Music Marches to Globalization’s Drum
Richard Boursy - 11/11/2013
Music is an integral part of human history and culture, and it’s no surprise that cultural globalization has shaped the evolution of music, including copyright free music on the internet. Neither is this phenomenon new: For centuries, musicians have sought to evoke distant and exotic locales and adapted musical instruments and notes from afar. European colonialists entertained themselves with adaptations of music from Africa and Asia and the Americas. Non-European peoples, for their part, sought to safeguard their cultural independence with music ...
Asia and Europe must talk more about shared economic challenges
Shada Islam - 10/13/2013
Times change. Five years ago, as the Eurozone economies felt the first tremors of what turned out to be a long and painful financial and economic crisis, European Commission President José Manuel Barroso appealed for Asian support.
ASEM custom cooperation experts meet to boost trade
Shada Islam - 5/18/2013
European and Asian representatives will meet in Prague on May 15-17 to discuss ways of enhancing customs cooperation between the two regions.
Should sex be taboo?
Dan Sampson, Esq. - 2/22/2013
Sex is our society's biggest taboo, even greater than gambling. (See william hill promo code 2013). And yet, it is normal for men to attract women and the reverse. (See many of the Online eBooks Database for an extension collection of books on the topic.) This taboo that nobody wants to talk about to the point where even professional companies like Lingerie Wholesale Europe have ...
The Olympics and Great Britain’s magic wand
Prof. Dr Anthony A Kila - 8/30/2012
Take just an English and you have a dull person, take two English and you get two dull people, take three English and you get a great nation. That in part is the story of the successful Olympic Games we are currently witnessing in London.
Creative Vertigo: The Spin of the ICAAN Branding Revolution
Naseem Javed - 11/30/2011
The word GTLD has been added to the hardcore lexicon of global branding. Why is this new spin causing vertigo to some? Before you say anything else like 'what'? Just hold on. It makes no difference whether you already are an expert on GTLD or not. The fact is it's in your face and we all have to deal with it for a long time, so deal with it. On the internet today, from around the world, there are over 10,000 articles on ICANN's GTLD platform with a pro and con analysis ranging from 'marketing, branding, naming and global cyber image expansion issues' all the way to how it will 'destroy big brand management.' The sooner you can articulate the topic, the faster you will enjoy the ride.
Andreas Groke - 11/16/2011
Sending cameras around the world to everyone who wants to be part of an international film project to create a film from a lot of people in different places around the world is probably one of the best ideas this year. Project: Filmbox is doing exactly that. Since November students and creative people from all over the world can become part in producing a film that is reflecting a new spirit among young people by sending in their film clips. Everyone feels connected to each other somehow and that international feeling of unity is what the final film of this project is going to be all about.
Digging their own movement’s grave
Thomas Jovanovski - 10/19/2011
For the preceding several weeks, much of the American population has been at once bemused, perplexed, and perturbed by the contra-Wall Street protesters — not to say loiterers or squatters — in larger cities from New York to Seattle. Fortunately, most of the protests outside of Zuccotti Park in Lower Manhattan have already fizzled, and are now well on their way to becoming a distant nightmarish memory in the American collective conscience.
Occupy Wall Street Visited
Joel S. Hirschhorn - 10/19/2011
Last Saturday while in New York City I went downtown to visit the Occupy Wall Street group and also ended up walking in their protest march around big bank buildings. A terrific experience with a huge group chanting things like “Banks got bailed out, we got sold out!”
NGOs: The Parasitic Altruists
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/24/2011
Their arrival portends rising local prices and a culture shock. Many of them live in plush apartments, or five star hotels, drive SUV's, sport $3000 laptops and PDA's. They earn a two figure multiple of the local average wage. They are busybodies, preachers, critics, do-gooders, and professional altruists. They are parasites who feed off natural and manmade disasters, mismanagement, conflict, and strife.
Rise of the SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organisation)
Sameer Jafri - 7/4/2011
Formed in 2001, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) presently accounts for 60% of the landmass of Eurasia and a quarter of the world’s population. Including observer states, which are potential members, its affiliates represent half of the humanity.
NATO, the Euro and African Currencies
Dr. Gary K. Busch - 6/22/2011
The Evanescence of NATO:
It has become clear, especially after the frank speech of Secretary Gates recently, that NATO has a "dim, if not dismal” future. The European partners of the US in NATO have not been paying their way and have reduced their military budgets by almost 15% in the last ten years.
They performed poorly in Iraq and, with the exception of the UK, performed even worse in Afghanistan. The current operations in Libya are incompletely funded and the putative NATO forces have run out of cash, armaments, missiles, intelligence-gathering equipment, etc. They are rely...
NATO and Its Crisis
Dr. Gary K. Busch - 6/13/2011
A few days ago US Defence Secretary, Gates, made a speech which dispensed with the diplomatic niceties and told the truth about the imbalance of contribution and capabilities within the transatlantic military pact of NATO. This signals a major shift in European policy by the US and will have a profound impact on the European economies.
Macedonia: The Case of the Abused PCL
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 6/5/2011
In January 2011, the Republic of Macedonia became the first country to benefit from the IMF’s PCL (Precautionary Credit Line): a contingent “insurance policy” of c. $650 million USD. At the time, the Executive Board of the IMF and the Fund’s Deputy Managing Director Naoyuki Shinohara made very clear that they expect Macedonia to not withdraw money from the facility. So did Wes McGrew, the IMF Mission Director to Macedonia and Petar Gosev, then Governor of the country’s Central Bank.
Lagarde Makes Sense for the IMF
Prof. Peter Morici - 5/27/2011
France's Finance Minister Christine Lagarde makes good sense to head the International Monetary Fund. She is experienced and well qualified, and for now, leadership of the IMF should be kept in European hands.
European Should Head IMF
Prof. Peter Morici - 5/20/2011
The debate over whether a European or Asian should lead the International Monetary Fund involves more than symbolism. An Asian leader could be bad for free markets and the progress of the global economy.
Organ Trafficking in the Middle East
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/7/2011
Interview granted to El Pais
Q. Why do Israelis buy more organs for transplantation than other nations?
A. Because Israeli doctors and businessmen (and, more generally, Jewish doctors in places like South Africa) are heavily involved in the trade. Jewish religion forbids the donation of organs from a living person. So, in Israel, there is an enormous shortage of organs coupled with a sizable purchasing power. It is simply easier for an Israeli to find the right connections as all the roads lead to Tel-Aviv.
Q. Which countries provide the most donors?
A. In Europe: Moldo...
When Nobel Peace Prize Goes to Warring President(s)
Deepak Sarkar - 2/9/2011
[Note: One should read this article keeping in mind that behind all rhetoric of Democracy8 most NATO countries are Constitutional Monarchs9, Vatican is Absolute Monarchy10, and USA is without a Central Election Commission with administrative authority guaranteeing fair election throughout the country enforcing standard election techniques, practices, and verification process!]
The Uselessness of Indices Produced by NGOs: Transparency International and Heritage Foundation
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 10/29/2010
Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index
Czech List: Sometimes Even A Conference Can Teach Vivid Political Realities
Prof. Barry Rubin - 8/31/2010
I'm not a big fan of conferences. There's nothing more repetitive than sitting in a panel where the presentations have interesting titles but are otherwise disappointing. Or listening to a speaker who may be very good but says absolutely nothing you don't know already.
Forget the ICC: Let Africa Revive Its Traditional Justice Systems
Ronald Elly Wanda - 7/10/2010
The beginning of June saw Uganda’s capital Kampala, the heartbeat of Africa, play host to the first ever Review Conference of the Rome Statute, which in 2002 gave birth to the International Criminal Court (ICC). A timely event that triggered a renewed interest in discussions centered on the limits and possibilities of international justice serving African interests. Questions such as: “is there sufficient gravity for Africans to depend on the International Criminal Court (ICC) to deliver local justice?” dominated civil talks at malwa (local brew) dens in towns and villages right across the continent.
Is Wikipedia a Cult? Wikipedia strikes back
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 6/16/2010
In response to Dan Tynan's excellent article about Wikipedia (http://infoworld.com/d/adventures-in-it/faith-in-numbers-six-more-tech-cults-846?page=0,2), Wikipedia struck back, in an article typically riddled with blatant lies and not so subtle distortions (see the text below).
