Preserving our environment or wealth? Which will last longer…

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Image available at: https://coreybradshaw.files.wordpress.com/2012/04/kal-earth-day.jpg


Is it possible to preserve both?

In order for economic growth to continue, we must preserve the environment. Policies need to be put in place for sustainable development. Countries and companies have come to the realisation that they cannot continue to ignore the environmental problem at hand. Enter, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The MDGs were the first wide scale global attempt to tackle problems other than economic growth. The MDGs and furthermore, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were turning points in history. Or so, that is what they seemed to be at the time. They showed promise of a real commitment to saving the environment.

The MDG in question is number 7, ‘Ensure environmental sustainability’ and whether this was actually achieved. One of the sub-targets under MDG number 7 is to integrate the principles of sustainable development into country policies and programmes and reverse the loss of environmental resources. The Millennium Development Goals Report (2015) seems to leave out the integral part of what policies were adopted by countries to tackle environmental degradation. There is no mention of any programmes or individual country successes. However, the report does note that deforestation has decreased although this still remains an issue in many areas (2015: 52). Arguably, one of the faults of the MDGs is that the focus was on encouraging and promoting sustainable development rather than doing more to actually enforce the laws and ideas. Also as Awortwi and Musahara (2015: 268) note, goal number 7 was “too narrow” to effectively handle environmental problems.

There was a general acknowledgement that gaps in achieving the goals still remain, enter the SDGs. The SDGs were a reformed continuation of its predecessor, the MDGs. The SDGs are a set of more complex and broader goals; however just as the MDGs they have a set timeframe of 15 years to be achieved. Will each goal and its sub-targets be achieved by 2030? Only time will tell.

Given the increased number of goals, the issue of environmental sustainability falls under more than one goal under the SDGs. However it is closely examined under goal 13 which is to: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts. Under this falls the COP21 Paris Climate Conference, aimed at striving for a global temperature of 1.5 degrees Celsius. However, ‘Fatal Flaws’ have already been pointed out. Most notably the absence of a world federal government to implement reduction targets (Wollershiem, 2015). Also, Bawden (2016) notes that the Paris Agreement doesn’t come into force until 2020, by which point the extent of global warming could worsen dramatically.

The public wanted to know that an agreement had been reached and the signing of the Paris Agreement in April confirmed this. However, similarly to the MDGs, none of the commitments are legally binding and this is where the problem lies. In order for a real change to be made, emission-reduction targets need to be integrated with government policies, making them enforceable. Instead of painting a pretty picture to create the illusion that global warming is under control. As Ford (2015) notes, a few governments aren’t so keen on all the goals, particularly the more “uncomfortable” environment related goals. Ford goes on further to note that the 17 goals are seen as unappealing to some countries, with some political leaders such as David Cameron publicly saying he would want 12 goals at the most, preferably 10.

The sad truth is that the political leaders of the world are more concerned with their economic growth than preserving the environment. The dominating paradigm of capitalism places high importance on economic sustainability and little on environmental sustainability. For now, we can only sit back and allow the SDGs the chance to live up to its promises.

By: Rina Kastrati



Bibliography

Awortwi, N. and Musahara, H. (2015) Implementation of the Millennium Development Goals: Progresses and Challenges in Some African Countries. Addis Ababa: OSSREA.

Bawden, T. (2016) ‘COP21: Paris deal far too weak to prevent devastating climate change, academics warn’, Independent, 8 January. Available at: http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change/cop21-paris-deal-far-too-weak-to-prevent-devastating-climate-change-academics-warn-a6803096.html (Accessed: 10 November 2016).

Ford, L. (2015) ‘Sustainable development goals: all you need to know’, The Guardian, 19 January. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2015/jan/19/sustainable-development-goals-united-nations (Accessed: 10 November 2016).

United Nations (2015) The Millennium Development Goals Report 2015. Available at: http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals/2015_MDG_Report/pdf/MDG%202015%20rev%20%28July%201%29.pdf (Accessed: 10 November 2016).

Wollersheim, L. (2015) The Fatal Flaws of the Paris Climate Conference. Available at: http://www.dwfed.org/the-fatal-flaws-of-the-paris-climate-conference/ (Accessed: 10 November 2016).

