Sunday, February 21, 2010

A Post-Plantation Economy?

New York City
February 21st, 2010
11:22 am

Comment #682.
New York City
February 21st, 2010
7:53 pm

A Post-Plantation Economy?

My question is not meant to be facetious but serious. What Peter Goldman vividly describes did not start yesterday but goes right back to the US plantation economy.

Sociologists do not own any special knowledge but their entire discipline rests upon the core empirical premise that social structures don't die -- they morph.

The 19th century US plantation economy has morphed into the 21st century post-plantation economy. Plantation capitalism morphed into the capitalism of the military-corporate-complex (MCC)

Let me draw upon 2 personal examples which represent tens of thousands of workers:

1. Large sections of the US public university economy have been functioning, at least since the early 80's, as a post-plantation economy -- cheap surplus academic labor within the context of a corporatized university structure in which the majority of workers are simply not paid for large portions of their wage-work, but are considered part-time workers with no job security. They are under-employed but overworked!

2. Now in 2010, a 26 year-old University of Michigan graduate I know has worked as contract (read post-plantation) labor for Goldman Sachs for the past couple years, without much hope (ever?) of becoming a full-time worker, frequently working 13-hour days, with absolutely no job security and no health care to boot. He cannot afford (neither time nor money) to get the ACL knee surgery he desperately needs.

So, if the New New Deal is chronic unemployment for the majority of US workers, whether they are in the private or public sector, please do not use the word \"rebound\" for the 2010 US economy. There's no such thing as a rebound in the US post-plantation economy. It's one unending boom-and-bust for the US military-corporate-complex.

A total, creative rethink is needed but highly unlikely to occur, given the irrational reliance on the MCC, whether by Obama or the Bush(es) or Clinton, all the way back to Eisenhower, who rightly warned about the \"military-industrial-complex.\" Now that military-industrial-complex has become thoroughly corporatized -- to morph into the MCC, the source of our decades-long chronic unemployment and underemployment.
Recommended Recommended by 10 Readers

Chithra KarunaKaran
Ethical Democracy As Lived Practice
NYTimes copyright
The New Poor
Millions of Unemployed Face Years Without Jobs
The social safety net was built for short-term gaps between jobs, but work may be scarce for years, even as the American economy shows signs of a rebound.
Published: February 20, 2010

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Nuclear Iran Here To Stay, Too Bad USA

My NYTimes Comment #11.
New York City
February 11th, 2010
9:41 am
A Discriminatory International Nuclear Order

The international nuclear order cannot and must not discriminate against sovereign nation-states.

That order is now discriminatory, largely because that order has been hijacked by the US, via the UN In-Security Council.

Q. Is the US in fact saying that Israel can (it does!) have nuclear weapons, but Iran cannot?

Q. Does the US as bully-in-chief get to make the rules, or must the US comply with rules arrived at through consensus by intergovernmental agencies?

The US is on the wrong side of history on this and many other geopolitical issues.

What is the US global charter? The US charter is dominance and manipulation, instead of cooperation and compliance. (China, on its way to global economic and strategic dominance appears to be determined to make the same disastrous mistakes as the US).

Am I arguing for equal opportunity destruction? Obviously not. But I am arguing that the NATO powers, headed by the sanction-happy US, cannot prevent or impede scientific development of any sovereign nation-state, including Iran.

In Iran's case, it must be remembered that the US and UK (aka British Petroleum, BP) acted in tandem in 1953 to topple the popularly elected Mossadegh government, that was elected by Iranians, primarily because it favored State control of Iran's petroleum resources.

The US-CIA/UK installed the Shah (under whom Iran was coerced into signing the NPT) to do their bidding and the Shah was finally ousted by the Ayatollahs. That is the manipulated trajectory of Iran's recent history, in which the US blatantly intervened in the internal affairs of Iran, with disastrous long-term consequences.

When will the US learn? Not anytime soon.

Iran has every right to acquire nuclear capability.

Iran appears to have already acquired that capability.

Iran is now obligated to comply with international nuclear safety standards.

Unlike the US, Iran can attempt to develop its nuclear capability -- responsibly.

