Adonis Diaries

Archive for the ‘education methods/programs’ Category

Can Capitalist systems be reformed? Part 3.

Posted on September 26, 2010

In the previous two articles, I discussed the foundations of Capitalism, the variations in capitalist systems, communist/capitalism systems, the ideology of private property ownership, and the reforms needed.

This part will discuss the practical political and legal reforms needed if change is to be effective.  

First, let me summarize the last two articles.

One:  Capitalism is based on four  foundations:

  1. Private property of means of production;
  2. free internal people movement and exchange (products, services…);
  3. open free market for commerce; and
  4. availability of a vast pool of people willing to work for salary. The main driving force is that the owner of the means of production (the bank, the partners, the shareholder, or the family)  should earn as much as the total salary that all workers receive.  Consequently, an employee is hired when the owner can generate profit, at least as equal to the total salary of the hired worker.

Two:  The foundations of capitalism have proven not to function except within strong richer State institutions, which are almost totally controlled by the capitalist classes.

Three:  The one foundation that all economic systems in developed States share is free global trade, which means the liberty to exploiting the developing countries in natural resources and cheap labor. 

How this work and corollaries to capitalist systems:

First, the developed States are allowed to subsidize their agriculture, but the developing nations are Not to do it and they cannot, even if they realize the need to do it .

Second, the developed States are to flood the markets of developing countries with affordable products with No “legal rights” for the developing nations to increase import taxes in order to safeguarding their own means of productions.

Third, the developed States can find financial resources at low-interest rates with a phone call, but Not the developing nations that have to borrow at at least twice the interest rates.

Fourth, in return for blatant exploitation, the developed States agree “voluntarily” to setting aside a small fraction of their GNP to developing the infrastructures in the poorer States.  Mainly, self-serving their interests to improving infrastructure to facilitating exploitation efficiently.

Fifth:  All “international” institutions such as World Bank, International Monetary Fund, Commerce and Trades are dominated by the US, China, and a few European States. Thus, transparency and access to timely information and intelligence are denied the developing nations.

Sixth:  Financial institutions (banks, insurance companies…) are the real owner of means of production in capitalist systems.  They own 30% of the total wealth of a nation and represent only 1% of the population.  This is NOT acceptable. 

Fact is, financial institutions generate three times more money than the combined tax collected by the government.  This is NOT acceptable. 

Any reforms should first target the level of profit that financial institutions are permitted to generate.  “Effective” interest rates should be lowered accordingly, and tougher regulations imposed of these behemoths.

Community banks with excellent transparency in decision process and lending policies should be the norm.  The current status of financial institutions is generating abnormal profit with No risks whatsoever.  

The aristocratic political family class (representing 10% of the population and hoarding more than 20% of the nation’s wealth or what is called “Old Money”) is the main beneficiary of the current capitalist system dominated by the financial barons.

Seventh:  If capitalism needs salaried people, it must secure the fundamental right to work, a wide range of jobs that satisfy varied opportunity, access to affordable education, safe workplace, universal health coverage, caring for the elderly, and justice for people who worked most of their life for a comfortable retreat.  Has capitalism satisfied the basic needs of its workforce?

Basically seuring Equal starting life to all its kids.

Eight:  States should start taxing according to the number of employees hired and total revenue generated:  These two criteria are the most objective representative of net profit and are easy to investigate.  This gimmick of taxing on “net profit” is an accounting fraud that is not objective or fair.

Companies relocating for cheaper workers must be taxed according to the original “national wages” of the workers.  Companies substituting workers for robots should be taxed according to the number of workers substituted.  States will then be able to subsidize unemployed people, until they find jobs and be imaginative enough to opening up newer job opportunities…

Ninth:  There is a trend for owners with strong ethics and moral standards to including employees as shareholders and participating in management decisions:  These companies are doing very well and not suffering from financial crashes.  Institutions and companies for profit are amoral and do not deal in ethical conducts. 

Ethics and morality are individual characteristics:  The more such individuals gather in groups to reclaiming fairness and justice in actions, the more institutions will be reminded of what is best for society.

Tenth:  Historically, land and private property were the basis for the emergence of the “bourgeois and merchant” classes and which initiated the major leap forward into creating wealth. This system of private ownership lead to the abolition of feudalism and absolute monarchic powers, backed by the clergy.

The structure of private ownership of land and properties materially weakened nobility and clergy and eventually displaced them. Private property of land should be revised…Read part #4.

Eleventh:  Private ownership of land and properties are not currently economically essential for capitalist system to function properly:  Enterprises can lease properties and resume their business as usual.  It is the political ideology behind private properties that is the culprit.

 Private property ownership remains as a reminder that aristocracy image of power must not vanish in order to retaining political power in “democratic” political system.

Twelfth:  Ownership of land and real estates must be legally abolished in order to having a serious chance for political reforms.  Land should be owned by communities and regulated by community councils.

Land and real estates should only be leased for durations, and never owned by individuals and never renewed for any member of the family in order to dissuade political inheritance of images and statuses.  Inheritance of private real estates and money is the main reason for the existence of aristocratic lineage in wealth and politics.

The inheritance mentality encourages sustaining ancient beliefs that the aristocratic class is better fit to rule, guide, and lead simply because this class created the system that perpetuates its interests and egoistic power.

I then offered the required necessary reforms on property ownership.  For example, enterprises may be allowed to renew the lease for specific duration as long as the nature of the business did not change or will not change after the renewal.  For example, transforming from a manufacture to real estates development.

This section of the series will develop on Election processes and laws reforms.

In the current “capitalist democracy”, the judicial system obeys laws decreed by the parliaments (supposed to be representing the common people) that are dominated by the richest and political “aristocracy” classes.. And the executive branch is intrinsically dominated by the highest classes, directly and indirectly.  

This entire political system is called “capitalist democracy” where people have the illusion of electing their representatives for a duration.  After election, people are to behave as spectators:  Any serious disturbances are crushed in the name of Law and Order.