The Barroso Case: Why it matters

revolving-doors

You may have missed the case Barroso. If so it’s pretty simple: José Manuel Barroso, former president of the European Commission between 2004 and 2014, was hired as chairman of Goldman Sachs International in July. The European Union bodies’ staff criticized this controversial decision as well as the current Commission President, Jean-Claude Junker. It is understandable when we know that this bank had a large responsibility in 2007 crisis because it discredits European Union’s work.

Personally I do not have a problem with him working for a private bank – but maybe not this bank” said M. Junker. But the issue is wider. For M. Junker it is, maybe, about image. However it is more about links between civil servants and businessmen. Because if Barroso working for Goldman Sachs is a problem, Neelie Kroes working for Über is part of the same problem. Goldman Sachs’ bad reputation is one thing. What is important is to question the ability of these persons to do there job neutrally.

It is more about links between civil servants and businessmen.

EU Observer reported that Mr. Barroso had “closer contact with Goldman Sachs during his tenure as European Commission chief than he has previously admitted, according to Portuguese media”. In fact he was in touch with Goldman Sachs boss Lloyd Blankfein at least since 2013 proved Publico. Knowing that he will be hired by this same bank three years later it is difficult to believe that their discussions were only to “pass clear messages on the position of the Commission and the European Union” like Mr. Barroso said.

That is why this case has to be bring closer to Keelie Kroes and Über. Even if Über do not have the same past than Goldman Sachs the issue is the same because it reveals the collusion between these companies and the persons having the power.

Ralph Milliband writes in The State In Capitalist Society (1969) that […] the world of administration and the world of large-scale enterprise are now increasingly linked in terms of an almost interchanging personnel.” It explains plainly what is happening at the EU and it is not Mario Draghi, ex vice-president of Goldman Sachs’ European branch that will contradict us. Even if all the politicians are not concerned we can say that it seems common among the highest positions in the EU.

30,000 lobbyist in Brussels influence 75% of legislation

And it is not a surprise when we know that there are about 30,000 lobbyists in Brussels. According to The Guardianthey influence 75% of legislation”. After the 2007 Crisis it was obvious that the financial sector needed more regulation, and we can say the same thing about the global economy. How is it possible when the political sphere is parasitized, not to say controlled, by the economic sphere?

“ […] state intervention in economic life entails a constant relationship between businessmen and civil servants, [they] are most likely to define [the national interest] in terms congruent with the long-term interests of private capitalism.” for Milliband. The political sphere has emerged from the religious sphere to better throw itself into the capitalist economy, when will it be free of its moves?

– Theo Quint

Sources:
  • “There is, to begin with, the fact that state intervention in economic life entails a constant relationship between businessmen and civil servants, not as antagonists or even as representatives of different and divergent interests, but as partners in the service of the ‘national interests’ which civil servants, like politicians, are most likely to define in terms congruent with the long-term interests of private capitalism. Furthermore, the world of administration and the world of large-scale enterprise are now increasingly linked in terms of an almost interchanging personnel. We have already seen that more and more businessmen find their way into one part or other of the state system at both political and administrative levels. But so do high civil servants ever more regularly find their way into corporate enterprise.” Ralph Miliband, The State In Capitalist Society, 1969

The realist paradigm of Donald Trump government plan: a post election analysis.

It’s 2019, and United States of America looks hopeless. Donald Trump became President of one of the historic great powers and cornerstone of international relations after the elections held on November 2016.

In the 19th century a doctrine emerge that justifies and support the expansion of the United States through the American continent; the manifest destiny. This idea enhances the fact that the United States has always figured as a hegemonic power and a fundamental actor in the political, economic and social dynamics of the entire world. It possesses, different important characteristics such as vast territory, strategic location, large natural resources, human capital, technological advances, military power, developed industry, and soft power.

Nevertheless, as the world scenario changes and the geopolitics reconfigures, the struggle for hegemonic power has extended in a  world with emergent new actors like China and India. In this way, uncommon phenomena occurred. The international relations of the 21th century fluctuate between two tendencies: on the one hand, a liberal view of a cosmopolitan world with freedoms and extended rights in which borders are removed towards universal citizenship, no matter religion, language, ethnicity; and, on the other hand, a realist perspective based on an inevitable civilization clash with the Middle East and Asia. A return to nationalism, the creation of discriminating laws, close borders, and, reinforcement of military power and nuclear proliferation in order to retrieve an unipolar world of a unique hegemonic power.

