Libertarianism – Wikipedia

“Libertarians” redirects here. For political parties that may go by this name, see Libertarian Party.

Libertarianism (from Latin: libertas, meaning “freedom”) is a collection of political philosophies and movements that uphold liberty as a core principle.[1] Libertarians seek to maximize political freedom and autonomy, emphasizing freedom of choice, voluntary association, and individual judgment.[2][3][4] Libertarians share a skepticism of authority and state power, but they diverge on the scope of their opposition to existing political and economic systems. Various schools of libertarian thought offer a range of views regarding the legitimate functions of state and private power, often calling for the restriction or dissolution of coercive social institutions.[5]

Left-libertarian ideologies seek to abolish capitalism and private ownership of the means of production, or else to restrict their purview or effects, in favor of common or cooperative ownership and management, viewing private property as a barrier to freedom and liberty.[6][7][8][9] In contrast, modern right-libertarian ideologies, such as minarchism and anarcho-capitalism, instead advocate laissez-faire capitalism and strong private property rights,[10] such as in land, infrastructure, and natural resources.

The first recorded use of the term “libertarian” was in 1789, when William Belsham wrote about libertarianism in the context of metaphysics.[11]

“Libertarian” came to mean an advocate or defender of liberty, especially in the political and social spheres, as early as 1796, when the London Packet printed on 12 February: “Lately marched out of the Prison at Bristol, 450 of the French Libertarians”.[12] The word was again used in a political sense in 1802 in a short piece critiquing a poem by “the author of Gebir” and has since been used with this meaning.[13][14][15]

The use of the word “libertarian” to describe a new set of political positions has been traced to the French cognate, libertaire, coined in a letter French libertarian communist Joseph Djacque wrote to mutualist Pierre-Joseph Proudhon in 1857.[16][17][18] Djacque also used the term for his anarchist publication Le Libertaire: Journal du Mouvement Social, which was printed from 9 June 1858 to 4 February 1861 in New York City.[19][20] In the mid-1890s, Sbastien Faure began publishing a new Le Libertaire while France’s Third Republic enacted the lois sclrates (“villainous laws”), which banned anarchist publications in France. Libertarianism has frequently been used as a synonym for anarchism since this time.[21][22][23]

The term “libertarianism” was first used in the United States as a synonym for classic liberalism in May 1955 by writer Dean Russell, a colleague of Leonard Read and a classic liberal himself. He justified the choice of the word as follows: “Many of us call ourselves ‘liberals.’ And it is true that the word ‘liberal’ once described persons who respected the individual and feared the use of mass compulsions. But the leftists have now corrupted that once-proud term to identify themselves and their program of more government ownership of property and more controls over persons. As a result, those of us who believe in freedom must explain that when we call ourselves liberals, we mean liberals in the uncorrupted classical sense. At best, this is awkward and subject to misunderstanding. Here is a suggestion: Let those of us who love liberty trade-mark and reserve for our own use the good and honorable word ‘libertarian'”.[24]

Subsequently, a growing number of Americans with classical liberal beliefs in the United States began to describe themselves as “libertarian”. The person most responsible for popularizing the term “libertarian” was Murray Rothbard,[25] who started publishing libertarian works in the 1960s.

Libertarianism in the United States has been described as conservative on economic issues and liberal on personal freedom[26] (for common meanings of conservative and liberal in the United States) and it is also often associated with a foreign policy of non-interventionism.[27][28]

Although the word “libertarian” has been used to refer to socialists internationally, its meaning in the United States has deviated from its political origins.[29][30]

There is contention about whether left and right libertarianism “represent distinct ideologies as opposed to variations on a theme”.[31] All libertarians begin with a conception of personal autonomy from which they argue in favor of civil liberties and a reduction or elimination of the state.

Left-libertarianism encompasses those libertarian beliefs that claim the Earth’s natural resources belong to everyone in an egalitarian manner, either unowned or owned collectively. Contemporary left-libertarians such as Hillel Steiner, Peter Vallentyne, Philippe Van Parijs, Michael Otsuka and David Ellerman believe the appropriation of land must leave “enough and as good” for others or be taxed by society to compensate for the exclusionary effects of private property. Libertarian socialists (social and individualist anarchists, libertarian Marxists, council communists, Luxemburgists and DeLeonists) promote usufruct and socialist economic theories, including communism, collectivism, syndicalism and mutualism. They criticize the state for being the defender of private property and believe capitalism entails wage slavery.

Right-libertarianism[32] developed in the United States in the mid-20th century and is the most popular conception of libertarianism in that region.[33] It is commonly referred to as a continuation or radicalization of classical liberalism.[34][35] Right-libertarians, while often sharing left-libertarians’ advocacy for social freedom, also value the social institutions that enforce conditions of capitalism, while rejecting institutions that function in opposition to these on the grounds that such interventions represent unnecessary coercion of individuals and abrogation of their economic freedom.[36] Anarcho-capitalists[37][38] seek complete elimination of the state in favor of privately funded security services while minarchists defend “night-watchman states”, which maintain only those functions of government necessary to maintain conditions of capitalism and personal security.

Anarchism envisages freedom as a form of autonomy,[39] which Paul Goodman describes as “the ability to initiate a task and do it one’s own way, without orders from authorities who do not know the actual problem and the available means”.[40] All anarchists oppose political and legal authority, but collectivist strains also oppose the economic authority of private property.[41] These social anarchists emphasize mutual aid, whereas individualist anarchists extoll individual sovereignty.[42]

Some right-libertarians consider the non-aggression principle (NAP) to be a core part of their beliefs.[43][44]

Libertarians have been advocates and activists of civil liberties, including free love and free thought.[45][46] Advocates of free love viewed sexual freedom as a clear, direct expression of individual sovereignty and they particularly stressed women’s rights as most sexual laws discriminated against women: for example, marriage laws and anti-birth control measures.[47]

Free love appeared alongside anarcha-feminism and advocacy of LGBT rights. Anarcha-feminism developed as a synthesis of radical feminism and anarchism and views patriarchy as a fundamental manifestation of compulsory government. It was inspired by the late-19th-century writings of early feminist anarchists such as Lucy Parsons, Emma Goldman, Voltairine de Cleyre and Virginia Bolten. Anarcha-feminists, like other radical feminists, criticise and advocate the abolition of traditional conceptions of family, education and gender roles. Free Society (18951897 as The Firebrand, 18971904 as Free Society) was an anarchist newspaper in the United States that staunchly advocated free love and women’s rights, while criticizing “comstockery”, the censorship of sexual information.[48] In recent times, anarchism has also voiced opinions and taken action around certain sex-related subjects such as pornography,[49] BDSM[50] and the sex industry.[50]

Free thought is a philosophical viewpoint that holds opinions should be formed on the basis of science, logic and reason in contrast with authority, tradition or other dogmas.[51][52] In the United States, free thought was an anti-Christian, anti-clerical movement whose purpose was to make the individual politically and spiritually free to decide on religious matters. A number of contributors to Liberty were prominent figures in both free thought and anarchism. In 1901, Catalan anarchist and free-thinker Francesc Ferrer i Gurdia established “modern” or progressive schools in Barcelona in defiance of an educational system controlled by the Catholic Church.[53] Fiercely anti-clerical, Ferrer believed in “freedom in education”, i.e. education free from the authority of the church and state.[54] The schools’ stated goal was to “educate the working class in a rational, secular and non-coercive setting”. Later in the 20th century, Austrian Freudo-Marxist Wilhelm Reich became a consistent propagandist for sexual freedom going as far as opening free sex-counselling clinics in Vienna for working-class patients[55] as well as coining the phrase “sexual revolution” in one of his books from the 1940s.[56] During the early 1970s, the English anarchist and pacifist Alex Comfort achieved international celebrity for writing the sex manuals The Joy of Sex and More Joy of Sex.

Most left-libertarians are anarchists and believe the state inherently violates personal autonomy: “As Robert Paul Wolff has argued, since ‘the state is authority, the right to rule’, anarchism which rejects the State is the only political doctrine consistent with autonomy in which the individual alone is the judge of his moral constraints”.[41] Social anarchists believe the state defends private property, which they view as intrinsically harmful, while market-oriented left-libertarians argue that so-called free markets actually consist of economic privileges granted by the state. These latter libertarians advocate instead for freed markets, which are freed from these privileges.[57]

There is a debate amongst right-libertarians as to whether or not the state is legitimate: while anarcho-capitalists advocate its abolition, minarchists support minimal states, often referred to as night-watchman states. Libertarians take a skeptical view of government authority.[58][unreliable source?] Minarchists maintain that the state is necessary for the protection of individuals from aggression, theft, breach of contract and fraud. They believe the only legitimate governmental institutions are the military, police and courts, though some expand this list to include fire departments, prisons and the executive and legislative branches.[59] They justify the state on the grounds that it is the logical consequence of adhering to the non-aggression principle and argue that anarchism is immoral because it implies that the non-aggression principle is optional, that the enforcement of laws under anarchism is open to competition.[citation needed] Another common justification is that private defense agencies and court firms would tend to represent the interests of those who pay them enough.[60]

Anarcho-capitalists argue that the state violates the non-aggression principle (NAP) by its nature because governments use force against those who have not stolen or vandalized private property, assaulted anyone or committed fraud.[61][62] Linda & Morris Tannehill argue that no coercive monopoly of force can arise on a truly free market and that a government’s citizenry can not desert them in favor of a competent protection and defense agency.[63]

Left-libertarians believe that neither claiming nor mixing one’s labor with natural resources is enough to generate full private property rights[64][65] and maintain that natural resources ought to be held in an egalitarian manner, either unowned or owned collectively.[66]

Right-libertarians maintain that unowned natural resources “may be appropriated by the first person who discovers them, mixes his labor with them, or merely claims themwithout the consent of others, and with little or no payment to them”. They believe that natural resources are originally unowned and therefore private parties may appropriate them at will without the consent of, or owing to, others.[67]

Left-libertarians (social and individualist anarchists, libertarian Marxists and left-wing market anarchists) argue in favor of socialist theories such as communism, syndicalism and mutualism (anarchist economics). Daniel Gurin writes that “anarchism is really a synonym for socialism. The anarchist is primarily a socialist whose aim is to abolish the exploitation of man by man. Anarchism is only one of the streams of socialist thought, that stream whose main components are concern for liberty and haste to abolish the State”.[68]

Right-libertarians are economic liberals of either the Austrian School or Chicago school and support laissez-faire capitalism.[69]

Wage labour has long been compared by socialists and anarcho-syndicalists to slavery.[70][71][72][73] As a result, the term “wage slavery” is often utilised as a pejorative for wage labor.[74] Advocates of slavery looked upon the “comparative evils of Slave Society and of Free Society, of slavery to human Masters and slavery to Capital”[75] and proceeded to argue that wage slavery was actually worse than chattel slavery.[76] Slavery apologists like George Fitzhugh contended that workers only accepted wage labour with the passage of time, as they became “familiarized and inattentive to the infected social atmosphere they continually inhale[d]”.[75]

According to Noam Chomsky, analysis of the psychological implications of wage slavery goes back to the Enlightenment era. In his 1791 book On the Limits of State Action, classical liberal thinker Wilhelm von Humboldt explained how “whatever does not spring from a man’s free choice, or is only the result of instruction and guidance, does not enter into his very nature; he does not perform it with truly human energies, but merely with mechanical exactness” and so when the labourer works under external control “we may admire what he does, but we despise what he is”.[77] For Marxists, labour-as-commodity, which is how they regard wage labour,[78] provides an absolutely fundamental point of attack against capitalism.[79] “It can be persuasively argued”, noted philosopher John Nelson, “that the conception of the worker’s labour as a commodity confirms Marx’s stigmatization of the wage system of private capitalism as ‘wage-slavery;’ that is, as an instrument of the capitalist’s for reducing the worker’s condition to that of a slave, if not below it”.[80] That this objection is fundamental follows immediately from Marx’s conclusion that wage labour is the very foundation of capitalism: “Without a class dependent on wages, the moment individuals confront each other as free persons, there can be no production of surplus value; without the production of surplus-value there can be no capitalist production, and hence no capital and no capitalist!”.[81]

Left-libertarianism (or left-wing libertarianism) names several related, but distinct approaches to political and social theory which stresses both individual freedom and social equality. In its classical usage, left-libertarianism is a synonym for anti-authoritarian varieties of left-wing politics, i.e. libertarian socialism, which includes anarchism and libertarian Marxism, among others.[82][83] Left-libertarianism can also refer to political positions associated with academic philosophers Hillel Steiner, Philippe Van Parijs and Peter Vallentyne that combine self-ownership with an egalitarian approach to natural resouces.[84]

While maintaining full respect for personal property, left-libertarians are skeptical of or fully against private property, arguing that neither claiming nor mixing one’s labor with natural resources is enough to generate full private property rights[85][86] and maintain that natural resources (land, oil, gold and vegetation) should be held in an egalitarian manner, either unowned or owned collectively. Those left-libertarians who support private property do so under the condition that recompense is offered to the local community.[86] Many left-libertarian schools of thought are communist, advocating the eventual replacement of money with labor vouchers or decentralized planning.

On the other hand, left-wing market anarchism, which includes Pierre-Joseph Proudhon’s mutualism and Samuel Edward Konkin III’s agorism, appeals to left-wing concerns such as egalitarianism, gender and sexuality, class, immigration and environmentalism within the paradigm of a socialist free market.[82]

Right-libertarianism (or right-wing libertarianism) refers to libertarian political philosophies that advocate negative rights, natural law and a major reversal of the modern welfare state.[87] Right-libertarians strongly support private property rights and defend market distribution of natural resources and private property.[88] This position is contrasted with that of some versions of left-libertarianism, which maintain that natural resources belong to everyone in an egalitarian manner, either unowned or owned collectively.[89] Right-libertarianism includes anarcho-capitalism and laissez-faire, minarchist liberalism.[note 1]

Elements of libertarianism can be traced as far back as the ancient Chinese philosopher Lao-Tzu and the higher-law concepts of the Greeks and the Israelites.[90][91] In 17th-century England, libertarian ideas began to take modern form in the writings of the Levellers and John Locke. In the middle of that century, opponents of royal power began to be called Whigs, or sometimes simply “opposition” or “country” (as opposed to Court) writers.[92]

During the 18th century, classical liberal ideas flourished in Europe and North America.[93][94] Libertarians of various schools were influenced by classical liberal ideas.[95] For libertarian philosopher Roderick T. Long, both libertarian socialists and libertarian capitalists “share a commonor at least an overlapping intellectual ancestry… both claim the seventeenth century English Levellers and the eighteenth century French encyclopedists among their ideological forebears; and (also)… usually share an admiration for Thomas Jefferson[96][97][98] and Thomas Paine”.[99]

John Locke greatly influenced both libertarianism and the modern world in his writings published before and after the English Revolution of 1688, especially A Letter Concerning Toleration (1667), Two Treatises of Government (1689) and An Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1690). In the text of 1689, he established the basis of liberal political theory: that people’s rights existed before government; that the purpose of government is to protect personal and property rights; that people may dissolve governments that do not do so; and that representative government is the best form to protect rights.[100] The United States Declaration of Independence was inspired by Locke in its statement: “[T]o secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it”.[101] Nevertheless scholar Ellen Meiksins Wood says that “there are doctrines of individualism that are opposed to Lockean individualism… and non-Lockean individualism may encompass socialism”.[102]

According to Murray Rothbard, the libertarian creed emerged from the classical liberal challenges to an “absolute central State and a king ruling by divine right on top of an older, restrictive web of feudal land monopolies and urban guild controls and restrictions”, the mercantilism of a bureaucratic warfaring state allied with privileged merchants. The object of classical liberals was individual liberty in the economy, in personal freedoms and civil liberty, separation of state and religion, and peace as an alternative to imperial aggrandizement. He cites Locke’s contemporaries, the Levellers, who held similar views. Also influential were the English “Cato’s Letters” during the early 1700s, reprinted eagerly by American colonists who already were free of European aristocracy and feudal land monopolies.[101]

In January of 1776, only two years after coming to America from England, Thomas Paine published his pamphlet Common Sense calling for independence for the colonies.[103] Paine promoted classical liberal ideas in clear, concise language that allowed the general public to understand the debates among the political elites.[104] Common Sense was immensely popular in disseminating these ideas,[105] selling hundreds of thousands of copies.[106] Paine later would write the Rights of Man and The Age of Reason and participate in the French Revolution.[103] Paine’s theory of property showed a “libertarian concern” with the redistribution of resources.[107]

In 1793, William Godwin wrote a libertarian philosophical treatise, Enquiry Concerning Political Justice and its Influence on Morals and Happiness, which criticized ideas of human rights and of society by contract based on vague promises. He took classical liberalism to its logical anarchic conclusion by rejecting all political institutions, law, government and apparatus of coercion as well as all political protest and insurrection. Instead of institutionalized justice, Godwin proposed that people influence one another to moral goodness through informal reasoned persuasion, including in the associations they joined as this would facilitate happiness.[108][109]

Modern anarchism sprang from the secular or religious thought of the Enlightenment, particularly Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s arguments for the moral centrality of freedom.[110]

As part of the political turmoil of the 1790s in the wake of the French Revolution, William Godwin developed the first expression of modern anarchist thought.[111][112] According to Peter Kropotkin, Godwin was “the first to formulate the political and economical conceptions of anarchism, even though he did not give that name to the ideas developed in his work”,[113] while Godwin attached his anarchist ideas to an early Edmund Burke.[114]

Godwin is generally regarded as the founder of the school of thought known as philosophical anarchism. He argued in Political Justice (1793)[112][115] that government has an inherently malevolent influence on society and that it perpetuates dependency and ignorance. He thought that the spread of the use of reason to the masses would eventually cause government to wither away as an unnecessary force. Although he did not accord the state with moral legitimacy, he was against the use of revolutionary tactics for removing the government from power. Rather, Godwin advocated for its replacement through a process of peaceful evolution.[112][116]

His aversion to the imposition of a rules-based society led him to denounce, as a manifestation of the people’s “mental enslavement”, the foundations of law, property rights and even the institution of marriage. Godwin considered the basic foundations of society as constraining the natural development of individuals to use their powers of reasoning to arrive at a mutually beneficial method of social organization. In each case, government and its institutions are shown to constrain the development of our capacity to live wholly in accordance with the full and free exercise of private judgment.

