Middle East Oil under American control (Blood for Oil)

Middle East Oil under American control (Blood for Oil)

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According to a report by Greg Palast of BBC 2 News night, the Bush administration had made plans for war over Iraq’s oil long before the 9/11 attacks. Even at a time when George Bush had announced that the US and Britain would bomb Bagdad, people around the world protested against such plan and many were convinced that America had a secret agenda to invade Iraq and topple its president Saddam Hussein for the control of oil. It is believe that according to an Iraq oil consultant Falah Ajibury, he claimed that he was used by the US to help plan a force Coup d état. From leaked information, America’s aim was to sell off all of Iraqi’s oil fields and with the intention of using Irag’s oil to help force the OPEC prices to go down. America preferred that Iraq oil was under the control of the government as compared to privatisation, as this would lead to Russia having control of some of the reserves.

 

In an article by the Independent, it stated that the West has always had intentions to profit from Iraqi’s most precious commodity. Secretly leaked information also proves that the Western oil companies had intentions to be the largest beneficiaries of oil production in the Middle East. As former vice-president Dick Cheney stated in 1999 that Iraq’s oil reserves were there third largest in the world with an estimate of 115 million barrels that awaits extraction. In order to achieve their aims, America was ready to have Iraq’s former president Saddam Hussein hanged. The British and Americans have continuously denied their involvement in the Iraq war was for the control of oil.

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Before the Iraq war President George Bush claimed that Iraq oil would pay for the reconstruction this was not so after the war as there was shortage of revenue to pay for reconstruction. The involvement of Britain and America has angered the people of Iraq and they have refused to have Iraq’s future determined by foreigners. In my opinion, America’s foreign policy has always been to seek the control of geopolitics as a hegemonic country. It appears that America seeks to intervene in the control of resources that are important for building America’s economy. America and its allies will intervene either by humanitarian grounds or occupation. The real winners of any such intervention are the Americans and its western allies at the expense of bloodshed.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gh5o3oWurGM

 

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/4354269.stm

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/blood-and-oil-how-the-west-will-profit-from-iraqs-most-precious-commodity-431119.html

 

Emmanuel Adewoyin (M00476497)

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Syrian refugees in Turkey – “The only reason why we endure these awful conditions in the camp is that there are no planes bombing us from above.”

It is already known, since the start of the revolt in Syria, the number of Syrians crossing the border into Turkey has sharply increased. According to the United Nation Refugee Agency, by February 2013 the number of Syrian refugees has reached around 182,621. We all know the Turkish governments’ hostile position to the Syrian regime and that Syrian migration became linked with the Turkish domestic politics.
Syrians have been trying to find a job in order to move out from the refugee camps which were provided by the Turkish government. There have been many complaints about camp conditions, unequal distribution of basic goods, food and medical treatment. Especially, during the winter time, it gets much harder to survive, the camps are not suitable for winter weather, and tents are often flooded.
As one of the refugees stated “The camp conditions are great if you don’t mind living like animals, but if you want to live like a human, the conditions are unacceptable.”

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It is important to highlight that there are a lot of Syrians outside the camps, living in mosques or parks, but wealthier families prefer renting apartments rather than staying in camps. Many Syrians are being employed without work permits, but they are not even getting benefits from their jobs. Majority of them are forced to work under exploitative conditions, for instance in construction sites, factories, farms and so on. Those who are still living in camps, trying to save money to rent apartments, but the average salary that they are making is not enough, 15 Turkish liras which is less than 7 euros per day. Also, it is necessary to mention that not only Syrian men are involved in the labor force but also women and children. According to many Syrians majority of farms and factories prefer and exploit Syrian workers rather than locals, since they are cheaper. Therefore, in this case Syrian refugees can be simply recognized as losers.
http://www.migrationpolicycentre.eu/docs/MPC-RR-2013-05.pdf

Madina Orazakynova (Dubai Campus)

 

 

Monstanto Vs France

Some of you may be aware of Monsanto, the world’s leading chemical and biotech seed company. For those who aren’t familiar with this company, I’ll shed some light. Monstanto develops genetically modified seeds that they then sell to farmers across the globe. One of their biggest market is the maize industry, especially in the US where most food products contain corn derivatives. In this regard, Monsanto manufactures and sells pest-resistant corn to farmers across the world, from the EU to developing countries such as the Philippines.

