Archive | June 21, 2012

Iceland: Life Beyond the Washington Concensus Proves Sustainable

Iceland: Life Beyond the Washington Concensus Proves Sustainable

By June 2011, Bolivia signed in a new law to give Bolivia control over its seed supply, thus securing food sovereignty based on a healthy, and natural food supply, which would be phased out by foreign seed supplies.

Since Bolivia secured its food sovereignty in June 2011, the country has experienced:

–        An improved standard of living

–        Unemployment –  down from 8.4% to 4% (2005 – 2010)

–        Falling rate of moderate poverty – down from 60% to 49.6% (2005 – 2010)

–        Falling rate of extreme poverty – down from 38% to 25% (2005 – 2010).

–        Improved public healthcare

–        Improved education – Bolivia has been declared illiteracy free

–        Increased income redistribution has fuelled a 7% increase in the internal consumption of electricity, purified water and domestic gas among sectors that didn’t have access to those services before.

–        Increased public pensions – a trend that is opposite to that taking place in so-called developed countries

–        Increased subsidies to mothers, and improved pre and postal natal care

–        Economic growth of 5.3% in 2011 through a process of nationalization: power, telecommunications, mining, and banking, reduced foreign investment, developed economically strategic products.

–        External debt has been reduced, and foreign reserves are at U.S$12bn.

Now Iceland proves what it is like to be responsible for one’s own destiny with increased domestic consumption, tourism, and exports. Statistics released June 8 2012 for 2011, reveal:

  • Annual economic growth of 4.5% for the first three months of 2012
  • GDP grew 2.4%
  • Annual growth up 2.7%, with the fourth quarter up 1.9% on the same period of 2010

This percentages might seem small, but are significant when compared with international growth rates.

Islandsbanki Chief Economist Ingolfur Bender told Reuters.

“The increase is broad-based, driven by consumption, investment and exports.”

After completely the final, but debilitating IMF payment in 2011, Iceland’s growth demonstrates the foolhardiness of accepting IMF loans, and demonstrates the importance of domestic consumption, and domestic consumption only exists if the people have got money to spend!

The global figures widely available should be questioned as they are from the CIA Factbook – part of the endeavor to control information on the Internet. For instance, Index Mundi’s source,  the CIA Factbook places Iceland at -3.5% as of January 1, 2011!

The GDP growth rate for 2012 so far according to Economy Watch is 2.853%, the source is the IMF. Compare to:

  • Australia – 3.484%
  • Bolivia – 4.524%
  • Brazil – 4.127%
  • Canada – 2.625%
  • China – 9.523%
  • Denmark – 2.028%
  • Egypt – 4%
  • Ethiopia – 8.024%
  • France – 1.784%
  • Germany – 2.092%
  • Greece – 1.079%
  • Haiti – 8.805%
  • India – 7.823%
  • Iran – 2.989%
  • Iraq – 12.568%
  • Israel  – 3.841%
  • Ivory Coast – 6.016%
  • Libya – n/a%
  • Mozambique – 7.801%
  • Niger – 15.415%
  • Nigeria – 6.555%
  • Pakistan – 4%
  • Saudi Arabia – 3.017%
  • South Africa – 3.845%
  • Spain – 1.613%
  • Sudan – 5.579%
  • Syria – 5.124%
  • Tanzania – 6.608%
  • Turkey – 4.48%
  • U.K. – 2.33%
  • U.S. – 2.872%

If there is any accuracy, then of course in the case of certain countries where the people do not benefit at all, there is the question of where the money goes!

Source:

“2012 Economic Statistics and Indicators.”

Iceland Economy Grows at Fastest Pace Since Crash http://www.icenews.is/index.php/2012/06/16/iceland-economy-grows-at-fastest-pace-since-crash/

Related Topics:

‘Signs of Change’ Says Bolivia’s Morales

An Economy of Greed

IMF: Neocolonialism vs. Jan. 25th Revolution

Create an Economy of Generosity

The Indigenous People of Norway: Enough is Enough!

Ethiopia: Removing 70,000 People for Land Grab!

Dumping the Dollar, the World Bank, and IMF

Do You Want to THRIVE?

The Next Phase in Controling the Internet*

African Civil Society Rejects Foreign Investment*

Bolivia: Rights of Mother Earth Becomes Legal*

Egypt: Between the People and the State

Egypt: Between the People and the State

 

By Hwaa Irfan

The crisis that is blighting the country right now, is a crisis born out of neglect by the executive, the intelligensia, and the elite. It is a crisis that manifests in so many ways at so many levels, both apparent and not so apparent around the world today. When that which considers itself the state: the executive, the intelligensia, and the elite ignore the reason for their existence, all short term solutions fall back on itself.

The currently elected parliament, was the first electoral body voted in by the people in November 2011. The constitutionality of this parliament was brought into question by appeals that were submitted. On 14 June 2012, a three hour hearing on the Political Isolation Law which prevented former regime officials from participating in elections as unconstitutional, the question here is which constitution was referred to with several amendments made by the nation’s executive body, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces.

Regardless, on the  14 June 2012, the the Political Isolation Law, was thrown out, and presidential hopeful, Ahmed Shafiq was allowed to remain in the presidential race. Also, on the 14 June 2012, the parliament, the People’s Assembly was deemed unconstitutional, but they were voted in by the people, or were they? The reason for this question is, if the People’s Assembly was voted in fair and square without vote rigging (noting at the time, many electoral campaign regulations were violated by the major block within the People’s Assembly, namely the Freedom and Justice Party), then from a simpleton’s point of view, those votes remain valid, and therefore rather than SCAF’s knee-jerk reaction to disbanding parliament, the constitution of the parliament should be re-evaluated. If the violations carried out at the time were in fact major, then the results of those elections imply that new parliamentary elections is the priority in order to constitute functional legal frameworks that are up and running. In the interim Constitution put to referendum on 19th March 2011 it stated in the preamble:

Article 3:  

Sovereignty is for the people alone who will practise and protect this sovereignty and safeguard national unity in the manner specified by the Constitution

In the 18 months leading up to the current scenario, the sovereignty of the people has not been respected. The only way out of this resolve are new rounds of elections, and prior to those elections:

a comprehensive interim constitution put to referendum

or

the interim constitution as voted for by the people in March 2011, supported by the Document of the Pledge, put to referendum so that the elections can take place.

If the knee-jerk reaction remains in place, then this brings into question the other presidential hopeful Muhammed Mursi, as his entering the race was based on the support of parliament. In other words Mursi should be removed from the race. This in turn questions the credibility of the elections, which means that new presidential elections should be put into motion in any case.

In the last 18 months, nothing constructive has been acheived in terms of transition, in terms of social unity, economics, security, health, education… at all levels. This more than implies that those who have been running the country in that period, are ill-equipped, so the recent constitutional amendments should be made null and void, because it only prolongs such an arrangement to the detriment of the people and the nation as a whole. Those amendments as summarised by Ahram online are as follows:

Article 30: In situation that parliament is dissolved the president will be vowed into office in front of High Constitutional Court’s General Assembly.

Article 53: The incumbent SCAF members are responsible for deciding on all issues related to the armed forces including appointing its leaders and extending the terms in office of the aforesaid leaders. The current head of the SCAF is to act as commander-in-chief of the armed forces and minister of defense until a new constitution is drafted.

Article 53/1: The president can only declare war after the approval of the SCAF.

Article 53/2: If the country faces internal unrest which requires the intervention of the armed forces, the president can issue a decision to commission the armed forces – with the approval of the SCAF – to maintain security and defend public properties. Current Egyptian law stipulates the powers of the armed forces and its authorities in cases where the military can use force, arrest or detain.

– Article 56 B: The SCAF will assume the authorities set out in sub-article 1 of Article 56 as written in the 30 March 2011 Constitutional Declaration until a new parliament is elected.

Article 60 B: If the constituent assembly encounters an obstacle that would prevent it from completing its work, the SCAF within a week will form a new constituent assembly- to author a new constitution within three months from the day of the new assembly’s formation. The newly drafted constitution will be put forward after 15 days of the day it is completed, for approval by the people through a national referendum. The parliamentary elections will take place one month from the day the new constitution is approved by the national referendum.

Article 60 B1: If the president, the head of SCAF, the prime minister, the Supreme Council of the Judiciary or a fifth of the constituent assembly find that the new constitution contains an article or more which conflict with the revolution’s goals and its main principles or which conflict with any principle agreed upon in all of Egypt’s former constitutions, any of the aforementioned bodies may demand that the constituent assembly revises this specific article within 15 days. Should the constituent assembly object to revising the contentious article, the article will be referred to the High Constitutional Court (HCC) which will then be obliged to give its verdict within seven days. The HCC’s decision is final and will be published in the official gazette within three days from the date of issuance.

Article 38 of the 30 March, 2011 Constitutional Declaration will be replaced with: “The parliamentary elections will be conducted in accordance to the law.”

Source:

Surely the Document of the Pledge is more than sufficient until such time a representative Constituent Assembly accepted by the people drafts a comprehensive constitution that will in turn go to referendum.

The current debacle is a result of breaking faith with the sovereignty of the people. To encourage maturity over the issues, one has to act with maturity. The Mohammed Mursi’s call to announce the votes as they come in was in an attempt to circumvent any vote rigging, and it should have been left at that, instead of adding to the scenario the idea of victory – what victory is it anyway when one will only end up acting as a prime minister to a ruling body that keeps changing the laws, unconstitutionally! As for the secularists, they have fared no better, and have acted in their own interests against the sovereignty of the people. Cairo does not represent the whole of Egypt, and is in fact out of touch with the rest of Egypt, and it has been so for a very long time. There will come a point that with truely fair and transparent elections, all candidates on the same budget, and all candidates  supported by the country’s executive in terms of public hearing, that the will of the people must be recognized, after all, is it not the whole point!

Related Topics:

Revolution Recall II

Egypt Votes: Every Silver Lining has a Cloud!

From the Jasmine to the Lotus: Getting the Constitution Right

30 Things to Stop Doing to Yourself

The Train That Left the Station

The Document of the Pledge