It is imperative that real political power in reformed election laws should  shift the odds for the middle class and lower classes to acceded to legislative and executive positions.

Private enterprises within a free internal movement and exchange of people and merchandise, and supported by a smooth flow of liquid money, as commerce increases and develop, are the basis for creating wealth.  

The State should not be doing business, but regulating laws and order, and securing the well-being of  all its citizen “equal under the law of fairness to work, opportunity, and happiness.”

Thus, the sole reason for the existence for State government is doing politics.  

Mainly, equalizing the odds so that all its citizens live equally in dignity.  So far, the current capitalist system appears to  running smoothly only for the survivors of the holocausts of financial crisis and degradation of normal living conditions.

Election laws and regulations reform targeting all citizens, regardless of gender, ethnic minority, and wealth status must be undertaken relentlessly and closely monitored and supervised by ethical, moral, and just citizens.

First, No fee  charges should be levied for submitting any documents to being candidates to any representative community, council, or State chambers and Houses.  This costly application favors the well-to-do.

Second, contribution to campaigning is strictly done on individual basis and having a fixed limit representing the capacity of lower classes for contribution.  Thus, flow of contribution from rich classes and enterprises are off-limit in election campaign.

Third, stiff penalties should be levied on owners, executives, and managers of enterprises (not the entity) who bribe or press upon employees to get biased toward candidates and extending bonuses at election periods.

Fourth, quota should be imposed on rich and aristocratic classes in number of candidates, commensurate to their representation of the entire population.

Fifth, the campaign should be made easy to comprehend and run, so that many citizens would be encouraged to participate.

Sixth:  All candidates should have equal air time and receive fair contribution from the State to running an equitable campaign and supporting staff.

Seventh:  Prison terms should be attached to officials in any enterprises  or interest lobbying groups who are backing candidates by fraudulent financial means.

These are sample example for fairness in election laws so that many more common people get into the legislative chambers on their own potentials, without feeling indebted to any rich baron or political aristocrat.  

Either power is democratically obtained or anarchy is the end result for the state of injustices in capitalist systems.

Market cannot regulate itself for the interest of the common people.  Rich classes are not just following their interests, but also their overextended egoism to grabbing more power when left at their own volition.

Enterprises have No moral or ethical standards regulating them.  

Only external pressures, for example State politics of fairness to all and justice to all, can make a difference.  

Practicing democracy is hard work and it requires constant vigilance, reflection, and mass actions.

“Émile” by Jean Jacques Rousseau (Book Review, part 1)

Note 1: Rousseau cherche à développer et préserver l’Individualité des enfants face aux forces des institutions qui veulent se servire de la personne pour leurs intérêts. Développer la force de l’individu dès ses premières années c’est la responsabilité de la mère.

I am reading “Emile” by J. J. Rousseau , published in the 18th century. He was persecuted and forced to exile for many years. This universal and timely book is applicable to all societies as to the proper development of kids and their education in their early age.

Je propose les idées que les gens ne croient pas faisable, dont la vérité ou la fausseté impose a connaître, et qui font le bonheur ou le malheur du genre humain.

Pere et mere, ce qui est faisable est ce que vous voulez faire, repeter le mal qui existe? Dois-je répondre de votre volonté?

Les lois, toujours si occupées des biens et si peu des personnes, parce qu’ elles ont pour objet la paix et non la veritu, ne donnent pas assez d’autorité aux mères, surtout les veuves, pour élever leurs enfants.

Presque tout le premier age des enfants est maladive et danger. La moitie perit avant l’age de 8. Les epreuves faites, l’enfant a gagne les forces necessaire pour poursuivre la vie.

(Je crois que les enfants des “nobles” périssent en plus grand nombre parce que la mère ne les allaitent pas et ne les entretien pas la plupart des journées. Et l’enfant vit plutôt en solitude et ne sentent pas l’amour et la tendress de leur parents)

La nature n’est pas les habitudes: la seve de la plante redirige la direction de la plante quand les forces extérieures cessent de s’appliquer sur elle.

La mere a la responsabilité de former de bonne heure une enceinte autour de l’âme de son enfant (protection, l’amour, jugement et respect de la nature…) et poser les barrieres. La société en peut marquer le circuit (les prejuges, l’autorite, les institutions…) qui vont submerge l’enfant et étouffe en lui la nature qui tu lui as préservé comme une jeune pousse…

La mere prend soin de sa plante par la culture: les homme et les institutions par” l’éducation.”

Les gens ne se souviennent pas pas de leur enfance: ils cherchent toujours l’homme dans l’enfant et leur transmettent les savoir des hommes.

Tel s’est fait enterrer a 100 ans qui mourut dès sa naissance: il n’a jamais vécu et agit de toutes ses senses.

L’homme civil nait, vit et meurt dans l’esclavage des institutions: A sa naissance on the coud dans un maillot, a sa mort on le cloue dans une bière. Tant qu’il garde la figure humaine, il est enchaine par nos institutions.

Le vent de tous ses catégories et la mer de toutes ses forces sont naturelles: Prend garde, jeune pilote du vaisseau, que ton cable ne file et que ton ancre ne laboure pour ne pas dériver. C’est ça l’éducation fondamentale quand on est jeté dans la société a composantes variantes.

L’homme urbain est une unité fractionnaire qui tient au denominateur commun, les lois civiles qui s’appliquent a tous: Ôter son existence absolu pour creer une nature relative dans l’unite commun.

Les Guerres des Républiques sont plus cruelles que celles des monarchies. Pourtant, la vie en paix dans une monarchie (et ses classes d’elites) est terrible comme sujet et pas comme citoyens.

Le combat de l’humanité est entre élever un homme ou un citoyen. Dans les deux cas, la majorité silencieuse a manque aux deux choix et entrave le développement des droits des hommes et la coopération entre les genres, les races et la liberté d’expression.

Note 2: It might take me a long time to finish “Emile”: For each page I read, I feel pressured to fill another page of notes and comments.

