Democratic countries, money and blood – Dominika Tien Le

Democratic countries. In how many books, articles, lectures or speeches did you pop on this topic? Probably in many, sometimes even more than you wish. Please do not understand me wrong, but in the XXI century, if you want to be count in the world, get any position in your environment you have to speak loudly about your beliefs. Even if they are different from others , you are a free person who does have and NEED to use your own voice in some situation. Living in a democratic country is a blessing for people because we know ( or supposed to know ) our rights and if we have enough time and power no one is gonna fight against us.

Wow… the beginning of my post really gave me the hope all over again about living in the democratic country. The idea, the poor idea of democratic county is speechless. Unfortunately, we know some of the examples from the past, where the idea of the political system went in a different direction that the practical application. Communism supposed to save people’s lives, and it turned out people were fighting against each other. But let us focus on the right topic. You might not like what I said before, but we all agree that the United States and the United Kingdom are those two countries where democracy is playing the main role in theaters. The result of Brexit and the winning of Donald Trump in the president election is democracy. That was people’s choice, for some people very hard to understand choice, but still people’s choice. Can you please tell me how is it possible that those powerful countries which are representing democracy, fighting for human rights are actually supporting the actions against people and watching people dying without mentioning any word?

Henry Jackson Society is a Think Tank telling in a liberal democracy, the rule of la wand the economy market. In his report, indicate the several Gulf States and Iran as the source of financing of international terrorism. It does so indirectly, by funding mosques and Islamic educational institutions encouraging extremists and hosts a preach of hate. Sponsorship of extremist materials, as well as imams who were preaching violent Jihad, is a more direct action. At the top of the list of the sponsors was Saudi Arabia. The greatest ally of Britain in the region and the biggest trading partner has been identified as stock money for terrorists. The report indicates specific persons and organizations exporting antiliberal ideology. A small portion of the cases deal with the funding of centers operated by the Saudi ´- owned, most of it but * buying foreign influences * Birthplace of Islam is currently the worlds largest producer and exporter of crude oil. Business ties with the giant are a fairly obvious relation on the way from London to Riyadh are close but not void. Billion of pounds of trade between these countries include the British weapons and military equipment. Thousands of people work in companies that support shared trade and cooperation in the fight against terrorism is very close. Aircraft and weapons supplied by States to serve but also to attack Yemen, where military activities are killed civilians. In addition, human rights in Saudi Arabia are quite vague, that why some politicians calling for the occupancy of the country export embargo. States also selling Saudi missile defense systems Patriot and THAAD, which protect against ballistic missiles. Contract signing is successful President Trump in Riyadh began his first foreign trip. Representatives of the White House argue that the agreement with the Saudi will lead to the creation or maintenance of thousands of jobs in the United States. Giving someone the gun to shot is probably not a murder because you don’t use your own hands, is that correct?

 

Foreign Affairs. 2017. Trump and Saudi Arabia | Foreign Affairs. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/saudi-arabia/2017-03-16/trump-and-saudi-arabia. [Accessed 18 November 2017].

CRT-Foreign Funded IslamistExtremism in the UK , Center for the Response to Radicalisation and Terrorism Research Paper No.9 ( 2017 )  at The Henry Jackson Society

 

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Deep Debt

Right now, in the United Kingdom (UK), university fees are “Up to £9,250” (UCAS, 2017), most of the population can’t afford to pay this amount of money to study so, as an alternative, those who can’t afford, request a loan to pay their university fees. In the UK students have the alternative to have a loan from Student Loans Company (SLC). This company “is a non-profit making Government-owned organisation set up in 1989 to provide loans and grants to students in universities and colleges in the UK” (SLC, STUDENT LOANS, 2017 ). The SLC main focus is to support students studying in Higher Education (HE) and Further Education (FE).
I am one of the students that requested the loan from SLC, and in my case, I was unaware that I would end up my studies with a huge debt. I haven’t finished my course, and by the time I do, I don’t know how much I will owe or how the repayments work.
If one is to request a loan from a bank, all the conditions and terms would be discussed before signing any papers -all the rates and all the dates- therefore the person that is requesting the loan knows how much and for how long they will pay it. It’s a different situation for students though. We request a loan as its the only opportunity we’ve got to study -assuming that most of the population can’t afford to pay more than 9000 pounds per year for university costs-, and by the time we graduate, we will not know what the interest rates will be and if the agreement of only paying back the loan after earning a certain amount of money per year “annual income before tax” will change…

(SLC, Plan 2- Interest Rates, 2017).

As seen in the graphic above, the interest rates have changed over the years, and are now at 6.1%. A student that requested the loan, like me, can’t rely on the company or on the government to have the same rates or even the same “annual income before tax” as in the year we requested the loan.
The latest action was taken by Theresa May in October 2017 – “Theresa May announced plans to raise the income level that triggers student loan repayments for recent graduates in England from £21,000 to £25,000 a year” (Mason, 2017). Students will have to earn more per year in order to start paying back their Loans. But right now this is how it works:

(SLC, Plan 2- Annual Income before Tax, 2017).