In France, various anarchist currents were present during the Revolutionary period, with some revolutionaries using the term anarchiste in a positive light as early as September 1793.[117] The enrags opposed revolutionary government as a contradiction in terms. Denouncing the Jacobin dictatorship, Jean Varlet wrote in 1794 that “government and revolution are incompatible, unless the people wishes to set its constituted authorities in permanent insurrection against itself”.[118] In his “Manifesto of the Equals”, Sylvain Marchal looked forward to the disappearance, once and for all, of “the revolting distinction between rich and poor, of great and small, of masters and valets, of governors and governed”.[118]

Libertarian socialism, libertarian communism and libertarian Marxism are all phrases which activists with a variety of perspectives have applied to their views.[119] Anarchist communist philosopher Joseph Djacque was the first person to describe himself as a libertarian.[120] Unlike mutualist anarchist philosopher Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, he argued that “it is not the product of his or her labor that the worker has a right to, but to the satisfaction of his or her needs, whatever may be their nature”.[121][122] According to anarchist historian Max Nettlau, the first use of the term “libertarian communism” was in November 1880, when a French anarchist congress employed it to more clearly identify its doctrines.[123] The French anarchist journalist Sbastien Faure started the weekly paper Le Libertaire (The Libertarian) in 1895.[124]

Individualist anarchism refers to several traditions of thought within the anarchist movement that emphasize the individual and their will over any kinds of external determinants such as groups, society, traditions, and ideological systems.[125][126] An influential form of individualist anarchism called egoism[127] or egoist anarchism was expounded by one of the earliest and best-known proponents of individualist anarchism, the German Max Stirner.[128] Stirner’s The Ego and Its Own, published in 1844, is a founding text of the philosophy.[128] According to Stirner, the only limitation on the rights of the individual is their power to obtain what they desire,[129] without regard for God, state or morality.[130] Stirner advocated self-assertion and foresaw unions of egoists, non-systematic associations continually renewed by all parties’ support through an act of will,[131] which Stirner proposed as a form of organisation in place of the state.[132] Egoist anarchists argue that egoism will foster genuine and spontaneous union between individuals.[133] Egoism has inspired many interpretations of Stirner’s philosophy. It was re-discovered and promoted by German philosophical anarchist and LGBT activist John Henry Mackay. Josiah Warren is widely regarded as the first American anarchist,[134] and the four-page weekly paper he edited during 1833, The Peaceful Revolutionist, was the first anarchist periodical published.[135] For American anarchist historian Eunice Minette Schuster, “[i]t is apparent… that Proudhonian Anarchism was to be found in the United States at least as early as 1848 and that it was not conscious of its affinity to the Individualist Anarchism of Josiah Warren and Stephen Pearl Andrews… William B. Greene presented this Proudhonian Mutualism in its purest and most systematic form.”.[136] Later, Benjamin Tucker fused Stirner’s egoism with the economics of Warren and Proudhon in his eclectic influential publication Liberty. From these early influences, individualist anarchism in different countries attracted a small yet diverse following of bohemian artists and intellectuals,[137] free love and birth control advocates (anarchism and issues related to love and sex),[138][139] individualist naturists nudists (anarcho-naturism),[140][141][142] free thought and anti-clerical activists[143][144] as well as young anarchist outlaws in what became known as illegalism and individual reclamation[145][146] (European individualist anarchism and individualist anarchism in France). These authors and activists included Emile Armand, Han Ryner, Henri Zisly, Renzo Novatore, Miguel Gimenez Igualada, Adolf Brand and Lev Chernyi.

In 1873, the follower and translator of Proudhon, the Catalan Francesc Pi i Margall, became President of Spain with a program which wanted “to establish a decentralized, or “cantonalist,” political system on Proudhonian lines”,[147] who according to Rudolf Rocker had “political ideas…much in common with those of Richard Price, Joseph Priestly [sic], Thomas Paine, Jefferson, and other representatives of the Anglo-American liberalism of the first period. He wanted to limit the power of the state to a minimum and gradually replace it by a Socialist economic order”.[148] On the other hand, Fermn Salvochea was a mayor of the city of Cdiz and a president of the province of Cdiz. He was one of the main propagators of anarchist thought in that area in the late 19th century and is considered to be “perhaps the most beloved figure in the Spanish Anarchist movement of the 19th century”.[149][150] Ideologically, he was influenced by Bradlaugh, Owen and Paine, whose works he had studied during his stay in England and Kropotkin, whom he read later.[149] The revolutionary wave of 19171923 saw the active participation of anarchists in Russia and Europe. Russian anarchists participated alongside the Bolsheviks in both the February and October 1917 revolutions. However, Bolsheviks in central Russia quickly began to imprison or drive underground the libertarian anarchists. Many fled to the Ukraine.[151] There, in the Ukrainian Free Territory they fought in the Russian Civil War against the White movement, monarchists and other opponents of revolution and then against Bolsheviks as part of the Revolutionary Insurrectionary Army of Ukraine led by Nestor Makhno, who established an anarchist society in the region for a number of months. Expelled American anarchists Emma Goldman and Alexander Berkman protested Bolshevik policy before they left Russia.[152]

The victory of the Bolsheviks damaged anarchist movements internationally as workers and activists joined Communist parties. In France and the United States, for example, members of the major syndicalist movements of the CGT and IWW joined the Communist International.[153] In Paris, the Dielo Truda group of Russian anarchist exiles, which included Nestor Makhno, issued a 1926 manifesto, the Organizational Platform of the General Union of Anarchists (Draft), calling for new anarchist organizing structures.[154][155]

The Bavarian Soviet Republic of 19181919 had libertarian socialist characteristics.[156][157] In Italy, from 1918 to 1921 the anarcho-syndicalist trade union Unione Sindacale Italiana grew to 800,000 members.[158]

In the 1920s and 1930s, with the rise of fascism in Europe, anarchists began to fight fascists in Italy,[159] in France during the February 1934 riots[160] and in Spain where the CNT (Confederacin Nacional del Trabajo) boycott of elections led to a right-wing victory and its later participation in voting in 1936 helped bring the popular front back to power. This led to a ruling class attempted coup and the Spanish Civil War (19361939).[161] Gruppo Comunista Anarchico di Firenze held that the during early twentieth century, the terms libertarian communism and anarchist communism became synonymous within the international anarchist movement as a result of the close connection they had in Spain (anarchism in Spain) (with libertarian communism becoming the prevalent term).[162]

Murray Bookchin wrote that the Spanish libertarian movement of the mid-1930s was unique because its workers’ control and collectiveswhich came out of a three-generation “massive libertarian movement”divided the republican camp and challenged the Marxists. “Urban anarchists” created libertarian communist forms of organization which evolved into the CNT, a syndicalist union providing the infrastructure for a libertarian society. Also formed were local bodies to administer social and economic life on a decentralized libertarian basis. Much of the infrastructure was destroyed during the 1930s Spanish Civil War against authoritarian and fascist forces.[163] The Iberian Federation of Libertarian Youth[164] (FIJL, Spanish: Federacin Ibrica de Juventudes Libertarias), sometimes abbreviated as Libertarian Youth (Juventudes Libertarias), was a libertarian socialist[165] organisation created in 1932 in Madrid.[166] In February 1937, the FIJL organised a plenum of regional organisations (second congress of FIJL). In October 1938, from the 16th through the 30th in Barcelona the FIJL participated in a national plenum of the libertarian movement, also attended by members of the CNT and the Iberian Anarchist Federation (FAI).[167] The FIJL exists until today. When the republican forces lost the Spanish Civil War, the city of Madrid was turned over to the francoist forces in 1939 by the last non-francoist mayor of the city, the anarchist Melchor Rodrguez Garca.[168] During autumn of 1931, the “Manifesto of the 30” was published by militants of the anarchist trade union CNT and among those who signed it there was the CNT General Secretary (19221923) Joan Peiro, Angel Pestaa CNT (General Secretary in 1929) and Juan Lopez Sanchez. They were called treintismo and they were calling for “libertarian possibilism” which advocated achieving libertarian socialist ends with participation inside structures of contemporary parliamentary democracy.[169] In 1932, they establish the Syndicalist Party which participates in the 1936 spanish general elections and proceed to be a part of the leftist coalition of parties known as the Popular Front obtaining 2 congressmen (Pestaa and Benito Pabon). In 1938, Horacio Prieto, general secretary of the CNT, proposes that the Iberian Anarchist Federation transforms itself into a “Libertarian Socialist Party” and that it participates in the national elections.[170]

The Manifesto of Libertarian Communism was written in 1953 by Georges Fontenis for the Federation Communiste Libertaire of France. It is one of the key texts of the anarchist-communist current known as platformism.[171] In 1968, in Carrara, Italy the International of Anarchist Federations was founded during an international anarchist conference to advance libertarian solidarity. It wanted to form “a strong and organised workers movement, agreeing with the libertarian ideas”.[172][173] In the United States, the Libertarian League was founded in New York City in 1954 as a left-libertarian political organisation building on the Libertarian Book Club.[174][175] Members included Sam Dolgoff,[176] Russell Blackwell, Dave Van Ronk, Enrico Arrigoni[177] and Murray Bookchin.

In Australia, the Sydney Push was a predominantly left-wing intellectual subculture in Sydney from the late 1940s to the early 1970s which became associated with the label “Sydney libertarianism”. Well known associates of the Push include Jim Baker, John Flaus, Harry Hooton, Margaret Fink, Sasha Soldatow,[178] Lex Banning, Eva Cox, Richard Appleton, Paddy McGuinness, David Makinson, Germaine Greer, Clive James, Robert Hughes, Frank Moorhouse and Lillian Roxon. Amongst the key intellectual figures in Push debates were philosophers David J. Ivison, George Molnar, Roelof Smilde, Darcy Waters and Jim Baker, as recorded in Baker’s memoir Sydney Libertarians and the Push, published in the libertarian Broadsheet in 1975.[179] An understanding of libertarian values and social theory can be obtained from their publications, a few of which are available online.[180][181]

In 1969, French platformist anarcho-communist Daniel Gurin published an essay in 1969 called “Libertarian Marxism?” in which he dealt with the debate between Karl Marx and Mikhail Bakunin at the First International and afterwards suggested that “[l]ibertarian marxism rejects determinism and fatalism, giving the greater place to individual will, intuition, imagination, reflex speeds, and to the deep instincts of the masses, which are more far-seeing in hours of crisis than the reasonings of the ‘elites’; libertarian marxism thinks of the effects of surprise, provocation and boldness, refuses to be cluttered and paralysed by a heavy ‘scientific’ apparatus, doesn’t equivocate or bluff, and guards itself from adventurism as much as from fear of the unknown”.[182] Libertarian Marxist currents often draw from Marx and Engels’ later works, specifically the Grundrisse and The Civil War in France.[183] They emphasize the Marxist belief in the ability of the working class to forge its own destiny without the need for a revolutionary party or state.[184] Libertarian Marxism includes such currents as council communism, left communism, Socialisme ou Barbarie, Lettrism/Situationism and operaismo/autonomism and New Left.[185][unreliable source?] In the United States, from 1970 to 1981 there existed the publication Root & Branch[186] which had as a subtitle “A Libertarian Marxist Journal”.[187] In 1974, the Libertarian Communism journal was started in the United Kingdom by a group inside the Socialist Party of Great Britain.[188] In 1986, the anarcho-syndicalist Sam Dolgoff started and led the publication Libertarian Labor Review in the United States[189] which decided to rename itself as Anarcho-Syndicalist Review in order to avoid confusion with right-libertarian views.[190]

The indigenous anarchist tradition in the United States was largely individualist.[191] In 1825, Josiah Warren became aware of the social system of utopian socialist Robert Owen and began to talk with others in Cincinnati about founding a communist colony.[192] When this group failed to come to an agreement about the form and goals of their proposed community, Warren “sold his factory after only two years of operation, packed up his young family, and took his place as one of 900 or so Owenites who had decided to become part of the founding population of New Harmony, Indiana”.[193] Warren termed the phrase “cost the limit of price”[194] and “proposed a system to pay people with certificates indicating how many hours of work they did. They could exchange the notes at local time stores for goods that took the same amount of time to produce”.[195] He put his theories to the test by establishing an experimental labor-for-labor store called the Cincinnati Time Store where trade was facilitated by labor notes. The store proved successful and operated for three years, after which it was closed so that Warren could pursue establishing colonies based on mutualism, including Utopia and Modern Times. “After New Harmony failed, Warren shifted his ideological loyalties from socialism to anarchism (which was no great leap, given that Owen’s socialism had been predicated on Godwin’s anarchism)”.[196] Warren is widely regarded as the first American anarchist[195] and the four-page weekly paper The Peaceful Revolutionist he edited during 1833 was the first anarchist periodical published,[135] an enterprise for which he built his own printing press, cast his own type and made his own printing plates.[135]

Catalan historian Xavier Diez reports that the intentional communal experiments pioneered by Warren were influential in European individualist anarchists of the late 19th and early 20th centuries such as mile Armand and the intentional communities started by them.[197] Warren said that Stephen Pearl Andrews, individualist anarchist and close associate, wrote the most lucid and complete exposition of Warren’s own theories in The Science of Society, published in 1852.[198] Andrews was formerly associated with the Fourierist movement, but converted to radical individualism after becoming acquainted with the work of Warren. Like Warren, he held the principle of “individual sovereignty” as being of paramount importance. Contemporary American anarchist Hakim Bey reports:

Steven Pearl Andrews… was not a fourierist, but he lived through the brief craze for phalansteries in America and adopted a lot of fourierist principles and practices… a maker of worlds out of words. He syncretized abolitionism in the United States, free love, spiritual universalism, Warren, and Fourier into a grand utopian scheme he called the Universal Pantarchy… He was instrumental in founding several ‘intentional communities,’ including the ‘Brownstone Utopia’ on 14th St. in New York, and ‘Modern Times’ in Brentwood, Long Island. The latter became as famous as the best-known fourierist communes (Brook Farm in Massachusetts & the North American Phalanx in New Jersey)in fact, Modern Times became downright notorious (for ‘Free Love’) and finally foundered under a wave of scandalous publicity. Andrews (and Victoria Woodhull) were members of the infamous Section 12 of the 1st International, expelled by Marx for its anarchist, feminist, and spiritualist tendencies.[199]

For American anarchist historian Eunice Minette Schuster, “[it is apparent… that Proudhonian Anarchism was to be found in the United States at least as early as 1848 and that it was not conscious of its affinity to the Individualist Anarchism of Josiah Warren and Stephen Pearl Andrews. William B. Greene presented this Proudhonian Mutualism in its purest and most systematic form”.[200] William Batchelder Greene was a 19th-century mutualist individualist anarchist, Unitarian minister, soldier and promoter of free banking in the United States. Greene is best known for the works Mutual Banking, which proposed an interest-free banking system; and Transcendentalism, a critique of the New England philosophical school. After 1850, he became active in labor reform.[200] “He was elected vice-president of the New England Labor Reform League, the majority of the members holding to Proudhon’s scheme of mutual banking, and in 1869 president of the Massachusetts Labor Union”.[200] Greene then published Socialistic, Mutualistic, and Financial Fragments (1875).[200] He saw mutualism as the synthesis of “liberty and order”.[200] His “associationism… is checked by individualism… ‘Mind your own business,’ ‘Judge not that ye be not judged.’ Over matters which are purely personal, as for example, moral conduct, the individual is sovereign, as well as over that which he himself produces. For this reason he demands ‘mutuality’ in marriagethe equal right of a woman to her own personal freedom and property”.[200]

Poet, naturalist and transcendentalist Henry David Thoreau was an important early influence in individualist anarchist thought in the United States and Europe. He is best known for his book Walden, a reflection upon simple living in natural surroundings; and his essay Civil Disobedience (Resistance to Civil Government), an argument for individual resistance to civil government in moral opposition to an unjust state. In Walden, Thoreau advocates simple living and self-sufficiency among natural surroundings in resistance to the advancement of industrial civilization.[201] Civil Disobedience, first published in 1849, argues that people should not permit governments to overrule or atrophy their consciences and that people have a duty to avoid allowing such acquiescence to enable the government to make them the agents of injustice. These works influenced green anarchism, anarcho-primitivism and anarcho-pacifism,[202] as well as figures including Mohandas Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., Martin Buber and Leo Tolstoy.[202] “Many have seen in Thoreau one of the precursors of ecologism and anarcho-primitivism represented today in John Zerzan. For George Woodcock this attitude can be also motivated by certain idea of resistance to progress and of rejection of the growing materialism which is the nature of American society in the mid-19th century”.[201] Zerzan included Thoreau’s “Excursions” in his edited compilation of anti-civilization writings, Against Civilization: Readings and Reflections.[203] Individualist anarchists such as Thoreau[204][205] do not speak of economics, but simply the right of disunion from the state and foresee the gradual elimination of the state through social evolution. Agorist author J. Neil Schulman cites Thoreau as a primary inspiration.[206]

Many economists since Adam Smith have argued thatunlike other taxesa land value tax would not cause economic inefficiency.[207] It would be a progressive tax[208]primarily paid by the wealthyand increase wages, reduce economic inequality, remove incentives to misuse real estate and reduce the vulnerability that economies face from credit and property bubbles.[209][210] Early proponents of this view include Thomas Paine, Herbert Spencer, and Hugo Grotius,[84] but the concept was widely popularized by the economist and social reformer Henry George.[211] George believed that people ought to own the fruits of their labor and the value of the improvements they make, thus he was opposed to income taxes, sales taxes, taxes on improvements and all other taxes on production, labor, trade or commerce. George was among the staunchest defenders of free markets and his book Protection or Free Trade was read into the U.S. Congressional Record.[212] Yet he did support direct management of natural monopolies as a last resort, such as right-of-way monopolies necessary for railroads. George advocated for elimination of intellectual property arrangements in favor of government sponsored prizes for inventors.[213][not in citation given] Early followers of George’s philosophy called themselves single taxers because they believed that the only legitimate, broad-based tax was land rent. The term Georgism was coined later, though some modern proponents prefer the term geoism instead,[214] leaving the meaning of “geo” (Earth in Greek) deliberately ambiguous. The terms “Earth Sharing”,[215] “geonomics”[216] and “geolibertarianism”[217] are used by some Georgists to represent a difference of emphasis, or real differences about how land rent should be spent, but all agree that land rent should be recovered from its private owners.

