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Archive for the ‘Human Condition and Treatment’ Category

World Economic Forum in Africa 2008 – Cast Your Vote Now

In Africa, Environment, Human Condition and Treatment, Third World Business on May 29, 2008 at 4:16 am

If you have a point of view or perspective on what is imporant for Africa’s future or what should be the focus, cast your vote on this exciting interactive feature.  More on this later… but cast your vote.

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Eating Mud for Nourishment: In Our Backyard and Doing Nothing

In Human Condition and Treatment on April 17, 2008 at 10:59 pm

In Haiti, where three-quarters of the population earns less than $2 a day and one in five children is chronically malnourished, the one business booming amid all the gloom is the selling of patties made of mud, oil and sugar, typically only consumed by the most destitute.

“It’s salty and it has butter, and you don’t know you’re eating dirt,” said Olwich Louis Jeune, 24, who has taken to eating them more often in recent months. “It makes your stomach quiet down.” This is an excerpt from today’s International Herald Tribune. Click here to read full article.

I am guessing that most people who will read this post likely missed this article. For me, it was the poignant illustration to see what people will do to survive. Then I ask myself, why? Why does a 24 year old have to resort to eating “mud” literally.

Of course, problems exist on our home turf, but many have relatives from Haiti experiencing this madness and waste. Yet, we don’t hear much about it. What is compelling and interesting is that similar challenges are brewing right here at home in the United States. For example, real wages have not increased in over 10 years. Gasoline is now over $3.35 per gallon for regular unleaded. Food prices continue to increase. Student financial aid is in peril. Job loss continues to accelerate across all industries and regions of the country. Home foreclosures and the home mortgage fiasco remains to be a bitter reminder of economic greed, or our corporate titans who in many respects walk away in shame much like Robert Mugabi or Aristide and other dictators who are exiled only to retire in luxury and ultimately forgotton in short order.

Yet, the damage is done to be sure. So, when we think about that next 65 inch plasma “we think we must have”, or a fancy trip to Hawaii or a sale at the outlet mall, please stop and think and instead purchase a 42 inch if you must at all. Visit our national parks or Bandon Dunes Oregon if you must travel or get those pants altered for $10 dollars instead of buying four new pair for $50 dollars each, only to pay $12 additional dollars or more to get them altered, all in the name of a good deal.

Then donate the savings to a worthy cause, share your time or send money to a relative who really needs it. It is now time to THINK.

Poor People Have Poor Ways: Poverty Czar is NOT Answer

In Human Condition and Treatment, mindset 3.0, poverty, social networking, Uncategorized on April 4, 2008 at 8:12 pm

What is poverty? According to American Heritage Dictionary, it is “The state of being poor; lack of the means of providing material needs or comforts.” Senator Hilary Rodham Clinton spoke today about creating a cabinet level position in which the primary purpose would be to end poverty in the United States. Mrs. Clinton gave her support to an idea long advocated by the King family, a cabinet position that she said would be “solely and fully devoted to ending poverty as we know it, that will focus the attention of our nation on this issue and never let it go.”

I am not so sure that a cabinet level position would fundamentally change the condition of people who experience poverty and those that experience extreme poverty in this country. Let’s look at some facts and recent illustrations of what I refer to as “poor people having poor ways” which underscores the mindset and behavior of people who tend to experience poverty.

Currently roughly 12% of the U.S. population fall below the federal poverty threshold. There is however some controversy regarding the federal poverty line, arguing that it either understates or overstates the problem of poverty. According to the United Nations, which defines poverty among high-income OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development ) countries as those earning less than 50% of the median, 17% of Americans lived in poverty between 1999 and 2002, the second highest percentage of any high-income OECD country.

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Human Poverty

Poverty is not just a financial state. Being poor affects life in many ways. The human poverty index uses indicators that capture non-financial elements of poverty, such as life expectancy, adult literacy, water quality, and children that are underweight. The 30 territories of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development use a different index which includes income and long-term unemployment; and not water quality or underweight children. This implies that the poor in richer territories are materially better off. This is clearly not the case. Otherwise, we would not need to create a cabinet post for a poverty czar.

Nearly half the African-Americans in a recent study of teenagers ages 14 to 19 were infected with at least one of the diseases monitored in the study — human papillomavirus (HPV), chlamydia, genital herpes and trichomoniasis, a common parasite. Further, the United States still has the highest rates of teen pregnancy, birth, and abortion in the fully industrialized world.

We could cite many more illustrations to be fair. But not until we change our mental models about how we view people, getting away from being judgmental, helping others without compensation and doing so unconditionally is the way out of poverty. What I am afraid of is that some national figure will get nominated who is well connected, Congress would deliberate and ultimately approve the nominee, then a bunch of high-priced consultants who know little about poverty will be hired and create a national report on poverty with recommendations. Wrong, wrong, wrong.

