Thursday, August 31, 2017

Socialist Standard No. 1357 September 2017

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Jordan Dries Out

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Jordan today has an average annual water supply of 150 cubic meters per capita. The United Nations says countries with less than 500 cubic meters per person face "absolute scarcity".

Jordan is currently one of the most water-poor countries in the world," said Stanford professor Steven Gorelick, "Beyond 2100, in the absence of additional fresh water supplies - a likely scenario is... groundwater is depleted, agriculture depends solely on treated waste water and rapid population growth through future adoption of refugees becomes an enormous challenge," he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
In a scenario where greenhouse gas emissions continue at their current pace, Jordan is expected to experience a one-third drop in annual winter rainfall, alongside a 4.5 degree Celsius rise in average annual temperatures by 2100, said the study. Droughts will increase in frequency, duration, and intensity compared to the three decades before 2010. The number of droughts in Jordan and their duration are expected to double between 2071 and 2100, causing a "huge problem", it said.
 The conflict in Syria has disrupted water management infrastructure in the Yarmouk-Jordan River system. Flow in the river is expected to decrease by up to 75 percent by 2050 compared to its historical average, as a result of human and natural influences in Syria, the study said.
Amman, the capital, recycles the vast majority of its waste water and uses this treated water for irrigation. The country is also moving ahead with new pipelines for groundwater and projects to desalinate water from the Red Sea. Despite these attempts to improve the situation, the "long-term physical constraints on supply are likely to get much worse", Gorelick warned.

Common ownership

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Women own just 13 percent of land in India although they do two-thirds of all farm work, with ownership largely passing from fathers to sons. India's constitution gives women equal rights but custom dictates that land is inherited by male sons. Women also seldom have claim over their husband's land.

About 60 percent of India's population depends on the land, mostly farming and raising livestock and poultry on marginal plots of less than 2 hectares (4.9 acres).
The burden of caring for livestock and harvesting forest produce such as honey to supplement incomes also falls on women.
The World Socialist Party (India) case is for common ownership, all for all.

Victory for the workers

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Trainee workers in India's garment manufacturing hub in south India can no longer be trapped in apprenticeships for years after changes to a 56-year-old law that must be implemented immediately, campaigners and trade unions said on Wednesday. After a decade of lobbying, the state government of Tamil Nadu has amended a 1961 apprenticeship law that restricts the time a worker can be kept in training and only allows 10 percent of a workforce to be trainees. Tamil Nadu is the largest hub in India's $40 billion-a-year textile and garment industry with about 400,000 people working in spinning mills and garment factories there to produce garments exported to Europe and the United States. The industry draws its largely female workforce from poor families. In 2016, the state labour department said apprentices outnumbered permanent workers in most textile mills, were paid less and most were fired at the end of a "three year apprenticeship period".
Campaigners had voiced concerns that tens of thousands of girls were trapped in trainee jobs in spinning mills and garment factories for three years or more, working long hours for below minimum wages with no welfare benefits or job security. The new rules will limit apprenticeships to six months to a year and give workers the opportunity to join the permanent workforce. Campaigners called for the amended law to be implemented immediately.
"Exploitation had become epidemic in the industry," said Anantharaman Sivakumar of the All India Council of Trade Unions (AICCTU), who has been campaigning for changes in the law for over a decade now. "It has been a long road for these changes in the law and once implemented, it will give workers medical benefits, social security, proper holiday schedules and a more dignified existence. The industry can no longer suppress women workers' rights by restricting their opportunities to grow. Now, they will have to make them a part of the formal workforce and pay them their dues,"
The girls will now have formal contracts, limited training periods, and the possibility of a permanent job.
"In many instances, workers are not even given a pay slip telling them what they have earned and what has been deducted," said Thivya Sesuraj, advisor to the all women Tamilnadu Textile and Common Labour Union (TTCU)
If you wish to see a world controlled by the workers contact:
The World Socialist Party (India) 
257 Baghajatin ‘E’ Block (East), Kolkata 700086,
Tel: 2425-0208,
E-mail: wspindia@hotmail.com



India's Demonetisation Failed

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Recall India's demonetisation when it banned 500 and 1,000 rupee bank-notes?

A report now declares that the plan did not work. 

The RBI report says that illegal notes worth 15.28tn rupees ($242bn) had been deposited in banks up to 30 June. This basically means that almost 99% of the "demonetised" money was deposited into banks and wasn't really destroyed. So all that undeclared black-market money which was supposed made worthless was recompensed by the process. Black money was essentially money that has been earned but on which taxes haven't been paid. The hope was that black money held in the form of cash wouldn't be deposited into banks, given that people holding it wouldn't want to be identified - in the process, a vast amount of illegal money would be destroyed. But the RBI report tells a different story.

 All the hardship Indian's faced was unnecessary and pointless. The rural economy and property - which rely largely on cash transactions - were sectors hit by the ban. It also contributed to a slowdown in economic growth.

India's attempt to flush out undeclared wealth did not work.

Only the World Socialist Party (India) can end undeserved unearned wealth

If you wish to see a genuine money-free world contact:
The World Socialist Party (India) 
257 Baghajatin ‘E’ Block (East), Kolkata 700086,
Tel: 2425-0208,
E-mail: wspindia@hotmail.com

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

The Acts of the God-Men

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Television evangelist preacher Joel Osteen has been accused of closing his church's doors to victims of Hurricane Harvey. Lakewood Church is the largest megachurch in the United States, once home to the NBA's Houston Rockets and with an average weekly attendance of more than 40,000 people. The church had come in for heavy criticism on social media after it claimed that the church was flooded and could not be used as a refuge shelter for victims of the hurricane, which has displaced tens of thousands of people and killed at least seven. Photographs from outside the church showed that the building had not been flooded. CNN notes that there was a flood wall had been put in place at the church, years ago after a previous storm flooded the area.  Osteen’s father-in-law, Donald Iloff, told CNN. “We are prepared to shelter people once the cities and county shelters reach capacity. Lakewood will be a value to the community in the aftermath of this storm in helping our fellow citizens rebuild their lives.”

Let's now be clear - If you live just blocks away from the church and your home has been flooded, you cannot stay at the church. The church is not housing you until the shelters have reached capacity, so as long as there is space at a local shelter, even if getting to said shelter requires a boat, then you are out of luck. And about those tithes that you’ve been giving the church...i'm sure Osteen still thanks you for those donations.
Oh, and now after all the Twitter backlash, Olsteen has relented and tweeted his church doors are now been belatedly opened to the needy.

Residing in a $10.5 million Houston mansion, Osteen reportedly banks over $55 million a year through the sales of his numerous best-selling books and related journals and study guides, according to Celebrity Net Worth. The New York Times reported that his first book alone sold more than three million hardcover copies. Osteen uses his ministry, which reaches the homes of over 100 million people, as a vehicle for self-promotion and building his own fortune. 


Osteen is not the only rich pastor in the U.S. Here are some of them along with their net worth. 

1. Kenneth Copeland,
$760 million Copeland leads the network "Believer's Voice of Victory," which is a 24x7 program on healing and finding peace. The focus of the program is how a solid foundation can be built on faith. Kenneth Copeland Ministries that specializes in teaching principles of bible faith runs on a 1,500-acre campus in Texas, according to Beliefnet, a website that publishes content related to faith and spirituality. 

2. Marion Gordon "Pat" Robertson, $100 million
Robertson is the son of former Sen. A. Willis Robertson (D-Virginia). Pat served as a Southern Baptist minister for many years before making a successful career as a media mogul and executive chairman. In the late 80s, he also ran for president but did not win. He runs several organizations such as the Christian Coalition, a Christian right organization that raises money and public support for conservative political candidates.

3. Toufik Benedictus "Benny" Hinn,
 $42 millionHinn was born in Israel and was raised in the Eastern Orthodox tradition. He claims he received a vision in 1974 when he saw people falling into a roaring inferno and a warning that if he did not preach the Gospel, every soul falling into the inferno will be Hinn's responsibility. Days after he turned 22, he preached his first sermon and has been an evangelist since. The pastor has worked in the field for 40 years through miracle services, conferences, TV broadcasts, the Internet, audio-video recordings, among others. 

4. Creflo Dollar, $27 Million
The founder of the non-denominational World Changers Church International, Georgia, Atlanta. Dollar was raised in a Baptist church and received a Bachelor of Science degree in education after which he held his first sermon in an elementary school cafeteria, 1986. Within 20 years, he was preaching to a congregation of 30,000 members and earning $69 million in revenue.

  SOYMB has no doubt that those very charitable righteous men will be digging deep into their pockets to help out the victims of this Act of God.

The Increasing Ghettoes

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Half a century after President Johnson declared a war on poverty, the number of Americans living in slums is rising at an extraordinary pace.
The number of people living in high-poverty areas—defined as census tracts where 40 percent or more of families have income levels below the federal poverty threshold—nearly doubled between 2000 and 2013, to 13.8 million from 7.2 million, according to a new analysis of census data by Paul Jargowsky, a public-policy professor at Rutgers University-Camden and a fellow at The Century Foundation. That’s the highest number of Americans living in high-poverty neighborhoods ever recorded.
Many wealthy suburbs passed zoning ordinances that prohibited the construction of affordable-housing units or the construction of apartment buildings in general. Some mandated that houses all be detached, or are a minimum size, which essentially makes them too expensive for low-income families.
“It’s no longer legal to say, ‘We don’t want African-Americans to live here,’ but you can say, ‘I’m going to make sure no one who makes less than two times the median income lives here,’” Jargowsky explained.
 In Syracuse, New York 65 percent of the black population lived in high-poverty areas in 2013, up from 43 percent of the black population in 2000, Jargowsky found. In Detroit, 58 percent of the black population lived in areas of concentrated poverty in 2013, up from 17 percent in 2000. And in Milwaukee, 43 percent of the Latino population lived in areas of concentrated poverty in 2013, up from 5 percent in 2000.
Housing Choice Vouchers, also known as Section 8, are meant to give poor families better options about where they live, but are instead confining the poor to the few neighborhoods where landlords will accept the voucher.
The research shows that poor children are more likely to live in high-poverty areas than are poor adults—28 percent of poor black children live in high-poverty areas, for example, compared to 24 percent of poor black adults. Overall, 16.5 percent of poor children live in high-poverty areas, compared to 13.8 percent of poor adults.
A child who grows up in a high-poverty area is likely to be poor when he grows up. Research out this year from Harvard shows that children who moved from poor areas to more affluent areas had higher incomes and better educational achievements than those who stayed in poor areas. Without dramatic changes, today’s children who live in high-poverty areas are going to grow up to be poor, too.

First Nation Despair

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Suicide and self-harm is the leading cause of death for indigenous Canadians up to the age of 44.  Deprivation and despair lie behind this epidemic.  First Nations communities total 1.4 million people – just under 4.3% of Canada’s population. Sheila North Wilson, grand chief and representative of more than 75,000 indigenous people living across northern Canada explained “The communities I represent are living in abject poverty. My people are the poorest in this country, and that’s not right.” https://www.theguardian.com/inequality/2017/aug/30/our-society-is-broken-what-can-stop-canadas-first-nations-suicide-epidemic

The suicide epidemic affecting First Nations communities across Canada has been a national crisis for decades, but it attracted international headlines after three indigenous communities were moved to declare a state of emergency in response to a series of deaths.

In the spring of 2016, Attawapiskat First Nation reserve in Ontario declared a state of emergency after 11 young people tried to commit suicide in one night – adding to the estimated 100 attempts made over 10 months among this community of 2,000 people. Not long after, it was revealed that six people, including a 14-year-old girl, had killed themselves over a period of three months in the Pimicikamak Cree Nation community of northern Manitoba. In the aftermath, more than 150 youths in this remote community of 6,000 were put on suicide watch. Then in June this year, another First Nations reserve in Ontario lost three 12-year-old girls who had reportedly agreed a suicide pact. 
Studies show young indigenous males are 10 times more likely to kill themselves than their non-indigenous male counterparts, while young indigenous females are 21 times more likely than young non-indigenous females.
Katrina, 16, lives on a reserve in central British Columbia with her family. She recently confided to a counsellor that she had contemplated suicide, and had even made a detailed plan on how she was going to carry it out.
I felt like I had no other option; I felt hopeless,” Katrina recalls, adding that the stigma attached to being an aboriginal youth played a huge role in her contemplating suicide. “People call us freeloaders. They call us dirty Indians. I am judged because of my culture and heritage.” Accounts of such prejudice are prevalent across the country. 

In terms of educational opportunities, healthcare and child welfare, the government is doing an injustice by not adequately funding our communities,” Roderick McCormick, an expert in indigenous health and suicide at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops BC says. “When these remote reserves compare themselves to other communities across Canada, there is a huge gap that has become really evident.” McCormick adds “Before we can address this crisis, we need to solve the underlying issues so other communities do not go through the same things. We are putting a Band-Aid over the symptoms, and not getting to the root causes of why this is happening.”

Recent research has found more than 100 reserves still lack housing, electricity or running water – with almost 90 of them being advised to boil their drinking water. Another study by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives found that 60% of children on these reserves are living in poverty. Health and educational services on First Nations reserves are also far below the national averages. “Secondary schools on reserves are about two grades behind urban schools,” Wilson says. “So when you tell young people to go to college, they are so behind in the curriculum they get overwhelmed. Youth are expected to succeed, but it is setting them up to fail.” Prime minister, Justin Trudeau, has pledged to dedicate more resources and funding to grassroots organisations and programs, Wilson says much more must be done to combat the high rates of suicide. “We need to empower our communities to be prosperous and independent, and the only way to do that is create programmes where we all benefit from the resources,” she says. “[Our young people] need stable housing and running water before they can make the most of any opportunity afforded to them.”

 Canada’s systemic, long-standing neglect of its indigenous people is encapsulated in the ongoing impact of the country’s residential school system, which saw more than 150,000 indigenous children taken from their homes in an attempt to forcibly assimilate them into Canadian society. Rife with neglect and abuse, at least 6,000 residential schoolchildren are documented to have died as a result of their school experiences. In 2008, the Canadian government finally acknowledged this system as a dark chapter in the country’s history – but the effects of the schools can still be felt among First Nations communities today. Stacy Wormell-Street, director of operations at ASK Wellness Society (a non-profit helping indigenous communities struggling with addiction) agrees the impact of residential schools – the last of which closed its doors in 1996 – still permeates indigenous communities today.

The deep-rooted trauma which Canada’s aboriginal people suffered through the assimilation of their culture by the Canadian government has been carried on through generations,” she says. “Today we continue to see a drastic and tragic rise in death by suicide within our aboriginal youth.” According to Wormell-Street, many children are being lost into the child welfare system because mothers and fathers do not have the supports necessary to make good decisions. “Our society is broken. We are failing our future generations – this is unacceptable and it is time for change.”




For further information see Indigenous Suicides

To contact the Socialist Party of Canada send postal mail to:
Socialist Party of Canada
PO Box 31024
Victoria, B.C.
Canada
V8N 6J3 


Or, e-mail the 
Socialist Party



The Child Poverty Crisis of New Zealand

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More New Zealand children are killed by diseases linked to cold, damp, and overcrowded housing than in car crashes or drownings.

Parrs Park, a low-income suburb with a diverse ethnic population, has some of the worst rates of preventable, poverty-related child diseases in Auckland. The area counted more than 140 potentially avoidable hospitalisations among its 2000 children during 2016 alone - six times that of a suburb like Remuera, across town.
The statistics do not make Parr's Park unique. In fact, every town around the country has areas just like it - and worse - where children are getting sick largely because of cold, damp, overcrowded homes.
Health data shows that each year 20 children are killed by diseases linked to unhealthy housing - more than 350 since the millennium. Half of those were from pneumonia. Asthma and wheeze took 33. Bronchiolitis claimed 15.
The deaths peak in winter, hospitals flooded as soon as it gets cold. Maori and Pacific children die at twice the rate of Europeans. The very poor die at 14 times the rate of the very rich, with a recent report from the Asthma and Respiratory Foundation describing the effect of deprivation as "near exponential".
"Across all respiratory health indicators, by far the most relentless and disturbing pattern was the high degree of inequality," the report said.
Hospitalisations caused by poverty-related conditions have increased since 2000 - up to 43,000 last year. Respiratory diseases, in particular, are growing at much more severe rates. A recent Otago University study found 53 per cent of children hospitalised with preventable, poverty-related diseases would be readmitted. For children with a smaller subset of conditions linked more strongly to housing and crowding, that figure jumped to 80 per cent. Doctors argue the hospitalisations are a result of embedded child poverty levels combined with a relentless housing crisis. A recent study from Otago shows 42,000 people now live in "precarious" housing such as garages, caravan parks and cars, with those families believed to be behind a solid swathe of the hospitalisation statistics. 
"In New Zealand we have created a triple jeopardy for poor health," says expert paediatrician Professor Innes Asher. "Poverty, unhealthy housing and inadequate basic health care puts health at risk, but when the three are combined...poor physical health is almost inevitable, as in Dickens' times."
In West Auckland, Te Whanau o Waipareira social workers have the anecdotes behind the data. Their clients come both from private rentals and state housing, from Kelston to Massey.
"We have workers who are taking mums and their babies to the doctor four times a week with respiratory illness," says Alisha Tamepo-Pehi, a lead clinician. "The majority of our whanau can't afford heating. They don't have the basic necessities - beds, clothing, blankets. There are people sleeping on the floor, it's damp, it's dusty, there's drafts coming up."
Dr Cass Byrnes, a respiratory paediatrician at Auckland's Starship hospital, sees the impact of those living conditions every day. On a single day last week there were 40 children on the general ward with respiratory illnesses. In summer, those children would fill only two or three beds. "We have waves of kids coming in the minute it gets cold," Byrnes says. "We try to delay discharges but the wards are packed. The problem is, the kids just can't get symptom free - they go home with antibiotics to the same environment that cause the problem." Byrnes says not just the number but the severity of cases are getting worse. Rates of bronchiectasis, an irreversible, life-threatening lung disease caused by repeated chest infections, have tripled in just 15 years. "It's a Third World disease, the kind of thing that if you were going to see it, the patients would be in their eighties. Now we are diagnosing it younger and younger," Byrnes said. "Internationally people are astonished at the numbers we have here. It's completely terrifying."
 10 years ago, clinicians were raising the same concerns about another poverty-related disease: rheumatic fever. In 2011, New Zealand's rheumatic fever rates were 14 times higher than any other OECD country. It was labelled a "national disgrace". Eventually, the pressure got too much and the government allocated $65 million to combat its spread. The goal was to reduce the rate by two-thirds, to 1.4 cases per 100,000 people. Six years later, that goal is still unmet. Health experts who were skeptical back then are furious now, saying targeting just one disease was never going to work, but instead diverted funds away from the wider issue.
"Rheumatic fever was a small silo for a big problem," says Otago University's Dr Nevil Pierse, deputy director of the housing research unit He Kainga Oranga. "In focusing on rheumatic fever alone, the government missed the big picture. Or, they're refusing to see it."
Warm Up New Zealand was a government initiative to provide insulation subsidies. Launched in 2009, it offered grants covering up to 60 per cent of insulation costs both for low-income families and the general population. It was immensely popular, with 241,000 homes insulated in the first phase. However, criteria were narrowed, with the current scheme only applicable to rental homes with low-income tenants. It's no longer so popular. Of the 20,000 grants available, just 3300 have been paid out.
"It's deeply disappointing," says Philippa Howden-Chapman, a professor of public health at the University of Otago. "There's a real reluctance of landlords, who are providing a service, to maintain that service. It's a reluctance I can only put down to the fact that most landlords aren't concerned about depreciation but only capital gains." Howden-Chapman says with up to 800,000 uninsulated homes in New Zealand, she was staggered the government reduced such an important programme. "It's both a social and a moral argument - children end up with compromised health for their whole lives, and they die." She cites statistics highlighting New Zealand's inadequate homes - half of houses are damp and mouldy, half have bedrooms that are never heated. Five per cent of children live in severely crowded homes.
End capitalism – End poverty:
World Socialist Party (New Zealand)
Website: http://www.worldsocialism.org/nz/
E-mail: wsp.nz@worldsocialism.org














Afghani Riches

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Trump decided to keep US troops in Afghanistan for an indefinite period of time, which he had always previously been critical of. Supposedly, the reason for the about-turn was his "instinct" to defeat Islamist terrorists in the country, where the US has been engaged in a bloody war for 16 years. But experts say there is more to his decision than meets the eye.
According to The New York Times, Trump discussed Afghanistan's mineral deposits with President Ashraf Ghani, who "promoted mining as an economic opportunity in one of their first conversations." 
"We need to end the 14-year-long Afghan conflict so that our future generations can benefit from the treasures our country possesses," Ghani said, pointing out that Afghanistan's most disadvantaged regions are rich in natural resources and said his government would pay more attention to the mining sector.


"... this could be one justification for the United States to stay engaged in the country," the newspaper reported. "... three of Mr. Trump's senior aides met with a chemical executive, Michael N. Silver, to discuss the potential for extracting rare-earth minerals. Mr. Silver's firm, American Elements, specializes in these minerals, which are used in a range of high-tech products," The New York Times said.

Afghanistan's mineral wealth is estimated to be between $1 trillion and $3 trillion. The landlocked country has huge reserves of copper, iron, chromite, mercury, zinc, precious gems as well as gold and silver, and, most importantly, lithium and rare earth elements that are used in batteries. Afghanistan's mineral deposits attracted global interest in 2007 when a report by US Geological Survey declared the country a treasure trove. However, the idea of using Afghan minerals to lift the country out of poverty and war has remained a dream. The corruption-mired Afghan mining sector is the second-largest source of funding for the Taliban and one of the reasons behind violence in mineral-rich areas. According to a report by the United States Institute of Peace, a bulk of looted minerals is smuggled openly across the Afghan border through government checkpoints.


The Taliban, "Islamic State" (IS) jihadists, and alo the Afghan warlords want their share in the mineral wealth, too.
"We have tried to prevent armed groups from illegally mining our natural resources," said Mir Ahmad Jawid Sadat, deputy minister of mines and petroleum.








A thirsty planet

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Two-thirds of the world is covered in water, containing over a billion trillion liters of water. So how could we have water shortages? The vast majority of water on earth is saltwater and therefore not fit for human consumption. Only 2.5 percent of all water is freshwater. But more than two-thirds of that is locked away in ice caps and glaciers. That leaves a tiny fraction of water to drink, cook with, irrigate crops and feed livestock.  But water is a renewable resource that moves in a cycle. The amount of H2O on our planet will always remain the same, and won't run out as such. The question is whether we will have enough clean water available for all citizens at all times.  Vincent Casey, a water expert at WaterAid, explained "A big challenge is that water isn't always where you need it and when you need it most. So investment has to go into water storage and distribution, to ensure people always have access to safe water,"


According to a 2016 study by the University of Twente in the Netherlands, 4 billion people could face severe water shortages for at least a month every year. In some regions, people are already severely affected by droughts and water scarcity. Millions of people in the Horn of Africa face hunger and illness after years of recurring drought. And Pakistan could run dry by 2025, a UN report suggests. Groundwater is over-extracted; rivers and lakes are drying up or becoming too polluted to use.


 Around 70 percent of all freshwater on the planet goes into irrigation of fields and feeding of livestock. In Spain's tomato-growing region, farmers using the latest technology have managed to decrease their water consumption over the years. But in the industry as a whole - which produces a quarter of Europe's tomatoes - still needs more water than local water resources can supply. As a result, the region faces water scarcity.


According to the World Health Organization, human beings need at least 20 liters (5.3 gallons) of freshwater per day to prepare meals and for basic personal hygiene. Laundry and bathing are not included. Water consumption is much higher in industrialized countries, though - for example, the average person in Germany uses 140 liters per day. Flushing the toilet alone uses 30 liters.
But on the industrial scale, 840 liters of water are required to produce one pot of coffee. And more than 8,000 liters go into the manufacture of a single pair of jeans.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Monsoon Madness

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At least 1,200 people have been killed and millions have been left homeless following devastating floods that have hit India, Bangladesh and Nepal, in one of the worst flooding disasters to have affected the region in years. International aid agencies said thousands of villages have been cut off by flooding with people being deprived of food and clean water for days.  The ongoing floods had so far affected 17 million people in India, with thousands sheltered in relief camps. South Asia suffers from frequent flooding during the monsoon season, which lasts from June to September, but authorities have said this year's floods have been much worse.
 In the eastern Indian state of Bihar, the death toll has risen to more than 500. Anirudh Kumar, a disaster management official in Patna, the capital of Bihar, a poor state known for its mass migration from rural areas to cities, said this year's farming had collapsed because of the floods, which will lead to a further rise in unemployment in the region. 
In the northern state of Uttar Pradresh, reports said more than 100 people had died and 2.5 million have been affected.
In Mumbai, authorities struggled to evacuate people living in low-lying areas as transport links were paralysed and downpours led to water rising up to five feet in some parts of the city. 
In neighbouring Bangladesh, at least 134 have died in monsoon flooding which is believed to have submerged at least a third of the country. More than 600,000 hectares of farmland have been partially damaged and in excess of 10,000 hectares have been completely washed away, according to the disaster minister. Bangladesh's economy is dependent on farming and the country lost around a million tonnes of rice in flash floods in April.
 "Farmers are left with nothing, not event with clean drinking water," said Matthew Marek, the head of disaster response in Bangladesh for the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent. According to the Red Cross, at least 7.1 million people have been affected in Bangladesh - more than the population of Scotland.
In Nepal, 150 people have been killed and 90,000 homes have been destroyed in what the UN has called the worst flooding incident in the country in a decade. Around 1.4 million people have been affected in Nepal.
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) says it is becoming one of the worst regional humanitarian crises in years. The rise in extreme weather events such as hurricanes and floods have been identified by climate scientists as the hallmark of man-made climate change. India's Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, has said climate change and new weather patterns are having "a big negative impact". Those who are going to suffer the most from climate change are also those in the most poorest and undeveloped countries.
When it comes to remedying global warming, socialists ask, can capitalism deliver? Or more pertinently what could be done in a socialist society?
On the advent of socialism, a considerable reduction in CO2 emissions would be obtained by ending the enormous wasteful economic activity and production inherent in capitalism. Principal contributors to this waste are the maintenance and preparedness of the armed forces and occupations and products handling money. The enormous sums of money spent on the military represent the use of land, facilities, machinery, materials and human resources to keep it in a constant state of preparedness for and participation in war. Socialism would eliminate the need for these industries and thereby rapidly introduce a large cut in power generation and consequent CO2 emissions to the atmosphere. This would serve to relax the onus on (i) the introduction of the mitigating technologies discussed above and (ii) enable the power generation required for the pent up demand for improved living standards in the developing world to be met. It is hard to disagree with the conclusion that the opposition of the hugely powerful companies with vested interests in fossil fuels will be too great for any government to overcome. To conclude, in the first period of socialism clearing up this mess left by capitalism would be a priority project a necessary and formidable challenge, but surely one that would be grasped wholeheartedly in a sane, socialist world.
If you care about the environmental stability of the planet contact:

The World Socialist Party (India): 257 Baghajatin ‘E’ Block (East), Kolkata – 700086,

Tel: 2425-0208,










Latin America's Poverty

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“There are 33 million rural dwellers in Latin America who are still living in extreme poverty and can’t afford a good diet, clothes or education, and we are not going to help them move out of poverty if we use the same strategies that worked 20 years ago,” FAO regional representative Julio Berdegué told IPS. “There is a strong deceleration in the reduction of poverty, five times slower than before, only just 0.2 per cent per year,” noted with concern Berdegué, who attributed the phenomenon, among other causes, to a regional economic slowdown which has had an impact on employment and incomes.

While the proportion of rural extreme poor decreased by 1 percentage point a year between 1997 and 2007, the rate of decrease was only 0.2 per cent a year between 2007 and 2014.

“The strong, sustainable, solid solution to rural poverty is economic development in rural areas. Quality jobs, better wages: that is the best strategy to reduce rural poverty,” said Berdegué. “Social policies compensate for the effects of economic development, but what we want is for people to stop being poor because they have better jobs and not because of good social programmes…that is a second best option.” 

There is also the issue of rural labour markets “which are in general in a state of true disaster, with high levels of informality and very low female participation rates, among them young women who have received 10 to 12 years of schooling and have no job offers in line with this human capital they have acquired.”

“Many of these 33 million poor are poor because they are first victims of inequality. A rural indigenous woman, in a less developed area, is victim of more than four inequalities: gender, ethnicity, rural and territorial. Besides, economic inequality, on grounds of social class,” Berdegué said.
“Good quality employment, better wages, that is the best strategy for reducing rural poverty. And we have an accumulation of inequalities that, if we do not solve them, it will be very hard to return to the rate of one percentage point of reduction of rural extreme poverty,” he concluded.

Lest we forget

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More than 4,000 black people were lynched in 12 Southern states between the end of Reconstruction in 1877 and 1950. Where are their monuments?

Six lynching markers have been erected by the Equal Justice Institute as part of an effort to recognize America's history of racial terror, a far cry from the more than 1,500 symbols of the Confederacy. In addition to the more than 700 Confederate monuments and statues on public property throughout the country, there are at least 109 public schools named after prominent Confederates, many with large African-American student populations.

Researchers at EJI said in the organization’s latest report on lynching, “Many of the communities where lynchings took place have gone to great lengths to erect markers and monuments that memorialize the Civil War, the Confederacy and historical events during which local power was violently reclaimed by white Southerners. . . . There are very few monuments or memorials that address the history and legacy of lynching in particular or the struggle for racial equality more generally..."




Feeble Tory Reforms

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 In an interview with the BBC, Frances O’Grady, the TUC general secretary, described the plans as “feeble”. She said the government had “bottled it” in response to pressure from business and criticised ministers for refusing to curb excessive executive pay while capping pay rises for ordinary public sector workers. O’Grady said the government plans had “no teeth” and would little impact on executive pay. She said it was not enough to rely on shareholders to vote down excessive pay deals for executives because only three remuneration reports were defeated by shareholders in the last season.
Just a year ago the prime minister repeatedly promised fundamental reform of business. And that’s because there was real public concern about boardroom greed, about tax avoidance, and exploitative works practices at the likes of Sports Direct. This response, I’m afraid, is feeble ...
I’m afraid the government has bottled it in the face of business lobbying. And that doesn’t bode well for really tackling some of these big problems, like greed at the top, and what’s happening to everybody else’s pay.
I have to say, if the government had shown an ounce of the enthusiasm for capping top pay that it has shown for capping the pay of firefighters, nurses, and teachers, we would probably be in a very different place.”
A lot of these proposals are about transparency and voluntary action. And we may get one-off reductions in top pay for PR purposes, but then see it creeping back, because these proposals have no teeth. And much of the information that they are proposing to make transparent is already in the public domain.”
She accused Theresa May of breaking her promise to put workers on company boards. “Most of us would think that workers on boards means workers elected by other workers, not people who are not workers selected by the boss.”