In defence of politics
Aug 2009 26

I am the first to admit that conventional democratic political processes are often corrupt, slow and ineffective due to bureaucracy and vested elitist interests that are contrary to  the greater well being of societies. I hold cynical views about corrupt politicians and social injustice and believe that it is fine to be disappointed and even disgusted by politics. BUT I ABSOLUTELY HATE it when people say that politics is not important or does not affect them or their daily lives.  According to the work of the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA)  there is a worrying trend of of increasing global voter apathy going as far back as 1945 so that “voter turnout has decreased globally over the past 10 years by almost 10 percent, both in established democracies as well as newly-democratized developing countries.

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Politics cannot be easily defined but this wikipedia entry provides these key points by describing it as:  as process by which groups of people make decisions. The term is generally applied to behaviour within civil governments, but politics has been observed in all human group interactions, including corporate, academic, and religious institutions. It consists of “social relations involving authority or power” and refers to the regulation of a political unit, and to the methods and tactics used to formulate and apply policy. However, there is not an academic consensus on the precise definition of “politics” and what is considered as political and what is not. Max Weber defined politics as the struggle for power. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Politics)
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Joining the Fair Trade bandwagon?
Jul 2009 23

Cadbury has officially joined the Fair-trade bandwagon. Does this mean that the farmers who provide the cocoa for the brand of chocolate loved through the U.K amongst other places will suddenly become wealthy? Having lived in Ghana for many years I know full well that the majority of Ghanaians have never tasted a bar of Cadbury dairy milk chocolate, and this is primarily due to the price. It is incredibly sad to think that though the main ingredient is sourced from Ghana the price will mean that it is out of reach of most Ghanaians, and that includes the farmers.

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One has cause to be suspicious of large companies signing up to the Fair-trade scheme, because it is logical that many of them have absolutely no interest in fairness, all they care about, and all they are there to do is make money. Do companies like Nestlé now purchase coffee beans under the Fair-trade system in order to display the logo only  to cash in on our conscience? It is interesting to know what percentage of their entire supply of beans is from the Fair-trade system. Why aren’t all of Nestlé’s products Fair Trade (only 14%) if they really do care about ethically sourced produce? Why now after all these years has Cadbury decided to sign up? In this writer’s cynical opinion they are simply cashing in on their share of the ethical food market.

The Fair Trade badge which was intended to make trade more fair, thus improving the lives of farmers and their families has now been hi-jacked by the very same companies that made it necessary for the Fair Trade Foundation to be set up in the first place. I do not believe that all companies that bare the Fair Trade logo have ulterior motives, but when big global companies who have cheated farmers for donkey’s years suddenly grow a conscious one has to wonder.  I think that the way forward will be for the farmers co-own the company that produces the chocolate as with Divine Chocholate and the producer-owner Kuapa Kokoo farmers.

*Disclaimer: This is the first of many reader submitted articles. If you have an opposing view or would like to write a follow up, please send it to aspecks@gmail.com

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Pure apathy
Jun 2009 09

apathy

Apathy;

What is it?

What feeds it?

Why should I care about it?

It’s just nothing!

What is it?!

How can I fight nothing?

Aww… forget it.

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Cynical Optimists
Mar 2009 05

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Who said cynical people cannot be or are not optimistic and vice versa? In order to be an idealist, one has to balance on the fine line between cynicism and optimism. Although opposite, those two emotions fuel the minds of idealists who are cynical enough to be dissatisfied with the status quo and optimistic enough to believe that positive change is possible…

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