 Regrettably, after the elections held on November 2016, the United States of America elected the second tendency. All that we feared is happening. In the months that followed the elections, the country faced very small changes due to the opposition with the Congress and after new terrorist attacks, the prospect turned critical. As Donald Trump presented in his campaign, he successfully increased the size of the Army to 540 000 active duty soldiers, he invested in rebuild the navy toward 350 ships and 36 battalions, he provided with newer and modern fight aircraft, and announced nuclear proliferation in alliance with Israel to destroy ISIS and its allies. But as if this wasn’t enough he also invested on a serious missile defense system. (Donald J. Trump for President, Inc, 2015)

 It all started with small things, he decided to take out the UN founding and enforcing his place in the NATO, allocating billions of dollars to weapons. Donald Trump, faced the world opinion and justified his actions positioning a nationalist message for a survival strategy. His aim was to combat the common enemies of the western countries
with which the confrontation was inevitable. For instance, Palestine, Syria, Iraq. Trump, exacerbated the ideas of realist thinkers such as Hans Morgenthau and John Herz. Those thinkers held that war will not only show power to other nations but it will bring new resources and interest for the country.

“The Nations of the World would turn against each other […] in their ensuing       competition for power. Nationalities inevitably became competing units after having abandoned their state of innocence and established themselves as nation- states.” (Herz, 1950)

It is also important to explain that after the different attacks made by ISIS, The United States  made clear that this terrorist group needed to be dismantled. Their approach was aggressive. In June 2018, the US firmly declared the war to Iraq and Syria holding them accountable for all the attacks and the help that they provide to ISIS for the different attacks in Europe and in the United States.

 “ISIS is making a tremendous amount of money because of the oil that they took away, they have some in Syria, they have some in Iraq, I would bomb the shit out of them. I would just bomb those suckers, and that’s right, I’d blow up the pipes, I’d blow up the refineries, I’d blow up every single inch, there would be nothing left.” (Trump, 2015 )

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Image retrieved  http://www.politicalcartoons.com/cartoon/510ca969-c0ba-4f4f-950a-e2802c0bcb36.html


The focus of the government started to change drastically, social progress, environment, health, welfare wasn’t important anymore and all the improvements made by the government of Obama where frost. The international relations witnessed a replicated scenario where colonization, dictatorships, civil wars, genocides and wars where at the top of the agenda.

The United States of America looks hopeless, far from reaching offers of success made by Donald Trump years ago, United States lost its protagonist role that historically has played in geopolitics. The world is chaotic, there is an extended crisis, the financial markets are collapsing, hegemonic forces are reconfiguring leaded by new emerging actors like China and India.

The spread of Donald Trump ideas represent a step backwards in the global history of development.In which individualism and egoism undermine the harmonic coexistence of international cooperation among nations, demonstrating a negative concept of human nature. Thomas Hobbes in The Leviathan, explain this phenomena as a state of “war of all against all”. “Man is wolf to man”, due to its predatory, cruel, inhuman and uncivilized behavior.

By Anna Norata

Bibliography

-Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. (2015). National Defense. Retrieved 10 23, 2016, from Inc: https://www.donaldjtrump.com/policies/national-defense/
-Herz, J. H. (1950). Idealist Internationalism and the Security Dilemma. World Politics, 2(2), 157-180.
-Morgenthau, H. (1967). To Intervene or not to Intervene . Journal of Foreign Affaires Vol 45 N3 .
-Morgenthau, H., & Thompson, K. (1985). Politics Among Nation. New York: McGraw-Hill.
-Trump, D. (2015, November 13). Real Clear Politics . Retrieved October 25, 2016, from VIDEO Trump Speech ISIS Plan: http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2015/11/13/trumps_updated_isis_plan_bomb_the_shit_out_of_them_send_exxon_in_to_rebuild.html
-Trump, D. (2016, August 15). Youtube. Retrieved October 25, 2016, from Donald Trump Speech on Security: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c-KKX7nmNZ4

Will We Ever Change From Our Imperialist Ways?

