn’t be my problem”…

It takes away all the societal context that we might be indicted for, for the structural inequality, or the poverty, or the barriers to migration. 

We let ourselves think that human trafficking is only about forced prostitution, when in reality, human trafficking is embedded in our everyday lives.

Forced prostitution accounts for 22% of human trafficking.  10% is in “state- imposed forced labor” and 68 % is for the purpose of creating the goods and delivering the services that most of us rely on every day, in sectors like agricultural work, domestic work and construction.

That is food and care and shelter. And somehow, these most essential workers are also among the world’s most underpaid and exploited today. Human trafficking is the use of force, fraud or coercion to compel another person’s labor.

And it’s found in cotton fields, and coltan mines, and even car washes in Norway and England. It’s found in U.S. military bases in Iraq and Afghanistan.

It’s found in Thailand’s fishing industry. That country has become the largest exporter of shrimp in the world. But what are the circumstances behind all that cheap and plentiful shrimp? 

Thai military were caught selling Burmese and Cambodian migrants onto fishing boats. Those fishing boats were taken out, the men put to work, and they were thrown overboard if they made the mistake of falling sick, or trying to resist their treatment. 

Those fish were then used to feed shrimp, The shrimp were then sold to 4 major global retailers: Costco, Tesco, Walmart and Carrefour.

Human trafficking is found in places you would never even imagine.

Traffickers have forced young people to drive ice cream trucks, or to sing in touring boys’ choirs. Trafficking has even been found in a hair braiding salon in New Jersey.

The scheme in that case was incredible. The traffickers found young families who were from Ghana and Togo, and they told these families that “your daughters are going to get a fine education in the United States.”

They then located winners of the green card lottery, and they told them, “We’ll help you out. We’ll get you a plane ticket. We’ll pay your fees. All you have to do is take this young girl with you, say that she’s your sister or your spouse. 

Once everyone arrived in New Jersey, the young girls were taken away, and put to work for 14-hour days, 7 days a week, for five years. They made their traffickers nearly 4 million dollars.

hat have we done about it? We’ve mostly turned to the criminal justice system. But keep in mind, most victims of human trafficking are poor and marginalized. They’re migrants, people of color. Sometimes they’re in the sex trade.

And for populations like these, the criminal justice system is too often part of the problem, rather than the solution.

In study after study, in countries ranging from Bangladesh to the United States, between 20 and 60% of the people in the sex trade who were surveyed said that they had been raped or assaulted by the police in the past year alone.

People in prostitution, including people who have been trafficked into it, regularly receive multiple convictions for prostitution. Having that criminal record makes it so much more difficult to leave poverty, leave abuse, or leave prostitution, if that person so desires.

Workers outside of the sex sector — if they try and resist their treatment, they risk deportation.

In case after case I’ve studied, employers have no problem calling on law enforcement to try and threaten or deport their striking trafficked workers. If those workers run away, they risk becoming part of the great mass of undocumented workers who are also subject to the whims of law enforcement if they’re caught.

 Law enforcement is supposed to identify victims and prosecute traffickers. But out of an estimated 21 million victims of human trafficking in the world, they have helped and identified fewer than 50,000 people.

That’s like comparing the population of the world to the population of Los Angeles, proportionally speaking. As for convictions, out of an estimated 5,700 convictions in 2013, fewer than 500 were for labor trafficking.

Keep in mind that labor trafficking accounts for 68 percent of all trafficking, but fewer than 10 percent of the convictions.

10:13 I’ve heard one expert say that trafficking happens where need meets greed.

I’d like to add one more element to that. Trafficking happens in sectors where workers are excluded from protections, and denied the right to organize.

Trafficking doesn’t happen in a vacuum. It happens in systematically degraded work environments.

You might be thinking, oh, she’s talking about failed states, or war-torn states, or — I’m actually talking about the United States. Let me tell you what that looks like.

 I spent many months researching a trafficking case called Global Horizons, involving hundreds of Thai farm workers. They were sent all over the States, to work in Hawaii pineapple plantations, and Washington apple orchards, and anywhere the work was needed.

They were promised three years of solid agricultural work. So they made a calculated risk. They sold their land, they sold their wives’ jewelry, to make thousands in recruitment fees for this company, Global Horizons. 

But once they were brought over, their passports were confiscated. Some of the men were beaten and held at gunpoint. They worked so hard they fainted in the fields. This case hit me so hard.