When approved, it is going to be the most recent change affecting the Student Loans, and we can see as “good news”, giving students the facility to pay only when they earn more annual income. However, from a historical point of view, not all the reforms done by the government brought “good news”, per example in 2010 it was announced that university fees would increase “in the fee cap to £9,000” and so would the interest rates increase “the interest rate will be inflation plus 3.0% for students while they are studying and up to the repayment date.” and changes on the time students had for the debt to be written off went from 25 years to 30 years as well. (Bolton, 2017). This implementation affected students starting in 2012/2013, whatsoever, this is one of the many alterations, which means the system is always changing and “adapting”. The major point of this alterations is that university fees keep increasing over time and interest rates are unstable.

The government role:
Unfortunately, tuition fees are high not only in the UK, all over the world students request loans to support their studies, even in Switzerland where higher education has zero fees costs, students may graduate with a debt of $20,000.
What is the alternative given to people who want to study? Globally, neoliberal government policies have not contributed much to help students already in debt or future-students: we still have high interest rates and university fees are unrealistically high.
Many young adults that graduate in debt will then consider before buying houses, marrying or even start families- because of the debt they already carry from their studies- they will also have less money to buy essential goods- clothing, food or entertainment. (Chamie, 2017)

(Student Loan Calculator- Tuition Fees Around the World, 2017)

Ines C. J. Custodio- M00586126

Bibliography

Bolton, P. (2017, June 21). Student Loan Statistics. Retrieved from Student Loan Statistics – Parliament UK: https://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=3&ved=0ahUKEwjt1NS4k77XAhWoDMAKHcYDBb0QFgg-MAI&url=http%3A%2F%2Fresearchbriefings.files.parliament.uk%2Fdocuments%2FSN01079%2FSN01079.pdf&usg=AOvVaw3o7u04NKQk9yge7AsOg3Y3

Chamie, J. (2017, May 18). Student Debt Rising Worldwide. Retrieved from YaleGlobal Online: https://yaleglobal.yale.edu/content/student-debt-rising-worldwide

Fazackerley, A. (2017, July 2017). the Guardian. Retrieved from Grace is 25. Her student debt: £69,000 : https://www.theguardian.com/education/2017/jul/11/student-debt-graduates-tuition-fees

Mason, R. A. (2017, October 01). Tuition fee repayment earnings threshold to rise to £25,000 . Retrieved from the guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/education/2017/oct/01/tuition-fee-repayment-earnings-threshold-rise-to-25000

SLC. (2017 ). STUDENT LOANS. Retrieved from ABOUT US : https://www.slc.co.uk/about-us.aspx

SLC. (2017). Plan 2- Interest Rates and Annual Income before Tax. Retrieved from http://www.studentloanrepayment.co.uk/portal/page?_pageid=93,6678755&_dad=portal&_schema=PORTAL

source, I. (n.d.). student debts. Retrieved from pinterest: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/353321533239301106/

UCAS. (2017). How much are tuition fees? Retrieved from https://www.ucas.com/ucas/undergraduate/finance-and-support/undergraduate-tuition-fees-and-student-loans

Why The Fight Against Gender Inequality Is So Important

 

 

 

 

 

“We cannot all succeed when half of us are held back”, Malala Yousafzai.

Inequality is defined as the “quality of being unequal or uneven”, (Merriam-Webster, 1828) albeit social discrepancy, economic disparity, political variations or anything else. Gender inequality is the notion that women and men are not equal. It refers to the imbalanced treatment of a person based on what their gender is. The ‘United Nations Development Programme’ have recognised that though “major strides” have been made in the fight for gender equality, the struggle that women and girls face when they are discriminated against in “health, education, political representation, labour market, etc is a major barrier to human development”, (UNDP Human Development Reports, 2016).

Gender inequality exists. Women are to this day, still oppressed under the shadow of men. Girls growing up, are told by the world what to be, who to be, how to be. The distinct, societal roles of males and females were established before it can be remembered, and so when women fight against the rules set up by a patriarchal society the world does not wait to tell them how inferior, illogical or empty their convictions are. Sen (2001, pg. 466) regarded in his works that gender inequality “exists in most parts of the world” but varies in the forms it takes. He concerns that gender inequality is not one standardised singularity, but a collection of unequal and intertwined problems.