Change is a given promise when we were told that we needed to be prosperous and develop. That is easier said than done when there are other factors, such as imperialism, that alter the path of ‘change’ and development, just to ensure others grow while we remain stagnant.

Change management comic - What if we don't change.
Change management comic – What if we don’t change.

The world that we live in is drastically changing but then what is actually changing when all we say we are doing is changing while doing nothing at all? Confusing? I know.

The way in which it is evolving is by becoming more intertwined, a little more globalized –if you will. To put it in simple terms, it’s Christmas and there is a family feud going on but everyone has just plastered a smile to their face, whilst their noses are out of place. That is what we call developmental economics, when this big family tries to find out what every member is lacking in (causes of poverty and low income), and tries to ‘offer’ advice on how to handle the situation (to create policy designs that could help individuals and their countries to attain “greater economic prosperity”) (Acemoglu, 2010).

But even if their noses were in someone else’s business, its not as bad as we think it is. Because more often than not it does help out developing countries by guiding them down the path of prosperity. Take the United Nations for example and the Sustainable Development Goals. It’s a global initiative to ensure that everyone has a fair chance to enter this ‘newly awakened’ globalized world. There has been tremendous progress with respects to giving aid not only in the form of finance, but also social, environmental and economic. This all in all clearly defines the word ‘change’; the world is transforming, people and countries’ roles are diversifying, the connections are forming and the more one looks at it, the more its realized just how linked we all are. Almost like a chain.

But even so, with all these developmental advancements and global goals, how is it still possible that the minority of the world’s wealthiest of approximately 17% consumes around 80% of the world’s resources? Why is it that even with all these changes, new ambitions and global development projects, it still leads to depicting the world in a static manner? A manner of no real progression at all.

It seems as though every two steps we take forward, we take one step back. Almost as though its false hope that one day everyone will be given equal opportunities to be able to enter the global enterprise, also known as, the neoliberal market. These actions create an opportunity for questioning ones actions and agendas behind the developmental aid given. To simply put it “what’s in it for me?”

Eventually, all that ‘economic prosperity’ (that was achieved because of the aid given) basically generates enough wealth just so it can cycle back to the original lenders, the world’s wealthiest people. The truth is, those who are given aid are being ripped off tragically. The only ones who really benefit are those who get the profits at the end. Since the early 2000’s until this date, there has been almost no change from a global wealth disparities/distribution standpoint. Even though we are lead to believe that the world is investing and giving to those who really need it, and although the numbers are improving (as per progress reports from the Sustainable Development Goals), we have to realize so are the numbers in the world’s wealthiest’s bank accounts.

The same way its been done for 25 years

As Joseph Stiglitz (2009) said, it is due to wanting to improve ones own national economy before others even if it means the downfall of the global economy. There is this sense of hostility, and majority of these organizations that aim to help the under privileged are to an extent influenced by the policies and social values that hosts the wealthiest people in the world. Therefore ulterior motives could be induced within terms and conditions of accepting aid, “I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine”

Thus is the fate of a capitalist neoliberal economy, imperialism is then inevitable. One will always try to grow independently and have a main aim of accumulating wealth, therefore increasing competition within the market economy. Meaning it’s a struggle for survival for those who are not fortunate. By the looks of things, this ideology won’t be changing for a long time, and so even if there have been great improvements within the developing world, they won’t really have a chance to compete on the same level as those from the developed world. They’ll be too busy abiding by the terms and conditions by the aid lenders and so these disparities are highly unlikely to change.

Fadhila Al Asmawi | Dubai Campus

Bibliography

Continue reading “Will We Ever Change From Our Imperialist Ways?”

Eat, sleep, consume : when your belongings define who you are.

Our capitalist habits of consumption are pushing  multinationals to take advantage over the poorest, showing a much darker side of globalization.

