Latest Developments, May 29


In the latest news and analysis…

Monetizing nature
The World Development Movement’s Hannah Griffiths rejects the idea, underlying schemes such as the UN’s Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation program (REDD), that nature needs to be assigned a price in order to be protected.
“The co-option of the term green economy to mean commodifying and marketising nature is made worse because it is in danger of dominating the Rio+20 summit at the expense of some of the really positive policies being proposed. These include ending massive subsidies for fossil fuels and other dirty industries, supporting greener industries instead, and moving away from taxing social goods (such as labour) towards taxing social bads (such as pollution).
But in the longer term, a real green economy would need to overcome even thornier issues. We need to change our consumption and production patterns and end the obsession with economic growth, looking instead at other indicators of a healthily functioning society.”

Déjà vu all over again
The Independent Online reports that a South African community, which appeared to have won its fight to keep mining off its territory, now faces another prospecting application from the local subsidiary of an Australian mining company.
“The Amadiba Crisis Committee (ACC) said in a statement that it was outraged that the community again faced a mining application even after Minister of Mineral Resources Susan Shabangu revoked Transworld Energy and Minerals’ (TEM) mining rights last year. TEM is a subsidiary of [Australia’s Mineral Resource Commodities].

Shabangu revoked TEM’s mining right in May last year due to outstanding environmental issues, and the company was given 90 days to provide additional information.”

Fake vaccines
The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine’s Heidi Larson argues the CIA’s use of fake immunizations in Pakistan has hurt the global fight against polio.
“It is no coincidence that the remaining three countries in the world which have polio endemics are Nigeria, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Yes, there are geographical challenges and financial challenges. And, yes, finding Bin Laden has been a global security priority. But deep-seated suspicions about the motives of those who provide polio vaccines have persisted in some circles from Nigeria to Pakistan, and the CIA’s choice of immunisation as a strategy to find Bin Laden has only given credence to the conspiracies.
There must have been a better, more ethical, way. This choice of action has jeopardised people’s trust in vaccines, and in particular the polio-eradication campaign, now so close to success – broken trust that will take years to restore. Was this strategy worth this sacrifice of trust and the loss of opportunity for the final eradication of a disease scourge – another threat to human security?”

Fed transparency
The New American reports on the progress of proposed US legislation that would “thoroughly audit the secretive Federal Reserve.”
“The legislation, H.R. 459, already has over 225 co-sponsors in the House including an impressive roster of senior Democrats and Republicans, some of whom chair important committees. In the Senate, however, a similar bill has only about 20 co-sponsors so far, forcing Audit-the-Fed activists to wage a massive campaign aimed at exposing Senators who refuse to support transparency at the shadowy central bank. Polls in recent years revealed that four out of five Americans support auditing the Fed. ”

Survival of the fittest
Dublin-based economist David McWilliams argues the EU fiscal treaty offers more of a straitjacket than the kind of union he witnessed on the other side of the Atlantic.
“Many years ago, like many of my generation, I emigrated looking for work. I ended up as a dishwasher in Boston. Boston too had a boom and bust in the late 1980s but when it collapsed the rest of the US didn’t punish it, it transferred money via the federal budget to help it recover.
With this treaty, the EU envisages the opposite: cutting spending in the periphery when we most need help. In so doing, it creates lower growth, higher unemployment, more political instability and more capital flows from the periphery to the core.”

AFRICOM expansion
In a Q&A with the Real News Network, Friends of the Congo’s Maurice Carney talks about America’s role in the “escalation of the militarization” of Africa.
“There are terrorist groups operating, you know, in Somalia and the Maghreb, Sahara, Northwest Africa. But I think it’s overblown, because if we look at where [US Africa Command] is and where it’s operating, it’s not solely in areas where we see some presence of terrorist groups. I’ll give you an example. In the Central African region, for example, there are no terrorist groups in—that we’re aware of, anyways—in Rwanda, and they receive large shipments of equipment, they get training, intelligence, and money from the United States. So although terrorism is a casus belli for the United States, we see that the larger issue is the protection of their strategic interests and their economic interests on the continent.”

Facing the Truth
Moyers & Company’s Bill Moyers and Michael Winship argue that the best way for the US to honour its troops is to renew the country’s commitment to the rule of law.
“So here we are, into our eleventh year after 9/11, still at war in Afghanistan, still at war with terrorists, still at war with our collective conscience as we grapple with how to protect our country from attack without violating the basic values of civilization – the rule of law, striving to achieve our aims without corrupting them, and restraint in the use of power over others, especially when exercised in secret.
In future days and years, how will we come to cope with the reality of what we have done in the name of security? Many other societies do seem to try harder than we do to come to terms with horrendous behavior commissioned or condoned by a government.”

Emerging left
Jawaharlal Nehru University’s Jayati Ghosh identifies seven characteristics of the new global left that she believes holds the key to a brighter future for humanity.
“Fifth, the emerging left goes far beyond traditional left paradigms in recognising the different and possibly overlapping social and cultural identities that shape economic, political and social realities. It is now realised that addressing issues only in class terms is not sufficient, and many strands of the emerging left are now much more explicitly (even dominantly) concerned with addressing the inequalities, oppression and exploitation associated with social attributes, race, community, and so on.”

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