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Cognitive Democracy May 27, 2012

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“Some of the problems that we face in politics are simple ones (not in the sense that solutions are easy, but in the sense that they are simple to analyze). However, the most vexing problems are usually ones without any very obvious solutions. How do we change legal rules and social norms in order to mitigate the problems of global warming? How do we regulate financial markets so as to minimize the risk of new crises emerging, and limit the harm of those that happen? How do we best encourage the spread of human rights internationally?”

“Specifically, we argue that democracy has unique benefits as a form of collective problem solving in that it potentially allows people with highly diverse perspectives to come together in order collectively to solve problems. Democracy can do this better than either markets and hierarchies, because it brings these diverse perceptions into direct contact with each other, allowing forms of learning that are unlikely either through the price mechanism of markets or the hierarchical arrangements of bureaucracy. Furthermore, democracy can, by experimenting, take advantage of novel forms of collective cognition that are facilitated by new media.”

It is interesting to engage in such analysis as this topic   directly and indirectly details the role s of democratic institutions such as the  Gadaa system of the Oromo  can play to advance society.

To read in detail on this topic: Democracy

Copyright © Oromianeconomist 2012 and Oromia Quarterly 1997-2012. All rights reserved. Disclaimer.

Democracy

 

 

 

 

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In the Global Land Rush the Great Food Robbery Targets Africa May 25, 2012

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‘Biodiversity can only exist through the small farmers, indigenous people, and pastoralists who maintain that biodiversity. So what threatens them threatens biodiversity. The corporate food system is about taking food production out of their hands. With the structural adjustment programs in the 1980s and 1990s Africa was pushed to move towards export agriculture and “Green Revolution” style projects. Some moved ahead, many of them failed. Now, because of the rise in prices of agricultural commodities, corporations are trying to restructure food systems around the world to move commodities around more, and take more profit. Africa is increasingly being targeted as a centre of production for global markets. The talk now is that Africa is one of the last frontiers because much of Africa is not under the model of export production. Land and water are still in the hands of local communities. So there’s a big push to industrialize agriculture for export. Unfortunately, African governments are colluding with corporations who want to pursue agribusiness in their countries, with the help of the World Bank and bilateral and multilateral donors. …In Ethiopia, you have a government that has stated its policy is to go from 80 percent rural population to 20 percent rural population. Who can imagine what all those people are going to do? What’s the plan there? What jobs are they going to have? You can’t say that this is about people in Africa choosing to move to cities. People are being forced out of their lands through mining projects, land acquisitions, and overall bad policies…So much is at stake in Africa. Whole territories are being targeted and affected by land grabbing. And this time the governments are major conduits for it. How are people going to react? In Ethiopia, where the whole southern part of the country is being handed over, earlier this month you had gunmen attack a farm of Saudi Arabian operations and five people died. It’s heating up. It’s very explosive. Africa is under greater pressure than it’s ever been, at least since colonial times.’

Interview with Devlin Kuyek by Molly Kane      http://www.pambazuka.org/en/category/features/82375

http://video.pbs.org/video/2203388630

“…Here’s the truth: we’re never going to end hunger in Africa without upholding the rights of smallholder women farmers who feed the continent and care for its ecosystems.” http://www.nationofchange.org/dont-put-monsanto-charge-ending-hunger-africa-1338125745

“The Ethiopian government, through the Agricultural Investment Support Directorate is at the forefront of this African Land Sale. Crops familiar to the area are often grown, such as maize, sesame, sorghum, in addition to wheat and rice. All let us state clearly, for export to Saudi Arabia, India, China etc, to be sold within the home market, benefitting the people of Ethiopia not.” http://ayyaantuu.com/horn-of-africa-news/ethiopia/the-ethiopian-land-giveaway-oped/#more-7083


Squeezing Africa dry: behind every land grab is a water grab

‘Food cannot be grown without water. In Africa, one in three people endure water scarcity and climate change will make things worse. Building on Africa’s highly sophisticated indigenous water management systems could help resolve this growing crisis, but these very systems are being destroyed by large-scale land grabs amidst claimsthat Africa’s water is abundant, under-utilised and ready to be harnessed for export-oriented agriculture. GRAIN looks behind the current scramble for land in Africa to reveal a global struggle for what is increasingly seen as a commodity more precious than gold or oil – water.’

http://www.grain.org/article/entries/4516-squeezing-africa-dry-behind-every-land-grab-is-a-water-grab

http://urjii.info/?p=1763

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Ethiopia: The Last Two Frontiers May 3, 2012

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Front Cover

ISBN-10: 1847010334 | ISBN-13: 978-1847010339

‘Provides the gist of one scholar’s knowledge of this country acquired over several decades. The author of numerous works on Ethiopia, Markakis presents here an overarching, concise historical profile of a momentous effort to integrate a multicultural empire into a modern nation state. The concept of nation state formation provides the analytical framework within which this process unfolds and the changes of direction it takes under different regimes, as well as a standard for assessing its progress and shortcomings at each stage. Over a century old, the process is still far from completion and its ultimate success is far from certain. In the author’s view, there are two major obstacles that need to be overcome, two frontiers that need to be crossed to reach the desired goal. The first is the monopoly of power inherited from the empire builders and zealously guarded ever since by a ruling class of Abyssinian origin. The descendants of the people subjugated by the empire builders remain excluded from power, a handicap that breeds political instability and violent conflict. The second frontier is the arid lowlands on the margins of the state, where the process of integration has not yet reached, and where resistance to it is greatest. Until this frontier is crossed, the Ethiopian state will not have the secure borders that a mature nation state requires.’ Amazon Books &
 — At Finfinnee, Oromian Young Generations Literally Collections.
http://ayyaantuu.com/horn-of-africa-news/oromia/prof-john-markakis-challenges-ethiopian-ruling-elites/
http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=yckMyLVh3oYC&pg=PA1&source=gbs_toc_r&cad=3#v=onepage&q&f=false
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