The gender inequality gap is not specific to either just developed, or developing countries because inequality is apparent everywhere. Rather, there are different characteristics of gender inequality. The World Bank claims that an estimated “130 million girls globally” are not in school, and that developing countries show less percentages of gender parity being achieved at primary and secondary level education than developed countries however, developed countries still haven’t achieved gender parity because there is still gender bias in secondary and higher level education, (2017). Access to education and the development of girls and women’s potential, can be the difference between life and death. Ensuring the right of quality education, for all, is number four on the ‘Sustainable Development Goals’ set up by the United Nations (2016). And so, without ensuring gender equity in education, the world’s health and development goals cannot be reached. Educating girls and ensuring that that they receive education not only empowers them, but makes them more productive and thus wind up making a huge contribution to society.

There are many obstacles to girls having access to education, for instance the absence of security in schools, which has been emphasised by Malala Yousafzai, who at the age of 15 was shot by the Taliban in Pakistan, (The Guardian, 2014) for wanting her right to an education. There is also the hurdle of sexual violence and discrimination that occurs to young women, as well as cultural aspects where girls’ educations are not valued as much as boys.

The gender wage gap is the disparity between how much men and women earn. In Western, developed countries it was found that when measuring how much men earned compared to women, there was a very big discrepancy. Findings from Pew Research Center shows that in 2015, “women earned 83% of what men earned” in the US, and that based on this evaluation “it would take an extra 44 days of work for women to earn what men did in 2015”, (2017). In 2016, the UK government reported that the gender pay gap is at its “lowest ever” with an “18 percent” disparity.

The wage gap reflects the constant pattern of the average of men’s earnings being greater than the average of women’s earnings. Sen in 2001 further commented that in employment “women often face greater handicaps than men, in promotions in work and occupation” (pg. 467). This pattern is interrelated to several different elements including; men being more prone to obtaining promotions, gendered enculturated forces that push men towards subjects that culminate to higher paying fields such as STEM fields and women towards subjects that lead to lower paying fields, for instance, the OECD (2017, pg. 24) reports that “boys on average are more than twice as likely, than girls, to work as scientists, engineers, architects”, and constant gender expectancies entrenched in patriarchal roles that urge mothers to take additional time away to raise and care for children while persuading fathers to do the opposite.

Women’s rights are human rights. The fight for equality is an issue that concerns everyone. It is important for the development of the world.

Don’t brush over it!

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Brown, A. Patten, E. (2017). ‘The Narrowing, but Persistent, Gender Gap in Pay’. [online]. Pew Research Center. Available at: http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/04/03/gender-pay-gap-facts/ [Accessed: 25 October 2017].

GOV.UK. (2016). ‘UK Gender Pay Gap’. [online]. gov.uk. Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/uk-gender-pay-gap [Accessed 25 October 2017].

Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, ‘OECD’. (2017). ‘The Pursuit of Gender Equality: An Uphill Battle’. Paris: OECD Publishing. Page, 24.

Sen, A. (2001). ‘The Many Faces of Gender Inequality’ from ‘The New Republic’. [online]. prof.chicanas.com. Available at: http://prof.chicanas.com/readings/SenInequality.pdf [Accessed: 25 October 2017]. Pages, 466, 467.

The Guardian. (2014). ‘Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Changed the World by Malala Yousafzai – Review’. [online]. thegueardian.com. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/childrens-books-site/2014/oct/28/review-malala-yousafzai-girl-who-stood-up-education-changed-the-world [Accessed: 25 October 2017].

The World Bank. (2017). ‘Understanding Poverty, The World Bank in Gender’. [online]. worldbank.org. Available at: http://www.worldbank.org/en/topic/gender/overview [Accessed: 25 October 2017].

United Nations Development Programme. (2016). ‘Human Development Report, Gender Inequality Index (GII)’. [online]. hdr.undp.org. Available at: http://hdr.undp.org/en/content/gender-inequality-index-gii [Accessed: 25 October 2017].

United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. (2016). ‘Sustainable Development’. [online]. sustainabledevelopment.un.org. Available at: https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/?menu=1300 [Accessed: 25 October 2017].

Webster, M. (1828). ‘Inequality | Definition of Inequality’. [online]. merriam-webster.com. Available at: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/inequality [Accessed: 25 October 2017].

 

By: Farhana Kadir, M00571384

The world’s most valuable currency and you probably never heard of it! – Allisson Andrade M00610018

When you think of the world’s most valuable currency it probably crosses your mind currencies such as British Pounds (GBP), US Dollars or even Euros. The truth is none of those is actually anywhere close to the most valuable currency in the world which is Bitcoins. As to the date of this post, the currency of one Bitcoin fluctuates between £5600 (Coindesk, 2017). Before going into more details how of this globalization phenomenon of cryptocurrencies could affect the world economy and the banking system as we known today I will briefly explain how this currency works.

What are Bitcoins?

