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Archive for 22. Oktober 2015

Posted by hkarner - 22. Oktober 2015

Date: 22-10-2015
Source: The New York Times By MICHAEL KUGELMAN
Subject: The Next Refugee Crisis: Afghanistan

WASHINGTON — With the war in Afghanistan heating up, thousands of Afghan refugees are fleeing their country. But Iran and Pakistan, which house most of the Afghan refugees from previous cycles of violence, are increasingly unwelcoming. So the new exodus has begun to flow toward Europe, already inundated with Syria’s refugees.

Yet these Afghans have attracted little attention from Western policy makers; they do not seem to recognize the Afghans’ desperation, and the challenges their flight poses for Afghanistan, its neighbors and Europe. For Afghans, it is a recurring nightmare. Like previous exoduses going back to the 1970s, this one is stripping the country of precisely the professionals who are vital to its future as a modern state.

President Obama has an opportunity to change that on Thursday by putting the issue high on his agenda, and calling international attention to it, when he hosts Pakistan’s prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, in Washington.

The new surge of refugees began with the Taliban’s offensive this year, and intensified after fighting reached populated areas like Kunduz. Last month, employees at Afghanistan’s passport agency said they were issuing an average of 2,000 passports daily — triple the number of six months ago.

In recent decades, most Afghan refugees have wound up in Pakistan, which now hosts nearly three million. But refugees there complain that this year, officials have been forcing them to return home. The International Organization for Migration says 90,000 Pakistan-based Afghans did just that since January. Now the government refuses to extend identity cards for 1.5 million refugees, many of whom have been in Pakistan for decades, when their permits expire at year’s end. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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The Great Leader Revival

Posted by hkarner - 22. Oktober 2015

Photo of Chris Patten

Chris Patten

Chris Patten, the last British Governor of Hong Kong and a former EU commissioner for external affairs, is Chancellor of the University of Oxford.

OCT 21, 2015, Project Syndicate

LONDON – Two hundred years have passed since the battle of Waterloo, where Napoleon’s calamitous defeat made such a huge dent in his country’s self-image that General Charles de Gaulle, in his history of the French army, simply omitted it. Nonetheless, Napoleon, like de Gaulle, would both easily make it onto any list of history’s great leaders – assuming, of course, that one considers “greatness” to be an individual trait.

Marx and Tolstoy would say that there is no such thing as a “great leader.” For Marx, the class struggle in France created the circumstances in which a “grotesque mediocrity” – that is, Napoleon – was morphed into a hero. As far as Tolstoy was concerned, Napoleon was not a particularly good general, and was carried to victory by the courage and commitment of all of the individual French soldiers who won the Battle of Borodino.

Whether or not Napoleon was great, the question remains whether any leader could merit that description. And if so, who? Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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The thinking behind feminist economics

Posted by hkarner - 22. Oktober 2015

Date: 21-10-2015
Source: The Economist

Ostrom ccECONOMICS, a discipline of policy wonks, talking heads, and this publication, is meant to offer an objective way of looking at the world. But some worry that it falls short. Proponents of feminist economics believe that, both in terms of methodology and focus, economics is too much of a man’s world. This is not just because women are under-represented in the science: in 2014 women constituted only 12% of American economics professors, and to date there has only been one female winner of the Nobel Memorial Prize in
Economic Sciences (Elinor Ostrom, pictured). They also, perhaps more importantly, worry that by asking the wrong questions, economics has cemented gender inequality rather than helping to solve it. How do feminist economists want to change it?

According to Alfred Marshall, a founding father of the science, economics is “the study of men as they live and think and move in the ordinary business of life.” Mr Marshall’s casual allusion to “men” captures what feminist economists believe is the first major problem with economics, a habit of ignoring women. The economy, they argue, is often thought of as the world of money, machines and men. This is reflected in how GDP is measured. Wage labour is included; unpaid work at home is not. Feminist economists criticise this approach as being excessively narrow. In Marilyn Waring’s book “If Women Counted”, published in 1988, she argued that the system of measuring GDP was designed by men to keep women “in their place”. Not only is this way of measuring GDP arbitrary (care is included in “production” when paid for on the market, but not when supplied informally), but because women contribute the bulk of care around the world, it also systematically undervalues their contribution to society. Ms Waring thought unpaid care should be included in GDP to reflect that “production” of well cared-for children is just as important as that of cars or crops. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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Big Polluters, Pay Up

Posted by hkarner - 22. Oktober 2015

Photo of Stephen Leonard

Stephen Leonard

Stephen Leonard is President of the Australia-based Climate Justice Program.

OCT 21, 2015, Project Syndicate

JAKARTA – Earlier this year in Myanmar, torrential rain caused mudslides that wiped out hundreds of houses and caused large-scale crop destruction. More than 1.3 million people were affected, and over 100 died. In Vietnam, the same deluges caused toxic slurry pits from coal mines to overflow and run through villages, and into the World Heritage-listed Ha Long Bay; the death toll was 17. As such weather events become increasingly frequent and intense, the need to mitigate and adapt to climate change is becoming more urgent than ever.

And make no mistake: These events are, at least partly, the result of climate change. As the climate scientist Kevin Trenberth of the US National Center for Atmospheric Research points out, nowadays, “[a]ll weather events are affected by climate change, because the environment in which they occur is warmer and moister than it used to be.”

International climate negotiators recognize this, to some extent. The effects faced by the people of Myanmar and Vietnam are considered unavoidable costs of failing to adapt to climate change, which officials classify as “loss and damage.” But such language fails to capture the full scale of the consequences – especially their impact on human lives. The people who died in Myanmar and Vietnam are not just “unavoidable costs,” and their loved ones cannot simply “adapt” to losing them. Den Rest des Beitrags lesen »

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