Individualist anarchism found in the United States an important space for discussion and development within the group known as the “Boston anarchists”.[218] Even among the 19th-century American individualists there was no monolithic doctrine and they disagreed amongst each other on various issues including intellectual property rights and possession versus property in land.[219][220][221] Some Boston anarchists, including Benjamin Tucker, identified as socialists, which in the 19th century was often used in the sense of a commitment to improving conditions of the working class (i.e. “the labor problem”).[222] Lysander Spooner, besides his individualist anarchist activism, was also an anti-slavery activist and member of the First International.[223] Tucker argued that the elimination of what he called “the four monopolies”the land monopoly, the money and banking monopoly, the monopoly powers conferred by patents and the quasi-monopolistic effects of tariffswould undermine the power of the wealthy and big business, making possible widespread property ownership and higher incomes for ordinary people, while minimizing the power of would-be bosses and achieving socialist goals without state action. Tucker’s anarchist periodical, Liberty, was published from August 1881 to April 1908. The publication, emblazoned with Proudhon’s quote that liberty is “Not the Daughter But the Mother of Order” was instrumental in developing and formalizing the individualist anarchist philosophy through publishing essays and serving as a forum for debate. Contributors included Benjamin Tucker, Lysander Spooner, Auberon Herbert, Dyer Lum, Joshua K. Ingalls, John Henry Mackay, Victor Yarros, Wordsworth Donisthorpe, James L. Walker, J. William Lloyd, Florence Finch Kelly, Voltairine de Cleyre, Steven T. Byington, John Beverley Robinson, Jo Labadie, Lillian Harman and Henry Appleton.[224] Later, Tucker and others abandoned their traditional support of natural rights and converted to an egoism modeled upon the philosophy of Max Stirner.[220] A number of natural rights proponents stopped contributing in protest and “[t]hereafter, Liberty championed egoism, although its general content did not change significantly”.[225] Several publications “were undoubtedly influenced by Liberty’s presentation of egoism. They included: I published by C.L. Swartz, edited by W.E. Gordak and J.W. Lloyd (all associates of Liberty); The Ego and The Egoist, both of which were edited by Edward H. Fulton. Among the egoist papers that Tucker followed were the German Der Eigene, edited by Adolf Brand, and The Eagle and The Serpent, issued from London. The latter, the most prominent English-language egoist journal, was published from 1898 to 1900 with the subtitle ‘A Journal of Egoistic Philosophy and Sociology'”.[225]

By around the start of the 20th century, the heyday of individualist anarchism had passed.[226] H. L. Mencken and Albert Jay Nock were the first prominent figures in the United States to describe themselves as libertarians;[227] they believed Franklin D. Roosevelt had co-opted the word “liberal” for his New Deal policies which they opposed and used “libertarian” to signify their allegiance to individualism.[citation needed] In 1914, Nock joined the staff of The Nation magazine, which at the time was supportive of liberal capitalism. A lifelong admirer of Henry George, Nock went on to become co-editor of The Freeman from 1920 to 1924, a publication initially conceived as a vehicle for the single tax movement, financed by the wealthy wife of the magazine’s other editor, Francis Neilson.[228] Critic H.L. Mencken wrote that “[h]is editorials during the three brief years of the Freeman set a mark that no other man of his trade has ever quite managed to reach. They were well-informed and sometimes even learned, but there was never the slightest trace of pedantry in them”.[229]

Executive Vice President of the Cato Institute, David Boaz, writes: “In 1943, at one of the lowest points for liberty and humanity in history, three remarkable women published books that could be said to have given birth to the modern libertarian movement”.[230] Isabel Paterson’s The God of the Machine, Rose Wilder Lane’s The Discovery of Freedom and Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead each promoted individualism and capitalism. None of the three used the term libertarianism to describe their beliefs and Rand specifically rejected the label, criticizing the burgeoning American libertarian movement as the “hippies of the right”.[231] Rand’s own philosophy, Objectivism, is notedly similar to libertarianism and she accused libertarians of plagiarizing her ideas.[231] Rand stated:

All kinds of people today call themselves “libertarians,” especially something calling itself the New Right, which consists of hippies who are anarchists instead of leftist collectivists; but anarchists are collectivists. Capitalism is the one system that requires absolute objective law, yet libertarians combine capitalism and anarchism. That’s worse than anything the New Left has proposed. It’s a mockery of philosophy and ideology. They sling slogans and try to ride on two bandwagons. They want to be hippies, but don’t want to preach collectivism because those jobs are already taken. But anarchism is a logical outgrowth of the anti-intellectual side of collectivism. I could deal with a Marxist with a greater chance of reaching some kind of understanding, and with much greater respect. Anarchists are the scum of the intellectual world of the Left, which has given them up. So the Right picks up another leftist discard. That’s the libertarian movement.[232]

In 1946, Leonard E. Read founded the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE), an American nonprofit educational organization which promotes the principles of laissez-faire economics, private property, and limited government.[233] According to Gary North, former FEE director of seminars and a current Ludwig von Mises Institute scholar, FEE is the “granddaddy of all libertarian organizations”.[234] The initial officers of FEE were Leonard E. Read as President, Austrian School economist Henry Hazlitt as Vice-President and Chairman David Goodrich of B. F. Goodrich. Other trustees on the FEE board have included wealthy industrialist Jasper Crane of DuPont, H. W. Luhnow of William Volker & Co. and Robert Welch, founder of the John Birch Society.[236][237]

Austrian school economist Murray Rothbard was initially an enthusiastic partisan of the Old Right, particularly because of its general opposition to war and imperialism,[238] but long embraced a reading of American history that emphasized the role of elite privilege in shaping legal and political institutions. He was part of Ayn Rand’s circle for a brief period, but later harshly criticized Objectivism.[239] He praised Rand’s Atlas Shrugged and wrote that she “introduced me to the whole field of natural rights and natural law philosophy”, prompting him to learn “the glorious natural rights tradition”.[240](pp121, 132134) He soon broke with Rand over various differences, including his defense of anarchism. Rothbard was influenced by the work of the 19th-century American individualist anarchists[241] and sought to meld their advocacy of free markets and private defense with the principles of Austrian economics.[242] This new philosophy he called anarcho-capitalism.

Karl Hess, a speechwriter for Barry Goldwater and primary author of the Republican Party’s 1960 and 1964 platforms, became disillusioned with traditional politics following the 1964 presidential campaign in which Goldwater lost to Lyndon B. Johnson. He parted with the Republicans altogether after being rejected for employment with the party, and began work as a heavy-duty welder. Hess began reading American anarchists largely due to the recommendations of his friend Murray Rothbard and said that upon reading the works of communist anarchist Emma Goldman, he discovered that anarchists believed everything he had hoped the Republican Party would represent. For Hess, Goldman was the source for the best and most essential theories of Ayn Rand without any of the “crazy solipsism that Rand was so fond of”.[243] Hess and Rothbard founded the journal Left and Right: A Journal of Libertarian Thought, which was published from 1965 to 1968, with George Resch and Leonard P. Liggio. In 1969, they edited The Libertarian Forum 1969, which Hess left in 1971. Hess eventually put his focus on the small scale, stating that “Society is: people together making culture”. He deemed two of his cardinal social principles to be “opposition to central political authority” and “concern for people as individuals”. His rejection of standard American party politics was reflected in a lecture he gave during which he said: “The Democrats or liberals think that everybody is stupid and therefore they need somebody… to tell them how to behave themselves. The Republicans think everybody is lazy”.[244]

The Vietnam War split the uneasy alliance between growing numbers of American libertarians and conservatives who believed in limiting liberty to uphold moral virtues. Libertarians opposed to the war joined the draft resistance and peace movements, as well as organizations such as Students for a Democratic Society (SDS). In 1969 and 1970, Hess joined with others, including Murray Rothbard, Robert LeFevre, Dana Rohrabacher, Samuel Edward Konkin III and former SDS leader Carl Oglesby to speak at two “left-right” conferences which brought together activists from both the Old Right and the New Left in what was emerging as a nascent libertarian movement.[245] As part of his effort to unite right and left-libertarianism, Hess would join the SDS as well as the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), of which he explained: “We used to have a labor movement in this country, until I.W.W. leaders were killed or imprisoned. You could tell labor unions had become captive when business and government began to praise them. They’re destroying the militant black leaders the same way now. If the slaughter continues, before long liberals will be asking, ‘What happened to the blacks? Why aren’t they militant anymore?'”.[246] Rothbard ultimately broke with the left, allying himself instead with the burgeoning paleoconservative movement.[247] He criticized the tendency of these left-libertarians to appeal to “‘free spirits,’ to people who don’t want to push other people around, and who don’t want to be pushed around themselves” in contrast to “the bulk of Americans,” who “might well be tight-assed conformists, who want to stamp out drugs in their vicinity, kick out people with strange dress habits, etc”.[248] This left-libertarian tradition has been carried to the present day by Samuel Edward Konkin III’s agorists, contemporary mutualists such as Kevin Carson and Roderick T. Long and other left-wing market anarchists.[249]

In 1971, a small group of Americans led by David Nolan formed the Libertarian Party,[250] which has run a presidential candidate every election year since 1972. Other libertarian organizations, such as the Center for Libertarian Studies and the Cato Institute, were also formed in the 1970s.[251] Philosopher John Hospers, a one-time member of Rand’s inner circle, proposed a non-initiation of force principle to unite both groups, but this statement later became a required “pledge” for candidates of the Libertarian Party and Hospers became its first presidential candidate in 1972.[citation needed] In the 1980s, Hess joined the Libertarian Party and served as editor of its newspaper from 1986 to 1990.

Modern libertarianism gained significant recognition in academia with the publication of Harvard University professor Robert Nozick’s Anarchy, State, and Utopia in 1974, for which he received a National Book Award in 1975.[252] In response to John Rawls’s A Theory of Justice, Nozick’s book supported a nightwatchman state on the grounds that it was an inevitable phenomenon which could arise without violating individual rights.[253]

In the early 1970s, Rothbard wrote that “[o]ne gratifying aspect of our rise to some prominence is that, for the first time in my memory, we, ‘our side,’ had captured a crucial word from the enemy… ‘Libertarians’… had long been simply a polite word for left-wing anarchists, that is for anti-private property anarchists, either of the communist or syndicalist variety. But now we had taken it over”.[254] Since the resurgence of neoliberalism in the 1970s, this modern American libertarianism has spread beyond North America via think tanks and political parties.[255][256]

A surge of popular interest in libertarian socialism occurred in western nations during the 1960s and 1970s.[257] Anarchism was influential in the Counterculture of the 1960s[258][259][260] and anarchists actively participated in the late sixties students and workers revolts.[261] In 1968, the International of Anarchist Federations was founded in Carrara, Italy during an international anarchist conference held there in 1968 by the three existing European federations of France, the Italian and the Iberian Anarchist Federation as well as the Bulgarian federation in French exile.[173][262] The uprisings of May 1968 also led to a small resurgence of interest in left communist ideas. Various small left communist groups emerged around the world, predominantly in the leading capitalist countries. A series of conferences of the communist left began in 1976, with the aim of promoting international and cross-tendency discussion, but these petered out in the 1980s without having increased the profile of the movement or its unity of ideas.[263] Left communist groups existing today include the International Communist Party, International Communist Current and the Internationalist Communist Tendency. The housing and employment crisis in most of Western Europe led to the formation of communes and squatter movements like that of Barcelona, Spain. In Denmark, squatters occupied a disused military base and declared the Freetown Christiania, an autonomous haven in central Copenhagen.

Around the turn of the 21st century, libertarian socialism grew in popularity and influence as part of the anti-war, anti-capitalist and anti-globalisation movements.[264] Anarchists became known for their involvement in protests against the meetings of the World Trade Organization (WTO), Group of Eight and the World Economic Forum. Some anarchist factions at these protests engaged in rioting, property destruction and violent confrontations with police. These actions were precipitated by ad hoc, leaderless, anonymous cadres known as black blocs and other organisational tactics pioneered in this time include security culture, affinity groups and the use of decentralised technologies such as the internet.[264] A significant event of this period was the confrontations at WTO conference in Seattle in 1999.[264] For English anarchist scholar Simon Critchley, “contemporary anarchism can be seen as a powerful critique of the pseudo-libertarianism of contemporary neo-liberalism…One might say that contemporary anarchism is about responsibility, whether sexual, ecological or socio-economic; it flows from an experience of conscience about the manifold ways in which the West ravages the rest; it is an ethical outrage at the yawning inequality, impoverishment and disenfranchisment that is so palpable locally and globally”.[265] This might also have been motivated by “the collapse of ‘really existing socialism’ and the capitulation to neo-liberalism of Western social democracy”.[266]

Libertarian socialists in the early 21st century have been involved in the alter-globalization movement, squatter movement; social centers; infoshops; anti-poverty groups such as Ontario Coalition Against Poverty and Food Not Bombs; tenants’ unions; housing cooperatives; intentional communities generally and egalitarian communities; anti-sexist organizing; grassroots media initiatives; digital media and computer activism; experiments in participatory economics; anti-racist and anti-fascist groups like Anti-Racist Action and Anti-Fascist Action; activist groups protecting the rights of immigrants and promoting the free movement of people, such as the No Border network; worker co-operatives, countercultural and artist groups; and the peace movement.

In the United States, polls (circa 2006) find that the views and voting habits of between 10 and 20 percent (and increasing) of voting age Americans may be classified as “fiscally conservative and socially liberal, or libertarian”.[267][268] This is based on pollsters and researchers defining libertarian views as fiscally conservative and socially liberal (based on the common United States meanings of the terms) and against government intervention in economic affairs and for expansion of personal freedoms.[267] Through 20 polls on this topic spanning 13 years, Gallup found that voters who are libertarian on the political spectrum ranged from 1723% of the United States electorate.[269] However, a 2014 Pew Poll found that 23% of Americans who identify as libertarians have no idea what the word means.[270]

2009 saw the rise of the Tea Party movement, an American political movement known for advocating a reduction in the United States national debt and federal budget deficit by reducing government spending and taxes, which had a significant libertarian component[271] despite having contrasts with libertarian values and views in some areas, such as nationalism, free trade, social issues and immigration.[272] A 2011 Reason-Rupe poll found that among those who self-identified as Tea Party supporters, 41 percent leaned libertarian and 59 percent socially conservative.[273] The movement, named after the Boston Tea Party, also contains conservative[274] and populist elements[275] and has sponsored multiple protests and supported various political candidates since 2009. Tea Party activities have declined since 2010 with the number of chapters across the country slipping from about 1,000 to 600.[276][277] Mostly, Tea Party organizations are said to have shifted away from national demonstrations to local issues.[276] Following the selection of Paul Ryan as Mitt Romney’s 2012 vice presidential running mate, The New York Times declared that Tea Party lawmakers are no longer a fringe of the conservative coalition, but now “indisputably at the core of the modern Republican Party”.[278]

In 2012, anti-war presidential candidates (Libertarian Republican Ron Paul and Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson) raised millions of dollars and garnered millions of votes despite opposition to their obtaining ballot access by Democrats and Republicans.[279] The 2012 Libertarian National Convention, which saw Gary Johnson and James P. Gray nominated as the 2012 presidential ticket for the Libertarian Party, resulted in the most successful result for a third-party presidential candidacy since 2000 and the best in the Libertarian Party’s history by vote number. Johnson received 1% of the popular vote, amounting to more than 1.2 million votes.[280][281] Johnson has expressed a desire to win at least 5 percent of the vote so that the Libertarian Party candidates could get equal ballot access and federal funding, thus subsequently ending the two-party system.[282][283][284]

Since the 1950s, many American libertarian organizations have adopted a free market stance, as well as supporting civil liberties and non-interventionist foreign policies. These include the Ludwig von Mises Institute, Francisco Marroqun University, the Foundation for Economic Education, Center for Libertarian Studies, the Cato Institute and Liberty International. The activist Free State Project, formed in 2001, works to bring 20,000 libertarians to New Hampshire to influence state policy.[285] Active student organizations include Students for Liberty and Young Americans for Liberty.

A number of countries have libertarian parties that run candidates for political office. In the United States, the Libertarian Party was formed in 1972 and is the third largest[286][287] American political party, with over 370,000 registered voters in the 35 states that allow registration as a Libertarian[288] and has hundreds of party candidates elected or appointed to public office.[289]

Current international anarchist federations which sometimes identify themselves as libertarian include the International of Anarchist Federations, the International Workers’ Association, and International Libertarian Solidarity. The largest organised anarchist movement today is in Spain, in the form of the Confederacin General del Trabajo (CGT) and the CNT. CGT membership was estimated to be around 100,000 for 2003.[290] Other active syndicalist movements include the Central Organisation of the Workers of Sweden and the Swedish Anarcho-syndicalist Youth Federation in Sweden; the Unione Sindacale Italiana in Italy; Workers Solidarity Alliance in the United States; and Solidarity Federation in the United Kingdom. The revolutionary industrial unionist Industrial Workers of the World claiming 2,000 paying members as well as the International Workers Association, an anarcho-syndicalist successor to the First International, also remain active. In the United States, there exists the Common Struggle Libertarian Communist Federation.

Criticism of libertarianism includes ethical, economic, environmental, pragmatic, and philosophical concerns.[291] It has also been argued that laissez-faire capitalism does not necessarily produce the best or most efficient outcome,[292] nor does its policy of deregulation prevent the abuse of natural resources. Furthermore, libertarianism has been criticized as utopian due to the lack of any such societies today.

Critics such as Corey Robin describe right-libertarianism as fundamentally a reactionary conservative ideology, united with more traditional conservative thought and goals by a desire to enforce hierarchical power and social relations:[293]

Conservatism, then, is not a commitment to limited government and libertyor a wariness of change, a belief in evolutionary reform, or a politics of virtue. These may be the byproducts of conservatism, one or more of its historically specific and ever-changing modes of expression. But they are not its animating purpose. Neither is conservatism a makeshift fusion of capitalists, Christians, and warriors, for that fusion is impelled by a more elemental forcethe opposition to the liberation of men and women from the fetters of their superiors, particularly in the private sphere. Such a view might seem miles away from the libertarian defense of the free market, with its celebration of the atomistic and autonomous individual. But it is not. When the libertarian looks out upon society, he does not see isolated individuals; he sees private, often hierarchical, groups, where a father governs his family and an owner his employees.