Ready or not, we need to start talking about menopause in the workplace

By Lisa DeShantz-Cook. Senior editor, ThinkHR. May 3, 2021. (Borrowed from Quartz with a few editing)

What is menopause anyway?

Speaking of menopause and its precursor perimenopause aloud can clear a room.

While everyone knows it’s something we have to deal with, no one wants to actually talk about it—especially Not in the workplace, and certainly not in mixed company.

But in this era of bringing our whole selves to work (whether that’s in the physical presence of our coworkers or from our home workspaces), it’s high time we introduced the topic.

Menopause, meet the workplace. Workplace, say hello to menopause.

Employers are okay discussing and making accommodations for pregnancy and breastfeeding, but menopause seems somehow different, a workplace taboo best swept under the proverbial carpet. As a result, they’re missing opportunities to support us.

What is menopause?

Menopause isn’t just a time when we stop having periods. A whole host of symptoms related to menopause can affect us in our 40s, 50s, and into our 60s.

These symptoms include hot flashes, cognitive changes, sleep issues, depression, anxiety, stress and burnout, to name just a few.

Mind you that Menopause can occur earlier due to certain health conditions, surgery, or chemotherapy.

My own experience with menopause just happened to coincide with a worldwide pandemic. With work travel effectively shut down, I could suffer symptoms over video meetings, where luckily my co-workers were unlikely to notice my pounding heart and shirt-soaking hot flashes.

Experiencing the indignities alone in my home office, and being able to shut off my video camera to run outside, is a luxury many of my friends aren’t afforded.

When menopause arrives, we may be at an age where we may have more time to devote to work or other interests now that children may be off to college or grown and gone.

We might also have fewer responsibilities outside of work, so more time to dedicate to work, education, certification, or other interests.

Conversely, menopause can happen when we have even more demands—like caring for older or ill parents or family members—on top of other family stressors.

Menopause can be a cruel twist in a life that might just be hitting its stride or yet another challenge on top of an overfilled plate.

If you’re in it, you know. You’ve probably raced into a meeting and gotten situated at the table, only to be overtaken by the internal fire that signifies an oncoming hot flash—and had to race for the door.

Your co-workers might be confused by your constant fanning, or your need for dressing in umpteen layers and peeling them off at seemingly random times. You might have snapped at someone for little reason or pushed past someone in the hallway in a rush for fresh air.

Worse still is the brain fog.

Routine tasks might get hazy, or you may have forgotten where you were in the middle of a meeting or presentation, or dropped the ball on your part of a team project. These slips can be brutal to your ego, but if you’re supported in the workplace, they don’t have to derail your career.

How employers can support women going through menopause

Menopause does affect the workforce—recent studies show 20% of the current workforce is experiencing it—so employers should acknowledge it.

Here’s how they can begin:

  • First and foremost, actively work to demystify and destigmatize this very normal life phase.
  • Encourage open and honest discussion about menopause and its side effects. Acknowledging that symptoms can be both emotionally and physically challenging can go a long way.
  • Build policies that help us feel supported in all phases of our work life, and facilitate conversations that help co-workers and managers understand when support and understanding is needed.
  • Create a safe space for us to express our needs to managers and supervisors, such as flexible hours if sleep is being interrupted, access to fresh air during the workday, proximity to bathrooms, or breaks in meetings. Our having to say “I’m having a hot flash and need to step away” shouldn’t be met with ridicule, shame, or personal questions.
  • Make room for menopause in workplace health programs.
  • Is there a place to get information on menopause for those experiencing it or those wishing to provide support? Does the employee assistance program (EAP) offer guidance? Do health and wellness talks include information about menopause?
  • Educate managers on menopause, symptoms, accommodations, and appropriate support, and teach them what they can do to keep their employees experiencing menopause symptoms engaged, productive, challenged, and feeling valued.

If those of us experiencing menopause aren’t acknowledged and supported by workplace policies and initiatives, we’ll feel alienated, invisible, less valued, and may bow out of the workforce well before we’re ready, taking with us valuable wisdom and experience.

Support from company leaders, openness and efforts to destigmatize menopause in the workplace, and employer policies and programs that support our health at all ages benefit everyone.

Syrian Women battle continues: Euripides’ “Trojan Women”

Posted on May 30, 2014

Syria Trojan Women: the battle continues. BEIRUT, by Élodie Morel | iloubnan.info – May 18, 2014, 14h46<!––><!–
<!–
–>  Syria Trojan Women Syrian refugees
<!–
$(document).ready(function(){
var height=$(“#imageart”).height();
alert(height);
$(‘#detail-page-img-txt2’).height(height);
});
–>
 In December 2013, around 40 Syrian women performed Euripides’ “Trojan Women” on stage in Amman, Jordan.
All of the actresses were refugees that had fled their country to escape the war that began three years ago.

Euripides wrote the Trojan Women in 415 BC. However, the tragedy could have been written yesterday, or these Syrian refugees. Just like the Trojan Women, they lost everything when they left Syria: their homes, their jobs, their possessions and in many cases, their loved ones.

The co-founders of the project now want to portray this experience through a documentary entitled Queens of Syria.
In a large, bright room, somewhere in Amman, Syrian women, all refugees living in the Jordan capital, are playing Musical Chairs.

All of them are running and laughing like children.One woman slips and falls on her bottom, trying to sit down, she bursts out laughing with her friends.

This surprising and heart-warming scene was filmed during the Syria Trojan Women project, launched in October 2013, where 40 Syrian refugees participating in drama therapy workshops worked together to perform Euripides Trojan Women tragedy on stage in December.Those images are striking and truly moving. They will be used to create a documentary entitled Queens of Syria, dedicated to the two-month long process of the project.

This film still needs financing to see the light. You can watch more of the footage in this video, where filmmaker Yasmin Fedaa explains why it is crucial to finalize the production of the documentary:

https://player.vimeo.com/video/92822753
Journalist and award-winning former foreign correspondent, Charlotte Eagar is one of the co-founders of the Syria Trojan Women project.Months ago, she got the idea of having Syrian refugees perform in Euripides’ tragedy on stage.