 Following the Great Recession in 2008, Bitcoin, invented in 2009 by an unknown person or group dominated Satoshi Nakamoto, is a complete decentralized digital currency that is based on a cryptography system. Bitcoins are anonymously transferred straight from a user to another without the use of a third party such as banks. This means charges as way much lower and without regulations, you can send to any place across the globe using simply your phone or any network platform (Jerry Brito, 21). Your account also cannot be frozen and there aren’t any prerequisites for you to use the service. These three characteristics of bitcoin (decentralized, anonymously and free of transaction cost) are the key success. First, people started getting interested in bitcoins due to its decentralization. Many political libertarian groups saw as a change to impose a treat to government organizations by cutting them out of the market. After that, Bitcoin started being more popular by its anonymity as it was being used by ordinary people to complete transactions that they didn’t want their figure to be associated with, many of them illegal action. But those two groups weren’t big enough to put this cryptocurrency on the light spot until the third factor kicked in, the zero transaction cost. Many users around the globe turned their attention to Bitcoins for the fact that you don’t simply pay anything to pay or move money around and then started the Bitcoin saga.

 

 

How does it work?

The block coins are generated by what is called Bitcoin miners. Perhaps “mining” these blocks require a certain amount of work for each amount of coins. This amount is automatically adjusted by the network so the coins will always be created at a predictable rate. The blocks are connected through a linear chronological sequence forming a block chain (Joshua A. Kroll I. C., 2013). Thus, every transaction is digitally recorded to keep security at a top-notch level. Although the trades are logged, the details of the users involved are never revealed. Differently from the traditional trading system, where you would have two parties but the banks would act to secure the transaction process, with bitcoin being a decentralized payment system, makes possible for the two parties on the transaction having direct access to the trade ledger and making it much more easy to verify any discrepancy. Therefore making the transaction less subject to malicious changes and manipulations. This public way of handling trades has created the possibility of a huge transformation in the banking sector throughout the globe. The economic power which lies with the governments and financial institutions has been challenged and has made them wary of cryptocurrencies.

How is the banking system responding?

 The control that was assigned to the governments and central banks suddenly start being changed to the general public, creating a huge sceptic reaction from the banks itself. Now not only the current economic system can be challenged by ordinary people, but also it facilitates a load of new independent groups to emerge and propose new ideas. Companies that recognized payments in bitcoin as of December 2014 included PayPal, Microsoft and Dell (Ellison, 2014). Bodies such as the US Federal Reserve and Bank of England, that are entitled the responsibility to monitor new financial systems are now looking very seriously into the Bitcoin development. The Bank of England economist Mark Carney, has cited cryptocurrencies as part of a potential “revolution” in finance (Carney, 2017). The Bank of International Settlements (BIS) has stated the importance to monitor cryptocurrency development and whether or not central banks should release their own digital currencies in the near future, “In less than a decade, bitcoin has gone from being an obscure curiosity to a household name. Its value has risen – with ups and downs – from a few cents per coin to over $4,000. In the meantime, hundreds of other cryptocurrencies — equalling bitcoin in market value – have emerged,” (BIS). Francisco Blanch, strategist for the Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s compared the currency evolution to that of “gold, silver and even salt in ancient times.” The report also says “For instance, at present very little can be said about the cyber-resilience of [central bank cryptocurrencies], something not touched upon in this short feature.”

The truth is cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, although very little well known, are impossible to be ignored as a possible revolution in the finance system. It has a huge potential and all main financial bodies have an eye on its development. As everyone has direct access to the cryptocurrency market, therefore new idea ae introduced and implemented on a much higher scale. Bitcoin is changing finance in the same way internet changed publishing and at this point is unstoppable.

 

 

References:

 

Bench, M. L. (2017, 09 17). Research Publications. Retrieved 10 26, 2017, from Bank for International Settlements: https://www.bis.org/publ/qtrpdf/r_qt1709f.htm

Carney, M. (2017, October 12). Retrieved November 26, 2017, from The Telegraph: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2017/10/12/fed-divide-inflation-helps-sterling-rebound-against-dollar-ballooning/

Cheng, E. (2017, July 24). Markets. Retrieved November 26, 2017, from CNBC: https://www.cnbc.com/2017/07/24/this-needs-to-happen-to-keep-bitcoin-boom-going-bank-of-america.html

Coindesk. (2017, 10 27). coincides. Retrieved 10 27, 2017, from https://www.coindesk.com/price/

Ellison, S. (2014, October 20). Paypal and Virtual Currency. Retrieved November 26, 2017, from https://www.paypal-community.com/t5/PayPal-USA-Community/ct-p/US

Jerry Brito, A. C. (21, September 2013). Bitcoin: A Primer for Policymakers. George Manson University.

Joshua A. Kroll, I. C. (2013, June). The Economics of Bitcoin, or Bitcoin in the Presence of Adversities.

 

Al Dana AlSaud M00610352

Mexican Labour in the U.S.