Chithra KarunaKaran
Ethical Democracy As Lived Practice
A truncated version of this comment Recommended by 39 NYT Readers
NYT copright:
Iran’s Leader Shifts Spotlight From Protests to Nuclear Step
Published: February 11, 2010

Monday, February 1, 2010

Goats for Social Justice -- Lessons from the The Vale

Goats for Social Justice is a 1-year PILOT project that came out of the inspiring work of three doctors who live and work in the Kashmir Valley. These doctors realized that it is part of their professional obligation, to provide mental health services to the most vulnerable of Kashmiris -- the Female Poor.
Goats for Social Justice (GSJ) places local breeds of goats with women and girls who are suffering from depression, anxiety and other challenges to overall wellness.


Because poor women have asked for goats! And sheep and buffaloes.

Poor women understand best that subsistence supports and economic opportunity are essential to overcome mental health problems and societal restrictions on their freedom to acquire resources to feed their families and be active in their communities. Mental health problems are disproportionately high among the poor, especially in an area of ongoing armed conflict like the fabled valley.

Because of these repeated requests by poor women facing mental health challenges, our project, Goats for Social Justice has tried to assemble a diverse array of EXISTING RESOURCES -- psychiatric workers, livestock, veterinary students, veterinary faculty, veterinary extension bureaucrats -- in target villages where subsitence dairy producers live and are at risk for psychiatric problems. This is the core mission of Goats for Social Justice.

Think about it -- Goats Help Democracy! Goats Foster Economic Opportunity for the Female Poor.

The Kashmiri doctors' professional service is voluntarily offered in Ganderbal, Budgam and Anantnag district villages, to address this ongoing problem of helping poor women and girls cope with the special mental and physical wellness challenges that are the direct consequence of being poor, female, living and trying to earn a subsistence livelihood in a zone of ongoing armed conflict with its searches, disappearances, street confrontations, shutdowns, curfews, hartals.

The female poor are the most vulnerable under these conditions, because they must continue to attempt to earn a livelihood while living in daily physical danger.

Below, I first list, then elaborate, some lessons I have learned from my very limited field service in the Kashmir Valley during the past two years:

1. Kashmir, like every part of India is OVER-RESOURCED, yet UNDER-UTILIZED and these resources are cynically, deliberately UNDER-UTILIZED, against the poor.

Here's what I mean. National/local politicians/ bureaucrats would prefer to have us common people believe instead their self-serving ideology that Kashmir (and other parts of India) are UNDER-Resourced and OVER-utilized.

For example, officials complain that population increases negate any gains in development. The frequently blame the poor and the illiterate for "having too many children." Our netas and babus fail to learn from significant data gathered over 60 years, that the most effective check on population increase is jobs and social justice.

People limit the size of their families, marry later, have children at later ages, secure economic advantages for themselves their families and communities and become prosperous wherever and whenever the nation-state implements policies that ensure land justice, fair access to literacy and education, healthcare, housing, redress civic grievances.
Development Data analyses show that investing in women and girls' health, education and employment, gives government a bigger payoff and a larger return on investment than investment in any other population group.

Families will NOT need to make additional children to give them a safety net, if government provides that safety net for them.

So, What is the biggest check on population growth? Social Justice for our Female Poor.

What is Social Justice? Fair access to food, shelter, healthcare, education, employment.

I am chillingly reminded of Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee's statement in the monsoon session of Parliament last year (2009) "In order to distribute wealth, we must first create it."
That's the completely inaccurate, cynical, heartless mindset of our dominant-caste netas and feudal overlords in government.

2. The female poor contribute substantial resources every day by their unpaid labor, but they are denied their fair share of resources every day throughout Kashmir and elsewhere throughout India. The poor, especially the female poor are not seen as an untapped resource asset, which is in fact what they are -- the female poor are an untapped, rich resource asset.

3. Poverty is NOT a "curse" as mentioned to me in a meeting, by one well-intentioned but mistaken Kashmir official.

So how can poverty be most accurately defined?
Poverty is a CRIME committed by the rulers and bureaucrats of the nation-state, against its most vulnerable and disadvantaged citizens -- especially the female poor.
This is my definition of poverty, coming out of my field experiences in Kashmir, as elsewhere throughout India.

4. The diverse indigenous cultural knowledges, especially of the female poor in Kashmir are deliberately exploited or cynically ignored, by the well-heeled self-serving bureaucrats involved in planning and implementation processes. The politicians and bureaucrats employ a top-down strategy solely to benefit themselves and their patrons, relatives and friends. They have no friends among the poor of Kashmir, the poor are seen by them as invisible, less-than-human persons they can exploit every day. What we need is a bottom-up strategy in which aam aadmi gets to say and demand that their basic needs are met and not stolen from them.

