Archive for the 'Resources' Category

Galeano’s iron laws on Globalization

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1. The international labor division consists of some countries specializing in winning and others in losing; the latter continue to work as servants of the former.

2. The defeat of the have-nots has always been implicit in the victory of the haves; the labor of the have-nots has always generated their own poverty since it has fed the wealth of the haves.

3. The strength of the globalized system rests on the necessary inequality of the parties that make it up –and this inequality assumes ever more dramatic proportions. The dominant classes in poor countries have no interest in finding out whether patriotism could be more profitable than treason or if begging and dependence are the only possible way for their countries’ international politics. Countries thus end up mortgaging their sovereignty, because we are told ‘there is no other way’.

4. The globalized system is very rational from the point of view of their foreign owners and of our ‘hambourgeoisies’ that have sold their soul to the devil at a price that would have shamed even Faust.

5. But the globalized system failed to foresee a minor thorn in its side: what we have too much of is people. And people reproduce. They make love with enthusiasm and without precautions. More and more, people are left on the verge of the road, jobless. This systematic violence, not always apparent, but real, is mounting: its crimes cannot be read in the red press, but in UN statistics. So, the empire gets worried: unable to produce more bread, it does what it can to get rid of those sitting around the table. “ Fight poverty! Kill a beggar!”, a master of black humor wrote on a wall in the city of La Paz.

6. The globalized  system thus convinces poor people that poverty is the result of not avoiding having children. So it now proposes, with more panic than generosity, resolving the problems: Population control measures are the preferred policy.

7. We have social classes, and the oppression of one class by another; the system calls that ‘adopting a Western lifestyle’.

8. The ‘order of the day’ is the daily-humiliation-of-the-masses –like it or not, an order nonetheless, we must say.

9. But Poverty is not written in the stars; underdevelopment is not the result of an obscure will of God. People are waking up, and are demanding changes.         (Eduardo Galeano, Las Venas Abiertas de America Latina)

Global Health Watch: The Alternative Health Report

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Global Health Watch is one of several civil society initiatives set up after the international community failed to reach the goal of “Health for All” in the year 2000. It is a “broad collaboration of public health experts, non-governmental organisations, civil society activists, community groups, health workers and academics” which attempts to produce an alternative health report. GHW was started by the People’s Health Movement, Global Equity Gauge Alliance and Medact.

GHW published its first report in 2005-2006 and it is available for free at this link. The report covers a broad variety of topics within contemporary global health. The 360 page report provides essential reading on globalization, health care systems, medications, the crisis in global health care workers, sexual and reproductive health, gene technology, indigenous health, disabled people, climate, water, food, education, war, the WHO, UNICEF, World Bank/IMF, big business, international AID, debt relief, and essential health research.

Work is currently ongoing on the production of GHW 2007-2008. One can also subscribe to the GHW monthly newsletter.

Here is the introduction to GHW 2005-2006:

“Today’s global health crisis reflects widening inequalities within and between countries. As the rich get richer and the poor get poorer, advances in science and technology are securing better health and longer lives for a small fraction of the world’s population. Meanwhile children die of diarrhoea for want of clean water, people with AIDS die for want of affordable medicines, and poor people in all regions are increasingly cut off from the political, social and economic tools they can use to create their own health and well-being.

“The real scandal is that the world lacks neither funds nor expertise to solve most of these problems. Yet the predominance of conservative thinking and neoliberal economics has led the institutions that were established to promote social justice into imposing policies and practices that achieve just the opposite. They police an unjust global trade regime with a doctrinaire insistence on privatization of public services, and preside over the failure to curb disease by tackling the poverty that enables it to flourish. Global Health Watch 2005–2006 is a collaboration of leading popular movements and non-governmental organizations comprising civil society activists, community groups, health workers and academics. It has compiled this alternative world health report – a hard-hitting, evidence-based analysis of the political economy of health and health care – as a challenge to the major global bodies that influence health. Its monitoring of institutions including the World Bank, the World Health Organization and UNICEF reveals that while some important initiatives are being taken, much more needs to be done to have any hope of meeting the UN’s health-related Millennium Development Goals.

“The report also offers a comprehensive survey of current knowledge and thinking in the key areas that influence health, focusing throughout on the health and welfare of poor and vulnerable groups in all countries. These issues range from climate change, water and nutrition to national health services and the brain drain of health professionals from South to North.

“Global Health Watch 2005–2006 is above all a call for action, written in a clear, accessible style to appeal to grass-roots health workers and activists worldwide, as well as to international policy-makers and national decisionmakers. Its resource sections advocate actions everyone can take, while its recommendations show how better global health governance and practice could work for Health for All rather than health for the privileged few.”

Social Medicine ePrint archive: Italian Social Medicine Institute

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The Italian Social Medicine Institute has created an on-line archive of open access Social Medicine articles, called e-ms.  The list of articles goes back to 1922. Almost all of these articles are in Italian, but English abstacts are available (as are links to the actual articles).  The list can be searched or browsed using author, journal, date or subject criteria.

They describe the project in these terms:

“E-ms is an open access archive for scientific or technical documents, published or unpublished, on Social Medicine and related disciplines. The archive’s goal is to promote the rapid dissemination of papers.

E-ms has been established in 2005 as a community service by IIMS (Istituto Italiano di Medicina Sociale), to promote open access to papers as augured with Berlin Declaration and Messina Declaration of CRUI.”