2018/09/10: so far there’s no sign of a wide-spread shift toward restraints on child labor, better pay or safer working conditions. One reason for this is that new international trade pacts, such as GATT and NAFTA, make it difficult to enact sanctions against countries that permit labor abuses. And another reason is the obvious one: these cheap labor pools are enormously profitable for American corporations.
The consequences of the new global trade reach far beyond the wretched conditions inside the factories themselves. Environmental degradation is a hidden externality of the shift in industrial production from developed countries to Latin America and Southeast Asia. The new plants consume enormous amounts of energy in areas where power supplies have been primitive in the past. To meet the increased demand, Indonesia and Mexico have begun constructing huge coal-fired power plants, posing a grave threat to air quality in places like Jakarta and Mexico City. Similarly, China is in the midst of building dozens of new coal-fired plants that will emit thousands of tons of greenhouse gases each year, a dangerous contribution to global warming trends. But China also has more monumental ambitions: the Three Gorges hydroelectric dam.
Free and fair elections require an informed, active body of citizens debating the electoral issues of the day and scrutinising the positions of candidates. Participation at each and every stage of an electoral campaign - not just on the day of the vote - is necessary for a healthy democracy.rnrnThose online have access to an increasingly sophisticated set of tools to do just this: to learn about candidates, to participate in political discussions, to shape debate and raise issues that matter to them. Or even, run for office themselves.rnrnWhat does this mean for those citizens who don't have access to the internet? Do online debates capture their needs, concerns and interests? Are the priorities of those not connected represented on the political stage?rnThe Mexican election: a story of digital inequalityrnrnMar195173a de Jes195186s "Marichuy" Patricio Martinez was selected as an independent candidate in Mexico's recent July 1 elections general election - the first indigenous woman to run for president. But digital barriers doomed her candidacy.rnrnIndependent presidential candidates in Mexico are required to collect 866,000 signatures using a mandatory mobile app that only runs on relatively new smartphones. This means that to collect the required endorsements, a candidate and their supporters all need a modern smartphone - which typically costs around three times the minimum monthly salary - plus electricity and mobile data. These are resources many people in indigenous communities simply don't have. While the electoral authorities exempted some municipalities from this process, it did not cover the mostly poor and indigenous areas that Marichuy wanted to represent. She was unable to gather the signatures needed.rnOffline and disconnectedrnrnIn Mexico, as in many countries, increased internet use has led to a growing number of political and electoral activities taking place online - a shift that offers new opportunities for broadening involvement and activating the electorate. In the country's July elections, the National Electoral Authority (INE) used its website, videos and social networks to encourage people to vote and to inform citizens about key electoral issues.rnrnBut just as Marichuy discovered, digital technology can only expand opportunities so far as people are connected and have the resources they need to engage. With only 64% of Mexico's population online, over a third of the country is shut out of the increasingly influential digital square. And those without internet access are disproportionately poor, female, indigenous and living in rural areas - people whose interests the institutions of government systematically fail to address, and who candidates should be paying particular attention to.rnrnMexico's digital divide is stark, with some entire communities without access. There are people living in indigenous communities who, to get online, must travel up to 40 kilometers to reach an area with connectivity. This is a huge burden that only a minority of people in these communities can afford according to research from the Heinrich Boll Foundation.rnrnIn a country as large and centralised as Mexico, ensuring broad based participation is critical. But as political parties shift from traditional campaigning to a digital-led model they are increasingly shifting their attention towards those citizens that are online, leaving those offline with fewer opportunities to inform themselves about candidates, their positions, and the issues on the table. These voices are being lost.
NAFTA's Legacy for Mexico: Economic Displacement, rnLower Wages for Most, Increased MigrationrnNAFTA Devastated Mexico's Rural Sector and Increased PovertyrnThe North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was sold to the people of all three countries with rngrand promises. Mexicans were promised NAFTA would raise their wages and bring Mexicans' rnstandards of living closer to the United States and Canada. Instead, after 24 years, real wages in Mexico rnare down from already low prern-rnNAFTA wages, two million Mexicans engaged in farming lost their rnlivelihoods and lands, tens of thousands of small businesses have gone bankrupt as American bigrn-rnbox rnretailers moved in, and poverty remains widespread. And, Mexican taxpayers have paid foreign rninvestors more than $204 million in compensation following Investorrn-rnState Dispute Settlement attacks.rnPrior to NAFTA, 21.4 percent of rnMexico's population earned less than rnthe minimum income needed for food, a rnshare that has barely budged in the 24 rnyears since NAFTA's implementation. rnToday, over half of the Mexican rnpopulation and over 60 percent of the rnrural population still fall below the rnpoverty line, contrary to the promises rnmade by NAFTA's proponents. On the rn10rn-rnyear anniversary of NAFTA, the rnWashington Postrnreported: "19 million rnmore Mexicans are living in poverty rnthan 20 years ago, according to the rnMexican government and international rnorganizations." rnBefore NAFTA, Mexico only imported rncorn and other basic food commodities if local production did not meet domestic needs. NAFTA rneliminated Mexican tariffs on corn and other commodities. NAFTA terms also required revocation of rnprograms supporting small farmers. But NAFTA did not discipline U.S. subsidies on agriculture. The rnresult was disastrous for millions of people in the Mexican countryside whose livelihoods relied on rnagriculture. Amid a NAFTArn-rnspurred influx of cheap U.S. corn, the price paid to Mexican farmers for the rncorn that they grew fell by 66 percent, forcing many to abandon farming. From 1991 to 2007, about 2 rnmillion Mexicans engaged in farming and related work lost their livelihoods. Mexico's participation in rnNAFTA was conditioned on changing its revolutionaryrn-rnera Constitution's land reforms, undoing rnprovisions that guaranteed small plots (rn"ejidosrn") to millions of Mexicans living in rural villages. As corn rnprices plummeted, indebted farmers lost their land, which newly could be acquired by foreign firms that rnconsolidated prime acres into large plantations.rnAccording to a New Republic exposé: "as cheap American foodstuffs flooded Mexico's markets and as rnU.S. agribusiness moved in, 1.1 million small farmers rn-rnand 1.4 million other Mexicans dependent upon rnthe farm sector rn-rnwere driven out of work between 1993 and 2005. Wages dropped so precipitously that rntoday the income of a farm laborer is onern-rnthird that of what it was before NAFTA." The exposé noted rnthat, as jobs and wages fell, many rural Mexicans joined the ranks of the 12 million undocumented rnimmigrants competing for lowrn-rnwage jobs in the United States. rnThough the price paid to Mexican farmers plummeted after NAFTA, the newly deregulated retail price of rntortillas rn-rnMexico's staple food rn-rnshot up 279 percent in the pact's first 10 years. This contradicts free rntrade theory, which predicts that gains from liberalization come on the import side as all consumers enjoy rnlower prices, while injury only occurs to those in sectors directly displaced by imports. But, NAFTA rnincluded service sector and investment rules that facilitated consolidation of grain trading, milling, baking rnand retail. So in short order the relatively few remaining large firms dominating these activities were able rnto raise the prices paid by Mexican consumers and reap extra profits as corn costs simultaneously rndeclined. This problem is ongoing; Recent reports show that U.S. exports of corn, wheat, soybeans and rnrice are all sold below production costs, devastating Mexico's agricultural sector.
2018/03/03: I social network messicani accusano l'Instituto Nacional Electoral (INE) di generare "fake news" per aver rilasciato dichiarazioni false riguardo il suo accordo con Facebook.
L'annuncio di collaborazione dell'autorità elettorale messicana con Facebook solleva dei dubbi sulla sua credibilità
By: Executive Director, Fair World Project
The ick factor isn't the only thing keeping grasshoppers from being a viable food in North America. The real problem is learning to farm them.
L'organizzazione attacca gli Stati estranei al cartello: "Non riduremmo la produzione, ma se altri vogliono farlo sono benvenuti". Le quotazioni del
MAHARASHTRA, 2010. In a village 130km (80 miles) from Mumbai, the head of a nursery is weighing a child. Four years old, she is just 10kg (22lb), two-thirds of what she should be.
The Ukraine crisis has led many to call on the US to use its growing oil and natural gas production to help Ukraine and Europe wean itself off Russian energy. There's one very big problem with this view, Cobb writes: The US is still a net importer of both oil and natural gas.
On Monday, March 24, I leave on a trip to witness an event I never thought I'd see: the Colorado River flowing through its delta toward the sea.
The testing regime in Mexico is as entrenched as it is in the United States.
Those concerned about the 11.1 million undocumented immigrants who come to the United States from around the world may one day miss a time when the U.S. ...
The changes to the farming sector in Mexico unleashed by NAFTA represent more than a trend of people eating hamburgers and fries instead of tacos and drinking Pepsi instead of a traditional Jamaica juice. Along with changes in Mexico's food system, NAFTA has caused a series of shocks to the Mexican countryside, forcing many farm workers to abandon their lands and look for work in cities or in the US or elsewhere. It has turned Mexico into a food dependent country, which is no longer able to feed its population without imports. [...]
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The popular theory that Mexico's Chicxulub Crater, discovered in 1978, holds the clue to the demise of the dinosaurs, along with some 65 percent of all species 65 million years ago, has been confronted by a serious challenge from Gerta...
Yesterday's New York Times contained an enormous-three full pages-investigative report on Walmart's use of bribes to circumvent zoning restrictions in Mexico. The article pu
Wal-Mart de Mexico was an aggressive and creative corrupter, offering large payoffs to get what the law otherwise prohibited, an examination by The New York Times found.
The topic of last week's post, the likely fate of Israel in the twilight years of American empire, makes a good example of more than one common theme. As I commented in that earlier discussion, Israel is one of several American client states for whom the end of our empire will also be the end of the line. At the same time, it also highlights a major source of international tension that bids fair to bring in a bumper crop of conflict in the decades before us.