Why Some Conflicts Are Ignored
Shane Leavy - 6/1/2010
People tend to think Palestine matters. Irish nationalists paint Palestinian flags onto street murals in Belfast. Spanish school children send the Israeli embassy letters demanding an end to ‘murders’ in Palestine. People with no personal connection to Palestine care deeply about events there.
UN Gives an Award Named After a Murdered Man to One of His Murderer's Best Friends
Prof. Barry Rubin - 3/23/2010
If you want a good example of the ridiculous, shameful ironies in the terrible era we're living in here it is. The UN-Habitat organization, part of the United Nations, has initiated a Rafik Hariri Memorial Award. The award is named after the former Lebanese prime minister who was assassinated by Syria in February 2005.
The Vatican’s Nietzschean Moment
Kenneth Houston, Ph.D. - 3/4/2010
The Vatican communiqué issued following the February meeting between Ireland’s Catholic hierarchy and Pope Benedict XVI, which highlighted the Pontiff’s conviction that a ‘crisis of faith’ and the ‘weakening of faith’ were significant contributing factors in the abuse of children, was revealing. Some traditionalists and conservatives might well agree that a weakened faith among Catholics, and not just clergy, contributed to the catastrophic failures of morality outlined in the Ryan and Murphy reports, which documented horrendous abuse of children by priests. More critical commentary will dismi...
UN Charter: “To maintain international peace and security”
Ted Belman - 12/23/2009
A movement is afoot to get the UN to predetermine borders between Israel and the future 23rd Arab state and to recognize “East Jerusalem” as its capital. Such predetermination would be in violation of the Roadmap which calls for a negotiated solution where “negotiated” implies freedom to say “no”. And such predetermination would prejudge the outcome which the world never tires of telling Israel, no one can do.
Pope seeks privileged status for the RCC in Europe
David Ben-Ariel - 10/23/2009
The pope is a head of state, a politician, and not just a religious leader. He again made that abundantly clear with his preposterous claim to Yves Gazzo, new head of the delegation of the Commission of European Communities to the Holy See.: "when the Church recalls the Christian roots of Europe, she is not seeking a privileged status for herself " (Pope Urges Europe to Recall Christian Values).
No Big News from G20 Summit
Prof. Peter Morici - 10/12/2009
The enhanced status for the G20 and new national policy audits announced in Pittsburgh are hardly the great progress being proclaimed by government officials.
Message to the U.N. - Defend Democracy Not Dictators
Walid Phares, Ph.D. - 10/12/2009
As President Obama was addressing the General Assembly of the United Nations, just before Libya's dictator Moammar Kadhafi called for the demise of the Security Council and followed later by Ahmedinijad's challenge of international law as we know it, my conclusion has become clear: Indeed the United Nations must reform, and significantly, and here is why:
The G-20: Undemocratic and
Biniam Berhe Tewolde - 9/29/2009
Media pundits have hailed “historic” the agreements that emerged from the Summit of the Group of 20 (G-20) countries that was held at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania over the weekend. One of the outcomes of the Summit that has garnered praise is the decision to make the G-20 ‘the premier forum for international economic co-operation’ superseding the Group of 8 (G-8). It is claimed that the G-20 countries comprise 90% of the global gross domestic product (GDP) and two-third of the world population. Hence the leaders who met at Pittsburgh congratulated themselves for shaping a more representative and democratic forum of global economic governance. I disagree.
Healthcare Reform Checklist
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 6/19/2009
Healthcare legislation in countries in transition, emerging economic, and developing countries should permit - and use economic incentives to encourage - a structural reform of the sector, including its partial privatization.
· Universal healthcare vs. selective provision, coverage, and delivery (for instance, means-tested, or demographically-adjusted)
· Health Insurance Fund: Internal, streamlined market vs. external market competition
· Centralized system - or devolved? The role of local government in healthcare.
Time to Strengthen the IAEA
Ernesto Zedollo - Former President of Mexico - 8/18/2008
G8 leaders meeting in Japan during the second week of July noted that a growing number of countries look to launch peaceful nuclear power programs. The leaders stressed the importance, as the nuclear club expands, of ensuring the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons and the safety and security of nuclear facilities. Yet the organization responsible for maintaining the global nuclear order – the International Atomic Energy Agency – despite being a remarkable institution for its achievements throughout its half a century existence, is struggling to do its job because of a chronic lack of resources.
The High Oil Price Deception
John Mangun - 7/16/2008
Every time you read the newspaper or listen to the TV or radio, you are being deceived. Every time you put gasoline in your car, you might be a victim of a global 1-2-3 swindle. Every time you nod your head in agreement that oil prices are supposed to be this high, a small group may be laughing all the way to their bank with your money.
The UN investigation scam
Iqbal Latif - 7/16/2008
Will someone now apologize that the pretext on which the Pakistani FM Shah Ahmad Qureshi is demanding UN investigation is not on the suspicion of a domestic cover up but a greater intrigue of an intra-national scale? I owe this article to the soul of BB; the shameless accusation of her death through a nonexistent bullet that was never the case (Scotland Yard), and the crime scene being washed by overeager foolish police diluted the emphasis on the main culprit and effectively put Pakistanis on a collision course with their own selves.
What Determines the Price of Oil?
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 7/3/2008
The price of oil is no longer an important determinant of the economic health of the West. To create the same amount of economic output, manufacturers use much less oil than they used to.
OPEC Regains Monopoly Power
Prof. Peter Morici - 6/1/2008
OPEC, lead by Saudi Arabia appears to have regained monopoly pricing power, and it is using that power to drive prices higher. In recent months, skyrocketing oil prices have been much attributed to surging demand in China, India and Asian economies, but oil supplied to markets has been falling too. Much of this results from falling output outside the Middle East, but Saudi Arabia and its Persian Gulf conspirators are exploiting the situation to great profit.
Cotler attacks the United Nations
Ted Belman - 5/14/2008
Recently I reported on a speech by Michael Ignatieff under the title Ignatieff in the lion’s den and also posted Ignatieff’s non-apology by my friend Rochelle Wilner. Ignatieff had come to the Jewish community to apologize for accusing Israel of war crimes. Unfortunate he kept stressing the need for Israel to abide by international human rights law and the Geneva Convention. Irwin Cotler was in the room.
Mohammad Yunus image show in NYC
Sunita Paul - 5/2/2008
Controversial Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Professor Muhammad Yunus has recently opened a branch of his Grameen Bank in New York's expensive Jackson Height area with the initial spending of a few million dollars. People will Bangladesh must have already heard the news of such grand opening, which once again, brought Yunus to media's focal point. But, they will for sure never know the behind stories as to how this 'banker for poor' spent unimaginable amount of money in organizing the posh office thus putting huge amount of capital to run the virtually 'Muhammad Yunus Image Show' in United States...
Balance of power: West v East
Seda Punkt - 4/12/2008
World dominant is in question. West, namely, US, EU, and Canada are on one side, East-namely, Russia, and China, are on the other front, where India is increasingly aligning itself with Russia.
BUCHAREST SUMMIT: Macedonia to be invited to Join NATO despite Greece
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 4/1/2008
High-placed NATO officials informed the Chronicle a few weeks ago that, if the negotiations between Macedonia and Greece regarding what has come to be known as "the name issue" fail, NATO will invite Macedonia to join the alliance, effective June 30, 2009, and conditioned upon a resolution of its bilateral bone of contention with its much larger neighbor by said date.
A Closer look at the Worldwide Nuclear Weapons Program and Security Threats
Saberi Roy - 3/31/2008
The Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) has provided a historical overview of the countries that already have or seek to have nuclear weapons. The countries noted are the five nuclear weapons states – United States, Russia (after former USSR), United Kingdom, France, and China. Other countries with ongoing nuclear weapons program are India, Pakistan, and Israel. North Korea, Iraq and Iran are or were suspected of actively seeking nuclear weapons capabilities and some of the ‘fringe’ countries so to speak which may develop nuclear weapons or have raised some suspicion includ...
Regulating the Global Commons – Part II
Michael Richardson - 3/30/2008
Those who care about global climate change should pause before buying imported goods or flying abroad for a holiday, or so many environmental activists urge. Ships and planes are the backbone of international trade and travel, yet largely evade political scrutiny as sources of harmful air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change.
