Summer Reading Guide to Important Details and Main Ideas
Drug Policy in Latin America: Burn out and Battle Fatigue 1. Decriminalization means legalizing the production, sale and consumption of a commodity that was previously illegal. The effect of that is that is generates jobs, income and tax revenues and gives the government the chance to regulate activity associated with the product.
Drug Policy in Latin America: Burn out and Battle Fatigue 2. Countries involved in cocaine trade are Honduras, Mexico, Colombia, Guatemala, Brazil, Bolivia & Peru…which has replaced Colombia as the region’s largest cocaine exporter. 3. 3 specific negative effects that the illegal drug trade has had on the region as a whole and on the individual nations involved are extreme violence, increasing gang activity, political instability. 4. The illegal drug trade provides jobs & generates income for millions of people who would not otherwise have legitimate sources of employment & income.
ARTICLE: Drug Policy in Latin America: Burn out and Battle Fatigue 5. Coca-eradication refers to stopping the growth of coca plants either all together or focusing on illegal coca plant growth. Attempts to eradicate have mostly focused on spraying pesticides in massive amounts where coca growth is suspected. This kills legal crops too & pollutes the water supply & the air – so it has not worked well. 6. The US has played a large role in efforts to stop illegal drug trade. Plan Colombia is a joint US/Colombia effort that has cost us millions to enforce & overall our efforts have not been successful because they focus too much on the “supply” side of the problem & not enough on the “demand” side (the greatest demand for these illegal drugs is from the US).
After the Arab Spring – the Long, Hot Arab Summer • Challenges that MENA countries face include authoritarian rule, weak institutions, poor governance, slow economic growth, chronic unemployment. 2. The BIGGEST positive consequence of the Arab Spring is that the uprisings/revolutions in the region may lead to more inclusive & accountable governments in the future.
After the Arab Spring – the Long, Hot Arab Summer 3. The benefits of a “new” Marshall Plan would hopefully reconstruct & relaunch the economies of MENA nations as well as support the transition to more democratic governments & ultimately increase political stability. 4. The primary purpose of international organizations like the IMF and the World Bank is to help countries open their economies to global investment, expand their markets, privatize industries (ie – remove gov’t. control), reduce reliance on outside aid & reduce budget deficits
After the Arab Spring – the Long, Hot Arab Summer 5.Experts from the World Bank believe the overall economic outlook for MENA nations is positive, despite the political turmoil the region is experiencing. 6. Infrastructure refers to the basic foundations – or underlying structures – upon which a nations’ growth & ability to function are reliant (includes transportation systems, water & sanitation systems, communication systems, education systems, health care systems, etc.)
“Dharavi: Mumbai’s Shadow City” • The parallel economy is the one that functions outside government control & taxation. It includes all kinds of jobs (some legal & some illegal) & generates billions of $$ in revenue. It affects the people who work in it & those who purchase the goods & services it produces as well as the government. It exists because the GAP between the rich & the poor is so huge in India & because the government/economy has not been able to provide legitimate jobs or social support for all of the poor who live here. • A nation’s “formal sector” includes all businesses that pay taxes, follow labor regulations set by the gov’t & add positively to the nation’s global image; the “informal sector” is everything else…it includes millions of workers & jobs (some legal & some illegal). The informal sector’s existence is explained in #1 above.
“Dharavi: Mumbai’s Shadow City” 3. Rural migrants leave India’s villages for its cities because they are searching for employment opportunities in those cities. The cause of the migration is the desire to escape the crushing poverty & lack of opportunity in rural areas; the effect is extremely overpopulated urban areas where there are not enough jobs or housing or other services for all the people living there. 4. Serious social problems that exist in India that are partially to blame for slums like Dharaviinclude extreme poverty, poor health care & habits, malnourishment, lack of education and legitimate employment opportunities in the formal sector. 5. The article says that education – especially the ability to speak English – is the “ticket out of the slums” in India. Some parents would still rather have their children work than go to school; also Dharavi students are stigmatized in other areas – meaning they are not welcome & not treated well - & the better schools are all outside Dharavi. Also, being able to afford private school is not possible for many. People from Dharavi are often discriminated against. 6. Dharavi illustrates the extreme income inequality of India – in other words, the gap that exists between the poor and the middle and upper class.
The Global Food Crisis: The end of Plenty 1. The main goal of the Green Revolution was to increase global food production through the use of improved irrigation, fertilizers & pesticides and through the genetic modification of plants/seeds to yield stronger, more nutritious & abundant crops. 2. Thomas Malthus was a social scientist (also a Math guy) who believed that human population growth would be kept in check by the planet’s limited resources. He also said that our ability to produce food would never be able to keep up with our rapid population growth – so voluntary & involuntary “checks” on population growth are both necessary & beneficial to the overall survival of the human race.
The Global Food Crisis: The end of Plenty 3. BENEFITS and PROBLEMS that have resulted from the Green Revolution: • BENEFITS: greater yields of food; stronger crops due to the use of hybrid seeds that are bred to reduce drought for example. PROBLEMS: drop in fresh water supply due to over irrigation; air & water pollution due to heavy pesticide use; increased debt for small farmers who can’t afford GR technology; deforestation. 4. The term “food instability” refers to the inability to provide a stable, ample, nutritious supply of food for all the people in the world. This is impossible due to the population growing too fast, the growing demand for beef & pork & the problems in agriculture due to global climate change.
The Global Food Crisis: The end of Plenty 5. Genetic modification refers to the creation seeds that can be “bred” by scientists to produce higher yields, reduce fertilizer needs, be more drought- tolerant & more nutritious. 6. Millennium Villages are an attempt by NGO’s (non-governmental organizations) & the UN to bring Green Revolution technology to the very poor nations of Sub-Saharan Africa so they can end their food instability problems & solve the problems of malnutrition & starvation that have plagued the continent. Significant amounts of $$ goes to countries that are chosen as Millennium villages & that is used to improve agriculture, health & education systems. 7. Experts seem to have mixed feelings about the success of Millennium Village Projects. They have helped, but they also have hurt the environment due to fertilizer & pesticide use AND they seem to favor agricultural businesses rather than helping the poor, traditional farmers.