 

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Uncle Sam by Hal Hefner 2015

Consumption is becoming a new way of communicating with others, through what we buy and the choices we make to represent ourselves. The development of new types of transport and new technologies such as the internet have facilitated connections between goods and consumers, further pushes the limits of consumption ; we have reached a point where we can buy products without leaving our houses. Advertisement is also a major tool to promote overconsumption by inundating us through TV or online to convince us that we cannot live without acquiring these new trendy objects ; but what is the limit of this system ? When we see the Black Friday sales in the US creating such hysteria every year and the fact that nearly 74.2 million American rushed to stores in 2015 to stand in queues for hours in the quest products at lower price (Black Friday website), I start realizing that one of the major problems facing us today is that most of our common consumption is based on our desires rather than on our needs. What is the human cost behind a product while being part of a globalized world ?

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Black Friday UK: The shops hit by chaos and violence as shopping frenzy sweeps country  The Independent

Forced labor and indecent work are real issues that still persist today and it is something that everyone is aware of. Today more than 21 million people are victims of forced labour (International Labor Organization). What are the future prospects for those who are constantly deprived of basic needs such as food, clothing, education and health? Sometimes, for the youngest we steal their childhood and their innocence. Theses victims are exploited by private individuals or multinational companies which know the tricks of low-cost trade and are seeking profit at any cost. When we know that “forced labour in the private economy generates US$ 150 billion in illegal profits per year.” (International labor organization) they probably don’t want to stop a system that is so economically profitable.

One of the most striking example come from Shenzhen, in southern China, in the factories of Foxconn where the giant of the electronics Apple makes manufacture some of its products. Thousands of employees live there in deplorable conditions; a video published by BBC News shows  workers falling asleep during their production after more than 12 hours of standing . Between exhaustion, bullying and loneliness, 10 of them decided to commit suicide of the buildings. The response of the factory is shocking: the installation of nets prevents them from jumping of the buildings belonging to the company. A photographer decide to speak up about what is happening around us: the other side of globalization.With his project The Real Toy Story, the photographer Michael Wolf documented the daily work of Chinese workers working in toy factories.

Multinational companies are mostly at the heart of the problem but what about us ? As consumers, we are also responsible as we contribute everyday in making the world more unequal. Due to our unnecessary desire, we motivate theses companies to take further advantage from people. And this is a major issue, we don’t think while buying, this has become normal gestures that make us look more like robots devoid of any senses than human being with feeling and empathy. We need to see our impact; numbers and facts are sometimes too abstract to really reach consciousness about the situation. Because a picture is worth a thousand words, watching this stunning documentary called The true cost will make you change the vision you have on the world of the clothing industry.

I’m not here to give a lesson because I’m probably one of the worse consumers ever. I love fashion, following trends and I’m not going to lie, buying makes me happy.However in these past few month I have changed my shopping habits. Consumerism is a lesson we learn from our parents and habits taken from our childhood. But we need to learn how to consume and to change our mindset about materialism. The book « the life changing magic of tidying up the Japanese art of decluttering and organizing » by Marie Kondo helped me to make a first step towards a better lifestyle. The Japanese traditions state that joy doesn’t come from objects. Material possessions are not what makes you reach proper fulfillment as family, friends and faith does.This doesn’t mean that we need to stop buying products altogether, but just that we need to think about the implications of our actions on others and possible alternatives. We can’t remake the world at once but we can all participate at our level. We will teach other generations to learn how to consume more wisely. This post is not a marxist anticapitalist and moralistic lesson, just a message of hope. It’s never too late to learn and try to be a better human being. As one of the reporter of the documentary in the True cost said :

We can do better than this.

Lola iris kadri/ Dubai campus

References

Global Terrorism threat to Global Economy

In today’s world, the term Global Political Economy is derived from the vast subject field of International Political Science. This is known as the global political economy or as we know it as global economic politics. According to Levy (2005), Global political economy comprises of academic subjects within Political Science and Economics in today’s curriculum and is found in most academic institutes. Furthermore it is a highly important body of study not just in Political Science schools, but also in schools of economics, in the study of Sociology, history, and global cultures around the world.

As stated by Patzek (2008), the advancement of technology has turned the world into a global village in the twenty first century. The world is no longer separated by geographical distances and/or barriers but rather the advancement of technology has created access which connects all countries around the world in terms of decision making, policy development and addressing global issues which the world faces as whole. This has made us more connected than ever before. As much as there are huge advantages to being part of and living in this connected world, there are also severe challenges as a result, which affects all strata’s of the earth’s population.