John Donahue argues that if political power were radically shifted to local authorities, parochial local interests would predominate at the expense of the whole and that this would exacerbate current problems with collective action.[294]

Michael Lind has observed that of the 195 countries in the world today, none have fully actualized a libertarian society:

If libertarianism was a good idea, wouldn’t at least one country have tried it? Wouldn’t there be at least one country, out of nearly two hundred, with minimal government, free trade, open borders, decriminalized drugs, no welfare state and no public education system?[295]

Lind has also criticised libertarianism, particularly the right-wing and free market variant of the ideology, as being incompatible with democracy and apologetic towards autocracy.[296]

Originally posted here:

Libertarianism – Wikipedia

Classic Maya collapse – Wikipedia

In archaeology, the classic Maya collapse is the decline of Classic Maya civilization and the abandonment of Maya cities in the southern Maya lowlands of Mesoamerica between the 8th and 9thcenturies, at the end of the Classic Maya Period. Preclassic Maya experienced a similar collapse in the 2nd century.[citation needed]

The Classic Period of Mesoamerican chronology is generally defined as the period from 250 to 900, the last century of which is referred to as the Terminal Classic.[1] The Classic Maya collapse is one of the greatest unsolved mysteries in archaeology. Urban centers of the southern lowlands, among them Palenque, Copn, Tikal, and Calakmul, went into decline during the 8th and 9thcenturies and were abandoned shortly thereafter. Archaeologically, this decline is indicated by the cessation of monumental inscriptions[2] and the reduction of large-scale architectural construction at the primary urban centers of the Classic Period.[citation needed]

Although termed a collapse, it did not mark the end of the Maya civilization but rather a shift away from the Southern Lowlands as a power center; Northern Yucatn in particular prospered afterwards, although with very different artistic and architectural styles, and with much less use of monumental hieroglyphic writing. In the Post-Classic Period following the collapse, the state of Chichn Itz built an empire that briefly united much of the Maya region,[2] and centers such as Mayapn and Uxmal flourished, as did the Highland states of the K’iche’ and Kaqchikel Maya. Independent Maya civilization continued until 1697 when the Spanish conquered Nojpetn, the last independent city-state. Millions of Maya people still inhabit the Yucatn peninsula today.[3]

Because parts of Maya civilization unambiguously continued, a number of scholars strongly dislike the term collapse.[4] Regarding the proposed collapse, E. W. Andrews IV went as far as to say, “in my belief no such thing happened.”[5]

The Maya often recorded dates on monuments they built. Few dated monuments were being built circa 500 around ten per year in 514, for example. The number steadily increased to twenty per year by 672 and forty by around 750. After this, the number of dated monuments begins to falter relatively quickly, collapsing back to ten by 800 and to zero by 900. Likewise, recorded lists of kings complement this analysis. Altar Q at Copn shows a reign of kings from 426 to 763. One last king not recorded on Altar Q was Ukit Took, “Patron of Flint”, who was probably a usurper. The dynasty is believed to have collapsed entirely shortly thereafter. In Quirigua, twenty miles north of Copn, the last king Jade Sky began his rule between 895 and 900, and throughout the Maya area all kingdoms similarly fell around that time.[6]

A third piece of evidence of the progression of Maya decline, gathered by Ann Corinne Freter, Nancy Gonlin, and David Webster, uses a technique called obsidian hydration. The technique allowed them to map the spread and growth of settlements in the Copn Valley and estimate their populations. Between 400 and 450, the population was estimated at a peak of twenty-eight thousand, between 750 and 800 larger than London at the time. Population then began to steadily decline. By 900 the population had fallen to fifteen thousand, and by 1200 the population was again less than 1000.[citation needed]

88 different theories or variations of theories attempting to explain the Classic Maya collapse have been identified.[7] From climate change to deforestation to lack of action by Maya kings, there is no universally accepted collapse theory, although drought is gaining momentum as the leading explanation.[8]

The archaeological evidence of the Toltec intrusion into Seibal, Peten, suggests to some the theory of foreign invasion. The latest hypothesis states that the southern lowlands were invaded by a non-Maya group whose homelands were probably in the gulf coast lowlands. This invasion began in the 9thcentury and set off, within 100years, a group of events that destroyed the Classic Maya. It is believed that this invasion was somehow influenced by the Toltec people of central Mexico. However, most Mayanists do not believe that foreign invasion was the main cause of the Classic Maya collapse; they postulate that no military defeat can explain or be the cause of the protracted and complex Classic collapse process. Teotihuacan influence across the Maya region may have involved some form of military invasion; however, it is generally noted that significant Teotihuacan-Maya interactions date from at least the Early Classic period, well before the episodes of Late Classic collapse.[9]

The foreign invasion theory does not answer the question of where the inhabitants went. David Webster believed that the population should have increased because of the lack of elite power. Further, it is not understood why the governmental institutions were not remade following the revolts, which happened under similar circumstances in places like China. A study by anthropologist Elliot M. Abrams came to the conclusion that buildings, specifically in Copan, did not require an extensive amount of time and workers to construct.[10] However, this theory was developed during a period when the archaeological evidence showed that there were fewer Maya people than there are now known to have been.[11] Revolutions, peasant revolts, and social turmoil change circumstances, and are often followed by foreign wars, but they run their course. There are no documented revolutions that caused wholesale abandonment of entire regions.[citation needed]

It has been hypothesized that the decline of the Maya is related to the collapse of their intricate trade systems, especially those connected to the central Mexican city of Teotihuacn. Preceding improved knowledge of the chronology of Mesoamerica, Teotihuacan was believed to have fallen during 700750, forcing the “restructuring of economic relations throughout highland Mesoamerica and the Gulf Coast”.[12] This remaking of relationships between civilizations would have then given the collapse of the Classic Maya a slightly later date. However, after knowing more about the events and the periods when they occurred, it is believed that the strongest Teotihuacan influence was during the 4th and 5thcenturies. In addition, the civilization of Teotihuacan started to lose its power, and maybe abandoned the city, during 600650. This differs greatly from the previous belief that Teotihuacano power decreased during 700750.[13] But since the new decline date of 600650 has been accepted, the Maya civilizations are now thought to have lived on and prospered for another century and more[14] than what was previously believed. Rather than the decline of Teotihuacan directly preceding the collapse of the Maya, their decline is now seen as contributing to the 6th-century hiatus.[14]

The disease theory is also a contender as a factor in the Classic Maya collapse. Widespread disease could explain some rapid depopulation, both directly through the spread of infection itself and indirectly as an inhibition to recovery over the long run. According to Dunn (1968) and Shimkin (1973), infectious diseases spread by parasites are common in tropical rainforest regions, such as the Maya lowlands. Shimkin specifically suggests that the Maya may have encountered endemic infections related to American trypanosomiasis, Ascaris, and some enteropathogens that cause acute diarrheal illness. Furthermore, some experts believe that, through development of their civilization (that is, development of agriculture and settlements), the Maya could have created a “disturbed environment”, in which parasitic and pathogen-carrying insects often thrive.[15] Among the pathogens listed above, it is thought that those that cause the acute diarrheal illnesses would have been the most devastating to the Maya population, because such illness would have struck a victim at an early age, thereby hampering nutritional health and the natural growth and development of a child. This would have made them more susceptible to other diseases later in life, and would have been exacerbated by an increasing dependence on carbohydrate-rich crops.[16] Such ideas as this could explain the role of disease as at least a possible partial reason for the Classic Maya Collapse.[17]

Large droughts hit the Yucatn Peninsula and Petn Basin areas with particular ferocity, as thin tropical soils decline in fertility and become unworkable when deprived of forest cover,[18] and due to regular seasonal drought drying up surface water.[19] Colonial Spanish officials accurately documented cycles of drought, famine, disease, and war, providing a reliable historical record of the basic drought pattern in the Maya region.[20]

Climatic factors were first implicated in the collapse as early as 1931 by Mayanists Thomas Gann and J. E. S. Thompson.[21] In The Great Maya Droughts, Richardson Gill gathers and analyzes an array of climatic, historical, hydrologic, tree ring, volcanic, geologic, lake bed, and archeological research, and demonstrates that a prolonged series of droughts probably caused the Classic Maya collapse.[22] The drought theory provides a comprehensive explanation, because non-environmental and cultural factors (excessive warfare, foreign invasion, peasant revolt, less trade, etc.) can all be explained by the effects of prolonged drought on Classic Maya civilization.[23]

Climatic changes are, with increasing frequency, found to be major drivers in the rise and fall of civilizations all over the world.[24] Professors Harvey Weiss of Yale University and Raymond S. Bradley of the University of Massachusetts have written, “Many lines of evidence now point to climate forcing as the primary agent in repeated social collapse.”[25] In a separate publication, Weiss illustrates an emerging understanding of scientists:

Within the past five years new tools and new data for archaeologists, climatologists, and historians have brought us to the edge of a new era in the study of global and hemispheric climate change and its cultural impacts. The climate of the Holocene, previously assumed static, now displays a surprising dynamism, which has affected the agricultural bases of pre-industrial societies. The list of Holocene climate alterations and their socio-economic effects has rapidly become too complex for brief summary.[26]

The drought theory holds that rapid climate change in the form of severe drought brought about the Classic Maya collapse. According to the particular version put forward by Gill in The Great Maya Droughts,

[Studies of] Yucatecan lake sediment cores … provide unambiguous evidence for a severe 200-year drought from AD800 to 1000 … the most severe in the last 7,000years … precisely at the time of the Maya Collapse.[27]

Climatic modeling, tree ring data, and historical climate data show that cold weather in the Northern Hemisphere is associated with drought in Mesoamerica.[28] Northern Europe suffered extremely low[clarification needed] temperatures around the same time as the Maya droughts. The same connection between drought in the Maya areas and extreme cold in northern Europe was found again at the beginning of the 20thcentury. Volcanic activity, within and outside Mesoamerica, is also correlated with colder weather and resulting drought, as the effects of the Tambora volcano eruption in 1815 indicate.[29]

Mesoamerican civilization provides a remarkable exception: civilization prospering in the tropical swampland. The Maya are often perceived as having lived in a rainforest, but technically, they lived in a seasonal desert without access to stable sources of drinking water.[30] The exceptional accomplishments of the Maya are even more remarkable because of their engineered response to the fundamental environmental difficulty of relying upon rainwater rather than permanent sources of water. The Maya succeeded in creating a civilization in a seasonal desert by creating a system of water storage and management which was totally dependent on consistent rainfall.[31] The constant need for water kept the Maya on the edge of survival. Given this precarious balance of wet and dry conditions, even a slight shift in the distribution of annual precipitation can have serious consequences.[19] Water and civilization were vitally connected in ancient Mesoamerica. Archaeologist and specialist in pre-industrial land and water usage practices Vernon Scarborough believes water management and access were critical to the development of Maya civilization.[32]

Critics of the drought theory wonder why the southern and central lowland cities were abandoned and the northern cities like Chichen Itza, Uxmal, and Coba continued to thrive.[33] One critic argued that Chichen Itza revamped its political, military, religious, and economic institutions away from powerful lords or kings.[34] Inhabitants of the northern Yucatn also had access to seafood, which might have explained the survival of Chichen Itza and Mayapan, cities away from the coast but within reach of coastal food supplies.[35] Critics of the drought theory also point to current weather patterns: much heavier rainfall in the southern lowlands compared to the lighter amount of rain in the northern Yucatn. Drought theory supporters state that the entire regional climate changed, including the amount of rainfall, so that modern rainfall patterns are not indicative of rainfall from 800 to 900. LSU archaeologist Heather McKillop found a significant[clarification needed] rise in sea level along the coast nearest the southern Maya lowlands, coinciding with the end of the Classic period, and indicating climate change.[36]

David Webster, a critic of the megadrought theory, says that much of the evidence provided by Gill comes from the northern Yucatn and not the southern part of the peninsula, where Classic Maya civilization flourished. He also states that if water sources were to have dried up, then several city-states would have moved to other water sources. That Gill suggests that all water in the region would have dried up and destroyed Maya civilization is a stretch, according to Webster,[37] although Webster does not have a precise competing theory explaining the Classic Maya Collapse.

A study published in Science in 2012 found that modest rainfall reductions, amounting to only 25 to 40 percent of annual rainfall, may have been the tipping point to the Maya collapse. Based on samples of lake and cave sediments in the areas surrounding major Maya cities, the researchers were able to determine the amount of annual rainfall in the region. The mild droughts that took place between 800950 would therefore be enough to rapidly deplete seasonal water supplies in the Yucatn lowlands, where there are no rivers.[38][39][40]

A study published in Scientific Reports in 2016 showed that between 750 and 900 a cluster of four earthquakes affected the wet tropical mountains south of the Yucatn lowlands, which are not vulnerable to drought, and include such important cities as Quirigua and Copn. These earthquakes left detectable destruction in several Maya cities and led to the abandonment of Quirigua. The study hypothesizes that repeated destruction combined with declining trade with the Maya kingdoms of the Yucatn lowlands to propagate the collapse to the southern part of the Maya realm.[41]

LIDAR scanning of the Classic Maya heartlands bolsters the drought theory. A huge population as we now understand existed would not ordinarily disappear from civil war, revolution, soil degradation, disease, earthquake or other suspected factors. Drought, the absence of water in an agricultural system heavily dependent upon water, is almost the only remaining possibility for the collapse in the entire heavily populated region. The Yucatn may have provided underground water and more rainfall to permit the continuance of Mayan civilization there.

Some ecological theories of Maya decline focus on the worsening agricultural and resource conditions in the late Classic period. It was originally thought that the majority of Maya agriculture was dependent on a simple slash-and-burn system. Based on this method, the hypothesis of soil exhaustion was advanced by Orator F. Cook in 1921. Similar soil exhaustion assumptions are associated with erosion, intensive agricultural, and savanna grass competition.

More recent investigations have shown a complicated variety of intensive agricultural techniques utilized by the Maya, explaining the high population of the Classic Maya polities. Modern archaeologists now comprehend the sophisticated intensive and productive agricultural techniques of the ancient Maya, and several of the Maya agricultural methods have not yet been reproduced. Intensive agricultural methods were developed and utilized by all the Mesoamerican cultures to boost their food production and give them a competitive advantage over less skillful peoples.[42] These intensive agricultural methods included canals, terracing, raised fields, ridged fields, chinampas, the use of human feces as fertilizer, seasonal swamps or bajos, using muck from the bajos to create fertile fields, dikes, dams, irrigation, water reservoirs, several types of water storage systems, hydraulic systems, swamp reclamation, swidden systems, and other agricultural techniques that have not yet been fully understood.[43] Systemic ecological collapse is said to be evidenced by deforestation, siltation, and the decline of biological diversity.

In addition to mountainous terrain, Mesoamericans successfully exploited the very problematic tropical rainforest for 1,500years.[44] The agricultural techniques utilized by the Maya were entirely dependent upon ample supplies of water, lending credit to the drought theory of collapse. The Maya thrived in territory that would be uninhabitable to most peoples. Their success over two millennia in this environment was “amazing.”[45]

Anthropologist Joseph Tainter wrote extensively about the collapse of the Southern Lowland Maya in his 1988 study The Collapse of Complex Societies. His theory about Maya collapse encompasses some of the above explanations, but focuses specifically on the development of and the declining marginal returns from the increasing social complexity of the competing Maya city-states.[46] Psychologist Julian Jaynes suggested that the collapse was due to a failure in the social control systems of religion and political authority, due to increasing socioeconomic complexity that overwhelmed the power of traditional rituals and the king’s authority to compel obedience.[47]

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Classic Maya collapse – Wikipedia

How the Collapse of Venezuela Really Happened – The …

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Today we welcome back our friend Jose, who wrote the awesome article about Christmas in Venezuela. It was so well-received that I invited him back to do a recurring series. In this piece, he begins telling us the story about how his country started the slide into a slow-motion collapse. Jose is a heck of a storyteller and he leaves us hanging at the end, but dont worry, Part 2 is coming soon! ~ Daisy

I believe it is the moment of an introduction for our readers to know how everything began. Venezuela is a wonderful country, with lots of peculiarities and attractions.

I love my country, and most of the people, even in these harsh times portraits wonderful qualities as a society that few countries in the world have.

This was once a beautiful land, relatively sparsely populated where food was plentiful, money was never scarce, and jobs were plentiful. The weather was very sunny, the days a little hot and people used to recline in their chairs in front of the door of their house and watch the neighbors go on arriving from a days work, and they greeted with courtesy. The neighborhoods were mostly safe. There was practically no monster known as inflation, bank loans were easily available and people often traveled to other countries without much concern for things like exchange controls, access to foreign currency, among other things.

There was no Internet, there were no so-called experimental drugs in the streets, access to a decent life was more or less possible if one had discipline and will, and in general, life was good. The cars used huge carburetors (some still use them), the fuel was abundant, and at the best prices on the planet, its inhabitants crossed the territory of almost one million km2 enjoying beautiful beaches, lonely plains, lush jungles and even the odd snow peak. The climate is optimal to live all year round with shorts, fresh clothes, and sandals.

It was very strange to hear of any deportation, and thousands of foreigners over the years came on vacation, and they stayed forever. Our beautiful women attract the attention of the whole world (and still do) and an endless line of ships left our ports, carrying their valuable black cargo to return loaded with that green paper that is accepted all over the world.

The country had an educational system of a very acceptable level. University education was free in most cases, and although the system required qualifications above the average for access to it, the demand was very high as the need for qualified professionals was such that, coming from a humble background, anyone with the ability, the desire to do it and enough enthusiasm could become a graduate and have a decent life, improving their socio-economic status and reaping the fruits of their effort and their work.

So much wealth of economic resources, and the inherent flaws of the lack of a solid, strong legal system, a sufficiently entrenched bases that could safeguard and safeguard the public patrimony, the lack of committed officials, with enough values and ethical and moral principles, It would lead to levels of corruption rarely seen in the world, with exceptions in some African republics. The main companies in the country adopted as a policy to place most of their financial resources in foreign banks. Investments in infrastructure were becoming smaller and smaller, and as the population grew and demanded services, this lack of investment became more palpable. The social policies that until then had been sufficient, with the corrupt elite that began to seize the country in those years were reduced to its minimum expression.These were the years of the second government period executed by populist (deceased) leader Carlos Andres Perez. His government was characterized by some of the biggest and darkest corrupted business of the decade. Getting in debt with the FMI was the straw that broke the camels back.

The fraudulent business in the government was: construction of schools, hospitals, highways, and roads, among a myriad of works that remained unfinished, without the population expressing disapproval. The political elite leaders were driving around luxury cars, escorted by heavily armed bodyguards, behaving like great lords. Most of them were soldiers who were linked at the time to the movement that gave the coup years ago. Crime grew steadily but was kept at bay by a police force that also fulfilled the role of containing subversive elements: people sympathetic to the concepts of the left.

Friends of the country supplied practically all industrialization needs, but technology transfer was a totally non-existent concept: the domination scheme was always maintained, and the few national companies that were able to carry out a true technological independence saw their functions paralyzed by government controls that would end up suffocating a large number of them. Despite the fact that, within the Latin American context, the professionals were among the most qualified and trained, the low wages meant that many of these professionals emigrated continuously, in a so-called brain drain that has been much more pronounced in recent years.

This situation led to a severe deterioration of socio-economic conditions, gradually but unswervingly causing the necessary scenario for citizens to slowly acquire the necessary awareness that a radical change was essential if they wanted improvements in their quality of life. A country with vast, enormous resources, but with inhabitants that increasingly felt the impact of inflation, a shortage that nobody could explain, and knowing this reality, seeing their political class isolated from the realities that the bulk of the population was suffering.

The whole thing was reaching a point of very high dissatisfaction. Student demonstrations, street disorders began to become more common. Corruption scandals came to light, but the guilty were seldom apprehended or put to rights. Most of the time they left fleeing to some country to enjoy the stolen riches.

This the people saw him repeat so much that he filled his already exhausted patience. On the date of February 27, 1989, after the announcement of economic measures (requested by the IMF for access to international financing) by the then President of the Republic, Carlos Andrez Perez, including an exacerbated increase in the price of gasoline, an wave of extremely violent protests, a violence like never before seen in the country, not even in the turbulent era of the guerrillas of the 60s and early 70s. The security forces were overwhelmed: poorly equipped and worse prepared to face disorders of this nature, the Government of that time had to resort. The looting was generalized in the largest cities in the country, causing terror in older citizens both nationalized and native, who paralyzed by surprise, never thought that such a situation could occur in a country so absurdly rich and prosperous.

It was not a coup attempt. It was a situation of widespread discontent, a call for attention to the Latin American style, in protest of the excesses publicly committed by the corrupt elite class of politicians who had been in power for more than 40 years through a pact known in the country as the Fixed Point Pact. Among the infinity of anecdotes that swarm among Venezuelans is known one in which an alcoholic, good-for-nothing president called Jaime Lusinchi (recently deceased in the Miami streets, like a vagabond) sent a Hercules C-130 from a military base on the island La Orchila, to the mainland in search of ONE chest of ice to cool the presidents whiskey.

Tell me about it

It is said that this situation was planned by the left, but in the absence of a more detailed investigation, for the moment it is difficult to confirm this theory.

I would like to tell you about my experience as a young man, in the town where I lived with my parents at the time.

The day the riots began, we began to see on TV what was happening in the big cities. At the beginning, I did not understand very well what it was about, but my parents told me that the economic situation had reached an extreme where people could not take it anymore, so they took to the streets, in the first instance to protest against the package of economic measures imposed by the IMF.

The protests, perhaps moderately organized from the beginning by some factions, evolved rapidly during the course of the day, becoming looting that began in the largest cities, and quickly spread throughout the country. But lets not get ahead

I was in school, in high school. The teachers, around 9 am, led by the director of the institute, were classroom by classroom, from the lower grades to the older ones, evacuating us all and giving the order to go directly to our homes. Of course, what we did was divide into groups, with each group going where it seemed best. Since I had friends in my old school, I thought it would be interesting to go there and spend some time hanging around with them. As teenagers, after all, our group went there, going through what was a commercial area, and we were surprised and even had a bit of fun to see that there was no vehicle traffic, so that we were soon walking through the center of the street, without realizing that a student demonstration had come out to protest before us, and we were following it without realizing it.

In Venezuela the uniform is used until finishing secondary school, so for the eyes of the authorities, we were part of the demonstration. When we walked, we were surprised to see many people on the streets: housewives, young men and women who would normally be working, including adults and the elderly. Some of them told us not to follow, and to go home. Suddenly, we saw in front of the boys of the school we were going to, who came in the opposite direction to us, in a huge group and mixed with people of all kinds: young, elders, ladies, grown-up angry men

The rest is here:

How the Collapse of Venezuela Really Happened – The …

What Makes a Terrorist? – The New York Review of Books

Lorenzo Meloni/Magnum Photos A suspected member of ISIS being taken into custody, Hamam al-Alil, Iraq, March 2017

In the wake of the terrorist attacks in and around Barcelona, clichs about radicalization are again making the rounds. For some, the twelve young members of the cell behind the Barcelona attacks, all men, were brainwashed; for others the blame falls on the town of Ripoll for becoming a terrorist breeding ground; for others yet its Islam as a whole that must be held accountable. For those who study radicalization and terrorism, all of these explanations fall short.

The greatest difficulty for our ability to understand and respond to terrorism and radicalization is linear thinking. Arguing that radicalization is caused by poverty because most modern jihadists come from marginalized neighborhoods is the same flawed logic as arguing that radicalization is caused by Islam because jihadists are all Muslims. Even combining Islam and marginalization as risk factors doesnt get us far, as only a fraction of a percentage of marginalized Muslims join jihadist groups. One can add many more factors and still end up with the same dilemma. Trying to find a root cause of radicalization is doomed from the start because it assumes a single, linear chain of causation.

Instead, it is better to think of radicalization as a phenomenon in which the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Multiple factors interact in complex ways that cause radicalization to emerge in individual people and groups. As with other complex systems, such as ecosystems, removing one factor does not cause the system to collapse but instead to evolve in ways that may be positive or negative. In the jihadist movement there have been many small tipping points, including the USSR invasion of Afghanistan in 1979, the 2003 US invasion of Iraq, and the Syrian civil war of 2011each of which mobilized a new generation of fighters.

Profiles of jihadists have evolved over the years. Generally, revolutionary movements attract different kinds of recruits at different stages in their development. Many of the founders and leaders of the modern jihadist movement were educated members of the upper-middle or upper classes. Even many early foot soldiers were of above-average socio-economic status. Research on recruits to jihadist groups using data from the 1970s to 2010 found that members of these groups were six times more likely than the general population to have a bachelors degree. In the Middle East, engineering schools are often the most competitive programs and only take the best and brightest students; jihadists were seventeen times more likely to have an engineering degree.

New recruits to al-Qaeda spent months or even years at training camps, where they were vetted by leadership for their mental stability and ideological purity. This vetting even applied to relationships among leaders. When the billionaire Osama bin Laden started to expand his network, he was selective about the social caliber of people he chose to ally himself with. In 1999, when he met Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the founder of what would become ISIS, he was suspicious of him not only for his extremist beliefs in apostatizing moderate Muslims, but also because of Zarqawis criminal past.

But criminal pasts would eventually become a standout feature of European jihadists venturing toward Syria and Iraq. According to one study of a small database of European jihadists, 57 percent of eventual Syria-bound jihadists had a petty or violent criminal past. Studies of Syria-bound foreign fighters from Norway and Germany found that they were overwhelmingly from lower socio-economic backgrounds. Many recent European radicalization hotspots are neighborhoods known for their high rates of unemployment and crime. ISIS propaganda geared toward Europeans alluded to these criminal pasts by offering jihad as a form of redemption, claiming that sometimes people with the worst pasts have the brightest futures.

The evidence that early al-Qaeda members were more educated, psychologically stable, and ideologically grounded is consistent with a group in the early period of a movements development, consisting of self-organizing networks operating clandestinely. Nascent decentralized groups rely on a reputation for success as the prime attractor for new adherents. Failing at an attack would be embarrassing and costly, and therefore only the best and brightest should be entrusted with such a duty.

On the other hand, ISIS operated like a traditional military in carrying on a local insurgency. It held and governed land in a way that al-Qaeda never did, and this loosened its stringency regarding recruits. The group sucked up fighters from areas under its control with promises of money and power, and appealed to the downtrodden of the Muslim diaspora to join their cause. Ideological purity, education, and law-abiding pasts took a back seat to the need for soldiers. If al-Qaeda, with its careful vetting and training, was the special forces of the jihadist movement, then ISIS was the infantry.

But as ISISs goals continued to evolve so too did their recruits. Few women from Europe ventured to Syria in the early days of the conflict, but by 2014 one in seven European foreign fighters were women, and by 2016 that number had jumped to one in three. Women didnt become more vulnerable to radicalization over that periodinstead, they were targeted for radicalization. Until 2014, ISISs local insurgency demanded mostly young men of fighting capacity and thus had little need for women. In June 2014, ISIS declared its so-called Caliphate and shifted its focus to state-building. In order to legitimize that state, the immigration of women, children, and families was explicitly sought after. Once the women arrived they began recruiting female friends, family members, and strangers over the Internet to pull in more lionesses, as they were often called, leading to the jump seen in 2016.

Since ISISs caliphate began collapsing in early 2016, they have been further expanding the use of other types of recruits. Women have planned to carry out attacks, new converts to Islam with no previous radical ties (known as clean men) have been alleged to be go-betweens connecting aspiring attackers with ISIS core members, lone actors (who have a greater instance of mental illness than group actors) have been inspired or directed to attack, people both younger and older than the norm have been recruited. The organization is exploiting all the resources at its disposal to maintain its strength in the eyes of its supporters.

These changes in patterns of recruitment show that profiles of recruits reveal more about changes in conflict dynamics than about the psychological vulnerabilities of certain demographics. Disaffected youth or marginalized communities may have been convenient targets for recruitment in recent circumstances, but long-term strategies for the prevention of radicalization must look beyond these current dynamics.

In addition, well-meaning policies that can be perceived as profiling run the risk of alienating the communities involved, as has been seen with the UKs Prevent strategy. But even when we focus on a narrow range of times and locations it is hard to detect a pattern. The core members of the Paris-Brussels terrorist network were mostly petty criminals from a marginalized neighborhood in Brussels. The Barcelona attackers were well-integrated youth from a culturally cohesive rural town. What they do have in common is that they were both groups of siblings and childhood friends.

As the structures of terrorist organizations evolve so too do their recruitment methods. In failed states, such as Syria, groups take on a hierarchical command-cadre structure, which resembles a formal military and allows the group to operate openly while providing security and governance in the area it controls. For some inhabitants of such areas, joining them may be more a matter of practicality than of conviction. In developed nations, such as in Europe, terrorist groups must operate clandestinely and thus take on a network structure. Networks are self-organizing, though they often contain charismatic leaders who pull together disparate individuals and small groups of friends.

Prior to the US invasion in 2001, al-Qaeda had begun to achieve a small-scale command-cadre structure in Afghanistan. It had a limited leadership structure and many hundreds of graduates from its training camps. The al-Qaeda leadership were hosted in Afghanistan by the Taliban and so they operated more like a venture capital firm, to which members of its various international networks would come to seek training, funds, and contacts.

European recruits of al-Qaeda in the 1990s and 2000s were often small groups of friends who would co-radicalize each other and then seek out opportunities to train in foreign camps. In a 2009 multi-nation study, researchers found that 75 percent of al-Qaeda members were recruited by a friend, 20 percent by a family member, and only 5 percent by a stranger. This recruitment pattern is what would be expected for a funding, plotting, and training structure like al-Qaeda that was waging a global jihad.

By contrast, the jihadist groups in Syria were waging a local insurgency and were setting up multiple command-cadre structures. In addition, by this time a series of prolific recruiters had gained a foothold in Europe. The hierarchical structures in Syria were able to work in tandem with their networks in Europe to create a mix of top-down and horizontal recruitment. For example, by 2015, nearly one in three Belgian foreign fighters in Syria were recruited by just two people: Khalid Zerkani and Fouad Belkacem. Some of those recruits then recruited their friends, which led to a social domino effect of radicalization.

Much radicalization is this phenomenon of friends recruiting friends. Preliminary findings on Western ISIS fighters indicate that very few recruits were self-radicalized; for the vast majority, radicalization was facilitated through social interaction. The Internet can facilitate this, but the existence of very specific geographical hotspots that produce the bulk of jihadists indicates that, when it comes to recruitment, offline factors are more important than the Internet. The picture emerging of the Barcelona attackers is more typical of radicalization in Europe. A charismatic leader, in the form of a radical imam, began to groom at least four sets of brothers and close friends, who then further co-radicalized one another.

Anybody can be exposed to new moral beliefs but when those beliefs become part of the day-to-day conversations of your friends, they have a greater chance of being acted upon. A common belief about those who join violent groups is that they are looking for brotherhood or sisterhood, and those groups certainly do offer that. But often it is in fact a pre-existing sense of belonging that is the risk factor. When radical ideas get introduced into tight-knit networks of friends, these groups act as echo chambers that reinforce those beliefs. The beliefs then act as a social glue that brings the friends closer to one another as a group, and distances the group as a whole from the rest of society.

As this process continues, the values become sacred and the identities of the individuals become fused with the group. Indeed, field studies by Artis Internationala consortium of researchers and practitioners studying violent conflict, of which I am a partof residents in two radicalization hotspots in Morocco show that it is the combination of holding a sacred value and being closely connected with your group of friends that motivates people to fight and die for their values. Strong identification with close comrades was a principal determinant of willingness to sacrifice oneself, a University of Oxford study found, among Libyan revolutionaries fighting the Qaddafi regime in 2011. My own studies on jihadist-group sympathizers in Paris and Barcelona show that, contrary to what many people believe, identification with Islam or the Muslim ummah (worldwide Muslim community) does not strongly predict willingness to fight and die for jihadist ideals. Instead, transcendent beliefs shared with close friends increased willingness to commit violence.

Most prevention policies aim to stop radicalization for every single person. This is a tall order and unlikely to succeed. A more evidence-based approach would be to try to mitigate group radicalization. Values and beliefs are socially embedded. Once the social setting changes, the beliefs may lose their grounding. For this reason, friends are not only crucial for the radicalization process but can be important in the prevention and de-radicalization process as well. Prevention, de-radicalization, and reintegration programs in Germany, Sweden, Denmark, and Sri Lanka have all used moderate friends and family members to pull a person away from violent extremism.

The existence of hotspots of radicalization can perhaps best be understood using epidemiology. When tracing back the origins of local European networks we often find a patient zero who is the first person to bring radical ideas into a community. This could be a recruiter, a radical imam as in the case of Barcelona, or any other person with the propensity and skills to spread extremist ideas. The rate of propagation of these ideas may partly be attributable to the sheer number of vulnerable individuals in those areas, though, again, its often friends and family members who act as catalysts between the ideas and new adherents. The rate of propagation may also be due to the bystander effect, whereby non-radical individuals do not report suspicious behaviors. This effect can be enhanced by rampant social disorganization in certain neighborhoods. If areas are already heavily afflicted by petty or organized crime, drug-dealing, or vandalism, then residents habituate to a level of nefarious behavior in their midst. This can be seen as a weakening of the community immune system, which in more organized areas would detect and expel the intruding ideas at an early stage.

Reducing social disorganization in certain communities may help increase their resistance to extremism. But bombarding radicalization hotspots with counter-radicalization programswhich often involves getting teachers, social workers, or community leaders to report on those they overseecan make residents of those areas feel suspect, which may do more harm than good. Economic development may not be effective either. Southern European countries, such as Spain and Italy, have worse economic integration of their immigrant populations than do northern European countries, such as Sweden, Denmark, Germany, or the UK. Yet the northern European countries have higher per capita radicalization rates than the southern countries. Economic development of certain communities should be welcomed but it may not be the most effective strategy for preventing young men like the well-integrated Barcelona attackers from radicalizing.

Working directly with the non-radical friends and family members of those on terrorist watch lists avoids the pitfalls of other approaches. In most cases, non-radical friends and family have no idea their loved ones are on watch lists, and if they do, dont know how to intervene. Programs that help facilitate this interaction could be successful.

Radicalization is a complex system that cannot be reduced to its individual factors. International conflicts, social networks, community, ideology, and individual vulnerabilities all combine to let radicalization emerge. Some of these factors may be more volatile, such as individual personalities, while others are more stable, such as social networks. But only a holistic view of this phenomenon can provide the understanding needed for designing policies to counter the pull of extremist groups.

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What Makes a Terrorist? – The New York Review of Books

UNZA vice-chancellor lays down marker – Zambia Daily Mail

STEVEN MVULA, Lusaka UNIVERSITY of Zambia (UNZA) vice-chancellor Luke Mumba has urged students to save the institution of higher education from collapse by paying tuition and other fees.

And Professor Mumba says defaulting students will be allowed to sit for examinations but results will be withheld until they pay all the money they are owing the institution. Prof Mumba phoned Radio Phoenix on Tuesday during a programme dubbed Let The People Talk and corrected the perception that UNZA wanted to bar 8,000 students from writing examinations due to non-payment of fees. UNZA is bankrupt and it will collapse if students dont pay their obligations. We are not wholly funded by Government. Even the exams have a cost. There can be no exam without funding. We need money for stationery, to pay external examiners and support staff. We feel the heat as managers of this institution, he said. He said it is not the responsibility of UNZA to provide for the vulnerable because its mandate is to provide education and research. UNZA has 27,000 students and 19,000 have no problem at all. It is only 8,000 who have not paid and management will allow 4,900 students to write examinations but will withhold their results. The rest of the 8,000 are not on our data base, Prof Mumba said. Prof Mumba said returning students in their final years who will not clear will not graduate while returning students will not register without results. The collapse of a nation does not require use of atomic bombs. It only requires lowering the quality of education and the quality of graduates. UNZA must, therefore, live on. UNZA must continue to be the beacon and catalyst for socio-economic development, growth and knowledge generation, he said in a statement on Monday. Prof Mumba said for the university to avoid the perennial problem of admitting students who cannot pay fees for various reasons, this years admissions for first years are all provisional.

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UNZA vice-chancellor lays down marker – Zambia Daily Mail

Collapse of UT and Capital banks A case of a collective national failure (Article) – Citifmonline

As an entrepreneur who appreciates the challenges to surmount in order to build flourishing businesses with positive ramifications for society, the collapse of UT and Capital Banks can only be seen as a reflection of our respective individual negative traits, deficient national character and the weak state institutions coupled with our ineffective educational system. The collapse of these banks obviously brings to fore critical issues that, as a nation we must be bold, truthful and openly discuss them.

Though, it did not surprise industry watchers, their demise evoke feelings of sadness and job insecurity while raising questions about the ability of Ghanaians to really manage our institutions.

It is sad because the collapse of these two indigenous banks has become a set back to the effort of promoting indigenous Ghanaians to take control of our economy by building strong local institutions. One would have expected to hear of progress being made by local banks rather than the demise of local banks.

It is also sad because of the job losses inherent in the demise especially in the light of the complexities of the labour market, the unavailability of jobs and the potential to increase unemployment levels even though we dont know our unemployment rates.

In spite of these sentiments, economic mismanagement, the failure of the central bank to assume its leadership role in our economic development, the proliferations of award schemes and our negative attitude as Ghanaians are all responsible for the current happenings. Invariably, these factors have combined to determine the kind of socio-economic environment that we currently find ourselves as a nation.

Economic Mismanagement

A critical look at economic development trends across the globe usually starts with emphasis on the agriculture sector, moves to manufacturing and lastly to the services sector. This development trend promotes the real sectors of an economy through the linkages between agriculture which provides the basic raw material for manufacturing and industrialization and the services sectors. The real sector of an economy will thus have the potential to create the numerous jobs for the people, provide commodities for the daily lives of the people, provide raw materials for the manufacturing firms, wealth for the people, a strong currency for the nation and eventually help extricate indigenes from poverty.

However, our country has adopted by default a reverse development model by placing emphasis on the services sector with no linkages to both the agricultural and manufacturing sectors. As a result, the business of selling and buying money has been very dominant in our economy. This is called the financecialisation of our economy. Everybody in Ghana now is either selling or buying money as a form of business. This explains why there are numerous people doing money lending, micro financing, savings and loans or commercial banking. While every money lender intends to be a micro finance, micro finance firms want to be savings and loans, saving and loans are looking at being commercial banks. These conversions are done without building enough capital base and a more robust corporate governance structures. Sadly, these finance houses are only funding the importation of rice, cooking oils and other consumables at the detriment of the most productive sectors of our economy such as agric and manufacturing.

A diversified economy on the other hand provides options for the people to do agriculture as a business, helps manufacturing to thrive and presents opportunity for banks to finance the productive sectors.

However, our political leaders have only paid mere lip services to our development. Over the years, Ghana has had several different development plans that have all sought to give us prosperity. All these plans have embraced the concepts of structural transformation, industrialization, investment, quality education and human capital development and the modernization of agriculture. The 7 year development of 1963-1970, Economic Recovery Program of 1984-1990, Structural Adjustment Program, Vision 2020 and the Better Ghana Agenda are just a few of the development plans. Yet, we are still engulfed in poverty.

Clearly, incompetence in managing our economy, lack of vision and direction by political leaders, weak state institutions, deep rooted and institutionalized bribery and corruption, ineffective educational system that produces timorous workforce with its resultant mismatch with industry have all teamed up to cause the collapse of these two banks.

Role of the Central Bank

The central bank of Ghana has been unable to assume its leadership role and importance as far as Ghanas economic development is concerned. They have not been proactive in their policy and supervisory functions in the financial sector in particular and the economy in general. The primary role of the central bank to implement policies that provide consistent growth and employment and the stability of the financial system has been ineffective over the years. Perhaps, the central bank is only noted for organizing monetary policy committee meetings. One even wonders if they have an idea as to the total number of money lenders and microfinance firms operating in the country. Weak corporate governance, Incompetent management and board, weak supervision, lack of integrity, corruption within the banking sector, unchecked prevailing high interest rate regime and the springing up of commercial banks are all to be blamed. It is hence not surprising that directors of a bank will borrow money without paying, whiles staff of some banks also operate micro finance within their respective branches. We all can imagine the insecurity and frustrations that would have been unleashed to the nation if depositors had lost their funds in the UT/Capital bank saga. And so, to the extent that the Central Bank was able to salvage depositors funds and restore confidence among depositors, they need to be commended.