Charlotte had been familiar with this mythical play since reading it during her time at university: And in 1992, while covering the conflict in Bosnia, she heard it on the BBC World Service.The words echoed with the reality she was living at that time.

This play is a universal, timeless tale about war and its victims.Charlotte is also an award-winning filmmaker. The year before the Syria Trojan Women project was born, she co-directed and co-wrote a mini soap in Kenya entitled “Something’s Got to Change”, with young amateur actors, in a Nairobi slum for the NGO Emerging Leaders.“

I realized that through this project, the children became confident, proud of what they had done,.When this project was completed, I was looking for another idea. I discussed with Oxfam about useful initiatives to launch. They suggested that we address the situation of the Syrian refugees in different countries neighboring Syria. The story of the Syrian women made me think of Euripides’ tragedy.”Just like the Trojan Women, the Syrian women lost everything when they fled their country.

From Lebanon to Jordan

The project was supposed to take place in Lebanon, the country hosting the largest number of Syrian refugees.There are more than one million officially registered refugees there. “We wanted to do it in Lebanon, but we had to change our plans for security purposes,” Charlotte told us as we contacted her from Beirut.

She explained that, as a former war correspondent, she was not really worried about the security situation in Lebanon, but insurance companies most certainly were.

“Not a single one accepted to insure the project.” So the organizers decided to do it in Amman, the capital of Jordan, a much more stable country.The objective of the Syria Trojan Women project was to help refugees through drama-therapy, but also to publicize this crisis and to raise the audience’s awareness about the humanitarian situation in Syria.

The drama-therapy was really effective.Charlotte Eagar explained to us that the play “gave a voice to 
those women. It gave them a feeling of achievement and dignity; it was also a way for them to escape their daily ‘routine’. They were not living in refugee camps; they had found homes around Amman.

They had at one point felt isolated and lonely, but coming to the drama-therapy sessions was a way to build new relationships.A kindergarten was also set up to take care of the children of the participants. Just like their mothers, the children made new friends as well. This project was great for everyone!”

Two performances took place at the National Centre for Culture and Performing Arts in Amman on December 17 and 18, 2013.After performing on stage, the women said they felt that people listened to their story. For once, they were directly speaking to the public, without any media between them and the audience.

The audience was composed of the refugees’ families, and also of Jordanian locals and expatriates.“After the play, people said: ‘now I really feel like I understand what it is like to be a refugee’”, stated Georgina Paget, a London-based film producer.

Georgina is also a co-founder of the Syria Trojan Women project.Paget told us, “After watching and listening to these women, the people in the audience understood what life could be like in such a situation. They understood that these refugees were people just like them. One of the women used to work in her town’s administration services, you know. She could be anyone of us.”

Fighting compassion fatigue


This play is also a way to fight compassion fatigue, which is one of the biggest challenges of the project. “People are tired of caring,” Georgina explained. “There is a compassion fatigue in general and especially regarding Syria. We feel it every day. For example, the amount of money collected by NGOs for Syria is much smaller than the amount collected after the Philippines’ hurricane.”

The Syria Trojan Women performance in December was also a success from an artistic point of view. They have been invited to perform in places such as the UK, the US and Switzerland.

But getting visas for Syrian refugees to certain countries is difficult. So, to reach as many people as possible, the organizers are now trying to finalize the documentary, “Queens of Syria”.“The objective of the documentary is to reach more people, to let as many people as possible hear the story of these women.

We filmed the drama-therapy sessions, the rehearsals and the performances, thanks to a grant from the Asfari Foundation and private donations,” Georgina Paget said. “We have 88 hours of footage and we need money to make a documentary out of them”.

A 3’30 trailer for the documentary was released online. It shows the refugees, passionate about what they do, about the play and about being together. It is truly moving. You can watch it here:
https://player.vimeo.com/video/86996865

To finance the production of the documentary, the Syria Trojan Women Project launched a crowdfounding campaign on Indiegogo, a crowdfounding digital platform.“

We hope that by watching this documentary, just like by watching the performance in Amman, people will begin to understand what is really happening. They will see Syrian refugees as real persons and not only as statistics delivered by the media.

They will see individuals telling their stories,” Georgina said, while adding that, “to make the people care, we need to give them something personal and beautiful as well. Out of their own tragedy, the women created something beautiful. They created art.”

Related Articles

– See more at: http://www.iloubnan.info/artandculture/80938/Syria-Trojan-Women:-the-battle-continues#sthash.iD7pzhPN.dpuf

Anthropologists poking at Capitalism: With the 4-Field Manifesto? Part 2

Posted on March 1, 2012

Note: you may read the first part of this article https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2012/02/29/part-1-anthropologists-poking-at-capitalism-with-the-four-field-manifesto/

A short recapitulation of the first part. What kinds of fairy tales that capitalists dump on us?  

The premises of the market-capitalist religion are:

  1. Humans are naturally greedy-selfish.
  2. Capitalism harnesses greed and selfishness for productive dynamism.
  3. Capitalism successfully delivers the goods.
  4. Capitalism is invincible.

The second part is “on how Capitalism has not delivered the goods…”

Cultural Anthropology: Capitalism has not delivered the goods.

One reason anthropology knows more about capitalism than any other discipline is that anthropologists have not just studied capitalism from the inside: most anthropology was done with people subjected to capitalism, people who were often forced to provide the labor or coerced into furnishing the raw materials for capitalist dynamism.

For much of the world’s population, capitalism has already been a miserable failure.(Covid-19 pandemics has demonstrated this failure? Except for the mass media platforms?)

Of course indigenous response has varied:

1.  there have been those who have profited tremendously from capitalism;

2. people have ingeniously appropriated capitalist products and styles;

3. people have not just been pawns in the system but have actively influenced and altered that system; no one knows these facts better than anthropologists.Thomas Hylland Eriksen writes in a 2010 foreword to Eric Wolf’s Europe and the People Without History:

“Through the dual processes of integration and disintegration, wealth creation and poverty creation, empowerment and humiliation, global capitalism leaves contradictions in its wake. The story of contemporary globalization is not a straightforward saga of development and progress, Nor is it a simple tale of neo-colonialism and oppression.