I believe that global terrorism is by far the most critical issue in today’s global political economy. The term ‘terrorism’ here is used to describe acts by certain groups anywhere in the world which causes disruption, threat, injuries, and/or the killings of innocent people around the world. The most heavily publicised form of terrorism is the killings of innocent people in the name of religion, cast, creed, ethnicity or belonging to particular regions or areas by banned outfits or groups of people under no supervision from any international governments. (Sandler and Siqueira, 2006).

There have been several high profile instances of such acts around the world. These include the 9/11 attack in the New York City, 7/7 Underground station bombings in London, the Istanbul attacks, amongst many others. The statements we get from news sources from the attackers are related to the global animosity of one group or outfit with the invader or the intruder which in this case is the innocent victims (members of the public) of these violent attacks, in this case of 9/11 for example we were told via news sources that Al Qaeda claimed responsibility for this attack. This form of violence and terrorism has no boundaries nor is it always predictable.  To understand why such groups carry out this form of violence to attack innocent people is beyond any justification (Li and Schaub, 2004). This is totally inhumane and is condemned by every educated human irrespective of any colour, religion, creed or region.

 

Global terrorism has a huge detrimental impact on global economy and in particular Global political economy, unrest in Middle eastern and African countries largely affects the development of oil production and development, and it is the biggest hindrance in global economic growth (Levy, 2005)

Obviously, there are various factors associated to those who carry out such attacks. These include the poverty in their homeland, the illiteracy, and the lack of opportunity for growth and human development. These vary from country to country. According to Abadie (2004), most of these groups belong to developing countries mostly labelled as underdeveloped countries. Areas and populations still exist which have no access to clean water, adequate food and good education to live a decent and better life.

Let me briefly shed light on each of these points which actually heighten the idea of violence in these terror attacks. At first, the banned terror groups use boys and girls at a very young age to be brainwashed. Most of these boys and girls belong to deprived areas of their respective home towns and have been victim of injustice in their state, by this I mean inequality in terms of class, social standing and general lack of opportunity, generally these children/young people are disillusioned with their lives and as a result this drives them to undertake violence in reaction to this injustice.

Knowing the fact that these youngsters have very little to no opportunities to help their family survive the severe poverty; they use violence and weapons as form of income (Porter, 2000). This becomes their employment opportunity to ensure that their families are fed even if for few days until they are alive in the aftermath of any violent attack.  Secondly, the use of weapon supersedes the power of the pen. The lack of a basic education for many children invariably leads them to be misguided and misled. Local governments are equally responsible for their share in not providing adequate opportunities and facilities to those children most marginalised which often results in losing them to such globally banned groups of terrorism (MacDermid Wadsworth, 2010). This has been observed that developing countries i.e., Syria, Iraq, parts of Africa and South Asia have recently seen and experienced a rising wave of threats from such attacks and subsequently even in the rise of child terrorists.

Moreover many terrorists may have lost their loved ones in terror attacks and in return of getting no justice from the Courts or Army, these people turn to violence to retaliate and ‘equal the price of the blood’ as they see it.  (Sandler and Siqueira, 2006).

Finally, the difficulty in opportunity to join the economy of their country is also responsible for this form of violence around the world. The would be terrorists look upon their government and the opportunities that the government is offering for its people if it’s not perceived to offer a ‘good life’ or they feel much maligned by their government if they do not perceive success through legitimate means then they are more likely to fall victim to radicalisation. (Helpman, Itskhoki and Redding, 2010).

This can be said that living in the today’s global economy is as challenging as it was for the baby boomers at the time of World War II or even during global recession of 1930s. Each era of history has very critical issues to address in the global world. Today’s world faces the severe challenge of global terrorism which has many, sometimes virtually undetectable forms around the world and has several reasons which push the attackers en masse and with devastating consequences knowing no boundaries, religion and class, This has been witnessed all around the world. The contributing factors for this include the deprivation of education, lack of opportunities and the rising poverty though limited to small geographical areas now no longer can be contain and is undoubtedly a global economic issue that needs to be addressed now.

Helen O’Neill

M00437799

 

References

Levy, D.L., 2005. Offshoring in the new global political economy. Journal of Management Studies42(3), pp.685-693.