Attitude of Ghanaians

Our negative individual attitudes as Ghanaians are also to be blamed. Individual corruptible practices in our institutions, employment based on favoritism, managerial incompetence, untruthfulness, vindictiveness, victimization, dirty corporate politicking, stealing of funds with collaborators in the business world, lack of leadership, amorous relationship between bosses and their subordinates have all been accepted as part of our normal lives, and have permeated into our corporate fabric. Doing the right things in Ghana makes one either a bad person, very difficult, arrogant or controversial. You dare not report a colleague or superior who is either corrupt or does something wrong. Whilst some banks promote staff not on merit but on the whims or affection of a superior person, some business heads also take money from clients before credit applications are processed. It is therefore not surprising that staff members through their actions and inactions have contributed to the demise of these banks. Sadly, the intellectuals in this country have through our incompetence and corruption proven education to be a useless venture. Instead of being managing directors, we are gradually becoming damaging directors.

Numerous Award Schemes

Numerous awards programes have been institutionalized in our country recently. There is an award scheme for almost everything in our country today. The basis upon which individuals and institutions have won various awards are in some cases questionable especially when every discerning Ghanaian is aware of the monetization of these awards. Besides, we are unable to assess the impact that these awards have had on our economy and society. In the light of their imminent collapse, these two banks in the past three years have won various awards in the banking sector. How did they win these awards? Awards schemes are essentially to reward excellence and to generate a more meaningful and a broader impact on companies and society. However, awards have been used as a money making venture and as such, mediocrity has taken over in most of the awards.

Clearly, the factors above present a feeling of great disappointment and failure whenever one critically looks at our national life. It looks as if we have been condemned to perpetual conditions of poverty, underdevelopment and retrogression exemplified by lack of vision and leadership, economic mismanagement, incompetent corporate leaders, ineffective and weak state institutions, negative attitude of the people, institutionalized bribery and corruption and lack of integrity. Indeed, one can only conclude that the collapse of these two banks is a collective national failure rather than an individual institutional lapse.

By: Kelvin Kwaku Yeboah

The writer is a former Banker and Entrepreneur.

Email: ykelvin19@yahoo.com

Excerpt from:

Collapse of UT and Capital banks A case of a collective national failure (Article) – Citifmonline

Centre claims to have completed safety audit of 1.6 lakh bridges; to work on 147 dilapidated structures – Firstpost

New Delhi: The road ministry has completed safety audit of 1.6 lakh bridges in the country and found 147 structures in dilapidated condition.

The ministry launched the Integrated Bridge Management System (IBMS) to create data of all bridges and culverts in the country as part of steps to avert mishaps. “IBMS has completed the first phase of inventory and inspection of all types of bridges, which comes to 1,60,186. Of these, 147 bridges were found to be dilapidated and calls for immediate attention,” Gadkari, the Union road transport and highways minister, said.

File image of Nitin Gadkari. PTI

He said 23 such structures were found to be of over 100 years of age. Gadkari said new technologies for monitoring of bridges in real time like nano, laser and sensor were being introduced, while radars, infra ray drones, etc. will be used for their inspection. The IBMS was launched late last year at an estimated cost of Rs 300 crore.

Before IBMS there was no system to map the bridges, many of which were constructed during the British era and were on the verge of collapse. “As of date, IBMS has a database of about 1.6 lakh structures, including 1.2 lakh culverts, and are being categorised under different categories. The system, which is an initiative under ‘Make in India’ drive, will have the minutest details to address all safety and security concerns,” he said, after having chaired a meeting of IBMS on 30 June.

The three-year project is being implemented in 18 packages. The system has data like national identity number, longitude and latitude details, classifications and socio-economic details of the area, among others. The need for this system was triggered as the country did not have any such data, while companies like BHEL had to shell out as high as Rs 50 lakh fee to get the data, whether the bridge was compatible for its machines or not for crossing it.

In addition to the structural rating, the bridges are also being assigned socio-economic bridge rating number, which will decide the importance of the structure in relation to its contribution to daily socio-economic activity of the area.

During inventory creation each bridge is assigned a unique identification number or national identity number based on the state, RTO zone and whether it is situated on an national orstate highway, or is a district road.

The minister said that the system is such that precise location of the bridge in terms of latitude-longitude is collected through GPS and based on this, it is assigned a bridge location number. Thereafter, engineering characteristics like the design, materials, type of bridge, its age, loading, traffic lane, length, width of carriage way etc are collected and are used to assign a bridge classification number to the structure. These are then used to do a structural rating on a scale of 0 to 9, and each bridge is given a structural rating number.

The rating is done for each component of the structure like integral and non-integral deck, superstructure, substructure, bank and channel, structural evaluation, deck geometry, vertical clearance, waterway efficiency, etc.

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Centre claims to have completed safety audit of 1.6 lakh bridges; to work on 147 dilapidated structures – Firstpost

Govt completes inspection 1.6 lakh bridges, plans new tech – Zee News

New Delhi: The road ministry has completed safety audit of 1.6 lakh bridges in the country and found 147 structures in dilapidated condition.

The ministry last year launched the Integrated Bridge Management System (IBMS) to create data of all bridges and culverts in the country as part of steps to avert mishaps.

“IBMS has completed the first phase of inventory and inspection of all types of bridges, which comes to 1,60,186. of these 147 bridges were found to be dilapidated and calls for immediate attention,” Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari told PTI.

He said 23 such structures were found of over 100 years of age.

Gadkari said new technologies for monitoring of bridges in real time like nano, laser and sensor were being introduced, while radars, infra ray drones etc will be used for their inspection.

The IBMS was launched late last year at an estimated costof Rs 300 crore.

Before IBMS there was no system to map the bridges, manyof which were constructed during British era and were on the verge of collapse.

“As on date IBMS has a database of about 1.6 lakh structures, including 1.2 lakh culverts, and are being categories under different categories. The system which is an initiative under ‘Make in India’ drive and will have the minutest details to address all safety and security concerns,” the Minister said who chaired a meeting of IBMS on June 30.

The three-year project is being implemented in 18 packages.

The system has data like national identity number, longitude and latitude details, classifications and socio economic details of the area, among others.

The need for this system was triggered as the country didnot have any such data, while companies like BHEL had to shell out as high as Rs 50 lakh fee to get the data whether the bridge was compatible for its machines or not for crossing it.

In addition to the structural rating, the bridges are also being assigned socio-economic bridge rating number, which will decide the importance of the structure in relation to its contribution to daily socio-economic activity of the area.

During inventory creation each bridge is assigned a unique identification number or national identity number based on the state, RTO zone and whether it is situated on an National Highway, state Highway or is a district road.

The minister said that the system is such that precise location of the bridge in terms of latitude-longitude is collected through GPS and based on this, it is assigned a bridge location number.

Thereafter, engineering characteristics like the design,materials, type of bridge, its age, loading, traffic lane, length, width of carriage way etc are collected and are used to assign a bridge classification number to the structure.

These are then used to do a structural rating on a scaleof 0 to 9, and each bridge is given a structural rating number.

The rating is done for each component of the structure like integral and non-integral deck, superstructure, substructure, bank and channel, structural evaluation, deck geometry, vertical clearance, waterway efficiency etc.

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Govt completes inspection 1.6 lakh bridges, plans new tech – Zee News

Nkomo could have saved Zim: Zapu – NewsDay

THE Dumiso Dabengwa-led Zapu has claimed Zimbabwe would not be facing the grinding socio-economic crisis had the late Vice-President Joshua Nkomo lived longer, arguing he had a growth and rebuilding agenda for the country.

By NQOBANI NDLOVU

The late Dr Joshua Nkomo

In a statement to commemorate the late Father Zimbabwe, Zapu spokesperson, Iphithule Maphosa said Nkomo would have stepped down way back, and urged President Robert Mugabe to hand over the baton to his juniors.

Nkomo and definitely Zapu, had no intention of hanging onto power at the expense of the people of Zimbabwe, as we witness under Mugabe and Zanu PF.

Theirs was a rebuilding and growth agenda for a country, which, ironically after 37 years of majority rule, does not know a nation since falling into the hands of Zanu PF, whose only agenda was gaining and retaining political power, he said.

Mugabe has not indicated when he will step down and the ruling party has nominated him to be the partys presidential candidate for the 2018 general elections. He will be 94, and will be the worlds oldest presidential candidate.

Zanu PF spokesperson, Simon Khaya Moyo was unreachable for comment. The ruling Zanu PF has on several occasions blamed sanctions for the countrys economic woes.

Maphosa argued Zimbabwe would be better off had the late Father Zimbabwe lived longer, saying Nkomo was, for example, not going to tolerate corruption that is blamed for the collapse of several State-owned entities.

Had he lived a little longer, Zimbabwe would not be in this mess for we are cocksure he was never going to allow Mugabe, whom he mentored, to become the demi-god he is today. He would not have allowed the cluelessness about economic management and lack of accountability to continue unabated as it has happened since the time of death to this day.

Economic mismanagement and maladministration, refusal to account, corruption, tribalism and nepotism shot through the roof as patronage took root of our governmental affairs soon after Nkomo departed, a development he would have never allowed in a country he fought for all his life, he said.

The late Vice-President, who was born on June 7, 1917, died on July 1, 1999 at the age of 82, and would have turned 100 this year.

The Joshua Nkomo Cultural Movement, a trust established to promote and advance Nkomos legacy, last month held low-key centenary celebrations in Kezi, Matabeleland South, to celebrate the late VPs life.

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Nkomo could have saved Zim: Zapu – NewsDay

Is this the end of Daesh? – Arab News

The world breathed a collective, but tentative sigh of relief this week as news from Iraq and Syria indicated that the terrorist group Daesh could be near collapse.

This most despicable of terrorist groups has been on the retreat in Mosul its biggest prize in Iraq as the Iraqi government continued a weeks-long offensive against it.

Daeshs supposed capital in Syria, Raqqa, has also been encircled by various forces.

This development should not come as a surprise to anyone. Daesh has brought nothing but death, destruction and misery to the peoples of Iraq and Syria. And while we should all rejoice in what seems like the inevitable defeat of Daesh as a physical entity, we must recognize that humanity will continue to grapple with the groups mindset and its many different manifestations for some time to come.

It is incumbent on all nations currently seeking to defeat Daesh militarily to redouble their efforts to address the root causes that led to the rise of the terror group and which account for radicalization.

Just as importantly, nations and peace-loving people around the world must do their part to counter narratives that seek to foment fear, hatred and division whether they are propagated by Muslims, Christians, Jews or any other group. The future peace and prosperity of mankind depends on exposing extremists of every strand.

Scholars studying the root causes of terrorism have long reached a consensus that radicalization is a complex and often lengthy process that entails a confluence of factors.

Contrary to casual observers who believe that ideology alone explains radicalization, multiple studies suggest that ideology is only one factor and often a small one on the road to radicalization. Political, ethnic and socio-economic factors all play a role.

That means that the international community must come to terms with some of the underlying causes that make youths susceptible to recruitment by terrorist organizations.

Political marginalization, impediments to social integration and economic deprivation are vexing issues that nations have to address to ensure that their youths do not become easy prey for terrorists.

We must recognize that humanity will continue to grapple with the terror groups mindset and its many different manifestations for some time to come.

Fahad Nazer

At the same time, the international community must also find solutions to a number of civil wars that have been raging for years and which have become a destination for militant foreign fighters from around the world, especially Syria.

I have repeatedly argued that while Daesh might have its roots in the war in Iraq, it is the brutality of the Assad regime in Syria that enabled it to grow like a malignant tumor and to become the destination of foreign fighters from all around the world.

Just as importantly, nations must be weary of voices that seek to spread hatred, fear and division. These forces are at play in the Islamic world, in the West and elsewhere. These voices of division help sustain the Daesh mindset, which views any person who does not adhere to its dark worldview as a mortal enemy that must be destroyed.

This mindset is not endemic to the Islamic world, as some maintain. Those who maintain that the Islamic world is under siege by the West and must be defended abet Daesh directly by lending credence to its false narrative. Those who argue that the West is under attack by Muslims likewise help Daesh by making Muslims in the West feel alienated and more susceptible to recruitment.

In recent weeks, this incitement in the West has also led to numerous deadly attacks against Muslims in Britain, Canada and the US.

Any reasonable person with a rudimentary understanding of history must acknowledge that terrorism and violence are not endemic to a particular religion, ethnicity or nationality. Those who believe otherwise are part of the problem, not the solution.

What the world is facing today is not a clash of civilizations but a clash of narratives. It is between two diametrically opposed views. One stresses what civilizations, nations and human beings have in common.

The other stresses our differences. Fortunately, the voices calling for peaceful coexistence, cooperation and even integration vastly outnumber those who view conflict, war, competition and disintegration as inevitable.

Daesh as a physical entity was bound to perish because its cult of death and destruction offered people no hope. Those adhering to its hateful mindset likewise have nothing to offer but fear. Time will prove that they too, were on the wrong side of history.

Fahad Nazer is an international affairs fellow with the National Council on US-Arab Relations. He is also a consultant to the Saudi embassy in Washington, but does not represent it or speak on its behalf. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, CNN, The Hill and Newsweek, among others.

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Is this the end of Daesh? – Arab News

Empowering Women in Developing Economies – HuffPost

Co-authored by Mathilde Mukantabana, Ambassadorof the Republic of Rwanda to the United States of America.

Economic opportunity is vital to strengthening peace and stability, especially in fragile states and post conflict societies.Developing sustainable employment entails a strong partnership between the private and public sectors, as well as multilateral organizations. Kate Space & Companys social enterprise investment in Rwandawhich enables women to be part of its supply chainis an innovative example of that partnership.

Rwanda suffered one of the worst genocides in history in 1994. The Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda claimed more than one million lives and left in its wake a near total collapse of political and socio-economic institutions. The leadership of Rwanda and its people embarked on an arduous journey to mend the fabric of their society, and out of the ashes of destruction rose a new and prosperous nation.

Today, Rwanda is one of the fastest growing economies in Africa. There are several reasons for Rwandas economic and social progress. A growing body of research demonstrates that womens economic participation is essential for economic progressand for post conflict reconstruction and recovery. Women entrepreneurs drive GDP and create jobs, and the way women spend their income has a multiplier effect, as they invest it in education, nutrition, and other needs; this in turn improves the well-being of families and grows the standard of living. Rwandas leadership in gender equality has fostered a positive environment for womens political participation and entrepreneurship. Women comprise over 60% of the Parliamentthe highest in the world. Inheritance and land rights have been advanced, and there have been significant improvements on a range of indicators from education and literacy to health care.

We have observed the impact that the private sector can have on womens economic empowerment in Masoro, a village of twenty thousand people roughly twelve kilometers away from Rwandas capital, Kigali. Like many rural communities, Masoro suffered from higher unemployment and lower earnings than the national average. On the positive, local artisans were skilled in embroidery and sewing.

Officials from Kate Spade & Company decided to make a social enterprise investment in this small community to test if this investment could produce economic and social returns. The company recruited 150 of the villages most talented and committed female artisans in 2013, and helped them set up their own worker-owned, for-profit social enterprise: Abahizi Dushyigikirane, Ltd. or ADC. Kate Spade & Company has worked to build the capacity of the workers and has been using them as a supplier for its related brands. In that way, the women and their families can prosper and Kate Spade & Company can have a dependable supplier.

According to a recently released study by Georgetowns McDonough School of Business, in partnership with the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace & Security, Kate Spade & Companys initiative has already contributed to the empowerment of the women in Masoro. They are flourishing economically and socially. The women have improved their spending on necessities and are investing in the future. They are earning a decent and steady wage and receiving opportunities for training and development from ADC. The average woman working on the initiative has also reported higher levels of decision-making within her family related to personal finances.

This is evidenced by Appolinaire, a team leader in ADCs beading department. Appolinaire first applied to be a temporary worker at ADC in order to supplement her households income. To her surprise, she positively adjusted to the position right away, and especially enjoyed the camaraderie with other women. ADC offered Appolinaire an opportunity to take the sewing test required for a permanent position, which she passed.

With her new income from the factory, Appolinaire and her husband have been able to invest in a new kitchen, and they are gradually replacing their mud brick walls and dirt floor with bricks. Appolinarie says her voice is heard on all of the important household decisions. She no longer tends the land or cares for the cows. As she progressed at ADC and her salary increased, a young man was hired to do those chores. Clearly, she is becoming economically empowered.

On the business investment, the Georgetown study found that Kate Spade & Company has created a financially viable business model in Rwanda. The Masoro supplier will become more competitive as production increases. The increases are set to occur over the course of 2017 with the acquisition of another client. Kate Spade & Company is actively assisting in the search for a second client and potential investors to support their growth trajectory.

This innovative social enterprise investment offers a model approach for creating economic opportunity that is sustainable in marginalized communities. Other companies can also contribute to their bottom line and help to transform fragile and war-torn societies. Its a win-win approach: one that is good for business and good for society.

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Empowering Women in Developing Economies – HuffPost

There is a strong economic case to preserve future of traditional fishing – Alfred Sant – Malta Independent Online

Former Prime Minister Alfred Sant told the European Parliament that there is a strong economic case, and not just a social and a cultural one, to preserve and enhance future traditional fishing in the same way that this is being done for fish stocks. Explaining his vote in favour of the report “Status of fish stocks and socio-economic situation of the fishing sector in the Mediterranean” at the European Parliament, the Maltese MEP said we can no longer ignore the fact that institutionally and economically, the position of traditional fishermen was not sufficiently taken into account when conservation policies were being drafted. In part this happened because the legitimate interests of these fishermen were not adequately represented and assessed, in the face of a fast growing and politically effective modern industrial sector.

This has got to be corrected. Fortunately, there is a growing awareness among traditional fishermen even in the remoter areas that they need to mobilise more effectively. For even now, there are some who consider traditional fishing as an economically non-viable activity which must be tolerated till it dies out on its own.

I voted for this resolution because it makes a serious effort to consider traditional and artisanal fishing as an integral part of the fisheries sector in the Mediterranean, giving members of this community the prominence they deserve, while relating it in a realistic way to the effective management of fish stocks. remarked the Maltese MEP.

The Report dealt with the dramatic decline ofMediterranean fish stocks – more than 90% of those assessed are overexploited, with some on the verge of collapse. It stresses the need to improve stock assessment (data collection, availability and analysis; suggesting a common database) as well as control and surveillance, and to strengthen cooperation among Mediterranean countries (EU and non-EU), particularly in view of tackling illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. The Report refers to preferential treatment for small and artisanal fisheries as well as the need for a guarantee for a basic income for fishermen during “biological rest periods”. The report also refers specifically to talks on the problem of poor data as regards to fishing and the need to further involve fishermen in the decision-making process. It also deals with the third country factor and the impact that fishermen from non-EU countries have on fishing in the Mediterranean.