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As a majority of Americans work prestigious white-collar jobs, many seem to forget the labour forces that work in fields and factories. Most of the labours that work in fields of agriculture in America are Mexicans. This field is the backbone of the economy of any country and Mexicans are doing a great job making America’s economy strong. “Of the 8.1 million Mexican foreign-born ages 16 and over, 4.9 million or 60 percent were in the labour force. This includes both employed and unemployed workers” (MPI, 2004). Their salaries are nothing, compared to the work they do. The Mexican immigrants in America are using all their skills to earn this small amount of money, which sounds more like slavery rather than a job.

This poor wage is a consequence perpetuated by Trump’s anti-immigrant policies, which hurts the public outlook and employability of all Hispanic people, rather than just the illegals. This adverse approach of the Trump government sends a negative message throughout the world. In my view, treating immigrants like slaves in the name of jobs are a global issue. It strikes a strong racial divide, which hurts the economic performance of an entire race of people, hurting them in the process. The Mexican presence in the U.S. labour market is continuing to increase, but the process has not been and will not be linear and will be subject to regional and institutional economic dynamics in the U.S. and Mexico. Their salaries barely increase after years of working. Under such conditions, they will live as labour for the rest of their life and probably their children, too. “Large Mexican influx in recent decades has contributed to the widening of the U.S. wage structure by adversely affecting the earnings of less-educated native workers and improving the earnings of college graduates.” America is weakening its own backbone by harming the working class since the labour class is mostly the Mexicans meaning there will be less jobs for the U.S. labour. This is a huge problem that immigrants and minorities all over the world are facing. They are told to work as labours for low salaries and when they stand up for their rights they are told to leave because apparently there are more people willing to take their jobs. Mexicans in the US are the perfect example of this injustice. The US government need to reconsider the legal minimum wage for field workers, as to balance out the racial-economic divide.

References

Chiquiar, D. & Salcedo, A., 2013. Mexican Migration to the United States: Underlying Economic Factors and Possible Scenarios for Future Flows, s.l.: Migration Policy Insitute.

Martin, P. & Taylor, E., 2013. Ripe with Change: Evolving Farm Labour Markets in the United States, Mexico, and Central America, s.l.: Migration Policy Insitute.

MPI, 2004. Mexican immigrants in the U.S. labour force. [Online] Available at: https://www.migrationpolicy.org/article/mexican-immigrants-us-labor-force

NBER, n.d. The Evolution of the Mexican Workforce in the United States. [Online] Available at: http://www.nber.org/digest/dec05/w11281.html

Orrenius, P. & Zavodny, M., 2016. Unauthorised Mexican Workers in the United States: Recent inflows and Possible Future Scenarios , s.l.: Centre for Global Development.

A Fifth Wave of Economic Imperialism

Have you ever wondered why poor people exist in countries filled with resources? Have you ever thought how tens of people’s wealth is equivalent to the wealth of 50% of the world population (Elliot, 2016)? Why developed countries are becoming richer? And developing countries becoming poorer? As if wealth is going in the wrong direction!

 

This is the promise of globalisation! Peace occurs due to international cooperation, and free trade. International organisations such as the IMF and the world bank maintain order, aid developing countries, and ensure fair trade.

 

This is ideal, isn’t it? But, it is not real … because there is nothing fair about fair trade!

 

It is real that the IMF gives assistance to developing countries, however, everything has something in return. Developing countries getting loans have to deregulate the rule of the state, and eliminate their protectionist polices in order to get support. This was the case in the Asian financial crises in 1997, where liberalisation was installed, and caused the collapse of the market (Watson, 2011).

 

africa2.jpg

Africa Then Africa Now

20 May 1998

© 2012 – 2017 Zapiro (All Rights Reserved)
Printed/Used with permission from http://www.zapiro.com”

 

Most of the developing countries rely on agriculture, which is supposed to give them comparative advantage, however, agriculture products are the least profitable, and without government subsidies they become really expensive in international market, compared to subsidized European crops. In this case, the European products will always have an advantage! (stigiliz, 2015). For example, the EU Butter and Milk product supported by the Common Agriculture Policy is exported to developing countries. In the case of the Jamaican dairy market, small-scale markets collapsed, thus the livelihoods of their owners was harmed because of EU unfair subsidies (Stewart, 2006).

The loans conditions of the deregulation of the state, prevent developing countries from economic activities that could improve the wellbeing of their economy and people, such as welfare services, subsidies and protections measures (Hosking, 2016). A study in the public Health reviews shows that policies placed by International Organisations, such as the IMF, have a negative impact on children and maternal health in sub-Saharan African nations, this is due to deregulation and lack of state support (Thomson, 2017).