As the only insect-resistant maize authorized in the European Union, France has once again banned the sale, use and cultivation of Monsanto’s MON 810 genetically modified maize; which has also been banned in Austria, Hungary Greece, Luxembourg, Germany and Italy. According to reuters,  “The decision is timed to avert any sowing of GM maize by farmers before a draft law is debated on April 10 aimed at banning planting of GMOs (genetically modified organisms).” This is of course great news for not only organic food advocates but also farmers who have become reliant on this multi-billion dollar company. However, this is not the first time that France has banned MON 810. Back in 2012, the country banned the seed but a French court overturned the ban the following year.

So it appears that the voice of the little guys has finally been heard, Monsanto is right to describe the French decision as politically motivated but aren’t the politicians supposed to listen to the people. The country only banned the seed following popular protests but I’m sure Monsanto are hard at work trying to lobby the politicians to overturn the ban. However, if the ban was to be overturned, I doubt it will be due to Hollande’s socialist government; the bureaucrats at the EU on the other hand will surely make every attempt at protecting the interests of Monsanto. After all, the populous don’t fund election campaigns as well the mighty lobby industry. In terms of the winners and losers in this regard, only time can tell.

LINKS:

http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/03/15/france-monsanto-idUSL6N0MC0BR20140315

http://www.france24.com/en/20130801-french-court-rejects-ban-monsanto-gm-corn-mon810/

MOHAMED HASSAN

These are hard times for Greek children.

The article on Al Jazeera titled ‘Greece child abuse raises as economy falters’ clearly states Greek children as the losers. There is an increase of neglect and abuse of children by distressed parents that can no longer support their families due to Greece’s economic crisis. Unfortunately, there are limited organisations such as Smile of The Child and SOS Children Villages that can cope with the growing number of cases. While the organisations mentioned started out as shelters for abused children, they are now forced to look after abandoned children that have nowhere to go. These organisations have no government support and solely depend on funds from individuals or private donors, which is not sustainable. As the issue of child neglect and abuse continues to grow, these organisations will soon become understaffed and will barely manage to provide the adequate care needed with have the limited facilities they have access to. Moreover, even those children who still live with their families are suffering and going hungry. This affects the children’s development, mental and physical health as well as their ability to focus on their education. Most families that are stable enough to look after their children have to depend on aid from organisations like Smile of The Child. Greece now has the fourth highest rate of childhood poverty in the European Union.

Greece is going through a significant social distress; families are breaking up and falling apart. Parents are abandoning their children and depending on drugs and alcohol to deal with the hardships. The rise of unemployment and poverty has also lead to rise in suicide rates among adults. I have previously read somewhere that suicide rates in Greece have gone up by a shocking 45 % during the past 4 years of the financial crisis.

The case of Greece clearly shows the negative impacts of an economic or debt crisis on family life and on children especially.It also shows the pressures and burdens of living in the contemporary developed world where losing one’s job might signify the end of the world. Even though globalisation has its perks of technological advances and interconnectedness, the reality of the Greek debt crisis proves that the global economy is more vulnerable to shocks as a result of globalisation. Economical meltdowns are no longer confined to single nation states but have become a complicated global problem. Globalisation has led to the interconnectedness of the economy at an international level and the international lending and trading system. The financial systems of nations are now highly depended on each other. With Greek children being abandoned on the door steps of hospitals, schools, and churches, they suffer the consequence of debt crisis and globalisation. As the Greek crisis drags on with no solution in sight, the problem will continue to outgrow limited resources and capability. The lack of interest in a state intervention, a rational national strategy or a plan of action makes the future for Greece’s children look bleak.

Balqis Hindash (M00385581, MDX Dubai campus)

http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2014/03/greece-child-abuse-rises-as-economy-falters-2014328134335710676.html

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The untouchable right to childhood

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This is one of my favorite thought provoking artworks by Erik Ravelo and Daniel Ferreira’s called Los Intocables (The Untouchables) which illustrates the exploitation of children and the abuse of their rights. From left to right, a priest represents the Catholic Church sexual abuse scandal, a pedophile tourist represents child sex tourism, a soldier represents children damaged by war, a doctor represents organ trafficking, a hooded adult carrying a weapon represents school shooting and violence, and Ronald Mc Donald represents childhood obesity and excess consumerism. Children are crucified to their abusers who have their backs turned in a neglectful and disregarding manner.

I am using controversial art works to portray children as the losers of the globalised world. These pictures shine the light on a number of sensitive and degrading child rights violations, not just reserved for the developing world but applicable to the developed world as well. To write about each and explain how it is linked to globalisation would result in a fairly long post, so I will briefly focus on two or three.
Stating the obvious, child sex tourism violates children’s most basic and fundamental rights and affects millions of children in the world. Places like Thailand, Cambodia and India have become sex havens for pedophile tourists originating mainly from Western Europe, North America, Australia and New Zealand. The sexual exploitation of children has become a global phenomenon and is made easier through globalisation. Globalisation has also contributed greatly in creating organised pedophile and human traffik networks whether for sexual purposes or other organized crime.
There have been cases of theft of children’s organs in Spain, Mexico, Palestine, Haiti and more recently, Syria. The vulnerable categories of persons include migrants, homeless, and children. Many poor, orphaned or abandoned children are kidnapped and sold to an organ theft mafia. Similarly to the other organised crimes mentioned above, globalisation made the whole process of organ theft relatively easier. Another similarity is in the way advantage taken of desperate situations of vulnerable children and their families by offering money in return. Even though there are child protection policies and international laws in place, most of these activities happen through different stages with different people involved, making the process a complicated one.
It is safe to say with childhood obesity doubling in the past 30 that it has also become a worldwide problem that is connected to globalisation. A new study based in the UAE reveals that one in three children is either overweight or obese and at risk of early health risks such as diabetes and hypertension. About 40 million children under the age of 5 are overweight around the world. Similar to the US, about 30 per cent of children are overweight in the UK. Children make good consumers and are heavily targeted by MNCs through commercials. Even though parents might be well aware of the quality of the food their children are consuming, the children’s food market is huge and negatively influences children’s diets. No one wants to take responsibility, when fingers are pointed at the food industry and MNCs; they bring up the argument of consumer choice.

Children are sacred and full of potential, but they are also vulnerable, defenseless and depend on adults for protection. In this globalised world, some adults tend to betray that trust by turning children into profit making commodities or turning them into consumers from which they can profit, even at the expense of their well being. This heavy artwork carries a powerful tagline we can all agree on ‘the right to childhood should be untouchable.’

Balqis Hindash (M00385581 MDX Dubai Campus)

http://assembly.coe.int/ASP/Doc/XrefViewPDF.asp?FileID=19535&Language=EN
http://www.thenational.ae/news/uae-news/health/one-child-in-three-is-overweight-or-obese-uae-study-shows
http://www.ungift.org/knowledgehub/en/about/trafficking-for-organ-trade.html

The Commodification of Animals

When discussing the ‘winners and losers’ of the global political economy, we often consider the many different ethnic groups, socio-economic groups, sexual orientations, and political affiliations, all of which center around people. Due to the fact that human beings are arguably the main actors and influencers of the global political economy, we tend to focus on ourselves, and as a result we rarely give any consideration to animals and their role within the economy. The commodification of animals has led to two extremes, and more often than not, animals are arguably the losers within the global political economy.

On one side of the story, there is the increasingly popular trend of keeping animals as pets, whereby many animals are spoilt and pampered and treated like members of the family. Sometimes we go to extreme lengths to ‘humanise’ our pets; I am most definitely guilty of this as I once convinced my neighbour to sew my pet kitten a dress…I’ll explain later. Although caring for our pets is most definitely a good thing; with the rise of capitalism, our sense of entitlement and ownership over things can have a detrimental effect on the welfare of animals.

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That is why unfortunately, on the other side of the story, the commodification of animals has also led to the torture and murder of many different species of animals across the globe. Sadly, there are so many different cases to discuss; whether it’s the ivory trade and its consequential poaching of elephants, the ironic slaughter of animals by so called animal rights group PETA, or the unjustifiable mistreatment and torture of dolphins within the marine park industry. A common element within all of these stories is that there is an underlying economic factor within each of them. The commodification of animals is possibly most present within zoos; an entire industry built upon people paying money to see animals in captivity.

Although it is possible to argue that zoos hold benefits; they can be educational as well as protect endangered animals, we must not forget the other side of the argument. Every now and then we hear stories of animals being mistreated within zoos, most recently it was reported that Copenhagen Zoo euthanised four healthy lions just a few weeks after putting down and publicly dissecting a young giraffe. In addition to this, I would argue that the concept of zoos and paying money to stare and gawk at incarcerated animals is strange and creepy. Say no to zoos and yes to nature reserves!

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Lastly, when on the topic of the commodification of animals, it’s only fitting to examine the meat industry. To quote The Smiths song ‘Meat is Murder’, written by two of the most influential advocates of vegetarianism (and possibly my favourite Mancunians) Johnny Marr and Steve Morrissey;

‘It’s not “natural”, “normal” or kind, the flesh you so fancifully fry, the meat in your mouth as you savour the flavour of murder… it’s death for no reason, and death for no reason is murder’.