The Resolution was approved with 558 votes in favour, 43 against, and 35 abstentions.

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There is a strong economic case to preserve future of traditional fishing – Alfred Sant – Malta Independent Online

Reserve Bank battle points to dangerous levels of intolerance – Mail & Guardian

Reserve Bank Governor Lesetja Kganyago. The role of South Africas central bank is at the centre of a heated debate. (Siphiwe Sibeko, Reuters)

What kind of financial system is sure to collapse if the central bank cares about peoples well-being?

The recommendation by the public protector that the Reserve Banks mandate change, says much about Busisiwe Mkhwebane, none of it flattering. It says just as much about mainstream economic debate – and none of that is flattering either.

Mkhwebane recommended that the central banks constitutional mandate, which makes protecting the currency its primary goal, be changed to one which requires it to promote balanced and sustainable economic growth while ensuring that the socio-economic well-being of the citizens are protected. She also said the constitution should require the bank to achieve meaningful socio-economic transformation.

This triggered a wave of protests, as well as an announcement from the South African Reserve Bank that it would take the matter to court. The Reserve Bank had no option. The constitutional court has ruled that the Public Protectors findings are binding unless they are challenged in court. Her recommendation wildly exceeded what she is allowed to do by the constitution or democratic good sense – and the Reserve Bank could not allow it to stand.

Democratic constitutions are changed by large majorities of the people or their elected representatives not by individuals. By making a binding recommendation that the constitution be changed, Mkhwebane signalled that she either doesnt understand or does not care for democracy.

Her report is also very useful to a faction of the governing party which wants to deflect charges of state capture by claiming that white monopoly capital already controls the state. There are real questions about the fitness for office of a Public Protector whose report seems more interested in protecting connected politicians and business people than with taking the peoples will seriously.

But the reaction did not stop at insisting that Mkhwebane has no business telling the people what the constitution should say. Much of it objected not only to her saying what the Reserve Banks mandate should be, but to anyone at all doing that.

The prize for the wildest reaction went to the commentator who declared that Mkhwebanes ideas on the Banks mandate were inspired by someone who denied that the Nazi genocide happened. Others stopped short of tarring constitutional change with the same brush as mass murder but were united in claiming that to suggest that the Reserve Banks mandate be broadened is economically illiterate and deeply damaging.

Absa, who was the subject of a separate finding by the public protector on the issue of a controversial bailout, asked a court to rule that her proposed change posed a serious risk to the financial system. For its part the rating agency Standard & Poors, happy as ever to police the boundaries of economic correctness, warned that any interference with the Reserve Banks independence could trigger new downgrades.

To insist that anyone who proposes changing the Reserve Banks mandate is economically damaging and stupid is as contemptuous of democracy and dangerous to the economy as Mkhwebanes excess. It is undemocratic because it seeks to close down policy debate by declaring that only one view of the Reserve Banks mandate can ensure a healthy economy. It is dangerous because it blocks the search for economic remedies by seeking to bully even those who propose only mild changes to what the country now has.

The idea that the Reserve Bank should have a broader mandate is neither radical nor dangerous. The most famous central bank, the US Federal Reserve, has a broader mandate. Its dual mandate requires it to seek maximum employment as well as price stability.

The Australian equivalents mandate includes maintenance of full employment and economic prosperity and welfare of the people. The European Central Bank, famed for its love of austerity, has a mandate to seek sustainable growth.

And the the Bank of Englands website says that, subject to its goal of price stability, it aims to support the governments economic objectives.

In South Africa, not only has the view that the central banks mandate is too restrictive been repeated periodically but it may well have been implemented for a while. In 2010, then finance minister Pravin Gordhan wrote to then Reserve Bank governor, Gill Marcus, proposing a mandate which included growth and employment. Marcus reacted positively, which suggests that the bank acted on Gordhans letter. The financial system survived.

The US, European and Australian financial systems have also not collapsed. Their mandates have not triggered a downgrade and no one has accused these societies of economic illiteracy.

So either double standards are being applied or we are being told that restrictive central bank mandates are essential only if countries are in particular parts of the world (such as Africa) and governed by particular types of people (Africans).

And why does a change in the Banks mandate undermine its independence? A central bank loses its independence if politicians (or anyone else) can tell it what to do, not if its mandate changes.

For all its flaws, the Public Protectors proposal would retain the Reserve Banks independence, leaving it to the bank to decide what promotes the well-being of the people or transformation.

None of this means that the Reserve Banks mandate must change. Or that central bank independence must go. But it does mean that no one should be discouraged from debating the issue, as people routinely do in other democracies and market economies. What, besides that prejudice which we prettify by the term Afropessimism, explains the insistence that we may not debate what is freely discussed in most other places?

Closing down debate in this way is common in South Africa. It also lies behind complaints of policy uncertainty which does not mean, as it does elsewhere, that government keeps changing its mind and sending mixed messages the macro-economic framework has been stable for more than two decades. It means, rather, that some people who some others may take seriously raise policy ideas the economic mainstream does not like.

This demand that people can say anything they like about economic policy as long as the mainstream likes it too offers a misleading view of the economy. It says that there is nothing wrong with it except political interference and that it will flourish if politicians simply leave alone what is done now.

The contrary evidence is offered by mainstream organisations such as the International Monetary Fund and the South African Reserve Bank itself which have shown that the current economic rut is a product of problems in the private economy as well as what government does.

This means that the economy must change. This, in turn, requires new ideas. They will not emerge unless everything is up for debate and ideas are not silenced because they trigger the fears and prejudices of a few.

Steven Friedman, Professor of Political Studies, University of Johannesburg

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

More:

Reserve Bank battle points to dangerous levels of intolerance – Mail & Guardian

South Africa’s central bank row points to dangerous levels of intolerance – eNCA

File: The recommendation by South Africas Public Protector that the Reserve Banks mandate change, says much about Busisiwe Mkhwebane, none of it flattering.

Steven Friedman, University of Johannesburg

What kind of financial system is sure to collapse if the central bank cares about peoples well-being?

The recommendation by South Africas Public Protector that the Reserve Banks mandate change, says much about Busisiwe Mkhwebane, none of it flattering. It says just as much about mainstream economic debate — and none of that is flattering either.

Mkhwebane recommended that the central banks constitutional mandate, which makes protecting the currency its primary goal, be changed to one which requires it to promote balanced and sustainable economic growth while ensuring that the socio-economic well-being of the citizens are protected. She also said the constitution should require the bank to achieve meaningful socio-economic transformation.

This triggered a wave of protests, as well as an announcement from the South African Reserve Bank that it would take the matter to court. The Reserve Bank had no option. The constitutional court has ruled that the Public Protectors findings are binding unless they are challenged in court. Her recommendation wildly exceeded what she is allowed to do by the constitution or democratic good sense – and the Reserve Bank could not allow it to stand.

Democratic constitutions are changed by large majorities of the people or their elected representatives not by individuals. By making a binding recommendation that the constitution be changed, Mkhwebane signalled that she either doesnt understand or does not care for democracy.

Her report is also very useful to a faction of the governing party which wants to deflect charges of state capture by claiming that white monopoly capital already controls the state. There are real questions about the fitness for office of a Public Protector whose report seems more interested in protecting connected politicians and business people than with taking the peoples will seriously.

But the reaction did not stop at insisting that Mkhwebane has no business telling the people what the constitution should say. Much of it objected not only to her saying what the Reserve Banks mandate should be, but to anyone at all doing that.

An important debate

The prize for the wildest reaction went to the commentator who declared that Mkhwebanes ideas on the Banks mandate were inspired by someone who denied that the Nazi genocide happened. Others stopped short of tarring constitutional change with the same brush as mass murder but were united in claiming that to suggest that the Reserve Banks mandate be broadened is economically illiterate and deeply damaging.

Absa, who was the subject of a separate finding by the public protector on the issue of a controversial bailout, asked a court to rule that her proposed change posed a serious risk to the financial system. For its part the rating agency Standard & Poors, happy as ever to police the boundaries of economic correctness, warned that any interference with the Reserve Banks independence could trigger new downgrades.

To insist that anyone who proposes changing the Reserve Banks mandate is economically damaging and stupid is as contemptuous of democracy and dangerous to the economy as Mkhwebanes excess. It is undemocratic because it seeks to close down policy debate by declaring that only one view of the Reserve Banks mandate can ensure a healthy economy. It is dangerous because it blocks the search for economic remedies by seeking to bully even those who propose only mild changes to what the country now has.

The idea that the Reserve Bank should have a broader mandate is neither radical nor dangerous. The most famous central bank, the US Federal Reserve, has a broader mandate. Its dual mandate requires it to seek maximum employment as well as price stability.

The Australian equivalents mandate includes maintenance of full employment and economic prosperity and welfare of the people. The European Central Bank, famed for its love of austerity, has a mandate to seek sustainable growth.

And the the Bank of Englands website says that, subject to its goal of price stability, it aims to support the governments economic objectives.

In South Africa, not only has the view that the central banks mandate is too restrictive been repeated periodically but it may well have been implemented for a while. In 2010, then finance minister Pravin Gordhan wrote to then Reserve Bank governor, Gill Marcus, proposing a mandate which included growth and employment. Marcus reacted positively, which suggests that the bank acted on Gordhans letter. The financial system survived.

The US, European and Australian financial systems have also not collapsed. Their mandates have not triggered a downgrade and no one has accused these societies of economic illiteracy.

So either double standards are being applied or we are being told that restrictive central bank mandates are essential only if countries are in particular parts of the world (such as Africa) and governed by particular types of people (Africans).

And why does a change in the Banks mandate undermine its independence? A central bank loses its independence if politicians (or anyone else) can tell it what to do, not if its mandate changes.

For all its flaws, the Public Protectors proposal would retain the Reserve Banks independence, leaving it to the bank to decide what promotes the well-being of the people or transformation.

Closing down debate is common

None of this means that the Reserve Banks mandate must change. Or that central bank independence must go. But it does mean that no one should be discouraged from debating the issue, as people routinely do in other democracies and market economies. What, besides that prejudice which we prettify by the term Afropessimism, explains the insistence that we may not debate what is freely discussed in most other places?

Closing down debate in this way is common in South Africa. It also lies behind complaints of policy uncertainty which does not mean, as it does elsewhere, that government keeps changing its mind and sending mixed messages the macro-economic framework has been stable for more than two decades. It means, rather, that some people who some others may take seriously raise policy ideas the economic mainstream does not like.

This demand that people can say anything they like about economic policy as long as the mainstream likes it too offers a misleading view of the economy. It says that there is nothing wrong with it except political interference and that it will flourish if politicians simply leave alone what is done now.

The contrary evidence is offered by mainstream organisations such as the International Monetary Fund and the South African Reserve Bank itself which have shown that the current economic rut is a product of problems in the private economy as well as what government does.

This means that the economy must change. This, in turn, requires new ideas. They will not emerge unless everything is up for debate and ideas are not silenced because they trigger the fears and prejudices of a few.

Steven Friedman, Professor of Political Studies, University of Johannesburg

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

21 June 2017

Analysts said the inflation outlook for the rest of year meant the Reserve Bank may now contemplate cutting rates or easing monetary policy to boost growth.

21 June 2017

Malikane, a former Wits University professor well known for his radical views, said on Tuesday he could not comment due to his role as Finance Minister Malusi Gigabas adviser.

20 June 2017

‘Amending the constitution is something different because it means all chapter nine institutions…may feel they want to amend the constitution,’ said ANC Spokesperson Zizi Kodwa.

Read more here:

South Africa’s central bank row points to dangerous levels of intolerance – eNCA

Dangerous levels of intolerance exposed in Reserve Bank row – Independent Online

What kind of financial system is sure to collapse if the central bank cares about peoples well-being?

The recommendation by South Africas Public Protector that the Reserve Banks mandate change, says much about Busisiwe Mkhwebane, none of it flattering. It says just as much about mainstream economic debate – and none of that is flattering either.

Mkhwebane recommended that the central banks constitutional mandate, which makes protecting the currency its primary goal, be changed to one which requires it to promote balanced and sustainable economic growth while ensuring that the socio-economic well-being of the citizens are protected. She also said the constitution should require the bank to achieve meaningful socio-economic transformation.

This triggered a wave of protests, as well as an announcement from the South African Reserve Bank that it would take the matter to court. The Reserve Bank had no option. The constitutional court has ruled that the Public Protectors findings are binding unless they are challenged in court. Her recommendation wildly exceeded what she is allowed to do by the constitution or democratic good sense – and the Reserve Bank could not allow it to stand.

Democratic constitutions are changed by large majorities of the people or their elected representatives not by individuals. By making a binding recommendation that the constitution be changed, Mkhwebane signalled that she either doesnt understand or does not care for democracy.

Her report is also very useful to a faction of the governing party which wants to deflect charges of state capture by claiming that white monopoly capital already controls the state. There are real questions about the fitness for office of a Public Protector whose report seems more interested in protecting connected politicians and business people than with taking the peoples will seriously.

But the reaction did not stop at insisting that Mkhwebane has no business telling the people what the constitution should say. Much of it objected not only to her saying what the Reserve Banks mandate should be, but to anyone at all doing that.

An important debate

The prize for the wildest reaction went to the commentator who declared that Mkhwebanes ideas on the Banks mandate were inspired by someone who denied that the Nazi genocide happened. Others stopped short of tarring constitutional change with the same brush as mass murder but were united in claiming that to suggest that the Reserve Banks mandate be broadened is economically illiterate and deeply damaging.

Absa, who was the subject of a separate finding by the public protector on the issue of a controversial bailout, asked a court to rule that her proposed change posed a serious risk to the financial system. For its part the rating agency Standard & Poors, happy as ever to police the boundaries of economic correctness, warned that any interference with the Reserve Banks independence could trigger new downgrades.

To insist that anyone who proposes changing the Reserve Banks mandate is economically damaging and stupid is as contemptuous of democracy and dangerous to the economy as Mkhwebanes excess. It is undemocratic because it seeks to close down policy debate by declaring that only one view of the Reserve Banks mandate can ensure a healthy economy. It is dangerous because it blocks the search for economic remedies by seeking to bully even those who propose only mild changes to what the country now has.

The idea that the Reserve Bank should have a broader mandate is neither radical nor dangerous. The most famous central bank, the US Federal Reserve, has a broader mandate. Its dual mandate requires it to seek maximum employment as well as price stability.

The Australian equivalents mandate includes maintenance of full employment and economic prosperity and welfare of the people. The European Central Bank, famed for its love of austerity, has a mandate to seek sustainable growth.

And the the Bank of Englands website says that, subject to its goal of price stability, it aims to support the governments economic objectives.

In South Africa, not only has the view that the central banks mandate is too restrictive been repeated periodically but it may well have been implemented for a while. In 2010, then finance minister Pravin Gordhan wrote to then Reserve Bank governor, Gill Marcus, proposing a mandate which included growth and employment. Marcus reacted positively, which suggests that the bank acted on Gordhans letter. The financial system survived.

The US, European and Australian financial systems have also not collapsed. Their mandates have not triggered a downgrade and no one has accused these societies of economic illiteracy.

So either double standards are being applied or we are being told that restrictive central bank mandates are essential only if countries are in particular parts of the world (such as Africa) and governed by particular types of people (Africans).

And why does a change in the Banks mandate undermine its independence? A central bank loses its independence if politicians (or anyone else) can tell it what to do, not if its mandate changes.

For all its flaws, the Public Protectors proposal would retain the Reserve Banks independence, leaving it to the bank to decide what promotes the well-being of the people or transformation.

Closing down debate is common

None of this means that the Reserve Banks mandate must change. Or that central bank independence must go. But it does mean that no one should be discouraged from debating the issue, as people routinely do in other democracies and market economies. What, besides that prejudice which we prettify by the term Afropessimism, explains the insistence that we may not debate what is freely discussed in most other places?

Closing down debate in this way is common in South Africa. It also lies behind complaints of policy uncertainty which does not mean, as it does elsewhere, that government keeps changing its mind and sending mixed messages the macro-economic framework has been stable for more than two decades. It means, rather, that some people who some others may take seriously raise policy ideas the economic mainstream does not like.

This demand that people can say anything they like about economic policy as long as the mainstream likes it too offers a misleading view of the economy. It says that there is nothing wrong with it except political interference and that it will flourish if politicians simply leave alone what is done now.

The contrary evidence is offered by mainstream organisations such as the International Monetary Fund and the South African Reserve Bank itself which have shown that the current economic rut is a product of problems in the private economy as well as what government does.

This means that the economy must change. This, in turn, requires new ideas. They will not emerge unless everything is up for debate and ideas are not silenced because they trigger the fears and prejudices of a few.

*The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.

The Conversation

Continued here:

Dangerous levels of intolerance exposed in Reserve Bank row – Independent Online

The Wonderful World of Binary Categorizations – Geopoliticalmonitor.com

A new Cold War knocks on our doors, suddenly. Why so? How did it previously cease?

The end of the Cold War came abruptly, overnight.

Many in the West dreamt about it, but nobody really saw it coming. The Warsaw Pact, Red Army in DDR, Berlin Wall, DDR itself, Soviet Union one after the other, vanished rapidly, unexpectedly. There was no ceasefire, no peace conference, no formal treaty and guaranties, no expression of interests and settlement. Only the gazing facial expression of Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze, who circles around and unconvincingly repeats: We now better understand each other.

On the contrary, Bush (the 41st US president) calmly diagnosed: We win, they lose! His administration immediately declared that US policies, including all military capabilities, will remain unchanged but with a different pretexts to respond to the technological sophistication of the third world powers and to radical nationalism (meaning any indigenous emancipation). The world-is-flat mantra saw the non-West rest still enveloped in the Huntingtonian clash. Hence, the so-called normative revolution from the Atlantic followed shortly, in which the extensive (assertive) rights were self-prescribed on the global south. Thus, the might-makes-right interventions were justified through the new (de facto imperial) doctrines: humanitarian intervention, R2P (incl. Kouchner-Lvy bombing for a noble cause), doctrine of preemption, uninhabited access to or beyond the grand area, as well as the so-called Afroasia forward deployment, as a sort of the enlarged Brezhnev and Monroe doctrines combined together, etc.

Simultaneously, Washingtons darling, Francis Fukuyama, published his famous article The End of History? and the book which followed. Tounderline how sure he was about that claim, he even dropped the question mark in the title of the book.

Was this sudden meltdown of the Soviet giant and its Day After intrinsic or by design?

Brutality respected?

The generous support, the lavish and lasting funds that Atlantic-Central Europe enjoyed in the form of Marshall Aid has never reached the principal victim of WWII Eastern Europe. Despite the weak ethical grounds, this was due to ideological constrains in the post-WWII period. Total WWII devastation of the East and their demographic loss of 36 million people (versus only 1.2 million in the West), was of no help.