After I came back home, I was wandering through the grocery store, and I froze in the produce department. I was remembering the over-the-top meals the Global Horizons survivors would make for me every time I showed up to interview them. 

They finished one meal with this plate of perfect, long-stemmed strawberries, and as they handed them to me, they said, “Aren’t these the kind of strawberries you eat with somebody special in the States? And don’t they taste so much better when you know the people whose hands picked them for you?”

As I stood in that grocery store weeks later, I realized I had no idea of who to thank for this plenty, and no idea of how they were being treated.

So, like the journalist I am, I started digging into the agricultural sector. And I found there are too many fields, and too few labor inspectors.

I found multiple layers of plausible deniability between grower and distributor and processor, and God knows who else.

The Global Horizons survivors had been brought to the States on a temporary guest worker program. That guest worker program ties a person’s legal status to his or her employer, and denies that worker the right to organize. 

Mind you, none of what I am describing about this agricultural sector or the guest worker program is actually human trafficking. It is merely what we find legally tolerable. And I would argue this is fertile ground for exploitation. And all of this had been hidden to me, before I had tried to understand it. (No different of what’s happening in Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the Arab Emirates)

 I wasn’t the only person grappling with these issues. Pierre Omidyar, founder of eBay, is one of the biggest anti-trafficking philanthropists in the world. And even he wound up accidentally investing nearly 10 million dollars in the pineapple plantation cited as having the worst working conditions in that Global Horizons case.

When Omidyar found out, he and his wife were shocked and horrified, and they wound up writing an op-ed for a newspaper, saying that it was up to all of us to learn everything we can about the labor and supply chains of the products that we support. I totally agree.

13:52 What would happen if each one of us decided that we are no longer going to support companies if they don’t eliminate exploitation from their labor and supply chains?

If we demanded laws calling for the same? If all the CEOs out there decided that they were going to go through their businesses and say, “no more”?

If we ended recruitment fees for migrant workers?

If we decided that guest workers should have the right to organize without fear of retaliation?

These would be decisions heard around the world. This isn’t a matter of buying a fair-trade peach and calling it a day, buying a guilt-free zone with your money. That’s not how it works.

This is the decision to change a system that is broken, and that we have unwittingly but willingly allowed ourselves to profit from and benefit from for too long.

We often dwell on human trafficking survivors’ victimization. But that is not my experience of them.

Over all the years that I’ve been talking to them, they have taught me that we are more than our worst days. Each one of us is more than what we have lived through. Especially trafficking survivors.

These people were the most resourceful and resilient and responsible in their communities. They were the people that you would take a gamble on. You’d say, I’m gong to sell my rings, because I have the chance to send you off to a better future. They were the emissaries of hope.

15:28 These survivors don’t need saving. They need solidarity, because they’re behind some of the most exciting social justice movements out there today.

The nannies and housekeepers who marched with their families and their employers’ families — their activism got us an international treaty on domestic workers’ rights.

The Nepali women who were trafficked into the sex trade — they came together, and they decided that they were going to make the world’s first anti-trafficking organization actually headed and run by trafficking survivors themselves.

These Indian shipyard workers were trafficked to do post-Hurricane Katrina reconstruction. They were threatened with deportation, but they broke out of their work compound and they marched from New Orleans to Washington, D.C., to protest labor exploitation. 

They cofounded an organization called the National Guest Worker Alliance, and through this organization, they have wound up helping other workers bring to light exploitation and abuses in supply chains in Walmart and Hershey’s factories.

And although the Department of Justice declined to take their case, a team of civil rights lawyers won the first of a dozen civil suits this February, and got their clients 14 million dollars.

16:49 These survivors are fighting for people they don’t even know yet, other workers, and for the possibility of a just world for all of us. This is our chance to do the same.

This is our chance to make the decision that tells us who we are, as a people and as a society; that our prosperity is no longer prosperity, as long as it is pinned to other people’s pain; that our lives are inextricably woven together; and that we have the power to make a different choice.

17:25 I was so reluctant to share my story of my auntie with you. Before I started this TED process and climbed up on this stage, I had told literally a handful of people about it, because, like many a journalist, I am far more interested in learning about your stories than sharing much, if anything, about my own.

I also haven’t done my journalistic due diligence on this. I haven’t issued my mountains of document requests, and interviewed everyone and their mother, and I haven’t found my auntie yet. I don’t know her story of what happened, and of her life now.