While on the other hand, these activities are done by the US and Britain, which gives their companies superiority over other business and creates unfair competition. This is proved by the US bailing out its banks in crises and the National Health Service in Britain. This is as Stiglitz puts it forward “more invidious than an across-the-board protectionist policy” (stigiliz, 2015).

The head of the world bank has to be American, similarly, the head of the IMF should be European. Moreover, the instructions that are given to developing countries are based on the US treasury and on the western perspective of how a good economy should be managed. All these reasons -accompanied with the fact the the the US being the main funder of these organisation- give western countries superiority over decision making and reflect the western dominance and influence on these organisations (Peet, 2003). This is clearly suggested by Peet when he says that

the IMF was not formed as a democratic institution in anything like the sense of inter-country equality. It was primarily an American invention, with British collaboration” (Peet, 2003).

Therefore, policies placed by international organisations are placed in a way that benefits these superpowers, by opening the market. The chances to -make contracts and businesses, enhance their economy, gain more recourses- are higher (Chesters, 2013).

Don’t these goals remind you of colonialism? Oh but wait, it is in the 21st century so probably it should be Neo-colonialism!

 

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COPYRIGHT © 2017 · GADO

http://gadocartoons.com/

 

Bibliography

Chesters, J 2013, ‘Wealth Inequality and Stratification in the World Capitalist Economy’, Perspectives On Global Development & Technology, 12, 1/2, pp. 246-265, Business Source Complete, EBSCOhost, viewed 7 October 2017.

Elliott, Larry. “Richest 62 People As Wealthy As Half Of World’s Population, Says Oxfam.” the Guardian. N.p., 2016. Web. 1 Nov. 2017.

Hosking, G. 2016, “Why has nationalism revived in Europe?”, Nations and Nationalism, vol. 22, no. 2, pp. 210-221.

Peet, R. & Born, B. 2003, Unholy trinity: the IMF, World Bank and WTO, Zed, London.

Stewart, H. (2006). Who’s creaming off EU subsidies?. [online] the Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/business/2006/may/21/europeanunion.food [Accessed 13 Nov. 2017].

Thomson, M., Kentikelenis, A. and Stubbs, T., 2017. Structural adjustment programmes adversely affect vulnerable populations: a systematic-narrative review of their effect on child and maternal health. Public health reviews, 38.

Watson, Matthew (2011) The Historical Roots of Theoretical Traditions in Global Political Economy’ O’Brien, Robert, Williams, Marc (2013) Global political economy: evolution and dynamics, pages 7 – 21.

By: Zainab M00610385

 

 

 

 

A couple of reasons why we should talk about child labour

First and foremost, because it is wrong and upsetting and there’s not enough platform to emphasise how big of an epidemic it is.
Before I’d jump right in the middle of the conversation, let’s clarify what child labour is. According to UNICEF it is a form of work, undertaken by a child that is harmful to them in some ways.
When child labour comes up in a conversation, which it hardly ever does anyway, we all associate it with some very barbaric, very 19th century and indeed a not-very-existing phenomena anymore.
It does exist, and not only some hidden parts in India.

Today, an estimated 246 million children aged between five and fourteen are engaged with labour. 

246 million. It means that 246 million children work under unbearable conditions, their right to be a child and security being taken away from them. No education, no childhood,  but mines, chemicals  and machinery.
And it hasn’t started with the industrial revolution, although it was one of its high peaks. As we all learnt, they were useful mostly because of their size, because they didn’t demand for more money and by their nature, they were controlled more easily.
Traditionally, children helped their families but were also forced to forgo their education.
Obviously, people did realise how big of a harm they were doing so they attempted to regulate child labour – at some point one had to be at least 10 years old to work, which was thought to be a big improvement?!- but the Great Depression was the real wake up call: Americans wanted all the available jobs to go to adults, not children.
It wasn’t about the right of those children, it was simply about money. and if it wasn’t for money, the child labour reforms would have come to life decades later.
And unfortunately, this is not the saddest fact in this conversation.
Before the market crashed, there had been movements trying to eliminate child labour  but these attempts only became successful after the Great Depression, from which child labour reforms actually benefited: the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 set the minimum wage and maximum hours and -as a result- children under 16 could not have been employed in mining and manifacturing anymore.
In conclusion, most of the word have beaten child labour- at the very least we now have laws to be followed, governing the minimum age for admission to employment: even the developed countries seem to fail at some points with unfixed legal gaps but by the public outrage in these countries this issue has received  and brought increasing attention to certain parts in Asia, Africa and Latin-America, where legal gaps are the least concerning things that children have to face.
At this point I would like to clarify the difference between someone willing to do some work chiefly so as to earn some pocket money, and someone whose life can be dependent on it.
products-made-with-child-labor