Regulating the Global Commons
Prof. Scott Barrett - 3/28/2008
Fish stocks are being depleted the world over, and the reason is simple: International law has given fishermen incentives to catch fish, not to conserve them.
Sovereign Equality Principle in International Law
Snigdha Nahar - 3/28/2008
One of the fundamental principles on which International Law and International Relations rests and relies on is that of Sovereignty. This is not as easily understood and defined though. A number of scholars have different definitions and concepts for the same. From the perspective of International Law, all states are sovereign.
Time to Bury a Dangerous Legacy, Part II
Jonathan Schell - 3/25/2008
Policymakers often debate the possibility of getting rid of nuclear weapons and, if so, how. But behind that question lies a more fundamental one: Do we in fact want to be in a world without nuclear weapons? That is, Can we concretely picture a world without nuclear weapons as a place to abide in, for the long haul?
Terror Front Organization Recognized by the UN
Alastair Reynard - 3/18/2008
Confirming long-standing links between the UN and the Tamil Terrorists, the UN has accorded the voluntary organization status for terror-org Tamil Centre for Human Rights. Who will investigate the UN and its terror links? When will the UN wake up and stop supporting terrorists?
Nukes: Time to Bury a Dangerous Legacy, Part I
Graham Allison - 3/16/2008
The detonation of a nuclear weapon – intentionally or not, by state powers or terrorists – will produce no winners. The very real danger that terrorists could unleash a nuclear weapon in major cities adds new urgency to dealing with the gathering threat. This article explores the consequences of nuclear Armageddon and explains why immediate plans to eliminate all nuclear weaponry are in the global interest. Securing some kind of nuclear weapon is a known goal for terrorists, and an attempted nuclear terrorist attack is likely in the next decade, explains Graham Allison, director of the Belfer ...
Secession, National Sovereignty, and Territorial Integrity
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/9/2008
On February 17, 2008, Kosovo became a new state by seceding from Serbia. It was the second time in less than a decade that Kosovo declared its independence.
Abhishek Dadoo - 2/21/2008
The term "money laundering" is said to originate from Mafia ownership of Laundromats in the United States. Gangsters there were earning huge sums in cash from extortion, prostitution, gambling and bootleg liquor.2 The large proceeds so obtained by means of such illegitimate businesses required the showing of a legitimate source. One of the ways in which they were able to do this was by purchasing externally legitimate businesses and to blend their illicit earnings with the legitimate earnings they received from these businesses. Laundromats wer...
World Bank: Time To Ponder Over Its Fallacies
Bhuwan Thapaliya - 1/10/2008
I have not been to the United States of America, so there is no question of me visiting the World Bank’s Washington DC office. But those who were fortunate enough to visit the World Bank’s office told me that there is this slogan, “The purpose of the World Bank is to fight poverty with passion,” displayed in its Washington DC office.
The God Issue And The Pope's Advice To Missionaries: "Only Catholics Make Heaven"
Angelique van Engelen - 12/28/2007
If one thing has become clear in recent days, it is that the G-issue is highly unpredictable. God triggers debate when you least expect it. All the more so, because the Almighty is generally not easily scheduled for public discussion.
Vatican Parchment Detailing 14th Century Trial Of Templars 'Discredits' Da Vinci Code, Proves Maltese Writer Spot On
Angelique van Engelen - 12/21/2007
The Vatican's release of a historic document revealing the 14th Century trial against the Knights Templars sheds new light on books such as the Da Vinci Code. Large parts of the Templars' history has been unequivocally determined.
Polit – X's and Polis – Y's Billionaires
Aleksandar Dimishkovski - 10/8/2007
Where even the common people can't tell the difference between 5 and 50 billion euros, governance, policies and politics are usually the perverse and in the same time the most efficient solutions for instant material gain. Or, it is so at least in the neighborhood of the birthplace of the Polis - The Balkans.
World Bank Policies: Pros and Cons
Gina-Marie Cheeseman - 9/17/2007
Created in 1944 during a conference in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, the World Bank according to its website, helps developing countries worldwide with “financial and technical assistance” by providing “low interest loans, interest free credits and grants to developing countries for education, health, infrastructure, communications, and many other purposes.” The World Bank’s mission is to “help reduce poverty.”
Democratic Accountability and the Doha Round
Prof. Peter Morici - 9/17/2007
History teaches that open markets best promote economic progress, but markets without good rules can pitch us into chaos, and the rule makers must be broadly accountable or tyranny will follow. In our effort to bring order and fairness to global markets, the Doha Round of World Trade Organization negotiations could sabotage democratic accountability by relegating tough issues to unelected bureaucrats in Geneva.
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/30/2007
In many countries in transition cellular phones are more ubiquitous than the fixed-line kind. Teledensity is vanishingly low throughout swathes of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). Broadband and e-commerce are distant rumors (ISDN is available in theory but not so in practice - DSL and ADSL are not available at all). Rare phone lines - especially in urban centers - are still being multiplexed and shared by 4-8 subscribers, greatly reducing both quality and usability. Terrestrial television competes ferociously with satellite TV, though cable penetration is low. Internet access is prohibitively...
Kamala Sarup - 8/27/2007
There will always be an increase in absolute wealth, in varying amounts, by all countries because some wealth will inevitably spill over from the rich countries to the poor ones via trade, industrial globalization (the transfer of businesses from rich to poor countries) and repatriated income from nationals working in foreign lands. However, a perennial state of poverty in a nation leads inevitably to revolution, or emigration, or both, or to absorption by other countries.
Why Are Developing Countries Losing The Five Star Status Race?
Naseem Javed - 8/25/2007
The race for the global image repositioning is getting fiercely competitive as more and more countries are improving their softer image, claiming the right to produce good quality exportable brands for the international markets. Poised and confident, they want to play the marketing game on a global scale. The West, in the meanwhile has almost abandoned manufacturing, ignoring research development and creating vacuums, which have resulted in global shifts, which have been moving rapidly towards Asia and other regions. As this tectonic shift continues, it will have opened doors among the highly ...
How Can We Prevent Violence?
Kamala Sarup - 8/21/2007
Should we enforce regulations to prevent violent behavior to persuade more peaceful behavior? Can additional funding for research into the causes and consequences of violence produce anything new -- anything that has not already been researched for centuries by sociologists?
How Victimhood Affects The Economy
Aleksandar Dimishkovski - 8/17/2007
One of the most dangerous byproducts of the transition process is surely the overwhelming feeling of lethargy that like a virus is spreading among the people. It runs trough their veins, infecting every possible cell that used to be a piece of a functional unit. And, what once was a fully functional unit, a productive part of a growing society, especially from the economic point of view, now is more alike to the atoms of gases in their natural Brownian movement.
Sovereign Wealth Funds – a Potential Tool of Asymmetric Warfare
David J. Jonsson - 8/10/2007
Liberal democracy, led by the United States may have emerged triumphant from the struggles of the 20th century. But the rise of the non-democratic powers of Russia, China and the Islamist states utilizing the combined power of control of energy resources and the growth of Sovereign Wealth Funds (SWF) leaves the liberal democracy’s ultimate victory and future dominance in doubt. Overseas investments by Sovereign Wealth Funds have always had the potential to cause alarm in the destination countries. Because they are driven by governments of the totalitarian and Authoritarian Great Powers, they compel countries to take immediate attention
New Oil Reports Add Confusion To 'Peak Oil' Theory
Iqbal Latif - 7/17/2007
Proponents of "peak oil" -- the theory that global crude oil production has hit its zenith and is headed for a steep decline -- are upset with a U.S. oil industry group's findings that the world has plenty of oil. Next week the U.S. National Petroleum Council -- a board of high-level U.S. oil industry executives -- releases its study titled "Facing the Hard Truths about Energy," conducted at the behest of Energy Secretary Sam Bodman. According to the report's executive summary obtained by Reuters, the world is not running out of oil but there are "accumulating risks" to securing supply through...
The Poor Nation's Defense Mechanisms
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 7/14/2007
All the countries in the mutilated post-Communist parts of Europe inevitably ended up poor. Yet, as opposed to their neighbors, some polities failed to alleviate their misery or ameliorate their dire predicament. The denizens of these states are not only impoverished - they also feel like losers and failures.
Failed States Index 2007 - Sudan Tops The List
Iqbal Latif - 7/12/2007
There are 177 states included in the 2007 index, compared to 148 in 2006 and 75 in 2005. A small handful of countries were not included because of a lack of data. The Fund for Peace used its Conflict Assessment System Tool (CAST), an original methodology it has developed and tested over the past decade. CAST is a flexible model that has the capability to employ a four-step trend-line analysis, consisting of (1) rating 12 social, economic, and political/military indicators; (2) assessing the capabilities of five core state institutions considered essential for sustaining security; (3) identifyi...
International Monetary Fund’s Financial Assistance Policies: Pros and Cons
Gina-Marie Cheeseman - 7/8/2007
Created alongside the World Bank in 1944 during a conference in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, the International Monetary Fund consists of 185 member countries. According to the IMF’s website, it was established “to promote international monetary cooperation, exchange stability, and orderly exchange arrangements; to foster economic growth and high levels of employment; and to provide temporary financial assistance to countries to help ease balance of payments adjustment.” The operations of the IMF involve surveillance, financial assistance, and technical assistance.
World Hunger Is Political Rather Than Economic
Bhuwan Thapaliya - 7/5/2007
An American biologist named Paul Ehrlich had predicted in 1969: “The battle to feed humanity is over. In the 1970s hundreds of millions of people will starve to death.” That never happened, but what he wrote and predicted resembled Thomas Malthus’s prediction.
A Bit of World Governing
Iqbal Latif - 6/18/2007
Because there are no borders in the sky, national policies must fall by the wayside when it comes to environmental issues. As it becomes increasingly clear that each nation's decisions affect the rest of the world, the question arises as to whether a world government is in fact necessary, a government that has the power to decide for everyone.
Assessing the UN’s Policies and Approaches
Saberi Roy - 6/14/2007
Since replacing the League of Nations in 1945 and drawing up a United Nations Charter, the UN may have attained some goals but has obviously fallen short of expectations especially in areas of global peace and security. We can provide an account of what the UN could or should have done and what it has done in all these years delineating its successes and failures. There are several issues that the UN tackles and these relate to
Is ADL Serving Jewish or American Interests Well?
Matt Parrott - 5/16/2007
The ADL's raison d'etre is to be alarmed about anti-Semitism. That's where they receive their donations. That's where they get their volunteers. They have a very real interest in finding anti-Semitism - or manufacturing anti-Semitism, if necessary. The ADL, one of the plentitude of organizations that devotes time and money to educate people about the Holocaust, has devised a fundraising perpetual motion device. They educate Europeans and Americans about the horrors of the Holocaust - to the point that even compassionate and tolerant people believe that enough is enough. They then perform surveys that show nearly a majority of Europeans believe Jews talk too much about the Holocaust.
The Deadly Antlers: Evolution of Euro-Atlantic Structures
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 5/7/2007
The Irish Elk roamed the earth 10,000 years ago. They had the largest pair of antlers ever grown - 3.6 meters (12 feet) across. Every year they grew new antlers from nubs prominently displayed on their heads. They were awesome to behold. They fought ferociously. They seemed eternal. Then the weather changed. The earth shed its forests for a new Tundra attire. The Irish elk ignored this creeping revolution. It continued to grow its antlers and, by doing so, to deplete its own reserves of calcium and phosphorus. Drained of vital minerals, unable to find enough food to restore themselves they died out, their magnificent antlers intact.
NATO's Next War
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 5/3/2007
The real, protracted, war is about to start. NATO and the international peacekeeping force against an unholy - and, until recently, improbable - alliance. Milosevic (or post-Milosevic Serbia) and the KLA against the occupying forces. It is going to be ferocious. It is going to be bloody. And it is going to be a Somali nightmare.
NGOs - Bureaucracies Legitimizing Oppression and Corruption
Ibrahim Sajid Malick - 4/26/2007
Annual NGO summit concluded at the United Nations in New York on October 6, 2004. Here, no one seems to question the fundamental concept of NGO and how it often plays the role of quasi bureaucracy un-intentionally legitimizing corrupt leaders, oppressive governments, and imperialist structure.
Development: The most important challenge facing the modern human race
Bhuwan Thapaliya - 4/26/2007
Development has seen a lot of changes in the last three decades. Vast developments are occurring in the First world while Third world nations are shrinking. This has become a strain on the development. Hence, considering this, the present development statistics of the world needs to be seen in a proper context.
Future of the World Court in Balance: Will It Be Stripped of Power By Backing Away From Sudan's Atrocities
Nick Grono and Donald Steinberg - 3/13/2007
The Sudanese government has responded swiftly to the call to hand over to the International Criminal Court two individuals allegedly responsible for atrocities in Darfur, delivering a blunt threat to “cut the throat of any international official…who tries to jail a Sudanese official in order to present him to the international justice.”
Will Doha Make the WTO Irrelevant?
Prof. Peter Morici - 3/1/2007
Rumors abound in Washington that the stalled Doha Round of World Trade Organization negotiations soon will be resurrected. At stake are large cuts in farm aid, manufacturing tariffs and better rules for trade in services. Yet no one should believe that success will do much to reduce America’s huge trade deficit or shore up shaky public trust in free trade policies.
Hedging Foreign Exchange Risks
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 2/1/2007
The exchange rate of the Macedonian denar against the major hard currencies of the world has remained stable in the last few years. Because of the IMF restrictions, the local Narodna (Central) Bank does not print money and there are no physical denars in the economy and in the local banks.
Questioning Milton Friedman’s Free Market and Freedom
Prof. Pranab Bardhan - 1/30/2007
Not only democracies but dictators and authoritarian governments pursue the benefits of economic freedom. The recent passing of Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet and the Nobel laureate economist Milton Friedman provokes economist Pranab Bardhan to reflect on the connections that these two individuals represented: political control and economic freedom. Friedman and other economists have long argued that economic freedom is a necessary foundation for political freedom, but Bardhan questions whether economic freedom is a sufficient condition for advancing political freedom. The painful birth of ...
GDP progress is about the mind set
Iqbal Latif - 1/29/2007
My recent trip to Pakistan and the Middle East was an eye-opener. Most of the top economists I came across are totally entrenched in the gridlock of the old economy. Repression and preoccupation with ideological Puritanism has a direct impact on GDP growth. Economic development is the expansion of human choice, i.e. freedom and capability to do what we want. Closed disconnected minds and insular instincts destroy societies. The recent spurt of growth in the economy, evidenced by numerous at-work tower cranes and flurry of construction activity from the slums of Karachi to downtown UAE or Jedda...
The Shadowy World of International Finance
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 1/3/2007
Strange, penumbral, characters roam the boardrooms of banks in the countries in transition. Some of them pop apparently from nowhere, others are very well connected and equipped with the most excellent introductions. They all peddle financial transactions which are too good to be true and often are. In the unctuously perfumed propinquity of their Mercedesed, Rolex waving entourage - the polydipsic natives dissolve in their irresistible charm and the temptations of the cash: mountainous returns on capital, effulgent profits, no collaterals, track record, or business plan required. Total security is cloyingly assured.
Time has come for the World Bank to mould a new development model
Bhuwan Thapaliya - 12/26/2006
A World Bank study of evaluation in 2000 began with the confession "Despite the billions of dollars spend on development assistance each year, there is still very little known about the actual impact of projects on the poor." The reality is harsh and of course, there has to be incentives to do something as a result of the evaluation but anecdotally, the World Bank hasn’t noticed the differences. But why would it? Its development business has been blossoming all over the world. And we wonder why economic growth benefits only a small portion of the population and may in fact result in increasingly desperate circumstances for the majority.
Proposal to build a South Asian Union (SAU)
Saulat Kamran - 12/16/2006
Proposal for future South Asian Union (SAU)
1. The mass people of this region want to abolish visa system for them selves in order to enjoy traveling facility freely and free trade among the regional countries like EU states. We can include Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Oman, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Syria, Turkey, Cyprus, Iran, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore, Brunei, China, Mongolia, North Korea, South Korea, Japan & Philippine.