The story as I’ve told it to you is messy and unfinished. But I think it mirrors the messy and unfinished situation we’re all in, when it comes to human trafficking.

We are all implicated in this problem. But that means we are all also part of its solution.

Figuring out how to build a more just world is our work to do, and our story to tell. So let us tell it the way we should have done, from the very beginning.

Let us tell this story together.Romy Assouad shared this link  from Shahd AlShehail

“This is our chance to make the decision that tells us who we are, as a people and as a society; that our prosperity is no longer prosperity, as long as it is pinned to other people’s pain; that our lives are inextricably woven together; and that we have the power to make a different choice.”

A powerful dose of reality

Human trafficking is all around you. This is how it works Behind the everyday bargains we all love — the $10 manicure, the unlimited shrimp buffet — is a hidden world of forced labor to keep those prices at rock bottom. Noy…http://www.ted.com|By Noy Thrupkaew

Is your volunteering work plainly a folly?

Suppose you are a professional and earning $300 per hour doing your work.

For example, a consultant of some kind, a photographer, a lawyer, a physician…

If you are a celebrity, showing up in a fund-raising event that you are passionate about, your volunteering of time might be a great move for publicity.

Otherwise, why volunteer your “precious time” to build birdhouses for endangered species if you have no carpentry skills?

With what you earn per hour, you can easily hire 6 professional carpenters who will produce dozens of well built birdhouses, instead of the lousy one you might be able to pull through

If you feel like volunteering time and effort, consider the jobs as a break in your routine life-style, from the tedious demands in your profession, a day of vacation to relax…

Volunteer folly does not correspond to volunteer work that may increase your skills and enlarge the sphere of your contacts…

Just don’t fall for these follies that corporate abuse new graduates to exploit their skills and talents for peanuts. (I have posted a few articles on the kinds of corporate abuse of graduate volunteers)

Many young people keep volunteering their time with Red Cross, Scout movement… way after they graduated instead of focusing on their career.

I guess this impulse of staying in close contact with the “tribe” is a mighty factor: we are unable to break free from our emotions and feeling secure.

Note: Read Rolf Dobelli (The Art of thinking clear)

Denying the Demonic

By Edward Curtin / April 20th, 2021

In March of last year as the coronavirus panic was starting, I wrote a somewhat flippant article saying that the obsession with buying and hoarding toilet paper was the people’s vaccine. 

My point was simple: excrement and death have long been associated in cultural history and in the Western imagination with the evil devil, Satan, the Lord of the underworld, the Trickster, the Grand Master who rules the pit of smelly death, the place below where bodies go.

The psychoanalytic literature is full of examples of death anxiety revealed in anal dreams of shit-filled overflowing toilets and people pissing in their pants. 

Ernest Becker put it simply in The Denial of Death:

No mistake – the turd is mankind’s real threat because it reminds people of death.

The theological literature is also full of warnings about the devil’s wiles. 

So too the Western classics from Aeschylus to Melville.

The demonic has an ancient pedigree and has various names. Rational people tend to dismiss all this as superstitious nonsense.  This is hubris. 

The Furies always exact their revenge when their existence is denied.  For they are part of ourselves, not alien beings, as the tragedy of human history has shown us time and again.

Since excremental visions and the fear of death haunt humans – the skull at the banquet as William James put it – the perfect symbol of protection is toilet paper that will keep you safe and clean and free of any reminder of the fear of death running through a panicked world. 

It’s a magic trick, of course, an unconscious way of thinking you are protecting yourself; a form of self-hypnosis.

One year later, magical thinking has taken a different form and my earlier flippancy has turned darker. You can’t hoard today’s toilet paper but you can get them: RNA inoculations, misnamed vaccines.

People are lined up for them now as they are being told incessantly to “get your shot.”  

They are worse than toilet paper. At least toilet paper serves a practical function.  Real vaccines, as the word’s etymology – Latin, vaccinus, from cows, the cowpox virus vaccine first used by British physician Edward Jenner in 1800 to prevent smallpox – involve the use of a small amount of a virus. 

The RNA inoculations are not vaccines.  To say they are is bullshit and has nothing to do with cows. To call them vaccines is linguistic mind control.

These experimental inoculations do not prevent the vaccinated from getting infected with the “virus” nor do they prevent transmission of the alleged virus.

When they were approved recently by the FDA that was made clear.  The FDA issued Emergency Use Authorizations (EUAs) for these inoculations only under the proviso that they may make an infection less severe.  Yet millions have obediently taken a shot that doesn’t do what they think it does.  What does that tell us?

Hundreds of millions of people have taken an injection that allows a bio-reactive “gene-therapy” molecule to be injected into their bodies because of fear, ignorance, and a refusal to consider that the people who are promoting this are evil and have ulterior motives. 

Not that they mean well, but that they are evil and have evil intentions.  Does this sound too extreme?  Radically evil?  Come on!

So what drives the refusal to consider that demonic forces are at work with the corona crisis?

Why do the same people who get vaccinated believe that a PCR test that can’t, according to its inventor Kary Mullis, test for this so-called virus, believe in the fake numbers of positive “cases”?  Do these people even know if the virus has ever been isolated?

Such credulity is an act of faith, not science or confirmed fact.

Is it just the fear of death that drives such thinking?

Or is it something deeper than ignorance and propaganda that drives this incredulous belief?

If you want facts, I will not provide them here. Despite the good intentions of people who still think facts matter, I don’t think most people are persuaded by facts anymore. But such facts are readily available from excellent alternative media publications. 

Global Research’s Michel Chossudovsky has released, free of charge, his comprehensive E-BookThe 2020-21 Worldwide Corona Crisis: Destroying Civil Society, Engineered Economic Depression, Global Coup D’Etat, and the “Great Reset.”  

It’s a good place to start if facts and analysis are what you are after.

Or go to Robert Kennedy, Jr. Childrens Health Defense, Off-GuardianDissident VoiceGlobal Research, among numerous others.

Perhaps you think these sites are right-wing propaganda because many articles they publish can also be read or heard at some conservative media. If so, you need to start thinking rather than reacting.

The entire mainstream political/media spectrum is right-wing, if you wish to use useless terms such as Left/Right.  I have spent my entire life being accused of being a left-wing nut, but now I am being told I am a right-wing nut even though my writing appears in many leftist publications.

Perhaps my accusers don’t know which way the screw turns or the nut loosens.  Being uptight and frightened doesn’t help.

I am interested in asking why so many people can’t accept that radical evil is real.  Is that a right-wing question?  Of course not.  It’s a human question that has been asked down through the ages.

I do think we are today in the grip of radical evil, demonic forces.

The refusal to see and accept this is not new.  As the eminent theologian, David Ray Griffin, has argued, the American Empire, with its quest for world domination and its long and ongoing slaughters at home and abroad, is clearly demonic; it is driven by the forces of death symbolized by Satan.

I have spent many years trying to understand why so many good people have refused to see and accept this and have needed to ply a middle course over many decades. The safe path. Believing in the benevolence of their rulers.  

When I say radical evil, I mean it in the deepest spiritual sense.  A religious sense, if you prefer.  But by religious I don’t mean institutional religions since so many of the institutional religions are complicit in the evil.

It has long been easy for Americans to accept the demonic nature of foreign leaders such as Hitler, Stalin, or Mao.  Easy, also, to accept the government’s attribution of such names as the “new Hitler” to any foreign leader it wishes to kill and overthrow.  But to consider their own political leaders as demonic is near impossible.

So let me begin with a few reminders.

The U.S. destruction of Iraq and the mass killings of Iraqis under George W. Bush beginning in 2003.  Many will say it was illegal, unjust, carried out under false pretenses, etc.  But who will say it was pure evil?

Who will say that Barack Obama’s annihilation of Libya was radical evil?

Who will say the atomic destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the firebombing of Tokyo and so many Japanese cities that killed hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians was radical evil?

Who will say the U.S. war against Syria is demonic evil?

Who will say the killing of millions of Vietnamese was radical evil?

Who will say the insider attacks of September 11, 2001 were demonic evil?

Who will say slavery, the genocide of native people, the secret medical experiments on the vulnerable, the CIA mind control experiments, the coups engineered throughout the world resulting in the mass murder of millions – who will say these are evil in the deepest sense?

Who will say the U.S. security state’s assassinations of JFK, Malcolm X, MLK, Jr., Robert Kennedy, Fred Hampton, et al. were radical evil?

Who will say the trillions spent on nuclear weapons and the willingness to use them to annihilate the human race is not the ultimate in radical evil?