It needs to be narrated from a local vantage point, and whatever their degrees of interconnectedness, localities are always unique blends of the old and the new, the endemic and the foreign, power and powerlessness”.

On balance, capitalism has at best been a mixed bag, at worst catastrophic.

And this fact applies not just on the edges of capitalism but at its heart. After some periods of relative stability and apparently fine-tuned management of the business cycle, we are back to lurching from crisis to crisis, in ways not seen since 1929 or the times of Marx and Engels. 

Trouillot wrote:

“Anthropologists are well placed to face these changes,

First by documenting them in ways that are consistent with our disciplinary history. The populations we traditionally study are often those most visibly affected by the ongoing polarization brought about by the new “spatiality” of the world economy. They descend directly from those who paid most heavily for the transformations of earlier times. . . .

We cannot abandon the four-fifths of humanity that the [ 1% ] see as increasingly useless to the world economy, not only because we built a discipline on the backs of their ancestors but also because the tradition of that discipline has long claimed that the fate of no human group can be irrelevant to humankind”.

The world needs cultural anthropology more than ever before.

We may disagree on the importance of Writing Culture–but we can agree that when much of the world’s population gets written off as irrelevant, then anthropological fieldwork has become even more necessary.

Back to Eriksen, who tells us Wolf’s “perspective is even more sorely needed than it was when Europe and the People Without History was written in the early 1980s”

Linguistic anthropology: Capitalism is not invincible

Capitalism is not just an economic system. What Trouillot terms the “geography of management” is accompanied by a “management of imagination” and a projection of “North Atlantic universals” through words like development, progress, and modernity:

“North Atlantic universals so defined are not merely descriptive or referential. They do not describe the world; they offer visions of the world. . . . They come to us loaded with aesthetic and stylistic sensibilities, religious and philosophical persuasions, cultural assumptions ranging from what it means to be a human being to the proper relationship between humans and the natural world, ideological choices ranging from the nature of the political to the possibilities of transformation. . . .

As a discipline, we have launched the most sustained critique of the specific proposals rooted in these universals within academe. Yet we have Not explored enough how much these universals set the terms of the debate and restricted the range of possible responses”.

It is here we most need the insights of a linguistic anthropology attuned to language and power, the condensed histories of words, and how words become harnessed to imagination.

Anna Tsing’s Friction: An Ethnography of Global Connection contemplates a similar project, examining how the particular universals travel:

This brings to light a deep irony: Universalism is implicated in both imperial schemes to control the world and liberatory mobilizations for justice and empowerment. . . . Universals beckon to elite and excluded alike”

The world needs linguistic anthropology more than ever before. We may disagree on universal grammar or Sapir-Whorf, but we can agree that the imagination of capitalist invincibility is built on shaky and contested terms–terms that can also be used toward emancipatory ends.

Anthropology: Observe, describe, and propose

This account of contributions from each of anthropology’s major subfields is not meant to fragment and divide.

The world needs anthropology more than ever, for anthropologists to stand with anthropology as a whole. As Tim Ingold opens Being Alive: “I am an anthropologist: not a social or cultural anthropologist; not a biological or archaeological anthropologist; just an anthropologist” (So what is an anthropologist?)

Ingold’s comparison of anthropology with art and architecture is pertinent:

“The truth is that the propositions of art and architecture, to the extent that they carry force, must be grounded in a profound understanding of the lived world, and conversely that anthropological accounts of the manifold ways in which life is lived would be of no avail if they were not brought to bear on speculative inquiries into what the possibilities for human life might be.

Thus art, architecture and anthropology have in common that they observe, describe and propose.

There is a discipline waiting to be defined and named where those three fields meet, and if some readers would prefer to regard this book as a kind of manifesto for that discipline, then I shall not object”.

“After all, how could there have been a more perfect alignment of the stars than happened in 2008?

That year saw a wave election that left Democrats in control of both houses of congress, a Democratic president elected on a platform of “Change” coming to power at a moment of economic crisis so profound that radical measures of some sort were unavoidable, and at a time when popular rage against the nation’s financial elites was so intense that most Americans would have supported almost anything.

If it was not possible to enact any real progressive policies or legislation at such a moment, clearly, it would never be. Yet none were enacted. Instead Wall Street gained even greater control over the political process, and, since Republicans proved the only party willing to propose radical positions of any kind, the political center swung even further to the Right.

Clearly, if progressive change was Not possible through electoral means in 2008, it simply isn’t going to be possible at all. And that is exactly what very large numbers of Americans appear to have concluded”.

The article summerizes with the 10-recommandations:

1. That poverty and inequality–globally and regionally–be placed at the forefront of policy agendas.(Let kids have equal start in life, regardless of gender, race, financial comfort…)

2. Progressive income taxes and taxes on conspicuous consumption, with revenue devoted to a true national healthcare system: Medicare-for-All. (And free preventive health institutions)

3. Increasing inheritance taxes and other measures addressing wealth inequalities, with revenue devoted to prenatal care, infant nutrition and early childhood education. Particular attention to the ongoing racism manifest in infant-mortality disparities.

4. Abolition of off-shore tax havens, declaration of all income from investments, and full enforcement of capital-gains taxes, with revenue devoted to reparations.

5. Regulations on credit and banking so the financial industry becomes a boring sector dedicated to allocating investment, not a glamorous parade of outsized returns. Make banking boring again.

6. Investment in mass-transit and regional infrastructure to provide alternatives to individual automobiles.

7. An agricultural plan to phase out subsidies for mono-cropping, to encourage environmentally-sustainable farm management, and eliminate the tariffs harming the world’s poorest farmers.

8. A true jobs program to increase employment, with work targeted toward infrastructure improvement and environmentally-sensitive retrofitting. Consideration of measures such as reducing the work week in order to address contradictions of a high unemployment rate coupled to overwork by the employed.