Another important note is that employment ban usually concerns children up to the age 12 and 16, depending on the specific country.
We have Senegal for instance, where the  the minimum age is 14 but from the age of 12 one can do light and seasonal work.
In Morocco, the minimum age is 12 but only after the age of 16 is one able to do heavy and dangerous work.
These rules are designed to help make sure that children in question receive their education and their physical and mental health are not affected by their job.
Some work during the summer for 5 quids per hour(and I was very unrealistic here) shall not be called labour.
Poverty is the main reason why child labour still exists: even a 5 year old has to give his/her share to the household.
Second of all, we can certainly talk about a tradition in some countries: a children cannot be fully supported and have to have some financial contribution to the family, and there is when it gets really alarming.
Some children see no harm in missing school or not attending at all.  Even if they were the ones to decide, since they are not taught differently, they may go and choose working instead of studying. It’s like a never ending rat race, where there’s no exit or hope. The fate of those children are predestined in many ways. It is a fact that former child labourers are much more likely to have only primary education or less and are more likely to settle in low-paying jobs.
In developing countries, large shares of youth leave school at or below the general minimum working age of 15 years.
In these countries  urbanisation is also one of the reasons why child labour is still so popular: children on the streets shining shoes, selling magazines or flowers or, in some parts of Africa, doing just as much work as adults.
Can it be ever stopped or prevented?
First of all, putting an end to poverty would definitely resolve the problem, however, Rome wasn’t built in one day either, so in the mean time, we – as consumers- can actually consider where and what to shop.
Nestle, H&M, Victoria’s Secret, GAP, Forever 21  are reportedly just a few out of the many companies that still use child labour.

Ethical consumerism is one thing we should pay a lot more attention to.

The issue itself is very complex, but in conclusion child labour is extremely dangerous- literally and figuratively -, as these children are losing their childhood and in many cases their education as well because

  • They live in poverty and must work
  • Many companies they work at produce clothes and other materials for consumers in developed countries
  • And those consumers favour these products because of their prices

I can only hope, that in a word like this, with  all those wonderful and brave people here, there will be a great movement that will never stop until the very last under aged child labourer stands up, leaves all the work behind and goes to school and to the playground so as to finally become what she/he  deserves to: fearless, ambitious and full-of-life child.

by Lucy Geczi
Hendon Campus


Bibliography

  1.   Elias Mendelevich, Child Labour,  International Labour Review, Vol. 118, No. 05, September-October 1979. Also available at: http://heinonline.org/HOL/Page?handle=hein.journals/intlr118&div=60&start_page=557&collection=journals&set_as_cursor=0&men_tab=srchresults [Accessed: 12.11.2017]
  2. The World Bank Economic Review, Volume 17, Issue 2, 1 December 2003, Pages 147–173. Also available at: https://academic.oup.com/wber/article-abstract/17/2/147/1688950?redirectedFrom=fulltext [Accessed: 12.11.2017]
  3. https://www.compassion.com/poverty/child-labor-quick-facts.htm [Accessed: 12.11.2017]
  4. http://www.history.com/topics/child-labor [Accessed: 12.11.2017]
  5. https://www.unicef.org.nz/around-the-world/child-labour [Accessed: 12.11.2017]
  6. https://www.importantindia.com/25318/solutions-to-stop-child-labor/ [Accessed: 12.11.2017]
  7. https://www.careeraddict.com/10-companies-that-still-use-child-labor  [Accessed: 12.11.2017]
  8.  Picture is available at https://www.compassion.com/poverty/child-labor-quick-facts.htm [Accessed: 12.11.2017]

Is Universal Basic Income the solution for welfare states?

Lukas Altman

In a world full of social inequality, enormous pay gaps between poor and rich ones, where most of the current working positions are under a serious threat due to robotization, Universal Basic Income (UBI) is discussed more often than before. In the eyes of many, it is pictured as the most efficient and progressive solution to tackle our social problems that we face now and may face soon.

New forms of benefits?

First, let me start with a short description of what UBI actually is. It is an income paid by a state to every adult member of society, no matter if employed or unemployed and not based on their social background. UBI is paid straight from the country’s budget. It is believed that UBI should help to distribute the wealth more efficiently between all individuals. It also should help with a struggle coming with the neoliberal state these days, especially the one with the welfare and social benefits (Lacey, 2017).

The biggest problem of UBI could be its sustainability. If we pay a certain amount of money to everyone, or to a large group of citizens, we also must imagine how much it would cost and where to get that. According to a London-based charity Population Matters, it is not known how many people would leave their employment and live just from UBI. This means that it is not clear enough how states and their incomes would be affected. On the other side, as the study from Population Matters suggests, without the UBI, most of the people are still under the threat of poverty. Many cannot afford to buy basic commodities, such as food, cloth, or toiletries, or even pay for education. It creates a problem of low educated and low skilled workers in low paid jobs not paying enough money into the system anyway (Population Matters, n.d.).

Switzerland or Finland?