This list could extend down the page endlessly.  Only someone devoid of all historical sense could conclude that the U.S. has not been in the grip of demonic forces for a long time.

If you can do addition, you will find the totals staggering.  They are overwhelming in their implications.

But to accept this history as radically evil in intent and not just in its consequences are two different things. 

I think so many find it so hard to admit that their leaders have intentionally done and do demonic deeds for two reasons. 

First, to do so implicates those who have supported these people or have not opposed them. It means they have accepted such radical evil and bear responsibility.  It elicits feelings of guilt.

Secondly, to believe that one’s own leaders are evil is next to impossible for many to accept because it suggests that the rational façade of society is a cover for sinister forces and that they live in a society of lies so vast the best option is to make believe it just isn’t so. 

Even when one can accept that evil deeds were committed in the past, even some perhaps intentionally, the tendency is to say “that was then, but things are different now.

Grasping the present when you are in it is not only difficult but often disturbing for it involves us.

So if I am correct and most Americans cannot accept that their leaders have intentionally done radically evil things, then it follows that to even consider questioning the intentions of the authorities regarding the current corona crisis needs to be self-censored. 

Additionally, as we all know, the authorities have undertaken a vast censorship operation so people cannot hear dissenting voices of those who have now been officially branded as domestic terrorists. The self-censorship and the official work in tandem.

There is so much information available that shows that the authorities at the World Health Organization, the CDC, The World Economic Forum, Big Pharma, governments throughout the world, etc. have gamed this crisis beforehand, have manipulated the numbers, lied, have conducted a massive fear propaganda campaign via their media mouthpieces, have imposed cruel lockdowns that have further enriched the wealthiest and economically and psychologically devastated vast numbers, etc.  Little research is needed to see this, to understand that Big Pharma is, as Dr. Peter Gøtzsche documented eight years ago in Deadly Medicines and Organized Crime: How Big Pharma Has Corrupted Healthcare, a world-wide criminal enterprise.  It takes but a few minutes to see that the pharmaceutical companies who have been given emergency authorization for these untested experimental non-vaccine “vaccines” have paid out billions of dollars to settle criminal and civil allegations.

It is an open secret that the WHO, the Gates Foundation, the WEF led by Klaus Schwab, and an interlocking international group of conspirators have plans for what they call The Great Reset, a strategy to use  the COVID-19 crisis to push their agenda to create a world of cyborgs living in cyberspace where artificial intelligence replaces people and human biology is wedded to technology under the control of the elites.  They have made it very clear that there are too many people on this planet and billions must die.  Details are readily available of this open conspiracy to create a transhuman world.

Is this not radical evil?  Demonic?

Let me end with an analogy.  There is another organized crime outfit that can only be called demonic – The Central Intelligence Agency.  One of its legendary officers was James Jesus Angleton, chief of Counterintelligence from 1954 until 1975.  He was a close associate of Allen Dulles, the longest serving director of the CIA.  Both men were deeply involved in many evil deeds, including bringing Nazi doctors and scientists into the U.S. to do the CIA’s dirty work, including mind control, bioweapons research, etc.  The stuff they did for Hitler.  As reported by David Talbot in The Devil’s Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of America’s Secret Government, when the staunch Catholic Angleton was on his deathbed, he gave an interviews to visiting journalists, including Joseph Trento.  He confessed:

He had not been serving God, after all, when he followed Allen Dulles.  He had been on a satanic quest….’Fundamentally, the founding fathers of U.S. intelligence were liars,’ he told Trento in an emotionless voice.  ‘The better you lied and the more you betrayed, the more likely you would be promoted…. Outside this duplicity, the only thing they had in common was a desire for absolute power.  I did things that, looking back on my life, I regret.  But I was part of it and loved being in it.’  He invoked the names of the high eminences who had run the CIA in his day – Dulles, Helms, Wisner.  These men were ‘the grand masters,’ he said.  ‘If you were in a room with them, you were in a room full of people that you had to believe would deservedly end up in hell.’  Angleton took another slow sip from his steaming cup.  ‘I guess I will see them there soon.’

Until we recognize the demonic nature of the hell we are now in, we too will be lost.  We are fighting for our lives and the spiritual salvation of the world.  Do not succumb to the siren songs of these fathers of lies.

Resist.

Edward Curtin writes and his work appears widely. He is the author of Seeking Truth in a Country of LiesRead other articles by Edward, or visit Edward’s website.


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