9. Comprehensive immigration reform to bring rationality and humanity to a broken system.

10. Investment in education to create truly informed citizens. An educational system based on human holism, not just mono-dimensional economic efficiencies

Franz Boas in “An Anthropologist’s Credo, 1938)” wrote:

“In fact, my whole outlook upon social life is determined by the question: how can we recognize the shackles that tradition has laid upon us? For when we recognize them, we are also able to break them”.

Wallerstein wrote in The End of the World As We Know It: Social Science for the Twenty-First Century: “There is nothing to lose but our irrelevance. We can make the world less unjust; we can make it more beautiful; we can increase our cognition of it”

The life expectancy of irrelevance tends to be short.

More courageous and healthier is the acknowledgment of the many dead ends within the human disciplines brought about or brought to light by current global transformations, including the death of utopia.

Trouillot wrote:

“We might as well admit that all the human sciences may need more than a facelift; most will be deeply modified and others, in their current institutional shape, might disappear. As the world changes, so do disciplines

Note 1: Most excerpts were borrowed from the Findlay edition

Note: I was trying to link together disparate paragraphs from “This Side of Paradise” by Scott Fitzgerald and got carried away by our current state of affairs on climate changes, degraded natural life around Earth, and mass urbanization.

Are there still an exotic place/location I might deteriorate pleasantly?

Any place with an exotic God who is pretty slack, addicted to Oriental scents, delivered from success, hope and poverty?

Any place with many colors and many odors, and lust as a mode of expression of life?

A place I can be a flaneur and poseur and still emanate the illusion of substantive wisdom?

A place where it is possible to attach a positive value to life?

A place where it is easier to accept the notion that “I will submit to what all the community agrees to accept as value of our natural inclination”?

A place where Every child should have an Equal Start in life: that is the primary job of fair government institutions: a guarantee against starvation, free primary and secondary education and free preventive health care.

A place that develop a confident and educated mother to care for the early growth of their kids. A fair institutions that have the obligation for women to get their full equal rights as the males as citizens, get paid higher wages than the husbands for flexible and much reduced work schedule to be at home for her kids, without reduction in her promotion once the kids has grown up. Husbands cannot replace and substitute the mother in that crucial job.

I am watching documentaries of a few of these places where people used to pick up all the fruits they needed while taking a walk, and never minding to go hungry

Yes, places where they still board their canoes and go fishing and return to their “homes” build on the seashore or the mighty river.

And these documentaries have to remind me that these islands, and locations by clean and clear river will soon be submerged, due to climate change, and mass erection of totally useless mega dams, and over polluted water stream…

Do you have the skills to build you own island?

And from where will you bring the people with high “exotic belief system” that consider life and the living species as sacred natural ecosystem?

Wet-Nurse city of laws: Beirut of Lebanon. Part 2

Posted on August 4, 2010

Between 150 and 551 AC, the city of Beirut (Beryte) was the official Roman State law center and this recognition extended to the Byzantium Empire.

Beirut had the preferred law school for law students and professors flocking from the four corners of the Empire.  Beirut was called “Mother of laws” and “The most magnificent city” during the Roman Empire.

Emperor Justinian I (527-566) attributed to Beirut the title of “wet-nurse of laws”.

In the 5th century, Beirut law school started teaching law in both Latin and Greek languages. Paradoxically, the main language of the common people was the written Syriac language/Aramaic,  the language spoken by Jesus.

Another demonstration that written languages are the domain of the elite classes used as coded language for administrations and government of people.  Common people had to suffer the consequences of not knowing the language of their dominating Masters; in this case either Latin or Greek.

In the second and third century, Beirut produced the 5 most famous and illustrious classical Jurists who had written the “Digeste”, “Institutes”, Rules, Sentences, and Constitutions.

They are:  

Gaius (110-180),

Papinian (142-212) and assassinated for his stands, 

Paulus,

Ulpian (170-228) and assassinated for his positions, and 

Herennius Modestinus

They were called the “Oracles of Roman laws” because judges had to decide cases based on the opinions of these  five justices.  If there is equality in opposing opinions then it was the opinion of Papinian to be the definitive resolution.

The third century generated the State professors Gregorius, Hermogenius, Marcian, Scaevola, and Tryphoninus.

The fourth century produced the professors Domninus, Scylacius, and Sebastianus.

The fifth century, called the most brilliant for the law school of Beirut, generated the state professors Euxon, Sabinus, Cyril the elder, Patricius, Demostenes, Domninus, Eudoxius, Amblichus, and Leontius. 

Most of the illustrious law professors were born in Lebanon and Syria and reached the highest positions in the Roman and Byzantine Empires.

In the sixth century, Beirut school of law had the professors Dorotheus, Anatolius, Julien, Thalelee, Isidore, Stephane, and Thereupon.

Rome fell in 476 and Western Europe had to wait until the Crusader’s campaigns (1096-1291) for the Justinian civil code of laws the “Digeste” to be found and rediscovered and then applied in Europe starting in the 12th century.

In 551, an earthquake demolished the city of Beirut.  The law school was temporarily moved to Sidon.

In 560, as the professors returned to Beirut then a huge fire burned the city again.  Beirut was still in ruin by 600.

As Islam Arab conquered the Near East region in 635, Beirut recaptured its previous status as a law center, but without the brilliance of previous periods.

Beirut was compiling Islamic laws according to “Charia”.  

During the last 7 Omayyad caliphs and the first two Abbasid caliphs (690 to 770) the Lebanese theologians (ulema) and judges (fakihs and cadis) were the cornerstones for the nascent Islamic jurisprudence.

Imam El Uzahi (707-774) from Baalbek and who studied in Beirut and lived was the most brilliant and most sought after fakih in his life.  His doctrine was applied in Lebanon, Palestine, and Syria for 200 years.

Then, the doctrines of Hanafi (Syria), the Chafii (Egypt), the Maliki (Andalusia and Northern Africa)  took the ascendancy.