5. Islamic religious culture, with its core emphasis on social equality/justice, is an UNDERUTILIZED asset in the efforts on behalf of the poor.

Allah says YES but netas say NO, to the Poor.

Islamic religious culture, a rich resource for ALL Kashmiris and ALL Indians, is also cynically manipulated by self-styled misogynist and Other-hater Islamists, so-called faux Jihadists and separatists.

In my time working in the Valley, I could see everywhere how ordinary folks turned to their faith for comfort and sustenance. Prayers flowed from homes and mosques. Ordinary people like me ( I draw whatever comfort i need from ALL faith systems, large and small, not just one) grow kinder, more emotionally generous, because of the deep faith that ordinary people carry around with them.

But this faith is not IMPLEMENTED in practical programs for the poor, especially the female poor. This needs to happen urgently.

Q. What is the use of any religion if it is just habit and ritual, if it is used by a cynical few to incite violent discord, and does not accomplish Social Justice?

6.Terror has become a Kashmir INDUSTRY with its own geopolitical economy and the female poor especially, suffer the most from the Terror Industry. The female poor are especially unable to earn a livelihood in the context of constant hartals called by politicians, faux jihadists, separatists, who OPERATE the Terror industry and/or are the BENEFICIARIES of the terror industry. They work against the poor, especially the female poor.

7. The female poor of Kashmir are tremendously resilient and are the most important resource of Kashmir. Babus and netas, faux jihadists/separatists should listen closely to the female poor and implement programs to meet their basic needs.

I'll be adding to these thoughts and welcome yours as we proceed to directly work with the female poor in Kashmir.
Please note the following pilot project Goats for Social Justice can be implemented entirely through in-kind service and material inputs. That means these resource inputs already exist in every district in Kashmir. They just have not been adequately utilized in creative innovative ways. If GSJ is replicated by the state government after our successful pilot, then GSJ will require fiscal inputs (see budget below) wherever it is replicated.


Livelihood Security/Social Medicine Dual Initiative for Women & Girl Dairy Producers Working in a Conflict Zone -- Kashmir, INDIA

A 1-year Field Pilot of PACEKashmir

1. Name and contact details: PACE KASHMIR -- Prevention & Care for Everyone

• Full legal name: PACE KASHMIR -- Prevention & Care for Everyone

• Acronym: PACEKashmir

• Legal registration number: DYC/NYK/SGR/YC/387 w/J&K State, India (doctors have been

volunteering in the Kashmir Valley, as trained and credentialed psychiatrists, since 2007)

• Official address: #29 Nursingarh, Srinagar 190011, Kashmir, INDIA

• Contact person: Arshad Arif Maghribi, MD

• Telephone: 91+9419428795;

• Fax

• E-mail:

2. Title of PACE's field project:

Goats for Social Justice: Livelihood Security/Social Medicine Dual Initiative for Women & Girl Dairy Producers Working in a Conflict Zone

3. Main thematic area

• Right to Female Livelihood Security & Public Mental Health Services In A Conflict Zone

4. Location

4.1 Country or countries: India (pilot & replication phases), Afghanistan (suggested replication site), Pakistan (suggested replication site)

4.2 Region or regions

• [ South Asia] X

5. Goats for Social Justice Project Narrative

" Arshad doctor, please can you get me a Goat?"

A middle-aged widow (whose teenage ‘militant’ son was shot in an ‘encounter’ by police) asked suddenly, as the 'barefoot' doctor encouraged her to describe her depressive symptoms – sadness, helplessness, despair, hopelessness, lethargy.

Goats for Social Justice (GSJ) A Livelihood Security/ Social Medicine 1-year Field Pilot Project will target female rural/urban dairy producers working & living in a conflict zone, suffering Depression, PTSD Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, substance-related psychiatric symptoms. One female patient, a dairy producer, said "I have sadness, I have become quiet, but my illness is poverty {Garibon ki bimaari}

The fabled Vale of Kashmir has been ravaged by conflict, in 25 yrs of infiltrations, shootings, killings, abductions, rapes, disappearances, by 'separatists', 'terrorists' 'militants’, state police & Indian Army.

Livelihood Security + Social Medicine – A unique combined strategy to counteract conflict and build prosperity for women subsistence earners, their families and communities.

Goats help Democracy!

• GSJ’s Objectives:

1) Conduct a 1-year field pilot in Srinagar & 3 villages -- Anantnag, Budgam, Ganderbal -- to demonstrate the vital importance of paying attention to subsistence women and girls’ own needs assessment, rather than what bureaucrats, politicians or aid donors prescribe for them

2) Promote Liberty; Safety & Security; Freedom of Movement; Self-Reliant Sustainable Economic Activity; Freedom to gain SCIENTIFIC Knowledge; Freedom to implement Livestock Management Sciences & Science of Mental Health Recovery & Wellness Maintenance for Women & Girl Dairy Producers in a 3-state conflict zone {pilot phase in Kashmir India only}

3) Pre-empt, Intervene, Treat Mental Disorders in women & girl dairy producers, resulting from working and raising families in a conflict zone, so that they can be productive entrepreneurial earners for themselves, their families & their communities

• Relevance

Goats for Social Justice (GSJ) is highly relevant to the lived needs of subsistence women and girl dairy producers because:

1. GSJ’s 1-year field pilot initiative directly addresses subsistence-earning women’s expressed livelihood and mental health needs.

2. Women & Girls working in Kashmir’s conflict zone are suffering from mental health disorders, as a direct consequence of living in a zone of extended armed conflict. Mental illnesses (which are preventable, treatable and curable) cause subjective distress; stigmatization; impair women’s freedom of movement and expression, and significantly impede livelihood economic activity.

3. Economic activity (example goatherding and dairying that are culturally valued by their families and communities) gives Women & Girls a socially acceptable opportunity to leave the confines of their homes, (while receiving livelihood and mental health supports), to work outside the home to engage in productive entrepreneurial economic activities within a developing market economy.

4. Women & Girl entrepreneurial dairy producers, through these economic activities, are empowered to approach municipal and civil authorities, as well as mental health personnel, to address their livelihood and mental health requirements.

Since the women and girls are hoping to become self-employed, self-sustaining family and community based entrepreneurs, they will likely be less dependent upon an employer, who would in most instances be a male with authority and influence.

• Activities - brief outline of activities:

Timeline of Activities

1. Week #1Point-person designation & allocation of daily/weekly/monthly clinical tasks; patient case-loading for 2-person psychiatric (one doctor, one counselor) teams; increase patient case-loads as feasible, increase patient case referrals to existing state & municipal mental health clinics and hospitals

2. Week #1 Point-person designation & allocation of daily/weekly/monthly tasks of livestock personnel teams

3. Week #1 Purchase order of livestock units for staggered delivery to 10 FHoH during 2nd week of first quarter.

4. Week #3 Planning for Bi-monthly psychiatric treatment & wellness camps (6) implemented from first month, monthly interim assessments

5. Week #4 Sustainability Consultant reports monthly on networking outcomes as a result of resource mobilization efforts to reach district and state level hospital/clinic personnel, health administrators, local officials, college faculty, psychology and veterinary students

6. Week #4 Sustainability assessment reports of mental health recovery and wellness maintenance, monthly

7. Week #4 Monthly Sustainability Assessment Report of livestock distribution/maintenance patterns to optimize dairy production by female subsistence earners, with expert guidance from livestock teams

8. Week #12 Case Management Review every quarter -- total 4

9. Week #2 Resource Atlas & Resource Directory database compilation, beginning first month of implementation of pilot, ongoing, point person is Sustainability Consultant

10. Week #4 All monthly and quarterly reports compiled to generate year end executive summary under leadership of Founder-Director, consultant is point person for pilot's monthly, quarterly and year-end reports due Week #52.

• Target group(s): Goats for Social Justice (GSJ) will PILOT a field demonstration project to target subsistence Women & Girl Dairy producers, with mental health problems, as a consequence of working in areas of armed conflict.

Each of 10 (ten) Female Heads of Household (herein under referred to as FHoH) will be supplied 2-sheep/2 goat Livestock units, along with expert in-service technical assistance from Animal Husbandry & Dairy Economists.

A.Targeted FHoH will receive technical assistance in

1. Developing and conserving livestock vegetational spaces

2. Green and dry fodder management techniques in their localities.

B. Targeted FHoH will receive

1. Psychiatric interventions, both preventive and ameliorative

2. Necessary medications in an overall program of

exercise, nutrition, mental health wellness maintenance while working and living in an area of extended armed conflict.

Expected Results:

The expected results are listed below, operationalized as Performance Outcomes showing projected behavioral, economic and social changes in the women and girls subsistence earners for whom the project is intended to benefit (based up their self-assessments as described above)

1. Women & Girls will earn a stable daily cash/barter income that would give them the market option to purchase additional livestock assets as well as access to public mental health services for their household members

2. Women & Girls will make social and economic decisions to access education/ vocational training and access to local retail markets for their produce and products.

3. Women & Girls’ social, economic activities generate a “muliplier effect” for their families and communities, thereby increasing the value of donors’ and public-private patrners’ investments in women and girls’ livelihood and health.

4. Women & Girls will speak up/ speak out /take civic action against armed violence

5. Women & Girls will directly participate in civil society through local municipal bodies and street level awareness work to secure their livelihood rights/mental health rights

• PACE Partners :

1. Retired army officers’ volunteer liaison work to help Army develop street strategies to meet female subsistence earners’ just demand for essential personal safety and protection, to ensure productivity

2.University, government, community-based veterinary/husbandry,/dairy economists/green and dry fodder specialists share best practices in dairy/fodder management/pasturage conservation, with subsistence-earning women and girl dairy producers, who in turn peer-assist women and girls in their localities

3.Hospital-based personnel extend mental health services to women and girl dairy producers

4.Municipal and bureaucratic functionaries at the local, state and centre facilitate women and girl subsistence dairy producers’ access to technical assistance, knowledge sharing.

• BUDGET (I year Field Pilot phase ONLY, no replication activity is covered by this budget)

Personnel costs: USD 19,000

[5 FTE -- 2 psychiatrists, 2 counselors, 1 part-time mobile health unit driver, 1 part-time sustainability evaluation consultant]

Administration USD 4,000

[2 FTE – case-loading, intake, discharge, payroll, awareness camps event coordination, clinical file management, livestock/fodder purchase ordering, distribution, management]

Field Activities USD 23, 386

[6 bi-monthly mobile mental health awareness camps, psychiatric interventions including counseling, therapies & medications]

Evaluation USD 1,000

[Executive Summary, Formative & Summative evaluations, Public Domain dissemination of GSJ pilot project results and recommendations]

Total USD 47, 386

[1 year Field PILOT PHASE Kashmir, India ONLY]

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Thursday, September 24, 2009
GOATS -- for Social Justice
The Goat Narrative seems to be gaining ground, clambering into ethical spaces in some of the most conflicted and battle-weary war zones of South Asia.

Kashmir and Kandahar (and several hundred villages in between), would benefit from a few thousand extra goats.

Homegrown goats from across South Asia and perhaps a nice Goat Exchange set up with our sisters and brothers in sovereign nation-states in the previously colonized and still oppressed Global South. Indonesia, Africa, Ecuador.

We need Goats instead of Drones.

Let those US generals and US-led NATO European occupiers, chew on that.

Let Obama ruminate.

Goats have work to do. Peacework. Pro-Poor development.

This past summer I volunteered in Srinagar with an innovative Social Medicine project called PACE -- Prevention & Care for Everyone. The founder-director a serene,intense,dedicated Kashmiri doctor who had quit his safe government job to directly offer care to persons suffering from symptoms related to depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), as well as drug related problems,
told me a Goat story.

One day, Dr. Arshad Arif was treating an elderly woman patient. She suddenly asked him:


Is anyone listening to this innocent casualty of terror, violence, hunger and deprivation?

What is she telling us?

That she is fully capable of self-diagnosis. She doesn't really need a doctor to tell her what's wrong with her.

She knows what ails her. What has made her mentally ill is a cruel denial of livelihood opportunity.

If she has a goat, a goat will give her milk that she can sell to her neighbors and the money earned will give her a chance to feed herself and her family.

She will walk around while tending her goat and the very act of walking will take her outdoors with something safe and productive to do.

The very act of walking will kick in her endorphins, lessening her pain and despair, and lifting her depressive symptoms.

She wants to be an entrepreneur. She wants to be self employed and earn a living.

Who's listening?

She wants to be well and knows exactly how to get well.

She's basically saying Don't get my Goat. Just give me one.
Or two.
Or three.
Throw in some sheep to optimize sustainability.

Over in Afghanistan the Goat narrative has been repeated many times over. (see link below)

Who's listening?

Goats for PEACE of MIND.

Goats for a PIECE of the Rock, A Slice of the Pie.


Chithra KarunaKaran
Ethical Democracy As Lived Practice