This issue has to be taken to the streets like presidential candidate Barack Obama has done. Use of social networking in a vigorous and relentless way. Providing tools like PCs (not old machines), for educational attainment, free high-speed Internet access, communicating with people via text messaging to remind of certain events and activities, creating “Meetups” weekly that engage, involve and excite people to change their mindset and their behaviors. Instead of going to the club, pool together talents of parents to conduct tutoring sessions. For example, if one parent is a math whiz, one is an english prodigy, and the like, have sessions in the home where it is safe and compelling to learn sans the television and side conversations. This the framework for the poverty czar to get things done because there are 196,000 search results for “poverty in america” so the work is already done. It is now time to execute much like what Obama has done to change the collective minds of people across America. It’s time for a different pace of action with fresh faces and relevant ideas and the willingness to change course.

 

 

 

Human Trafficking

In Human Condition and Treatment, human trafficking, slave labor, Trafficking on September 12, 2007 at 2:56 am

We must continually be reminded that that there are much more important topics for discussion and action than Britney Spears dance routine at the VMA’s and her post-baby belly.

 

Do These People Enjoy Their Work? Do You Give a Damn?

In China kilns, Human Condition and Treatment, human trafficking, slave labor, Trafficking on June 16, 2007 at 4:52 pm

Authorities have freed another 80 slave laborers who were starved, beaten and forced to work 14 hours or more per day at brick kilns and small mines in central China, state media said Saturday.

Police in Henan and Shanxi provinces have staged a dayslong series of raids on kilns and small coal and iron mines, acting with a rare speed and thoroughness indicating high-level government concern.

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The newly freed workers bring the total of slave laborers rescued in the past month to 548, the official Xinhua News Agency said.

Shanxi province has mobilized more than 14,000 police officers to raid some 2,500 kilns and mines, Xinhua said, citing Du Yulin, director of the provincial public security bureau. Authorities have been given 10 days to investigate every facility and interview each worker, Du said.  One simple question to those that read this: Would you continue to buy from stores that obtain goods from manufacturers that condone this type of workforce?  

 

Human Trafficking

Paris Hilton Could Impact Lives in India

In Environment, Hot Third World Products, Human Condition and Treatment, mindset 3.0 on June 4, 2007 at 12:39 pm

Seem like an odd title, but after she gets out of jail and see how the other half lives, a terrific way to support global sustainability is to wear it.  By this, Paris should endorse this great company based in India to make a fashion statement that she means business about the environment. We will be in touch with her representatives over the next several weeks to see what we can come up with.  I could see her wearing this bag for a night out.  Trends start because something is cool, typically worn by a famous celebrity.  Hollywood stars can afford to drive $450,000 automobiles, but many of them are choosing to drive a $23,000 Prius.   So, Paris can start by ordering the handbag or shoes we show below. 

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This bag represents the ultimate in promoting environment sustainability, while adding economic value to the lives of women in India who face social injustice each day.  To be clear, these items are made from recycled polythene bags!  Yes, those flimsy bags you get at most grocery stores, assuming you don’t ask for paper.  CONSERVE, a non-profit organisation, using a blend of creativity, design & innovation have turned, what was once a dull environmental hazard, into a clean, funky and fashionable material, from which have been crafted a range of appealing handbags and fashion accessories.

The company doesn’t stop there.  With the support of the Asian Development Bank, we are currently working on a project to generate income, through the production of this material, for the less advantaged communities in Delhi.

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Diamonds Should Not Be Anyone’s Best Friend

In Africa, diamond trade, Human Condition and Treatment, mindset 3.0, Sustainability on December 27, 2006 at 6:22 am

My wife and I saw Blood Diamond today–you know the post Christmas ritual of many people across the globe to visit their local movie theater. We were both a bit shaken by the intensity of the film, but moreso, we were moved. My wife commented about wanting to rid herself of her diamonds–mind you, they are not 3 carats or anywhere close to it. Nonetheless, I got to thinking of the monstrous diamond I saw in Chris Weber’s ear during an interview while checking out the post-holiday sales for big sceeen televisions.

From a media perspective, this is a tricky issue. On one hand you have liberals declaring not to wear furs. Yet, those same people may likely be wearing a diamond that was mined by a 12 year old boy or not. The videos we see today, are designed to stimulate the senses and make people want things–it’s good marketing hype and actually allows for fewer dollars to be spent by those companies, because African-Americans in particular are very quick to buy–diamonds that it and the bigger the better. How could DeBeers position an ad worth watching despite the new film, Blood Diamond? That is what we will discuss next time. Enjoy the movie clip: