The mining boom in Peru during the 1990s attracted private investment that led to current economic growth. However, this did not translate into sustainable development of the mining activities. The government has been absent in remote mining areas and, thus, corporations have been targeted as being responsible for attending to local communities’ demands and providing assistance. As a result, mining companies developed only short-term and interest-driven ‘socially responsible’ plans to continue operating. Not surprisingly, social conflict has been especially prevalent in the field of extractive industries. A shift from an extractive model to a more inclusive, participatory one—where governments and private companies work together with local communities—could create a virtuous circle of sustainable social development.
In historical narratives encouraged by nation states and internalized by most of us, borders often take a natural character, enforcing the nation state as a ‘natural’ and ‘inevitable’ fact. However, these narratives obscure the fact that it is the state itself that drives the process of creating, defining and consolidating borders and their adjacent areas. This article explains how and why, using examples from Europe and Latin America.
On March 28, Tracey Li wrote on the origin of borders here on the Development Roast. While the piece is both well-researched and well-written, it fails to elaborate on the centrality of states in driving the process that creates and defines national borders. Instead, agency is implicitly attributed to the (‘natural’) borders themselves: “the existence of natural borders in Europe and their absence in Africa is what makes the difference between multi-ethnic polities and ethnically homogenous ones.”
The Pyrenees between France and Spain is held up as an example of such a natural border that discourages migration and more or less naturally creates two national communities. This is incorrect: migration across the Pyrenees and around the region was common for centuries before the national border was determined. The evidence of this is clear: the Occitan language spoken in the south of France and Catalan spoken on the “Spanish side” of the mountains are closer to each other than either is to French or Spanish (or Castellano, as the Catalans call it) respectively. Read More »
By Nikole Hyndman
The death of Hugo Chávez rocked the world of international relations. As foreign governments scrambled to make public condolence statements, the world remembered just what a controversial figure Chávez was. While he was adored by the Venezuelan people, he was a thorn in the side of Western governments. He was also a close personal friend to remarkably controversial leaders like Fidel Castro, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and Muammar Gadhafi.
Amidst the demonization of America and capitalism, Chávez kept the world watching Venezuela. His unrelenting criticisms of the Western imperialist powers got him significant attention from Western governments. His alliances with staunchly anti-American states like Iran, Belarus, and Syria gave him both power and influence in the international system. Chávez shaped a new, more powerful Venezuela. Read More »
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) was today ordered to leave Bolivia. According to the British Broadcasting Association (BBC), President Evo Morales accused the agency of ‘seeking to “conspire against” the Bolivian people and his government.’
USAID has been working in the country for over fifty years and has a current spending budget of around US$50 million. Here is some of the media features of the story and its analysis:
El Universo: Bolivia Expulsa a la USAID
By David Harper.
Who’s to blame for poverty? Is it the poor themselves? Or society? Or is it just bad luck or fate? Just over forty years ago, American sociologist Joe Feagin asked over a thousand Americans and found that 53 percent blamed the poor themselves, 22 percent blamed societal factors and 18 percent put poverty down to fate (1972). In a very real sense people were prepared to blame the victim. The tendency to blame the victims of poverty for their own fate is similar to what Melvin Lerner (1980) has called the belief in a just world – the Just World Theory – where people get what they deserve and deserve what they get. Thus if a person is poor they must somehow have deserved that poverty.
In 1990, some colleagues and I drew on Feagin’s work, designing a survey to examine how British people explained poverty in the developing world. The most popular explanations for poverty included the inefficiency of developing world governments, exploitation by other countries and climate. However we found that those with a stronger Just World belief were significantly less likely to agree that poverty in the developing world was due to exploitation by other countries, war or the world economic and banking system.
Does it matter what explanations people give for poverty? Read More »
Somewhere in the world there is a social movement unfolding even as we speak: perhaps in India Maoists are engaged in organizing armed opposition to a transnational mining corporation; or possibly members of Brazil’s Landless Rural Workers’ Movement, the Movimento dos Trabalhadores Sem Terra (MST), are holding a meeting to discuss actions to be taken against the eviction of their supporters from occupied lands outside of São Paolo. Over the past decade, we have seen countless mobilizations of people on regional, national, or even global scales, but despite many of these movements having something to say about development, they are rarely treated with seriousness in relation to development or policy change. Read More »
This week’s The Economist featured a story on rising global epidemic of obesity that was part of the Special Report on Obesity. I was very enthused by the initial discussion that mirrored much of the analysis that the Development Roast has offered in the past. Yet a grave disappointment ensued when the piece entitled Fat Chance seemed to contradict much of the preceding argument when reaching its conclusion.
The article begins with the now very familiar recounting of the global statistics that show obesity and its accompanying diseases such as diabetes, heart conditions and food-related cancers as the biggest killers worldwide, in both advanced and developing nations. It then went on to admit that such a widespread trend, which is imposing a heavy cost on both public and private purses, as well as causing a reduction in labor productivity, presents a dilemma for a magazine. Read More »
It has been roughly a year since a new catchphrase flooded the front pages of mainstream, social and activist media: “We are the 99 percent.” It came from a wider recognition of the long-established truth that a small percentage of the population in most societies hangs on to an overwhelming majority of wealth and power. It is also a recognition that it is the 99 percent that are asked to pay a disproportionate part of the price for the effects of our collective actions: to bail out the banks and not the failing health services; to pick up the environmental tab and pay through the nose for an increasingly worthless education; to waste their lives sitting on the unemployment list, instead of contributing to society. “We are the 99 percent” is the slogan of a new generation of the disgruntled, jobless youth in the West. “We are the 99 percent” is the demonstration chant of occupiers from Wall Street to St Paul’s, from Cairo to Cape Town. “We are the 99 percent” is still on everybody’s lips. At the heart of the matter? Democracy. Read More »
On the 16 October 2008 former President Clinton announced at a United Nations’ conference “we all blew it, even me.” This statement was acknowledging the major role that the west played in causing the 2006-2008 global food crisis, largely by their treatment of crops “like color TVs” rather than realizing their worth as a vital commodity for the world’s poor and thus differentiating them from material export/import goods.
Perhaps what is most surprising about this massive misjudgment of agricultural policies is that it was heavily promoted by a number of the institutions that we tend, or at least hope, to think are working for poverty eradication and not against it. Read More »
U.S. exports obesity epidemic to Mexico was the conclusion of a recent Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) report. The study looks at the health consequences of the North American Free Trade agreement (NAFTA), a tri-lateral trade liberalization agreement between Mexico, Canada, and the U.S. that came into effect in 1994. The researchers tracked the increases of U.S. exports into Mexico that followed NAFTA’s implementation. These included such items as soft drinks, snack foods, processed meats, and dairy, as well as raw inputs such as corn and soybeans that are used in the food processing industry. They then linked the rises to increased consumption of unhealthy foods and, thusly, to an incremental rise in the nation’s climbing obesity epidemic. Read More »