New Internationalist

Briefly

Issue 117

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[image, unknown] BRIEFLY...

[image, unknown] MONEY[image, unknown]

Inflation times four

If inflation is a headache for the rich world, it’s a sledgehammer migraine for the poor. A decade ago, when consumer prices were rising at around 5 per cent in the West, prices in (nonoil) developing countries were rising twice as fast But, according to statistics from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), by October 1981 the West’s inflation rate was 9 per cent per year, and the poor world’s rate had shot up to 36 per cent — four times higher than the West’s.

From IMF Survey

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[image, unknown] HEALTH[image, unknown]

Where have all the doctors gone?

Ideally, the Third World needs more medical personnel than the North because of the higher incidence of illness. Back in 1950, Europe had 88 doctors per 100,000 people and the USSR 131, as against 22 in Asia and just nine in Africa Since then, far from closing the gap, the poor world has further lost ground, according to a new World Health Organisation report. By 1975, Europe had boosted coverage to 168 doctors per 100,000 people, Russia to 288, but Asia only to 31 and Africa to 11.

A similar pattern emerges for nurses, midwives, dentists, laboratory technicians — even medical auxiliaries, despite the popularity of ‘barefoot’ personneL There is only one sphere in which developing countries have expanded faster than the developed world in the number of medical schools.

From People, VoL 9 No. 3

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[image, unknown] NUCLEAR WAR[image, unknown]

Dry-roasted people

Would society really have a few days’ or even a few minutes’ warning of a nuclear attack? Jeremy Stone, director of the Federation of American Scientists warns: ‘Even if you get people out and they surrvive. if the cities and the economy are gone, there will be mass starvation and epidemics.’ City shelters, critics claim, would be subjected to temperatures of 1,472 F and would become crematona in which people would be ‘dry-roasted’.

Soon after Jimmy Carter took office, he learnt that the plan for evacuating the President had never been tested. Carter ordered a dry run, with Brzezinski (Carter’s National Security Adviser) sitting in for him. Telephones rang and aides scrambled. After 15 minutes Brzezinski was still waiting for the helicopter to arrive.

In the Soviet Union, GROB, the acronym for civil defence, brings rueful laughter: it also means coffin.

From rime, 264.82.

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[image, unknown] POWER[image, unknown]

Thoughts on bureaucracy

Bureaucrats are the defenders of the status quo. And since what is is mostly what has been, they are the keepers of the past They see themselves as doing Vpublic service’. The reality is that the service is not to you and to me, but to their masters, those who pay their salaries and decide on their promotions. Their responsibility being directed upwards, they have nothing but disdain for those below them.

‘Bureaucracy is by nature a colonising mechanism. And since colonising or wielding power over other people’s lives is the most popular human past-time, the world cannot do without bureaucrats.’

From World Paper July 1982

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[image, unknown] WOMEN'S RIGHTS[image, unknown]

Sexist presumptions

A ‘Journalist’s Guide to Sexist Presumptions’ has been compiled by Jean Ward — a journalism teacher at the University of Minnesota, USA. Seven of her examples from US print media:

1. All people are male unless proven female.
2. A woman’s relationship to a man is her defining identity.
3. A woman’s appearance always requires comment, whether she defies or exemplifies a popular stereotype.
4. A woman can safely be identified as ‘his wife’; it is unnecessary to identify her by name.
5. After marriage, a man remains a man and a woman becomes a wife.
6. Homemaking and parenting are not work.
7. Events in a woman’s life must be identified as A.M. (ante marriage) or P.M. (post marriage).

From The Editorial Eye, No.73-

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[image, unknown] RELIGION[image, unknown]

The Colour of Christendom

As of 1981, Christianity had a non-white majority for the first time in 1,200 years. While Westeners cease to be practising Christians at the rate of 7,600 per day, Africa gains 4,000 per day through conversion and 12,000 through the birth rate. Indonesia added 5.6 million Christians during the 1970s alone.

From Christian Conference of Asia News, July 15, 1982.

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[image, unknown] SOUTH AFRICA[image, unknown]

No mail-order apartheid

Sears Roebuck, the American company better known for its catalogues than its politics, has announced that it will not participate in loans to the South African government nor sell krugerrand.

That decision is one more feather in the cap of the growing international campaign to end bank loans to South Africa Another is the decision of the UK’s London borough of Lam-beth to withdraw a major account from Barclays Bank. worth £1.2 million annually.

The British campaign, headed by the ‘End Loans to South Africa’ group (ELTSA). has formed a ‘Barclays Shadow Board, and for the past two years has published an annual Barclays Shadow Report’. And it monitors the bank>, activities to South Africa, where Barclay’s National is the largest bank.

Goxerninents taking action include Nigeria, which has warned foreign companies who collaborate with South Africa that they may face penalties as they do business in Nigeria. It has already acted against British Petroleum and Barclays-- which has been asked to leave Nigeria

From the Corporate Examiner Vol. 11, No. 4.

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[image, unknown] RESOURCES[image, unknown]

Bauxite's big six

A report by UNCTAD - the UN’s trade and development arm — reveals how six Western multinational companies dominate the Third World’s production and marketing of bauxite and its processed forms of alumina and aluminium. Alcoa Alcan. Reynolds. Kaiser. PUK and Alusuissee own 45 per cent of world bauxite capacity (excluding Eastern Europe).

Although the UNCTAD report makes recommendations that would help the Third World increase its own processing capacity, for the foreseeable future it looks a pretty closed market which the six influential members are happy to keep that way.

From ICDA News No. 4.

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[image, unknown] MEDIA[image, unknown]

Lucky you

Well, lucky UK readers at any rate. The launch of British TV’ s Channel Four also sees the start of a new series of programmes on development from the International Broadcasting Trust More about that in the January NI, which will look at television in depth But in the meantime British viewers should watch out for the sharply satirical’ curtain raiser for the series, Lucky You, Lucky Me’, introduced by Jonathan Dimbleby and to be screened on November 3rd at 6.30 p.m

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Endquote

Miss UK contestant, on why she chose Margaret Thatcher, Britain’s Conservative Prime Minister, as her heroine: ‘Because she’s had so much to put up with like unemployment.’

‘You don’t have to be a woman to be a good mother.’

Psychologist Michael Meyerh off Harvard Pre-school Project. Time, Juls’. 1982.

‘Let not a single drop of water that falls upon the land run into the sea without serving the people.’

Parakrama Baho, King of Sri Lanka (1153—1186)


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