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Arabica Robusta

Arabica Robusta's Public Library

  • As The International Labour Organisation has recognised ‘domestic workers, whether working in their home countries or abroad, are vulnerable to many forms of abuse, harassment and violence, in part because of the intimacy and isolation of the workplace’. 
  • What is likely to make a difference this time is that the allegations of violence against Abrew have been taken up by the Domestic Workers Union (DWU). The union has been able to mobilise support from fourteen other civil society organisations and trade unions, including the International Domestic Workers Federation and the Women’s Political Academy
  • The feminization of housework means that domestic work is considered low skilled, not ‘real work’. It is subject to the idiosyncratic standards and whims of each household, where varying degrees of docility and acquiesce are encouraged. I have seen domestic workers in Sri Lankan homes managed through the smallest of gestures – the nod of a head, a glance, the movement of fingertips. 

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  • The threat of zero or negative inflation means that households and firms, which are heavily indebted, find it difficult to service their debt, partly because its real value increases with falling prices and also because current household income is falling and firms are reluctant to invest in view of expected falling demand.
  • This is the ECB-handicap hypothesis (Angeloni et al. 2003). In terms of labour market reforms, this hypothesis suggests that labour markets should become more flexible if more jobs are to be created, which would promote growth.
  • Inflexible labour markets do not appear to be as important as insufficient aggregate demand in explaining the euro area’s inability to increase income and employment. If at all important, they are so in the long run.

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  • Scrutiny of actual experiences reveals a tragic tale of crippling debt, appalling market prices and a technology prone to failure in the absence of very specific and onerous management techniques, which are not suited to smallholder production. As stated by a farmer during a Malian public consultation on GMOs, "What's the point of encouraging us to increase yields with GMOs when we can't get a decent price for what we already produce?"

  • The book argues among other things that through the 90s the Bank bent much too much to the concern of NGOs, relatively unrepresentative NGOs. And that as a result, the Bank departed too much from it's competitive advantage in infrastructure, focusing perhaps too much on projects, softer projects such as social and education projects, that safeguard policies and other standards are too much for the poorer countries, and that projects vital to the world's poor are being held up by fear of the activists' resistance.
  • And among the projects that the book highlights in this regard is the Chad-Cameroon Pipeline, a project that Ms. Djiraibe has worked on for a long time, the past decade or so I assume, and worked for what she has just this week received the RFK Human Rights Award. It's also a project that Mr. Rosenblum is familiar with and has worked on in both Chad and Cameroon.
  • But while we embark on the debate today regarding Chad-Cameroon and the NGOs, I hope we also don't lose sight of some of the broader and perhaps ultimately more important themes that are in the book and also raised by the issue of NGOs and the World Bank, themes about how exactly to deliver development effectively. Whether development is best left to relationships between large institutions, such as the World Bank and host governments, what is, or is there any role of local communities, what is the role of NGOs in amplifying the voices of local communities. And I think also what is the role and should there be standards that apply to the development process of the Bank or should there be more discretion left for both Bank staff and the governments?

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Jun 30, 15

"A Humanitarian Disaster in the Making Along the Chad-Cameroon Oil Pipeline -- Who's Watching?"

  • The NPA’s implicit claim that Colonel Isaac Zida’s coup and his negotiations with the bourgeois opposition are a “victory resulting from the popular uprising” is an absurd political lie.
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