Regardless of your opinion on Morrissey, he most definitely has a point. In the increasingly interconnectedness of the world that we live in today, the majority of us are privileged enough to have access to a variety of different types of food, regardless of what season it is, and regardless of whether said food is even produced within the country that we live in. The point being that we no longer need meat to sustain ourselves; we do not live in a time where resources and access to food are sparse. Anyone who argues that we need meat in order to stay healthy only needs to look at vegan bodybuilders to see that it is possible to have a meat-less diet and still be a vision of health. Possibly one of the most negative impacts that capitalism has had on the human psyche is its ability to distort our thought-processes from being able to differentiate between what we want and what we actually need. Again, this links back to our sense of entitlement and self-righteousness.

What are your thoughts on the commodification of animals? Are animals really the losers within the global political economy or do some of the positives outweigh the negatives? Is it possible to argue that the global political economy is not to blame due to the fact that animals were tortured and slaughtered in a time that predates capitalism?  To end, I highly encourage everyone to watch The Cove; a documentary that raises awareness to the issue of dolphin hunting in Japan.

 

Deena Abdo (Dubai Campus)

Middle Class in China

Many factors such as effective financial, social and political policies by Chinese government helped to increase the level of living in China. However, the biggest factor here is globalisation which allowed replacing millions of workers all over the world with Chinese labor. As a result, the middle class in China is flourishing and becoming the biggest winner of globalisation.

Globalisation is one of the most complicated issues to discuss. Different people have different opinions. Who is winner and who is losser? In many cases, it is hard to identify it. However, in case of middle class in China, it is not hard to understand that they are winners of globalisation. According to Branco Milanovic, until now there was no single source to check this information but with the help of a database of household surveys which were made by the World Bank, we can identify who the real winners of globalisation are. Some 200 million Chinese are among the biggest gainers in the global income distribution.

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In 1988, an average person in China was richer than only 10% of world population but now a person at that same position is richer than one-half of the world’s population. By 2022, approximately more than 75% of China’s urban consumers will earn from $9,000 to $34,000 a year. In terms of purchasing-power-parity, it is between the average income of Brazil and Italy. In 2000, just 4% of Chinese households had this level, but it increased by 68% in 2012. It is expected, that in this decade the middle class will continue to expand and it will be done with help of labor-market, policy initiatives that allow increasing wages, financial reforms that increase employment and income growth, and the rising role of private enterprise, which has to encourage productivity. As long as all of these goals will be achieved, the urban-household income will at least double by 2022. As it can be seen, the middle class in China is growing and becoming richer. From year to year the number of people who are able to call themselves members of the middle class with all attributes of this social status will continue to grow and clearly illustrate the good side of globalisation. All the factors that were mentioned before show, that the Chinese middle class is one of the winners of globalisation and it will probably prove it even more in the future.

References:
http://www.theglobalist.com/the-real-winners-and-losers-of-globalization/

http://www.mckinsey.com/insights/consumer_and_retail/mapping_chinas_middle_class

Adil Zhaukov

Dubai Campus

 

 

 

 

Palm Oil Industry, and tropical deforestation

My interpretation of losers in the global political economy has always been emphasised around the most vulnerable, those without a ‘voice’ and the neglect of Human rights. In this case, tropical deforestation is an issue regarding all of us, since we are all depending on a healthy and sustainable world, in present time and in the future. Not just for us, but also for future generations, in the end we are only lend this earth for a certain amount of time; what rights do we have to destroy it?

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Palm Oil is a common ingredient in many products today, around 50% of the goods we use everyday contain palm oil, from processed food to candles and beauty products (Rainforest-rescue.org). The palm oil industry, and the demand for land to grow oil palms are increasing, and to grow crops, the tropical climate with consistently high humidity and temperatures are the ultimate desired. These demands of large land in this environment are often established at the expense of rainforests, and this destruction of rainforests result in disturbance of the biodiversity globally. Tropical deforestation is currently responsible for about 18 percent of greenhouse gas emission making it a significant contribution to climate change; in this case all species are losers.

Local people living and relying on the forest and their land for their livelihood are losing massively. Not only are the foundations of their livelihoods destroyed, in forms of environmental degradation. They also face losing their land getting pushed away, in a similar way as described in a blog post earlier in forms of “land grab”. The massive armed attacks from palm oil companies storming villages using bulldozers and guns are common in these areas, and local people are chased from their home facing a unstable future without no form of compensation or financial support from the companies destroying their land and home. Here is a video after the attack of a small village of Sungai Beruang in Indonesia, 2011.