In 1877 was founded the first modern law school in Beirut bu Bishop Youssef el Debs

The law school of the Wisdom (La Sagesse) had the professors Nicolas Naccache and Boulos Effendi Zein who compiled the Ottoman civil law (Medjellet) in 16 books of 1851 law articles grouped in six subjects.  

Current Beirut has the law schools of the french Jesuits founded in 1913 by Paul Huvelin.

The State Lebanese school was established in 1959; the Arab University under the patronage of the University of Alexandria and instituted in 1960; the Byblos law school linked to the Maronite Order of Kaslik Holy Spirit University; and the Islamic Chiaa faculty instituted in 1994 by Imam Chamseddine.

Beirut and Lebanon were ruined by mankind during the civil war that started in 1975 and lasted 15 years.  Beirut is being rebuilt with modern high rises that lack its original spirit

Note 1:  The American University of Beirut has not yet opened a law faculty.  If we know that most of the members in the Lebanese Parliament are lawyers and barely anyone of them master the English language then, whatever deal the US government had with France for the monopoly of jurisprudence philosophy and procedure must be outdated.

Note 2:  Topic taken from the book “Beryte School of law” by Joy Tabet (67 pages)

Beirut: Wet Nurse of laws during Roman Empire. Part 1

Posted on  August 4, 2010

A brief history:  Between 150 and 551 AC, the city of Beirut (Beryte) was the official Roman State law center and this recognition extended to the Byzantine Empire.

Beirut had the preferred law school for law students and the professors flocked from the four corners of the Empire.  

There were 6 other law centers such as the ones in Rome, Constantinople, Athens, Alexandria, Caesar of Cappadocia, and Caesar of Palestine, but Beirut kept her highest standing over four centuries as the main official law center.

Beirut was called “Mother of laws” and “The most magnificent city” during the Roman Empire.  Emperor Justinian I (527-566) attributed to Beirut the title of “wet-nurse of laws

Between 150 and 551, Beirut was the official location for posting law articles and saving the Constitutions and compilations of laws.

Comparative law studies is the immediate successor of the roman laws that was initiated and updated in Beirut.  In the 5th century, Beirut law school started to teach in both languages of Latin and Greek.

Paradoxically, the main language of the common people was the written language Syriac (Aramaic,  the language spoken by Jesus).  

Another demonstration that written languages are the domain of the elite classes, and used as coded language for administrations and government of people.

The Common people had to suffer the consequences of not knowing the language of their dominating Masters; in this case either Latin or Greek.

Rome fell in 476 and Western Europe had to wait until the Crusader’s campaigns (1096-1291) for the Justinian civil code of laws the “Digeste” to be rediscovered and then applied in Europe starting in the 12th century.

In 551, an earthquake demolished the city of Beirut.  T

he law school was temporarily moved to Sidon. In 560, as the professors returned to Beirut then a huge fire burned the city again.  Beirut was still in ruin by 600.

As Islamic “Arabs” conquered the Near-East region in 635 (through the strong backing and support of the Syrian people), Beirut recaptured its previous status as a law center but without the brilliance of previous periods.

Beirut was compiling Islamic laws according to “Charia”.

During the last 7 Omayyad caliphs and the first two Abbasid caliphs (690 to 770) the Lebanese theologians (ulema) and judges (fakihs and cadis) were the cornerstones for the nascent Islamic jurisprudence.  

Imam El Uzahi (707-774) from Baalbek and who studied in Beirut and lived was the most brilliant and most sought after fakih in his life.  His doctrine was applied in Lebanon, Palestine, and Syria for 200 years.

Then, the doctrines of Hanafi (Syria), the Chafii (Egypt), the Maliki (Andalusia and Northern Africa  took the ascendency.

Note 1: The next chapters will give details on the most famous law professors in ancient Beirut and a few current updates.

Note 2: Review of the book of Joy Tabet

What’s that concept of Human factors in Design?

Posted on September 20, 2008 (written from 2003-2006)

 What is this Human Factors profession?

 Summary of Articles numbers                                                                                              

1.  “What is your job?”                                                                                                  

2.  “Sorry, you said Human Factors in Engineering?”                                                

3.  “So, you want systems to fit people?”                                                                   

4.  “The rights of the beast of burden; like a donkey?”                                              

5.  “Who could afford to hire Human Factors engineers?”                             

6.  “In peace time, why and how often are Human Factors hired?                    

7.  “What message should the Human Factors profession transmit?”                          

8.  “What do you design again?”                                                                                         

9.  “Besides displays and controls, what other interfaces do you design?”                 

10.  “How Human Factors gets involved in the Safety and Health of end users?”    

11.  “What kind of methods will I have to manipulate and start worrying about?” 

12.  “What are the error taxonomies in Human Factors?”                                 

13.  “What are the task taxonomies and how basic are they in HF?”                           

14.  “How useful are taxonomies of methods?”                                                               

15.  “Are occupational safety and health standards and regulations of any concern for the HF professionals?”                                                                                                       

16.  “Are there any major cross over between HF and safety engineering?”            

17.  “Tell us about a few of your teaching methods and anecdotes”                            

18.  “What this general course in Human Factors covers?”                                         

19.  “Could one general course in Human Factors make a dent in a career behavior?”                                                                                                                     

20.  “How would you like to fit Human Factors in the engineering curriculum?”  

21.  “How to restructure engineering curriculum to respond to end users demands?”

22.  “How can a class assimilate a course material of 1000 pages?”                             

23.  “What undergraduate students care about university courses?”                            

24.  “Students’ feedback on my teaching method”                                              

25.  “My pet project for undergraduate engineering curriculum”                      

26.  “Guess what my job is”                                                                                              

27.  “Do you know what your folk’s jobs are?”                                                              

28.  “How do you perceive the inspection job to mean?”                                               

29.  “How objective and scientific is a research?” 

30.  “How objective and scientific are experiments?”                                                   

31.   “A seminar on a multidisciplinary view of design”                                                  

32.  “Consumer Product Liability Engineering”                                                                 

33.  “How could you tell long and good stories from HF graphs?”                               

34.  “What message has the Human Factors profession been sending?”       

35. “Who should be in charge of workspace design?”                                                  

36.  “Efficiency of the human body structure and mind”                                                

37.  “Psycho-physical method”                                                                                       

38.  “Human factors performance criteria”                                                      

39.  “Fundamentals of controlled experimentation methods”                                      

40.  “Experimentation: natural sciences versus people’s behavior sciences”            

41.  “What do Human Factors measure?”                                                                   

42.  “New semester, new approach to teaching the course”                                       

43.  “Controlled experimentation versus Evaluation and Testing methods”               

44.  “Phases in the process of system/mission analyses”                                             

45.   “Main errors and mistakes in controlled experimentations”                   

46.  “Human Factors versus Industrial, Computer, and traditional engineering” 

47.  “How Human Factors are considered at the NASA jet propulsion laboratory”

48.  “Efficiency of the human cognitive power or mind”                                               

49.  “Human Factors versus Artificial Intelligence”                                                     

50.  Computational Rationality in Artificial Intelligence                                               

51.  “Basic Engineering and Physics Problems Transformed Mathematically”     

52.  Mathematics: a unifying abstraction for Engineering and Physics                        

53. How to optimize human potentials in businesses for profit                                      

New semester, new approach to teaching this complex course of Human Factors in engineering?

Posted on October 26, 2008 (and written in April 6, 2006. Article #42 )

Usually, over 60 students enroll in my class, and the administration refused to split my course into 2 classes to maximize “profit”.

In retaliation, this semester only ten students were allowed to enrolled for my class; one is a computer engineer finishing his degree and the remaining are industrial engineers.  As a reminder, this course is required for Industrial engineers IE

The other engineering disciplines managed to open up new elective courses for each one of them, and were trying to market them at the expense of the wishes of many students who wanted to take my course and their petitions were denied.

With this reduced class number, I had to capitalize on the advantages of smaller classes, once the shock is under control.  

This semester, methods applied in human factors engineering are the focus: Having the previous semester in the body of varied knowledge in the course materials might encourage my class to appreciate the efforts and time invested by the pool of human factors researchers and professionals to make available practical design guidelines for the other engineering professions.

Whereas in the previous semesters I shun away from exposing my class to new methods, except teaching them explicitly the concept of controlled experimentations, like the differences among dependent, independent and controlled variables.

I endeavored to correct their misunderstanding, thinking that there was an abundance of knowledge to assimilate for a meager semester in the previous semesters, I boldly changed direction in my teaching approach by investing more time on exposing and explaining the various methods that human factors might be applying in their profession.  

The first assignment was using excel to compare 40 methods used in human factors, industrial engineering, industrial psychology, and designers of intelligent machines.  

This assignment was a version of article #14, about the taxonomy of methods, from 20 articles that I wrote the previous years and offered them as an introduction to the course, in addition to the course materials.

The students were supposed to select five categories from more than the dozen ways to classifying methods such as definition, purpose, applications, inputs, processes, procedures, output/product, mathematical requirements, disciplines teaching them, advantages, disadvantages, sources/links, connections with other methods, and comments.

I expected that, as engineers, they would logically select for the columns applications, input, procedure, output, and comments because they are what define a method. But somehow, they opted for applications, procedures, advantages, disadvantages, and comments mainly because it is how the internet offer information.  

After 3 students submitted their assignment on time I handed them over 40 summary sheets for the 16 methods used to analyzing a system or a mission, at least 2 sheets for each of 16 methods, one sheet on the purpose, input, procedure, and output/product of the method and the other sheets as examples of what the output is expected to look for presentation.

I then asked the less performing students to concentrate on only the 16 methods for their assignment and most of them did not submit this assignment even two months later.

So far I used up six sessions for methods or related topics such as the methods applied in the process of analyzing systems’ performance, psychophysical procedures, the fundamentals of controlled experimentation methods, human factors performance criteria, and what human factors “measure/data” in their experiments. 

As for the body of knowledge I extract a few facts from experiments and asked them to participate in providing me with the rationales or processes that might explain these facts.

For example, if data show that females on average are two third the strength of males then what could be the underlying causes for that discovery?  

Could that fact be explained by the length of the muscles, the cross section thickness of the muscles, the number of muscle fibers, or the length of the corresponding bones?

Facts are entertaining but I figured that they are big boys to be constantly entertained while shovelful of money is being spent for their university education.

Facts are entertaining but there have to come a time when these big boys stop and wonder at the brain power, Herculean patience, and hard work behind these amusing sessions.

The next assignment was to observe the business of the main family’s bread earner, note down the minute tasks of his typical day work, learn about the business by attempting to generate detailed answers from a questionnaire they have to develop based on a set of investigative query and problems related to human factors performance criteria in the assignment sheet…

And to report back what are the routine and daily tasks that enabled the students to join a university.  

Three students worked with their fathers’ in summer times and enjoyed the assignment; the remaining students could not shake off their 8th grade habits, wrote the questionnaire, mailed it, and waited for the answers.  

I was expecting that the students would apply the methodology they learned in analyzing systems such as activity, decision, and task analyses… but the good stuff was not forthcoming.

To encourage them to cater to the business that they might inherit, I assigned them a lecture project that would generate the requisite analyses with a clear objective of focusing on near-accidents, foreseeable errors, safety of the workers and health conditions in the workplace.

So far, the products of the two quizzes were complete failures. Funny, although most of the questions in the second quiz were from the same chapter sources as the first quiz, it is amazing how ill prepared are the students for assimilating or focusing on the essential ideas, concepts, and methods.

With a third of the semester over, I can points to only two students who are delivering serious investment in time, hard work, and excitement and are shooting for a deserved grade of A.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

May 2021
M T W T F S S
 12
3456789
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930
31  

Blog Stats

  • 1,467,939 hits

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.adonisbouh@gmail.com

Join 802 other followers

%d bloggers like this: