Wednesday 11/9/16

  1. Effective Development
  2. Transing the dead
  3. Our wild card President

Secondary Things

1

As I keep one eye on election returns, I’m catching up some online reading with the other.

Scrap the conventional model of Third World “development” was fascinating. I expect to read it again, less distracted, to get it into my bones. Excerpts:

When development is taken to be about maximizing the GDP via competition in the global market economy Third World productive capacity inevitably become geared to the interests of the rich, and little ”trickles down” to meet the urgent needs of poor majorities. There is however a radically different conception of development goals and means, which is being increasingly turned to. It is of the utmost importance that the distinction should be more widely understood, and that the conventional-capitalist model should be scrapped.

The main concern is the gross inequality and injustice the conventional approach involves. The benefits go mostly to the rich, that is, the small elite classes in the Third World, the transnational corporations and the people who shop in rich world supermarkets. The important question to ask of a development strategy is how well does it work for those in most need. Most of the world’s people are getting very little from the development taking place, and the conditions for many are either stagnating or deteriorating. The inequality evident within the world economy is extreme. The richest 20% of people are getting around 86% of world income, while the poorest 20% of people are getting only 1.3%. About half the world’s people have an income of under $2 per day.

 


The core mistake in conventional development theory and practice is the identification of development with economic growth (or the assumption that growth is the means to development, or the main condition necessary for it, etc.)

If you take maximising the growth of GDP as your top priority then you will encourage and assist those with capital to invest in whatever will make most profit. That is what maximizes business turnover. They will do this best if they put the available local land, labour and capital into producing relatively expensive things to sell to people on higher incomes. People with capital to invest never maximise their income by producing what is most needed, such as food for poor peasants. It is always far more profitable to invest in putting Third World land into producing luxury crops such as coffee to export to rich countries.

These extremely unfair distributions of the world’s resource wealth come about primarily because it is an economic system in which rich countries are allowed to outbid poor countries to buy scarce things … The market has no concern whatsoever for what humans need or what is just or best for the environment. It will always distribute things according to “effective demand”, which means that richer people and nations can take what they want and the poor must do without.

Very simple material living standards must be happily accepted. Affluence and rich world living standards must be rejected as impossible for all to have. This does not mean there must be deprivation or hardship. The goal of development cannot be to rise to rich world affluent living standards; it must be material sufficiency on the lowest reasonable levels of per capita resource consumption for convenience and a good quality of life.

Have as little as possible to do with corporations, loans and debt, or the global economy. They want you locked into having to sell a lot to them so you can buy a lot from them. They are out to get your resources and to have you working mostly for their benefit. You need little from them. Borrow very little if anything. Export just enough to import necessities. Allow foreign investors into your nation only if they will produce necessities on your terms. Of course you need to import a relatively few modern items such as radios and medicines, so export only enough to pay for these.

It is clear to me that neither corporate America, nor a government bent of creating client states, will promote development that does not sing the seductive song of affluence and rich world living standards.  That kind of development is going to be paid by people in the developed world with discretionary income or savings and a conscience to actually alleviate poverty, not try to make everyone  first-world rich.

Tertiary Things

2

Oh, fer cryin’ out loud!

A most disturbing development in the current climate of transactivist zealotry has been the posthumous transing of famous gender-defiant women.  Women such as Joan of Arc, Mulan, Carson McCullers, Radclyffe Hall, Mountain Charley (Elsa Jane Forest Guerin), George Sand, and Queen Hatshepsut of Egypt, to name but a few, are now being claimed as transmen.  Like so many other things about the modern trans movement, this is inherently sexist and harmful to women, particularly young women just starting to figure out who they really are; young women who sorely need strong female role models.

(Transing the dead: The erasure of gender-defiant role models from history)

3

I sincerely hope that all the things I’ve sincerely believed and forcefully said about Donald Trump were mistaken.

I felt threatened, personally and on behalf of people similarly religious, by a Clinton presidency, but that wasn’t enough to get me to vote for Trump (because of his own problems). I don’t feel like a special target now. That’s a relief.

I don’t think his federal judicial nominees will be as bad as Hillary’s would have been. That’s a relief, too.

I think he’s been reasonably consistent on being less hawkish than Hillary. That will be a relief, if he follows through.

For today at least, I’ll give worse case scenarios a rest.

But I don’t know my country. I stopped several decades ago (it’s hard to pinpoint) feeling that it was important to have the pulse of the nation, and I’m quite a stranger to mass media, including anything that featured Donald Trump.

I shook my head when Minnesota elected Jesse Ventura. This morning’s like that squared, or raised exponentially.

* * * * *

“In learning as in traveling and, of course, in lovemaking, all the charm lies in not coming too quickly to the point, but in meandering around for a while.” (Eva Brann)

Some succinct standing advice on recurring themes.