Moreover, only eight years after the end of WWII, the West brokered the so-called London Agreement on German External Debts (also known as the London Debt Agreement or Londoner Schuldenabkommen). By the letter of this accord, over 60% of German reparations for the colossal atrocities committed in both WW were forgiven (or generously reprogramed) by their former European victims, including quite unwillingly several Eastern European states. The contemporary world wonder and the economic wunderkind, Germany that dragged world into the two devastating world wars, is in fact a serial defaulter which received debt relief like no one else on the globe four times in the 20th century (1924, 1929, 1932 and 1953).

Despite all the subsidies given to the West, the East recovered remarkably fast. By the 1950s and 1960s, many influential western economists seriously considered communism as better suited for economic advancements, along with a Soviet planned economy as the superior socio-economic model and winsome ideological matrix.

Indeed, impressive Soviet results were a living example to it: A backward, semi-feudal, rural country in 1920s, has won WWII and in parallel it evolved into a highly industrialized and urbanized superpower all that in just 30 years. Spain needed two centuries (and never completed), Holland 130 years, the UK 110, Germany 90, Japan 70 years to revolve from a backward agricultural cultivator into an industrial giant. Moscow achieved that in only 30-35 years, all alone. Thus, by the mid-1950s besides its becoming a nuclear power the Soviet Union was a pioneer of cosmos exploration, sending a woman into orbit while many in the West still struggled with elementary gender equality this was an ethical and technological blaster. Morality of communist narrative as well as its socio-economic advancements appealed globally.

Master-blaster

If all the above is true, why then did the Soviet Union collapse? Was it really a bankruptcy caused by the Afghan intervention and its costly space program? And finally, if the U.S. collapsed earlier with the so-called Nixon shock, why did America become stronger afterwards, while after the Gorbachev-era bankruptcy of the Soviet Union, the Russian historical empire melted away so rapidly?

There are numerous views on it. Still, there is nothing conclusive yet neither in the form of a popular nor scientific consensus.

Some years ago, I had the honor to teach at the famous Plekhanov University of Economics in Moscow. It was a block-week with students of the Plekhanovs elite IBS program. Twelve days in Moscow proved to be an excellent opportunity to ask these questions to some of the most relevant economic authorities among academic colleagues.

The line of answers was quite different to anything Ive usually heard or read in the West. Muscovites claimed that right after Nixon shock, the Soviet Politburo and Gosplan (the Soviet Central Planning Economic Body overseeing the entire economic performance of the Soviet Union and, indirectly, its satellites) sat jointly in an extensive closed session. They debated two items only:

After much debating, answer to both questions was a unanimous NO.

Consequently, the logical conclusion was: The Soviets need to save the U.S. as to preserve balance of power. Without equilibrium in world affairs, there is no peace, stability, and security over the long run a clear geostrategic imperative.

Indeed, right after the Nixon shock, an era of dtente has started, which led to the Helsinki process and its Decalogue (that remains the largest and most comprehensive security treaty ever brokered on our planet). The U.S. was left to re-approach China (so-called Triangular engagement). Soon after, it recognized the Beijing China (One-China policy), and closed the chapter on Vietnam.

Simultaneously, Americans (re-)gained a strategic balance elsewhere, like in Latina America and (horn of and western) Africa, with a brief superpowers face-off in the Middle East (Yom Kippur War) which though bloody and intensive did not damage the earlier set balances.

Why goodbye?

Why, then, the instability in todays world?

Apparently, Washington did not really consider these two questions when it was their turn. Soviet planetary stewardship was misused and Gorbachevs altruism was ridiculed. As a consequence of today, the edges of the former Soviet zone from Algeria to Korea and from Finland to the Balkans are enveloped in instabilities. On top of it, the Chinese powerhouse is unstoppable: Neither of the Western powers alone nor a combination of them is able to match the Sino-giant economically. Asia, although the largest continent, is extremely bilateral. Its fragile security structures were built on the precondition of a soft center.

A bear of permafrost worried about global balance and was finally outfoxed, while a fish of warm seas unleashed its (corporate) greed and turned the world into what it is today: a dangerous place full of widening asymmetries and unbalances. Climate, health, income, access to food and water, safety and security each regionally and globally disturbed. Exaggerated statement?

For the sake of empirical test, let us apply the method of sustainability on this short story of 21st century geopolitics. As per tentative definition, Sustainable Development is any development which aims at the so-called 3Ms: the maximum good for maximum species, over maximum time-space span comprehensive stewardship.

How did our superpowers behave? Was our 3M better off before or after 1991?

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi (in his just released Global Trends Report) notes the unprecedented asymmetries of todays world. The facts are as heart-freezing as my Moscow winter years ago. The UNHCR notes: Every 113th person on this planet is displaced. Of the 65.6 million people forcibly displaced globally, 10.3 million became displaced in 2016 This equates to one person becoming displaced every 3 seconds less than the time it takes to read this sentence.

You are either with us or against us is a famous binary platform of Bush (the 43rd US president). Indeed, our planetary choice is binary but a bit broader.

An End of history in re-feudalization or a dialectic enhancement of civilization. Holistic or factionary. Cosmos (of order) or chaos (of predatory asymmetries) simple choice.

The opinions, beliefs, and viewpoints expressed by the authors are theirs alone and dont reflect any official position of Geopoliticalmonitor.com.

Excerpt from:

The Wonderful World of Binary Categorizations – Geopoliticalmonitor.com

Collapsed bridge cut off over 5000 residents in llorin – National Accord

From KEHINDE AKINPELU, Ilorin Over 5,000 residents including school children of Alagbado community in llorin South Local Government of Kwara have been cut off with other communities following the collapse of the only bridge linking them.

Alhaji Mustapha AbdulHameed, the Chairman Joint Associations for the community gave the figure of the affected residents during an interview with National Accord.

He lamented since the bridge. Collapsed about a month ago, it had virtually paralysed the social and Economic activities of the affected residents.

The collapsed bridged. He added affected the acquisition of both western and lslamic educations of their children as. The school buses that normally convey the children had stopped coming.

AbdulHameed appealed to the state Government to assist in the construction of the bridge to improve the socio-economic life of the affected residents.

A commercial motorcyclist, lshola Aremu plying the route who spoke with NATIONAL ACCORD, said most residents were unable to pay for the alternative which is a long distance to other communities.

In a swift reaction, the state Commissioner for. Works and Transport, Alhaji Aro Yahaya said the state Government had awarded contract for the construction of real concrete bridge that can last longer than the collapsed one.

He appealed to the affected residents to exercise patience, sitting that the construction will commence in august when rain break.

The Commissioner advised residents of the state to always ensure clean drainaged system to curb cases of collapsed bridges.

Accord re called that Alagbado bridge collapsed on Saturday 26th May after heavy downpour which listed over five hours .

Like Loading…

Read more here:

Collapsed bridge cut off over 5000 residents in llorin – National Accord

Op-Ed: South Africa’s central bank row points to dangerous levels of intolerance – CNBCAfrica.com

Photo: Flickr.

What kind of financial system is sure to collapse if the central bank cares about peoples well-being?

The recommendation by South Africas Public Protector that the Reserve Banks mandate change, says much about Busisiwe Mkhwebane, none of it flattering. It says just as much about mainstream economic debate and none of that is flattering either.

Mkhwebane recommended that the central banks constitutional mandate, which makes protecting the currency its primary goal, be changed to one which requires it to promote balanced and sustainable economic growth while ensuring that the socio-economic well-being of the citizens are protected. She also said the constitution should require the bank to achieve meaningful socio-economic transformation.

This triggered a wave of protests, as well as an announcement from the South African Reserve Bank that it would take the matter to court. The Reserve Bank had no option. The constitutional court has ruled that the Public Protectors findings are binding unless they are challenged in court. Her recommendation wildly exceeded what she is allowed to do by the constitution or democratic good sense and the Reserve Bank could not allow it to stand.

Democratic constitutions are changed by large majorities of the people or their elected representatives not by individuals. By making a binding recommendation that the constitution be changed, Mkhwebane signalled that she either doesnt understand or does not care for democracy.

Her report is also very useful to a faction of the governing party which wants to deflect charges of state capture by claiming that white monopoly capital already controls the state. There are real questions about the fitness for office of a Public Protector whose report seems more interested in protecting connected politicians and business people than with taking the peoples will seriously.

But the reaction did not stop at insisting that Mkhwebane has no business telling the people what the constitution should say. Much of it objected not only to her saying what the Reserve Banks mandate should be, but to anyone at all doing that.

The prize for the wildest reaction went to the commentator who declared that Mkhwebanes ideas on the Banks mandate were inspired by someone who denied that the Nazi genocide happened. Others stopped short of tarring constitutional change with the same brush as mass murder but were united in claiming that to suggest that the Reserve Banks mandate be broadened is economically illiterate and deeply damaging.

Absa, who was the subject of a separate finding by the public protector on the issue of a controversial bailout, asked a court to rule that her proposed change posed a serious risk to the financial system. For its part the rating agency Standard & Poors, happy as ever to police the boundaries of economic correctness, warned that any interference with the Reserve Banks independence could trigger new downgrades.

To insist that anyone who proposes changing the Reserve Banks mandate is economically damaging and stupid is as contemptuous of democracy and dangerous to the economy as Mkhwebanes excess. It is undemocratic because it seeks to close down policy debate by declaring that only one view of the Reserve Banks mandate can ensure a healthy economy. It is dangerous because it blocks the search for economic remedies by seeking to bully even those who propose only mild changes to what the country now has.

The idea that the Reserve Bank should have a broader mandate is neither radical nor dangerous. The most famous central bank, the US Federal Reserve, has a broader mandate. Its dual mandate requires it to seek maximum employment as well as price stability.

The Australian equivalents mandate includes maintenance of full employment and economic prosperity and welfare of the people. The European Central Bank, famed for its love of austerity, has a mandate to seek sustainable growth.

And the the Bank of Englands website says that, subject to its goal of price stability, it aims to support the governments economic objectives.

In South Africa, not only has the view that the central banks mandate is too restrictive been repeated periodically but it may well have been implemented for a while. In 2010, then finance minister Pravin Gordhan wrote to then Reserve Bank governor, Gill Marcus, proposing a mandate which included growth and employment. Marcus reacted positively, which suggests that the bank acted on Gordhans letter. The financial system survived.

The US, European and Australian financial systems have also not collapsed. Their mandates have not triggered a downgrade and no one has accused these societies of economic illiteracy.

So either double standards are being applied or we are being told that restrictive central bank mandates are essential only if countries are in particular parts of the world (such as Africa) and governed by particular types of people (Africans).

And why does a change in the Banks mandate undermine its independence? A central bank loses its independence if politicians (or anyone else) can tell it what to do, not if its mandate changes.

For all its flaws, the Public Protectors proposal would retain the Reserve Banks independence, leaving it to the bank to decide what promotes the well-being of the people or transformation.

None of this means that the Reserve Banks mandate must change. Or that central bank independence must go. But it does mean that no one should be discouraged from debating the issue, as people routinely do in other democracies and market economies. What, besides that prejudice which we prettify by the term Afropessimism, explains the insistence that we may not debate what is freely discussed in most other places?

Closing down debate in this way is common in South Africa. It also lies behind complaints of policy uncertainty which does not mean, as it does elsewhere, that government keeps changing its mind and sending mixed messages the macro-economic framework has been stable for more than two decades. It means, rather, that some people who some others may take seriously raise policy ideas the economic mainstream does not like.

This demand that people can say anything they like about economic policy as long as the mainstream likes it too offers a misleading view of the economy. It says that there is nothing wrong with it except political interference and that it will flourish if politicians simply leave alone what is done now.

The contrary evidence is offered by mainstream organisations such as the International Monetary Fund and the South African Reserve Bank itself which have shown that the current economic rut is a product of problems in the private economy as well as what government does.

This means that the economy must change. This, in turn, requires new ideas. They will not emerge unless everything is up for debate and ideas are not silenced because they trigger the fears and prejudices of a few.

Continue reading here:

Op-Ed: South Africa’s central bank row points to dangerous levels of intolerance – CNBCAfrica.com

Use of harmful chemicals for fish preservation harmful to consumers … – BusinessGhana

Mrs Elizabeth Naa Afoley Quaye, Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, has warned fishmongers using Monosodium Glutamate to process expired fishes to halt the practice since it is harmful to human health.

She said fishmongers use monosodium glutamate on expired fish especially tilapia to let it look glossy to attract potential buyers.

The Sector Minister gave the warning at a Stakeholders Meeting on Fisheries Law Enforcement in Accra, on Tuesday, to deliberate on the best ways of halting unreported and unregulated fishing practices in the country

She said some fishmongers around the Volta Lake and other coastal communities had been buying rotten or expired fishes from some cold stores, the practice known in local parlance as Kodoso and used Monosodium Glutamate to make them attractive to potential buyers.

The Fisheries Minister said the indiscriminate use of explosives, chemicals, under-sized fishing nets, light fishing and other aggregating devices for fishing would collapse the fisheries sector if serious and pragmatic measures were not taken to address the menace.

The continuous use of various chemicals to harvest fish in the artisanal sector has serious health consequences for consumers.

“The practice of using chemicals is seriously wiping out our fishery resources because many of the poisoned fishes that are not harvested eventually rot at the bottom of the sea, and this pollute the environment.

This she explained if not stopped would lead to the total collapse of the fishery industry.

She warned that individuals or fishers who would be caught in any form of illegal fishing practices would have a brush with the law.

Mrs Quaye promised to subsidise fishing nets to fishermen and canoe owners as part of efforts to enhance their work.

She also entreated all owners of seized fishing vessels to report to the Ministry for identification and collection and warned them not to indulge in any illegal fishing practices again.

The Minister said under the Collaboratory Fisheries Management, fishermen have been given the authority to regulate fishing activities in their respective areas and to deal with people practising illegal fishing methods.

She noted that light fishing affected the reproductive system of the fishes and changed the temperature of the water body and, thus, made the water uncomfortable for habitation by marine life.

She explained that the current exploitation rate of the fisheries resources was not sustainable and urged all stakeholders in the fisheries industry to collaborate to stamp out unreported and unregulated fishing practices.

The Sector Minister said that the collapse of the fishery industry would have grave consequences on the national economy such as job losses, malnutrition and other negative socio-economic repercussions that would be difficult to quantify.

In the efforts to arrest and reverse the situation, the Minister said, her outfit had developed a comprehensive Fisheries Management Plan to address the challenge.

She mentioned some key measures like the effective enforcement of Fisheries legislation, improving information on fisheries biology and stock assessment to support the re-building strategy and reducing the current levels of fishing efforts and capacity.

Other measures include protecting marine habitat to conserve biodiversity and product certification and reducing post-harvest losses.

Mrs Quaye advocated the need for fishers to collaborate with the Fisheries Law Enforcement Unit to clamp down on “galamsey in the fishing sector” for sustainable fishery conservation.

Watch Committee members in Prampram in the Greater Accra Region, testified that, their vigilance against light fishing in the area, had yielded positive outcomes and enjoying bumper catch.

They suggested that the Ministry should replicate the setting up of such committees in other coastal communities, to protect marine life in the sea and other water bodies

The stakeholders meeting concluded ended with major players in the fishing industry agreeing that light fishing, use of -chemicals, under-sized fishing nets and bamboo for fishing should be barred.

Ghana has been battling light fishing for a number of years now and consensus reached by the stakeholders would help in bringing an end to all forms of illegal fishing practices in the country.

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Use of harmful chemicals for fish preservation harmful to consumers … – BusinessGhana

Use of harmful chemicals for fish preservation harmful to consumers – Ghana News Agency

By Godwill Arthur-Mensah/ Bridget Denteh, GNA

Accra, June 20, GNA – Mrs Elizabeth Naa Afoley Quaye, Minister of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development, has warned fishmongers using Monosodium Glutamate to process expired fishes to halt the practice since it is harmful to human health.

She said fishmongers use monosodium glutamate on expired fish especially tilapia to let it look glossy to attract potential buyers.

The Sector Minister gave the warning at a Stakeholders Meeting on Fisheries Law Enforcement in Accra, on Tuesday, to deliberate on the best ways of halting unreported and unregulated fishing practices in the country

She said some fishmongers around the Volta Lake and other coastal communities had been buying rotten or expired fishes from some cold stores, the practice known in local parlance as Kodoso and used Monosodium Glutamate to make them attractive to potential buyers.

The Fisheries Minister said the indiscriminate use of explosives, chemicals, under-sized fishing nets, light fishing and other aggregating devices for fishing would collapse the fisheries sector if serious and pragmatic measures were not taken to address the menace.

The continuous use of various chemicals to harvest fish in the artisanal sector has serious health consequences for consumers.

“The practice of using chemicals is seriously wiping out our fishery resources because many of the poisoned fishes that are not harvested eventually rot at the bottom of the sea, and this pollute the environment.

This she explained if not stopped would lead to the total collapse of the fishery industry.

She warned that individuals or fishers who would be caught in any form of illegal fishing practices would have a brush with the law.

Mrs Quaye promised to subsidise fishing nets to fishermen and canoe owners as part of efforts to enhance their work.

She also entreated all owners of seized fishing vessels to report to the Ministry for identification and collection and warned them not to indulge in any illegal fishing practices again.

The Minister said under the Collaboratory Fisheries Management, fishermen have been given the authority to regulate fishing activities in their respective areas and to deal with people practising illegal fishing methods.

She noted that light fishing affected the reproductive system of the fishes and changed the temperature of the water body and, thus, made the water uncomfortable for habitation by marine life.

She explained that the current exploitation rate of the fisheries resources was not sustainable and urged all stakeholders in the fisheries industry to collaborate to stamp out unreported and unregulated fishing practices.

The Sector Minister said that the collapse of the fishery industry would have grave consequences on the national economy such as job losses, malnutrition and other negative socio-economic repercussions that would be difficult to quantify.

In the efforts to arrest and reverse the situation, the Minister said, her outfit had developed a comprehensive Fisheries Management Plan to address the challenge.

She mentioned some key measures like the effective enforcement of Fisheries legislation, improving information on fisheries biology and stock assessment to support the re-building strategy and reducing the current levels of fishing efforts and capacity.

Other measures include protecting marine habitat to conserve biodiversity and product certification and reducing post-harvest losses.

Mrs Quaye advocated the need for fishers to collaborate with the Fisheries Law Enforcement Unit to clamp down on “galamsey in the fishing sector” for sustainable fishery conservation.

Watch Committee members in Prampram in the Greater Accra Region, testified that, their vigilance against light fishing in the area, had yielded positive outcomes and enjoying bumper catch.

They suggested that the Ministry should replicate the setting up of such committees in other coastal communities, to protect marine life in the sea and other water bodies.

The stakeholders meeting concluded ended with major players in the fishing industry agreeing that light fishing, use of -chemicals, under-sized fishing nets and bamboo for fishing should be barred.

Ghana has been battling light fishing for a number of years now and consensus reached by the stakeholders would help in bringing an end to all forms of illegal fishing practices in the country.

GNA

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Use of harmful chemicals for fish preservation harmful to consumers – Ghana News Agency