Not everyone who can profit from UBI always agrees with its application. The citizens of Switzerland had a chance to decide whether they want to enable around 23% of the Swiss citizens to get an access to an income of SFr2500 (roughly £2000) a month or not (Admin.ch). Before the vote, a huge debate was sparked between sympathizers and opponents. The main concerns were financial ones. The question was whether such a huge expense from the state budget would have a large impact on it, whether there would be a need to increase taxes or if people receiving UBI would be still motivated to have a regular job (Von Elm, 2017). The Swiss, being citizens with a high level of responsibility and high level of mistrust when the decisions about social experiments are made, voted against this proposal. The number of pro-votes was surprisingly high, 23,1%, but against voted 76,9% of citizens (Admin.ch).

On the other hand, in one country they decided not to only talk about UBI but start testing it in a real world. We are talking about Finland. The so-called “Scandinavian or Nordic countries” are generally known for their social approach and a rich welfare state (Sarfati, 2014). But back to Finland. The local government has decided that 2000 randomly chosen unemployed people aged 25-58 years will be receiving €560 a month. This experiment is currently running from January 2017 for two years (Kela.fi, 2017). But in this case, we may not talk about UBI at all. First, the Finnish “UBI” is being distributed amongst unemployed only, which means that it is still a certain kind of social benefit. Or better said unemployment benefit which is exactly what UBI should not be. Second, the group of people receiving UBI is not big enough to show any verifiable result (Mäkinen, 2017).

The rise of a new society

According to activists from Unconditional Basic Income Europe (UBIE), this whole concept brings loads of positives. There are lots of jobs in our society that are not paid properly but are important, e.g. care of old people. With UBI we would be able to improve our social care. Or that young person will not be under a pressure to choose the right job to do based on wages. Or that our priorities will change dramatically. Our society will not be oriented towards profits and consumption anymore (UBIE, 2017).

It is hard to say now if the UBI is a good or a bad idea. Surely, there are some points that could work and some that could not. We still face hard questions like immigration (are we going to pay UBI to all residents or just citizens? (Population Matters, n.d.)). Maybe UBI is the future of the welfare state or a solution to robotization in a near future when most of the jobs will be done by machines and people will struggle to even find a decently paid position. If we want to keep our lifestyle at the same level as today, it is crucial to find a solution of how to provide incomes to all (Lacey, 2017). It can also be a new way of our welfare states as the pressure on the system will grow. Instead of complicated and sometimes unclear social systems, we can just offer one type of benefits to everyone (Population Matters, n.d.).

References

Admin.ch (2017). Vorlage Nr. 601. [online] Available at: https://www.admin.ch/ch/d/pore/va/20160605/det601.html# [Accessed 1 Nov. 2017].

Kela.fi (2017). Experimental study on a universal basic income. [online] Available at: http://www.kela.fi/web/en/experimental-study-on-a-universal-basic-income [Accessed 2 Nov. 2017].

Lacey, A. (2017). Universal basic income as development solution?. Global Social Policy, [online] 17(1), pp.93-97. Available at: http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/1468018116684269#articleCitationDownloadContainer [Accessed 1 Nov. 2017]

Mäkinen, A. (2017). Why Finland’s Basic Income Experiment Isn’t Working. [online] Nytimes.com. Available at: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/20/opinion/finland-universal-basic-income.html?module=ArrowsNav&contentCollection=Opinion&action=keypress&region=FixedLeft&pgtype=article [Accessed 7 Nov. 2017].

Population Matters. (n.d.). Is universal basic income sustainable?. [pdf] London: Population Matters Charity. Available at: https://www.populationmatters.org/documents/is_universal_basic_income_sustainable.pdf [Accessed 7 Nov. 2017].

Sarfati, H. (2014). Nordic Lights — Work, Management, and Welfare in Scandinavia. Relations Industrielles / Industrial Relations, 69, 1, pp. 229-232. Available at: http://web.b.ebscohost.com/ehost/detail/detail?vid=2&sid=86a92e5f-e989-4465-a473-4e9df63220b8%40sessionmgr120&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#AN=94969766&db=bth [Accessed 1 Nov. 2017]

UBIE (2017). Unconditional Basic Income Europe. [online] Available at: https://www.ubie.org [Accessed 2 Nov. 2017].

Von Elm, E. (2017). Switzerland voted against a universal basic income. BMJ: British Medical Journal [online], pp.356. Available at: https://search.proquest.com/docview/1858848373?pq-origsite=summon [Accessed 1 Nov. 2017]

Van Parijs, P. (2004). Basic Income: A Simple and Powerful Idea for the Twenty-First Century. Politics & Society, [online] 32(1), pp.7-39. Available at: http://journals.sagepub.com.ezproxy.mdx.ac.uk/doi/abs/10.1177/0032329203261095 [Accessed 2 Nov. 2017].