The inhabitants fled in panic while armed forces was shooting around, several people got hurt and injured while their were running away from what once used to be their home. With nowhere to go and nothing to rely on they are forced to a life in poverty living on what is left of the rainforest, trying to survive on what the decreasing rainforest have to offer. The palm oil companies surrounds the entire plantation with paramilitary fighters, armed, so the inhabitant cannot go back. No one can come out no one can get in. And also in this way journalist and media is prevented to shed light on the on-going issue.

Another issue is the violation of animals caused by the increasing palm oil industry. Indonesia’s rainforests are among the world’s most species-rich environment and home to numerous threatened animals, such as orangutans, Sumatran tigers and Bornean rhinos. This destruction of their natural habitats, eradicates species that are crucial for the containing of biological diversity. In search of food they often get lost in the plantations, where they are regards as pests, and they are killed. According to the Centre for Orangutan Protection (COP) at least 1 500 orangutans were clubbed to death by palm oil plantations workers in 2006, and the number seems to be growing equal with the increasing of palm oil plantation.

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So all of us are losers in the bigger picture somehow, if the tropical deforestation continues in the same speed in the future, money, power or where we live cannot help us. In concern to global warming and increasing air pollution we are all losers, it is just the question; who is losing first?

Mari Myrenget

TAX HAVENS

The summer is coming up and many of us have not decided yet where to go this year. But for some persons or let us say owners of corporations the Cayman Islands are the best destinations. Despite having population of just 56,700, the Cayman Islands is the registered home of 93,000 companies. The attraction for all these corporations- hundreds of banks and insurers and thousands of mutual funds – is that the islands  government does not impose direct taxation on companies or individuals. Instead, heavy taxes are imposed on imported goods and companies operating there have to pay a licence fee, while foreign workers must buy permit. The mainstay of the economy is luxury tourism. Multinational corporations can use the Caymans , and order places like it, to avoid paying tax in order countries. They do this by registering intellectual property at their subsidiary based there, then charging their subsidiary in a country with a big market, such as the UK, a massive fee to use the drug patent, search engine algorithm or other clever invention. This means the UK  company pays little tax as its profits are wiped out by the fee, but the subsidiary in the Caymans makes a fortune. It is nice, is not it? Tax havens offer not only low or zero taxes, but something broader. What they do is to provide facilities for people or entities to get around the rules, laws and regulations of other jurisdictions, using secrecy as their prime tool.
The offshore system is a blind spot in international economics and in our understanding of the world. The issues are multi-faceted, and tax havens are steeped in secrecy and complexity – which helps explain why so few people have woken up to the scandal of offshore, and why civil society has been almost silent on international taxation for so long.

Branislav Majkuth

Does democracy still matter? (IV)

Does democracy still matter? (IV) 

Does democracy still matter? Unfortunately more and more signs suggests that in todays world democracy is becoming a hollow idea. As cold war provided opportunities to elevate democracy as the best system to which all should aspire, at the same time provided hard evidence that in practice implementing democratic rule is far behind the spread of idea. Later on the unbreakable bond between capitalism and democracy lost its strength, and have been shown that this two can exist separately and with great success. Because of rapid globalisation, interconnection of markets, flows of goods and labour, money system overcame the rule system, therefore creating many peculiar situations.  

Every day we are bombarding with news about situation in Ukraine, conflict with Russia, problem of Crimean independence and we are more than happy to cheer for Ukrainian people and their fight for the freedom. We are convinced where is the good and bad side, however not seeing that in democratic standards the role are quiet opposite. As far as what government of Viktor Yanukovych was doing was a violation of human rights, they way how the new government was proclaimed and its legitimacy is far from democratic standards. There was no properly processed act of impeachment, neither the new parliament was elected. People who were ruling during Yanukovych government, now are creating rules for new elections and taking part in a new government. Same as with the oligarchs which stood beside him, now after the shift are supporting the new government. This does not seem perfectly fine. Nothing surprising then, that Russia’s propaganda use this arguments in order to justify its rule over Crimea.   

All the western democratic countries, with USA and EU in lead, supported the mass protests and overturn of the government, even though it was done without keeping up with democratic standards. On the track side of loud fight for freedom, the rivalry for influence over Ukraine between Russia and EU is taking place, in form of trade deals or loans. Just few days over proclaiming new government, officials from Brussels and IMF offered money to sustain collapsing economy, which will come for sure with harsh conditions. People that are today cheering the turn for west in few months may be protesting again against austerity measures and not less ruthless money distribution than with disgraced oligarchs.  

 

By Kamil Czarnecki