Patzek, T.W., 2008. Exponential growth, energetic Hubbert cycles, and the advancement of technology. Archives of Mining Sciences53(2), pp.131-159.

Sandler, T. and Siqueira, K., 2006. Global terrorism: deterrence versus pre‐emption. Canadian Journal of Economics/Revue canadienne d’économique39(4), pp.1370-1387.

Porter, M.E., 2000. Location, competition, and economic development: Local clusters in a global economy. Economic development quarterly14(1), pp.15-34.

Helpman, E., Itskhoki, O. and Redding, S., 2010. Inequality and unemployment in a global economy. Econometrica78(4), pp.1239-1283.

MacDermid Wadsworth, S.M., 2010. Family risk and resilience in the context of war and terrorism. Journal of Marriage and Family72(3), pp.537-556.

Abadie, A., 2004. Poverty, political freedom, and the roots of terrorism (No. w10859). National Bureau of Economic Research.

Li, Q. and Schaub, D., 2004. Economic globalization and transnational terrorism a pooled time-series analysis. Journal of Conflict Resolution48(2), pp.230-258.

Helen O’Neill

 

#whomademystuff

We use a lot of things everyday. Cellphones, clothes, pans or notebooks. But have you ever wondered – who made these things ? Nowadays your phone can do almost everything, but first someone has to make your phone. It is noteworthy to think about.

Electronic equipments are produced mainly in China, but this sector develop really quickly also in Tailiand, Indonesia or Phlipinines. The population struggling with poverty is looking for an employment in factories which is used by employers. Salary is not enough to cover basic needs such as health care or home. Minors are often employed and work conditions are horrible. There is no basic protection to the employee. No one respects the rights.

One of the most controversial example is the factory of Foxconn which produces things for companies such as aApple, Intel or Motorola. The factory employs about 20-30 thousand people. Their work day is different than ours. They do not have a break for facebook, cigarette or lunch. They often work 14 hours a change. One worker died after working 34 hours. Workers live near the plants, often several people in one room. This lifestyle has led some people to the brink of mental breakdown which resulted in a record number of suicides. Not only a work is the cause of death or illness. Chinese workers use chemicals that threaten their life and health. Same company denies the allegations but also promises to address the issue.

Foxconn factory and electronic devices are not the only example of the still existing problem of labor law. Another of them is the clothing industry. In Asia produces almost every well-known brand: H&M, Inditex, Nike and even Calvin Klein. Why Asia? It simply pays off. Comparing the cost of producing shirt – in Asia it costs only 22 cents. For Bangladesh, the second after China clothing manufacturer in the world, is worth 19 billion dollars branch of business – it generates 80% export. Factories employ nearly 4 million people. Corrupt officials, often controlled by politicians, as appropriate money falsify certificates and stamps on the documents confirming the safety of buildings. However, they are not safe. After the tragedy that occurred in one of the factories in Bangladesh eyes of the world finally drew attention to the problem. One of the most popular manifestations of opposition became #whomademyclothes action, which deals with improving the situation in the factories used by large corporations.

Are there any perspectives improvement on the current situation? It is getting more and more popular to replace people. Today, Foxconn factory has 10 thousand robots and this number will increase to 300 thousand in the next year and one million in the next 3 years. This carries other consequences – a huge number of people will lose their jobs. Another aspect that can help in improving the situation of the workers is the aging of Chinese society, reduces the proportion of people living in rural areas and increase the number of educated people who are looking for a better job than in factories.

Each of us should think #whomademystuff.

by: Karolina Banaś

Bibliography:

  • The Guardian, (2014). Ethical fashion: where are your clothes made? Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/nov/16/ethical-living-fashion-supply-chains-lucy-siegle. [Accessed 31 Dec. 2016]
  • Wired, 1 Million Workers. 90 Million iPhones. 17 Suicides. Who’s to Blame? Available at: https://www.wired.com/2011/02/ff_joelinchina/all/1. [Accessed 30 Dec. 2016]
  • The Guardian, (2011). Taiwan iPhone manufacturer replaces Chinese workers with robots. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2011/aug/01/foxconn-robots-replace-chinese-workers. [Accessed 1 Nov. 2016]
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