What’s so noble about the Nobel peace prize?
Bhuwan Thapaliya - 12/13/2006
Nobel Peace Prize was founded in 1901.Thereafter, 94 exemplary figures and 19 humanitarian organizations have received the dazzling prize. But ironically, a person whose very life symbolizes peace never got the prized accolade. Isn’t this surprising? But yet, Mahatma Gandhi continues to shine as the beacon of love, peace and non-violent resistance all over the world. Why? Because he was a man, who proved that even the greatest of all conflicts could be resolved by the weapons of non violence and love.
Nuclear Proliferation — Options In A Perfect Storm
David J. Jonsson - 11/7/2006
Nuclear proliferation is once again at the top of the U.S. national security agenda; spurred by the progress of weapons programs in North Korea and as the Iranian government announced last week a doubling of its uranium enrichment program. The chief of the judiciary, Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi, praised “the fasting people taking part in the rally [who] are chanting slogans such as ‘death to America’ and ‘death to Israel.’” His speech was on Quds Day, an Iranian holiday introduced by Ayatollah Khomeini that is marked on the last Friday of Ramadan.
Postcard From Singapore - The Meeting of World Bank and IMF
Sameer Dossani - 10/31/2006
It's 2 a.m. on a Saturday night. I'm in a Singapore police station. No, this story doesn't involve alcohol. Fortunately neither the death penalty nor caning is likely.
International Classification of Diseases (ICD)
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 10/30/2006
The International Classification of Diseases (ICD) is published by the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland. It included mental health disorders for the first time in 1948, in its sixth edition. In 1959, following widespread criticism of its classificatory scheme, the WHO commissioned a global survey of taxonomies of mental health problems, which was conducted by Stengel. The survey uncovered great disparities and substantial disagreements as to what constituted mental illness and how it should be diagnosed (diagnostic criteria and differential diagnoses).
World Bank Shuts Out Dissident Voices
Peter Bosshard - 10/10/2006
To the bankers and government officials who descended on the city state for the World Bank and International Monetary Fund annual meetings in September, Singapore may have looked like the perfect model of a globalized consumer society. Tellingly, for the first time, the annual meetings took place inside a giant shopping mall. Corporate logos dominated the venue, shoppers went happily about fulfilling their consumer duties, and the delegates were shrouded in a constant cloud of Muzak.
Scrapping the Geneva Conventions
Jim Lobe - 10/10/2006
In enacting new legislation last week governing the treatment and trial of suspects in Washington's “global war on terror,” Congress has turned its back on both international law and the U.S. Constitution, according to the country's major human rights groups.
Development Requires Local Empowerment
Leif Brottem - 10/4/2006
A 5% economic growth rate has done little for Mozambique's vast poverty stricken population. And although the world's poorest countries have recently enjoyed their highest growth rates in two decades, the growth is fragile and not necessarily improving human well-being. These are some of the findings in the recently released United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) Least Developed Countries Report.
Food Aid or Band-aid?
John Rivera and Conn Hallinan - 9/7/2006
FPIF invited Conn Hallinan and John Rivera to debate the issue of food aid. Hallinan, the author of the FPIF piece "The Devil's Brew of Poverty Relief," has been critical of the relationship between the food aid community and commercial interests. Rivera, a former reporter and editor at the Baltimore Sun, is a senior writer at Catholic Relief Services, where he works closely with his food aid colleagues.
Catholic Church: Celibacy Is Not The Problem
Telesphor R. Magobe - 9/5/2006
What has prompted me to share my views on the above subject are two articles that appeared in recent editions of a popular local Kiswahili weekly that specializes in analytical and investigative features. In the first piece, the author called on the Roman Catholic Church to abolish the discipline of celibacy to her clergy. He took sexual scandals among the clergy as a basis for his arguments but he doesn't really go further than that.
War Crimes Under International Law
James Catano - 9/2/2006
Article written in reference to the classification of war crimes, genocide, and crimes against humanity, as well as the necessity of such legal categorization and the limitations of domestic law related to such egregious violations.
Will the world starve in the 21st century?
Bhuwan Thapaliya - 8/23/2006
In the 20th century, many people worried there would be a world food crisis in the early 21st century (Source: supereat) as the unstoppable surge in population overwhelmed mankind's ability to produce food, which was nearing a natural ceiling. And now, the range of longer run concerns is even greater than it was. Worries unknown in the past have appeared. Global warming threatens to render once productive lands desolate. Scientists, in their quest for higher yielding crops, are using genetic engineering, a science which many believe to be dangerous.
Microsoft's Third Front
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 8/23/2006
Elated investors greeted chairman Bill Gates and chief executive officer Steve Ballmer for Microsoft's victory in the titanic antitrust lawsuit brought against it by the Department of Justice and assorted state attorneys general. They also demanded that Microsoft distribute its pile of cash - $40 billion in monopoly profits - as dividends. Microsoft duly complied this year (2006).
When Labor Loses Out to Trade
Prof. Gustav Ranis and David Corderi - 8/11/2006
International trade raises the standard of living for most people in any country, but inevitably results in a loss of jobs for a few. The challenge for governments is identifying and implementing policies that support readjustment of those few workers at a reasonable cost. International trade accounted for about 4 percent of layoffs in Canada, the US and the EU in 2000, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Nations react to such layoffs with a range of policies: minimal state intervention and a flexible labor market, as found in the US; ample public sup...
SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) and the Aliens Conundrum - Part II
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 7/31/2006
(1) How can we tell the artificial from the natural? How can we be sure to distinguish Alien artifacts from naturally-occurring objects? How can we tell apart with certainty Alien languages from random noise or other natural signals?
SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) and the Aliens Conundrum - Part I
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 7/30/2006
I. The Six Arguments against SETI
The various projects that comprise the 45-years old Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) raise two important issues:
The Debacle of Doha
Prof. Walden Bello - 7/30/2006
Several guilty parties were responsible for the recent collapse of the Doha round of trade negotiations, but none guiltier than the United States. U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab refused to make a serious offer on cutting domestic subsidies for U.S. farmers. Worse, at a late stage in the negotiations, she appeared determined to eliminate any protection for developing country farmers. The WTO's December 2005 Hong Kong Declaration designated “special products” for exemption from tariff cuts, and Schwab singled out these provisions for attack.
Failure of the Doha Round
Edward Gresser - 7/29/2006
Leaders of developing nations anticipated that negotiations of the Doha Round could lead to even-handed trade practices, particularly in agriculture. With the talks collapsed, the wealthiest nations will not suffer nearly as much as the developing nations, according to trade analyst Edward Gresser. The real losers, he says, will be cotton farmers in West Africa, textile workers in low-income Asian and Muslim states, and low-income shoppers in the poorest quarters of America and Europe. Previous international trade agreements on manufacturing and services provided substantial economic wealth fo...
Employment and Unemployment - Part V
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 7/21/2006
IIIe. Administrative Measures: Early Retirement
A favorite of post-communist countries in transition, early retirement was liberally applied in order to get rid of "technologically-redundant" workers and thus trim under-employment.
Employment and Unemployment - Part IV
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 7/20/2006
III. The Solutions
IIIa. Tweaking Unemployment Benefits
Unemployment benefits provide a strong disincentive to work and, if too generous, may become self-perpetuating. Ideally, unemployment benefits should be means tested and limited in time, should decrease gradually and should be withheld from school dropouts, those who never held a job, and, arguably, as is the case in some countries, women after childbearing. In the USA, unemployment benefits are not available to farm workers, domestic servants, the briefly employed, government workers and the self- employed.
Employment and Unemployment - Part III
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 7/19/2006
IIf. Unemployment and Inflation
Another common misperception is that there is some trade off between unemployment and inflation. Both Friedman and Phelps attacked this simplistic notion. Unemployment seems to have a "natural" (equilibrium) rate, which is determined by the structure and operation of the labour market and is consistent with stable inflation (NAIRU - Non Accelerating Inflation Rate of Unemployment).
Employment and Unemployment - Part II
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 7/18/2006
II. The Facts
IIa. Labour Mobility
"Mobility", "globalization", "flextime" - media imagery leads us to believe that we move around more often, and change (less secure) jobs more frequently. It is not so. By many measures, the world is less globalized today than it was a century ago. Contrary to popular perceptions, job tenure (in the first 8 years of employment) has not declined, nor did labour mobility increase (according to findings published by the NBER and CEPR). Firms' hiring and firing practices are more flexible but this is because "sarariman" jobs are out of fashion and many worker...
Employment and Unemployment - Part I
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 7/17/2006
Communism abolished official unemployment. It had no place in the dictatorship of the proletariat, where all means of production were commonly owned. Underemployment was rife, though. Many workers did little else besides punching cards on their way in and out.
It’s Time to Scuttle the Doha Round
Prof. Peter Morici - 6/28/2006
The Doha Round of World Trade Organization negotiations is in desperate straits. President Bush and his new trade chief, Susan Schwab, have made clear their determination to accomplish an agreement, and advocates of genuinely open trade should be frightened by that prospect.
Eclipse of God: Gay Marriages and Vatican's reaction
Antonio Fabrizio - 6/17/2006
On Tuesday, June 6th, in a document titled “Family and human procreation”, the Pontifical Council for the Family asserted its strong commitment to traditional family and emphasized the risks related to a misuse of abortion and in-vitro fertilization, stating also that feminism contributed to shape the crisis of the current society1.
The Sovereignty of Disease: Outbreaks of infectious disease demand rapid global response for monitoring and protection
Dr. David L. Heymann - 6/8/2006
Information about infectious disease outbreaks travels today at speeds and in ways not imagined just 30 years ago. Individual countries can no longer ignore the disease or hide reports.1 No recent infectious disease outbreak exemplifies this better than that of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in 2002-2003. 2 Detected by reports on the internet, the SARS outbreak demonstrated that the global community has assumed the role of reporting infectious diseases that threaten to spread internationally, aided by the ease and power of electronic communication through the World Wide Web. The glob...
Vatican Flirting With China?
Luis Figueroa - 6/6/2006
The Vatican excommunicated two catholic bishops who were ordained by the official Chinese catholic church -which is controled by the socialist regime of Hu Jin-tao- without the Pope's authorization. The Pope also excommunicated the prelates that performed the ordinations.
UN Reform for the Rest of Us: An Agenda for Grassroots Accountability
Michael Kagan, Esq. - 4/20/2006
This month, the United Nations fundamentally restructured the way it supervises and promotes human rights around the world. But to understand what the UN has and has not done on the reform front over the past year, let me begin with a story I heard along the Sudanese border in Uganda a few years ago.
World Water Forum Not the Place to Solve Global Water Crisis
Laura Carlsen - 4/2/2006
Water flooded Mexico City the week of March 16-22, causing major traffic jams, provoking street confrontations, and filling the pages of local and international newspapers. Yet nothing got wet.
Just What Is Christmas?
Ugochukwu Ejinkeonye - 1/27/2006
“Christmas was not among the earliest festivals of the church … the first evidence of the feast is from Egypt.” – Catholic Encyclopaedia, 1911 edition.
Now that the din and vulgar, riotous, gin-soaked and licentious bacchanalian revelry of the Christmas celebrations are at last over (I hope so, really), I think there is enough sanity in the land for me to ask this very simple question, namely, what really is Christmas?
The Dark Clouds of NATO
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 1/2/2006
Appendix 7.3 to the "Assessment of Environmental Impact of Military Activities During the Yugoslavia Conflict - Preliminary Findings, June 1999" contains a list of 105 "Industrial Targets in Yugoslavia before June 5, 1999". Item 28 reads:
Academia For Sale
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 12/17/2005
Mira Markovic is an "Honorary Academic" of the Russian Academy of Science. It cost a lot of money to obtain this title and the Serb multi-billionnaire Karic was only too glad to cough it up. Whatever else you say about Balkan cronies, they rarely bite the hand that feeds them (unless and until it is expedient to do so). And whatever else you say about Russia, it adapted remarkably to capitalism. Everything has a price and a market. Israel had to learn this fact the hard way when Russian practical-nurse-level medical doctors and construction-worker-level civil engineers flooded its shores. Everything is for sale in this region of opportunities, instant education inclusive.
Economic Revolutions and Symbols
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 12/11/2005
Five thousand years ago, people were still roaming the earth as nomads. They carried along their few precious possessions in their hands and on their backs. They hunted and gathered food at random.
Being First, Being Original, Being Innovative
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 12/8/2005
There is an often missed distinction between Being the First, Being Original, and Being Innovative.
Danger - Banks Ahead!
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 12/7/2005
Banks are the most unsafe institutions in the world. Worldwide, hundreds of them crash every few years. Two decades ago, the US Government was forced to invest hundreds of billions of Dollars in the Savings and Loans industry. Multi-billion dollar embezzlement schemes were unearthed in the much feted BCCI - wiping both equity capital and deposits. Barings bank - having weathered 330 years of tumultuous European history - succumbed to a bout of untrammeled speculation by a rogue trader. In 1890 it faced the very same predicament only to be salvaged by other British banks, including the Bank of England. The list is interminable. There were more than 30 major banking crises this century alone.
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 11/27/2005
According to David McClintick ("Swordfish: A True Story of Ambition, Savagery, and Betrayal"), in the late 1980's, the FBI and DEA set up dummy corporations to deal in drugs. They funneled into these corporate fronts money from drug-related asset seizures.
Financial Investor, Strategic Investor
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 11/26/2005
In the not so distant past, there was little difference between financial and strategic investors. Investors of all colors sought to safeguard their investment by taking over as many management functions as they could. Additionally, investments were small and shareholders few. A firm resembled a household and the number of people involved – in ownership and in management – was correspondingly limited. People invested in industries they were acquainted with first hand.
The Blessings of the Black Economy
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 11/20/2005
Some call it the "unofficial" or "informal" economy, others call it the "grey economy" but the old name fits it best: the "black economy". In the USA "black" means "profitable, healthy" and this is what the black economy is. Macedonia should count its blessings for having had a black economy so strong and thriving to see it through the transition. If Macedonia had to rely only on its official economy it would have gone bankrupt long ago.
Global Differential Pricing
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 11/20/2005
In April 2002, the World Health Organization (WHO), the World Trade Organization (WTO), the Norwegian Foreign Ministry, and the US-based Global Health Council held a 3-days workshop about "Pricing and Financing of Essential Drugs" in poor countries. Not surprisingly, the conclusion was:
The IMF Deconstructed: A Dialogue Between Tom Rodwell and Sam Vaknin, December 1998
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 11/6/2005
The following is a standard IMF document, taken from its own website. Underlined phrases are related to categories A and / or B (see below). The phrases here are general examples as part of general criticism of the ideological tone and "aesthetic" of the IMF. This dialogue is a combination of philosophy and economics: does / can the IMF (or any organization) "facilitate the expansion and balanced growth of international trade"?
IMF: Kill or Cure?
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 11/4/2005
IMF - Kill or Cure. This was the title of the cover page of the prestigious magazine, "The Economist" in its issue of 10/1/98. The more involved the IMF gets in the world economy - the more controversy surrounds it. Economies in transition, emerging economies, developing countries and, lately, even Asian Tigers all feel the brunt of the IMF recipes. All are not too happy with it, all are loudly complaining. Some economists regard this as a sign of the proper functioning of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) - others spot some justice in some of the complaints.
The Friendly Clubs - EU and NATO
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 9/20/2005
In September 2005, NATO announced that, "advised" by the USA, it was postponing the intake of new members, among them Macedonia, to 2008. The European Union is unlikely to jump at the opportunity and delay its own third wave of enlargement.
The Family of Jesus Christ
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 9/12/2005
Was Jesus born 2002 years ago? Was he born in year zero? The first year AD was 1 - so, Jesus could not have been born in year zero. The very concept of zero was invented much later. Numerous historical minutia in the gospels indicate that Jesus must have been born before 4 BC. For example, He was said to have been born during the reign of King Herod, who died in 4 BC.
Crime Fighting Computer Systems and Databases
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 9/10/2005
As crime globalizes, so does crime fighting. Mobsters, serial killers, and terrorists cross state lines and borders effortlessly, making use of the latest advances in mass media, public transportation, telecommunications, and computer networks. The police - there are 16,000 law enforcement agencies in the Unites States alone - is never very far behind.
The MinMaj Rule
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 7/21/2005
I have a Roma (gypsy) cleaning lady. She cleans my house every fortnight. She is nice and well spoken. She values education and good manners. She is spotless, obsessively purgatory, compulsively tidy. And she hates "shiptars" (the derogatory name assigned to Macedonian Albanians). They are dirty, she says, and criminal and they have too many children. They don't respect their women. She is afraid of them. Her eyes glow with the gratification of the underdog turned top dog, if only verbally, if only for a while, if only while cleansing my house. This is the way it is, a chain of abuse, a torren...
Resolving Disputes - The Lost Art
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 7/5/2005
Wherever interests meet - they tend to clash. Disputes are an inevitable and inseparable part of commercial life. Mankind invented many ways to settle disputes. Each way relies on a different underlying principle. Generally speaking, there are four such principles: justice, law, logic and force.
The missing third leg of UN accountability
Michael Kagan, Esq. - 6/30/2005
As the debate over reforming the United Nations rages, reformers talk about accountability when they’re worried about money. But no one is talking about how to make UN agencies accountable to the actual people they are supposed to serve. That’s why the moment has come for human rights advocates to join the campaign for UN reform.
The Pope and and "Dictatorship of Relativism"
Ugochukwu Ejinkeonye - 6/10/2005
I spent quality time in the morning of Tuesday, April 19, 2004, reading up any thing I could find on the internet about Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, and by noon that day, I was almost certain, and had even begun to say it to those around me, that Ratzinger would most likely replace late John Paul II as pope of the Roman Catholics. Perhaps, I was not just guessing, but merely expressing some latent wish, tucked away somewhere in the inner recesses of my mind. Indeed, after examining some portions of Cardinal Ratzinger's pre-conclave homily delivered at St. Peter's Square the previous day, I becam...
The Prices of Oil
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 6/7/2005
How is the price of oil determined and how important it is to the global economy?
Sell the Gold, Free the Poor
Russell Mokhiber and Robert Weissman - 6/7/2005
When historians look back over the past 25 years, one of the great crimes they will identify is the Third World debt crisis. Now, finally, the rich countries have agreed to cancel the debts of the poorest countries to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank. But they continue to differ over how to do it. It is now clear a compromise agreement among the rich countries over cancellation of IMF debt can only be reached if the sale of IMF gold is a component of the financing package for debt cancellation.
Financial Crises, Global Capital Flows and the International Financial Architecture
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 6/1/2005
The upheavals in the world financial markets during the latter part of the 1990s were quelled by the immediate intervention of both international financial institutions (IFIs) such as the IMF and of domestic ones in the developed countries, such as the Federal Reserve in the USA. The danger seemed to have passed. But, subsequent tremors in South Korea, Brazil and Taiwan and mounting imbalances inside the USA (the "twin deficits") and in the international exchange rates system do not augur well. We may face yet another crisis of the same or a larger magnitude.
Property Rights in Trasitional Countries
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 5/30/2005
The Kazakh minister of foreign affairs denied vehemently that Kazakhstan would revise contracts it has signed with foreign investors in the heady days of the early 1990's. It was in a meeting on March 26, 2002 with a delegation of nervous businessmen from the USA and it was expected and prudent - if not entirely truthful - of him to say so. He was merely echoing his autocratic president, Nazarbaev, who made the same promises to visiting and anxious State Department officials earlier that month.
Governments and Growth
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 5/27/2005
It is a maxim of current economic orthodoxy that governments compete with the private sector on a limited pool of savings. It is considered equally self-evident that the private sector is better, more competent, and more efficient at allocating scarce economic resources and thus at preventing waste. It is therefore thought economically sound to reduce the size of government - i.e., minimize its tax intake and its public borrowing - in order to free resources for the private sector to allocate productively and efficiently.
Economics - Psychology's Neglected Branch
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 5/26/2005
"It is impossible to describe any human action if one does not refer to the meaning the actor sees in the stimulus as well as in the end his response is aiming at."
Ludwig von Mises
Economics - to the great dismay of economists - is merely a branch of psychology. It deals with individual behaviour and with mass behaviour. Many of its practitioners sought to disguise its nature as a social science by applying complex mathematics where common sense and direct experimentation would have yielded far better results.
Immortality and Mortality in the Economic Sciences
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 5/26/2005
The noted economist, Julian Simon, once quipped: "Because we can expect future generations to be richer than we are, no matter what we do about resources, asking us to refrain from using resources now so that future generations can have them later is like asking the poor to make gifts to the rich."
Money Laundering in A Changed World
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 5/21/2005
If you shop with a major bank, chances are that all the transactions in your account are scrutinized by AML (Anti Money Laundering) software. Billions of dollars are being invested in these applications. They are supposed to track suspicious transfers, deposits, and withdrawals based on overall statistical patterns. Bank directors, exposed, under the Patriot Act, to personal liability for money laundering in their establishments, swear by it as a legal shield and the holy grail of the on-going war against financial crime and the finances of terrorism.
The Emerging Water Wars
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 5/20/2005
Growing up in Israel in the 1960's, we were always urged to conserve precious water. Rainfall was rare and meager, the sun scorching, our only sweet water lake under constant threat by the Syrians. Israelis were being shot at hauling water cisterns or irrigating their parched fields. Water was a matter of life and death - literally.
Surviving on Nuclear Waste: Kazakhstan, Russia and Other Nuclear Waste Importers
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 5/18/2005
On May 11, 2005, Romania will host a two-day exercise simulating a nuclear accident. It will be conducted at the Cernavoda nuclear power plant. But the real radiological emergency is already at hand and unfolding. Nuclear waste is both an environmental problem and an economic solution in the countries of east Europe and central Asia. Kazakhstan announced in November 2002 that it plans to import other countries' nuclear waste - and get paid for its shoddy disposal-by-burial, contrary to international conventions.
The Psychology of Torture
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 5/6/2005
There is one place in which one's privacy, intimacy, integrity and inviolability are guaranteed - one's body, a unique temple and a familiar territory of sensa and personal history. The torturer invades, defiles and desecrates this shrine. He does so publicly, deliberately, repeatedly and, often, sadistically and sexually, with undisguised pleasure. Hence the all-pervasive, long-lasting, and, frequently, irreversible effects and outcomes of torture.
The New Pope: Ratzinger Much Better Choice Than 'Liberation Theologians'
Luis Figueroa - 5/3/2005
What was the advice that Billy Elliot received from his mother? Be true to yourself. And I think that it is one of the best advices that a parent can give to a child, or a mater et magistra can give to its herd. It is in that sense that I find the election of Joseph Ratzinger, as head of the Catholic Church, a wise election. Wiser, lets say, than the possibility of having elected Oscar Rodriguez , from Honduras, or any other Latin American or African activist. One who may have been celebrated by the Comissão Pastoral da Terra in Brazil.
The Bursting Asset Bubbles - Britain's Real Estate
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 4/26/2005
The five ghastly "Jack the Ripper" murders took place in an area less than a quarter square mile in size. Houses in this haunting and decrepit no man's land straddling the City and metropolitan London could be had for 25-50,000 British pounds as late as a decade ago. How things change!
The Bursting Asset Bubbles - The Savings and Loans Associations Bailout
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 4/24/2005
Asset bubbles - in the stock exchange, in the real estate or the commodity markets - invariably burst and often lead to banking crises. One such calamity struck the USA in 1986-1989. It is instructive to study the decisive reaction of the administration and Congress alike. They tackled both the ensuing liquidity crunch and the structural flaws exposed by the crisis with tenacity and skill. Compare this to the lackluster and hesitant tentativeness of the current lot. True, the crisis - the result of a speculative bubble - concerned the banking and real estate markets rather than the capital markets. But the similarities are there.
The Bursting Asset Bubbles - Wall Street, October 1929
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 4/24/2005
Claud Cockburn, writing for the "Times of London" from New-York, described the irrational exuberance that gripped the nation just prior to the Great Depression. As Europe wallowed in post-war malaise, America seemed to have discovered a new economy, the secret of uninterrupted growth and prosperity, the fount of transforming technology:
Realist's Case For Genocide Intervention
Sean-Paul Kelley - 4/24/2005
It was a breezy May afternoon in San Pedro de Alcantara, on the southern coast of Spain, when first I heard of Rwanda's horrors. Lazily sitting on a veranda overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, I casually read the International Herald Tribune. The photos, rivers of bodies all decaying, beheaded, mangled, and deformed seemed too horrific to be real. A true conception of what was happening in Rwanda could not be real to my best friend and I as we sat there discussing, so carelessly, where we would go next. "Perhaps," I said, "we'll go to Gibraltar, or Cueta and then Morocco? Hey, why not the other...
The Bursting Asset Bubbles - Introduction (Part 1)
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 4/22/2005
The recent implosion of the global equity markets in 1999-2002 - from Hong Kong to New York - engendered yet another round of the semipiternal debate: should central banks contemplate abrupt adjustments in the prices of assets - such as stocks or real estate - as they do changes in the consumer price indices? Are asset bubbles indeed inflationary and their bursting deflationary?
The Bankrupt Sovereign
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 4/19/2005
In a little noticed speech, given in January 2003 at an IMF conference in Washington, Glenn Hubbard, then Chairman of President Bush's Council of Economic Advisers, delineated a compromise between the United States and the International Monetary Fund regarding a much mooted proposal to allow countries to go bankrupt. In a rehash of ideas put forth by John Taylor, then Treasury Undersecretary for International Affairs, Hubbard proposed to modify all sovereign debt contracts pertaining to all forms of debt to allow for majority decision making, the pro-rata sharing of disproportionate payments r...
The Washington Consensus and The International Monetary Fund
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 4/18/2005
In an interview he granted on April 14, 2005 to the Washington File, produced by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State, John Taylor, outgoing Under Secretary of the Treasury outlined the Bush administration's vision for the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The IMF, he said, "assess the economic policies of countries that do not need the fund's resources ... (This) would allow the IMF to signal its approval or disapproval of, and provide markets with a clearer view of a country's economic policies ... (Other reforms would be) the inclusion of collective ac...
Nuremberg Trials: The Last Tragedy of the Holocaust
Ellis Washington, Esq. - 4/17/2005
In the Nuremberg Trials (1945-1947), Nazi high officials, officers, and industrialists were tried by an International Military Tribunal for war crimes and other atrocities committed during World War II that violated the accepted laws of war. The charges brought against the Nazi defendants accused them of originating, plotting, and waging aggressive war, using slave labor, looting occupied countries, and abusing, torturing, and murdering civilians, prisoners of war, and so-called "undesirables". The people who suffered the most from Hitler's singular genocide against humanity were of course the Jews who suffered 6 million deaths-over half of all European Jewry at that time!
Will Next Pope Come From The Third World?
John Mangun - 4/10/2005
Pope John Paul II begins his eternal rest and the world ponders who will be his successor. Virtually within hours of his death, commentators in every language raised the question and contemplated the possibility of the papacy held by someone from the Third World. They deliberated that a man of color, a man of poverty, a man from a 'marginalized' country would bring a new perspective to the Roman Catholic Church. In their enthusiasm for change, these pundits ignored the fact that the chair of the Holy Father has been occupied by a black man, by many poor men who remained poor even through th...
NGOs: The Self-Appointed Altruists
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 4/9/2005
Their arrival portends rising local prices and a culture shock. Many of them live in plush apartments, or five star hotels, drive SUV's, sport $3000 laptops and PDA's. They earn a two figure multiple of the local average wage. They are busybodies, preachers, critics, do-gooders, and professional altruists.
IAEA and Nuclear Prolifiration
Angelique van Engelen - 4/7/2005
Nuclear specialists believe that the urgency of the nuclear risks, even though they are almost daily headlines now, are still not taken as seriously as it should be. Reports from some important international conferences have highlighted agreement on this issue by high profile decision-makers. This is an indication that the world is beginning to wake up to the idea that any future 'this could have been foreseen' post-catastrophy scenario very likely includes a nuclear event.
EU and NATO - The Competing Alliances
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/21/2005
The Spanish recently (2005) endorsed the draft constitution of the European Union (EU). But such a smooth ride is rare. The vote in October 2002 in Ireland, for example, was the second time in 18 months that its increasingly disillusioned citizenry had to decide the fate of the European Union by endorsing or rejecting the crucial Treaty of Nice. The treaty sought to revamp the union's administration and the hitherto sacred balance between small and big states prior to the accession of 10 central and east European countries. Enlargement has been the centerpiece of European thinking ever since t...
OPEC's Swan Song?
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/20/2005
As oil prices shot past the $57 mark in the crude futures markets on both sides of the Atlantic, OPEC, in a meeting in March 2005, raised its combined output by 500,000 barrels per day (bpd), reversing a December 2004 decision to cut production by 1 million bpd. How times change! It is instructive to re-visit the incredibly very recent past. Just two years ago, OPEC was preoccupied with production cuts. Indonesia's then Energy Minister, Purnomo Yusgiantoro, was unhappy with the modest production cut of 2 million barrels per day, adopted by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries in A...
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/16/2005
In July 2002, Christopher Deliso recounted in antiwar.com that Dutch Radio, based on reports leaked by a Dutch military analysis firm, accused the US government of aiding and abetting terrorists in Macedonia. Not for the first time, the Americans were rumored to have hired the services of MPRI (Military Professional Resources, Inc.) to train and assist the rebels of the NLA, the Albanian National Liberation Army, which skirmished for months with the Macedonian police and military throughout last year.
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/15/2005
The rumors concerning the demise of maritime piracy back in the 19th century were a tad premature. The scourge has so resurged that the International Maritime Board (IMB), founded by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) in 1981, is forced to broadcast daily piracy reports to all shipping companies by satellite from its Kuala Lumpur Piracy Reporting Center, established in 1992 and partly funded by maritime insurers. The reports carry this alarming disclaimer:
The Disunited Nations
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/12/2005
In March 2005, an increasingly isolationist United States appointed an outspoken critic of the United Nations, John Bolton, to serve as its Ambassador there. Less than two years earlier, Arab nations tabled a resolution at the United Nations General Assembly condemning the U.S.-British led "invasion" and "occupation" of Iraq and calling for immediate troop withdrawal. A similar effort at the Security Council failed, doomed by the veto powers of both alleged aggressors. This did endear the organization to the Bush administration whose hawks regard it as a superfluous leftover from the Cold War era.
Iran-EU Negotiations on Nuclear Weapons Fit Wider Context
Angelique van Engelen - 3/12/2005
Well into its 18th year, Iran's nuclear weapons program is beginning to pose considerable tension internationally. Current US-endorsed talks between Iran and the European Union are almost certainly doomed.
The Argument For Torture
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/11/2005
The problem of the "ticking bomb" - rediscovered after September 11 by Alan Dershowitz, a renowned criminal defense lawyer in the United States - is old hat. Should physical torture be applied - where psychological strain has failed - in order to discover the whereabouts of a ticking bomb and thus prevent a mass slaughter of the innocent? This apparent ethical dilemma has been confronted by ethicists and jurists from Great Britain to Israel.
The Business of Torture
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/11/2005
On January 16, 2003, the European Court of Human Rights agreed - more than two years after the applications have been filed - to hear six cases filed by Chechens against Russia. The claimants accuse the Russian military of torture and indiscriminate killings. The Court has ruled in the past against the Russian Federation and awarded assorted plaintiffs thousands of euros per case in compensation.
Failure of IMF and World Bank in Fmr USSR: Uncommon Poverty of the Commonwealth
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/6/2005
The Lucerne Conference on the 9 months old CIS-7 Initiative ended two years ago with yet another misguided call upon charity-weary donors to grant the poorest seven countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kyrgyz Republic, Moldova, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan) of the Commonwealth of Independent States financial assistance in the form of grants rather than credits.
Trading from a Suitcase: Shuttle Trade and Global Black Market
Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. - 3/6/2005
They all sport the same shabby clothes, haggard looks, and bulging suitcases bound with frayed ropes. These are the shuttle traders. You can find them in Mongolia and Russia, China and Ukraine, Bulgaria and Kosovo, the West Bank and Turkey. They cross the border as "tourists", sometimes as often as 10 times a year, and come back with as much merchandise as they can carry in their enormous luggage. Some of them resort to freight forwarding their "personal belongings".