Fatima Suleman ~ Affordability And Equitable Access To (Bio)Therapeutics For Public Health

Prof. Fatima Suleman

On 16 May Prof. Fatima Suleman gave her inaugural lecture as the new Professor to the Prince Claus Chair in Development and Equity at Utrecht University, entitled: Affordability and equitable access to (bio)therapeutics for public health. Prof. Suleman works at the University of Kwazulu Natal in South Africa and connects the theme of development and equity with accessibility of medicine, pharmacy and health economics.Read the highly interesting text of the inaugural lecture or watch the video of the livestream!

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Henk A. Becker ~ Inleiding bij Generaties van geluksvogels en pechvogels

Het woord ‘generatie’ komen wij vrijwel dagelijks tegen. In de kranten, op de televisie, in boeken en films. In de meeste gevallen begrijpen wij meteen, dat het om ‘tijdgenoten’ gaat. Soms echter is niet meteen duidelijk waar het woord ‘generatie’ voor staat. In dat geval hebben wij met een ‘wezelwoord’ te maken. Dan lijkt het alsof een wezel in het geniep de betekenis uit het woord heeft weggezogen. Het boek biedt handvatten om dan toch de ontglipte betekenis te kunnen achterhalen.
Zodra het verschijnsel is herkend, komen tal van maatschappelijke knelpunten in gedachten. Denk aan de vraag, welke gevolgen de komende sterke krimp van de
bevolking zal hebben en wie de kosten hiervan zal moeten betalen. Immers in 2010 bereikt in Nederland en vele andere Europese landen het eerste cohort van de babyboom de leeftijd van 65 jaar. In al deze landen gaan achtereenvolgens twintig of meer cohorten van babyboomers het arbeidsbestel verlaten.
Voor sociologen en andere maatschappijwetenschappers gaat het om een omvangrijk onderzoeksgebied. Er is een patroon van generaties ontstaan. Sociologen gaan na, met welke bedreigingen de leden geconfronteerd worden en welke kansen zij hebben. Ook wordt onderzocht welke ‘stille reserves’ in de samenleving kunnen worden aangeboord om het lot van pechvogels te verbeteren en geluksvogels de mogelijkheid te bieden hun gunstige positie te behouden of verder te verbeteren.
Een goed voorbeeld van een geluksvogel is iemand, die op het juiste ogenblik en in de juiste leeftijd op de juiste plek zit. Veranderingen in de samenleving dwingen telkens weer tot nieuw onderzoek. Redenen genoeg om het onderwerp ‘generaties’ in een overzichtspublicatie aan de orde te stellen. De hoofdpunten uit dit boek zijn reeds in wetenschappelijke tijdschriften gepubliceerd.

Hoofdlijnen
Om te beginnen gaat het om een korte karakterisering van het verschijnsel generatie.
Daarna komt het patroon van generaties aan bod, dat in Nederland en de meeste andere lidstaten van de Europese Unie is ontstaan. Vervolgens wordt
geanalyseerd hoe het staat met de solidariteit tussen de generaties. Deze informatie wordt geconfronteerd met ‘Europe 2020’, de opvolger van de Lissabon
Strategie. De nieuwe strategie is door de Europese Commissie gelanceerd om de houdbaarheid (in ‘Europese’ termen de sustainability) van de Europese
Unie tussen 2010 en 2020 te garanderen. Om de gestelde doelen te bereiken acht de Europese Commissie enkele grootscheepse ontwikkelingsprogramma’s noodzakelijk.
In dit kader is besloten om 2012 uit te roepen tot ‘The European Year of Active Ageing and Intergenerational Solidarity’. In het boek wordt bezien op welke punten ‘Europe 2020’ valt te ondersteunen vanuit het patroon van generaties met zijn vele stille reserves. Deze stille reserves schuilen vooral in de patronen van specifieke generaties en van deze specifieke generaties worden in het boek enkele nader geanalyseerd. Actief ouder worden en het beleid in de nota ‘Europe 2020’ spelen op lange termijn, met het jaar 2030 als een omslagpunt in verband met het begin van de uittreding van de babybust cohorten uit het arbeidsbestel.
Omdat generaties veelvuldig in het secundair en hoger onderwijs aan de orde komen, met name doordat studenten er werkstukken over maken, worden in het
methodisch deel voorbeelden van generationele analyses en ‘serious gaming’ gepresenteerd.
Het Europese Jaar van Actief Ouder Worden roept tal van vragen op, vooral over de te organiseren activiteiten. Op deze en soortgelijke vragen wordt in een bonushoofdstuk met ‘Vaak Gestelde Vragen’ ingegaan. Dit systeem van frequently asked questions zal periodiek worden bijgewerkt, vooral om recente ontwikkelingen te behandelen.
Het boek vertoont een indeling, die veel gelijkenis vertoont met de opzet van het eraan ten grondslag liggende meerjarige onderzoeksprogramma. Het gaat om een samenspel van kwalitatieve verkenningen, kwantitatieve onderzoeksprojecten en kwalitatieve interpretaties.

Voor wie bestemd?
Het boek richt zich in de eerste plaats tot een algemeen lezerspubliek. De levensloop van elk der betrokkenen is in het geding. Ten tweede richt het boek zich tot beroepsbeoefenaren, die in hun werk met generatieverschillen te maken hebben. Denk aan leraren, die telkens nieuwe generaties onderwijs moeten geven. In de derde plaats zijn beleidmakers te noemen, die vanuit hun organisatie op generaties moeten inspelen. Ten vierde gaat het om wetenschappers. Zij komen generaties in hun eigen discipline tegen, onder andere bij de instroom van jonge vakgenoten.
Ook zijn er heel wat wetenschappers, die resultaten van generatieonderzoek in hun eigen onderzoek willen verwerken. Denk aan generatieverschillen tussen
patiënten. Tenslotte is het boek bestemd voor al degenen die zich op de hoogte willen stellen van de ‘state of the art’ in de generatiesociologie alsmede de empirische sociologie meer in het algemeen.

Over het boek
Het boek is zo geschreven, dat de hoofdstukken ook afzonderlijk te lezen zijn. In verband met het afzonderlijk kunnen lezen van hoofdstukken komen hier en daar herhalingen voor.
Het hoofdstuk over Generaties en Meertaligheid en het eraan ten grondslag liggende onderzoek vormen een gezamenlijke activiteit van mij en Zoltán Lippényi. Mijn jonge collega is precies vijftig jaar jonger dan ik en daarom gaat het hier om een duidelijk voorbeeld van intergenerationele samenwerking.

In bonushoofdstuk 15 zijn enkele handvatten voor het lezen van het boek opgenomen.
Ook bevat dit hoofdstuk onder meer aanwijzingen voor het toepassen van ‘serious gaming’.
Bij het schrijven en voor publicatie gereedmaken van dit boek heb ik van vele kanten steun ontvangen. Gaarne dank ik Lies van Rijssen en Zoltán Lippényi voor hun commentaren en hun assistentie bij het samenstellen van dit boek. Ook dank ik Rob Ackerstaff, Johanna Becker, Gijs Dekkers, Jan van Hooff, Kees de Jager, Jan Stolp, Ferdinand Verhulst, Sander Vlot, Thymo Vlot en René Vos, die elk op hun eigen wijze al meedenkend een belangrijke inbreng hebben geleverd.
Met dank wordt melding gemaakt van de financiële steun van de stichting ‘Doorns Belang’ voor de vertaling van het boek in het Engels

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Illusions And Dangers In Trump’s “America First” Policy: An Interview With Economist Robert Pollin

Robert Pollin ~ Photo: UMass Amherst

Donald Trump will probably go down in history as having pulled the biggest political con job in US electoral politics. With no coherent ideology but lies and false promises, he managed to win the support of millions of white working-class people whose lives have been shattered by globalization and stagnant wages. In an exclusive interview for Truthout, Robert Pollin, professor of economics and co-director of the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, puts into context Trump’s stance on globalization and his “America first” stance.

C.J. Polychroniou and Marcus Rolle: Resistance to globalization was the preeminent policy theme in Trump’s election campaign, as he not only attacked immigration and promised to build a wall on the US-Mexican border, but rallied against existing trade agreements, including the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and promised to withdraw the US from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal, a promise he carried out immediately upon entering the White House. Given that the US remains the world’s only true superpower and that multilateral trade agreements constitute an integral component of the global neoliberal economy, where, firstly, does resistance to globalization locate Donald Trump on the politico-ideological spectrum and, secondly, what is, in your view, his ultimate vision for the United States?

Robert Pollin: Donald Trump is difficult, if not impossible, to locate with respect to the global neoliberal project; first of all because all evidence thus far supports the conclusion that he has no real convictions at all, other than self-promotion. It’s true that he campaigned on a strong nationalist agenda that diverged in many ways from neoliberalism — i.e. from a program of free trade, unregulated financial markets and freedom for multinational corporations to operate as they please. That program did speak to the experiences of the US white working class, which, as even former Federal Reserve Chair Alan Greenspan recognized in the 1990s, had become “traumatized” by the forces of neoliberal globalization. It is unclear how forcefully Trump intends to diverge from neoliberalism in practice, despite his rhetorical appeals to his base within the US white working class. To me, relative to understanding Donald Trump’s “ultimate vision,” I think it is much more important for progressives to become much clearer in defining our own vision on globalization. Specifically, in my view, what is most important is establishing a clear distinction between neoliberal globalization and globalization in any form at all.

Neoliberal globalization is all about creating freedom for private capital and financial speculation, which in turn has created an unprecedented global “reserve army of labor,” to use Marx’s brilliant turn of phrase. The global reserve army of labor has indeed pitted US workers against workers in China, India, Kenya, Mexico, Guatemala — you name it. This has weakened workers’ bargaining power in the US, which in turn is the most basic factor driving wage stagnation in the United States for the past 40 years, even as US average labor productivity has more than doubled over this period. But we should be able to envision an alternative framework in which the US and other countries are open to trade and immigration within a context of a commitment to full employment and a strong social welfare state. Within a full employment economy with strong social protections, an open trading system will not produce a global reserve army of labor to anything close to the extent we have experienced over the past 40 years. This is the key point.
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ASC ~ Education For Life. Akiiki Babyesiza ~ Introduction

On the occasion of the international conference ‘Education for Life in Africa’, organized by the Netherlands Association for Africa Studies in The Hague on 19 and 20 May 2017, the ASCL Library has compiled a web dossier on this theme. The conference is dedicated to Goal 4 of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): ‘Ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning’.

The web dossier contains recent titles from our Library catalogue (from 2013 onwards), divided into six thematic sections. Each title links to the corresponding record in the online catalogue, which provides abstracts and full-text links (when available). The dossier also contains a number of relevant websites. African textbooks present in our Library (for example, on history and on religion), have not been included in this web dossier. They can be searched in our catalogue using the keyword textbooks (form) combined with a keyword such as ‘history’, ‘Islam’ or ‘Christianity’.

The dossier is introduced by Dr Akiiki Babyesiza, an expert in higher education, specializing in Sub-Saharan Africa. Dr Babyesiza has been working for CHE Consult (Berlin), a consulting company in the field of strategic higher education management, since May 2017.

Introduction
Africa is the youngest continent, with half of its population under the age of 15. An inclusive and equitable education sector from pre-primary to higher education that can offer opportunities for this rising young population is at the core of the targets of Sustainable Development Goal 4: Ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning.

In recent decades, the multilateral initiative Education for All and the education related goals of the Millennium Development Goals have led to substantial changes in the field of education in Africa. Yet, the goal of universal primary education has not been achieved and a high proportion of the world’s out-of-school children are African. While access to primary, secondary and higher education has increased, many other challenges persist with respect to equity and quality. Some of the challenges are connected to how and what children learn at school. One important aspect is the language of instruction, which is usually not the pupils’ mother tongue. Often, the lack of educational success is connected to a lack of proficiency in the language of instruction. Another issue is the role of pedagogy and whether students learn to apply knowledge or just to repeat it. This is, of course, also connected to the quality of the education and training of teachers. Moreover, inequities remain between rural and urban areas with respect to the distribution of schools, particularly secondary schools and higher education institutions.  And there are inequities with regard to gender, ethnicity, disability and refugee status.

These challenges are exacerbated in situations of war and violent conflict, where educational institutions can worsen as well as mitigate conflict. Students can be marginalized by language, teaching content and the politicization of teaching staff. At the same time, educational institutions that offer peace and civic education for students and accelerated learning programmes for former child soldiers can have a positive impact in post-conflict situations.

Whether in times of war or in times of peace, there is need for a more holistic view of education – from pre-primary education to higher education and technical vocational education and training. The higher education sector, for example, has long suffered from neglect due to the strong focus on primary education in international development debates. Due to the social rates of return theory adopted by the World Bank, higher education institutions in Africa were perceived as an unnecessary luxury. These days, politicians and development actors have embraced the interconnectedness of the different educational sectors. Teachers are taught at higher education institutions, so there cannot be successful primary and secondary schools without quality tertiary education. While the number of higher education students in Sub-Saharan Africa doubled between 2000 and 2010, the rate of youth enrolled in higher education is only around 6% (26% is the global average). Furthermore, many scholars, practitioners and politicians believe that the development of a knowledge economy/society, with higher education institutions at its centre, is key to local and global sustainable development.

Access to education and enrolment: http://www.ascleiden.nl/content/education-life ~ scroll down a little for the web dossier.

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Ellen Klinkers ~ Op hoop van vrijheid. Van slavensamenleving naar Creoolse gemeenschap in Suriname, 1830-1880.

De afschaffing van de slavernij op 1 juli 1863 is het hoogtepunt in de Surinaamse geschiedenis. Bijna 33.000 mensen werden vrij. Wat gebeurde er met de samenlevingen die op de plantages waren ontstaan? Welke keuzes had en maakte de vrije bevolking na 1863? Hoe ontstond één Creoolse gemeenschap in Suriname uit al die plantagesamenlevingen? Die vragen staan centraal in de dissertatie waarop ik in 1997 aan de Universiteit Leiden promoveerde.

Echt vrije burgers werden de Creoolse plantagearbeiders pas tien jaar later op 1 juli 1873, toen het Staatstoezicht werd opgeheven. Tot die tijd waren zij nog aan de plantages gebonden. Wel mochten zij zelf beslissen waar ze werkten en kregen zij betaald voor hun werk. Die overgangsperiode tussen slavernij en vrijheid beschermde de planter tegen een leegloop van zijn bedrijf.
In mijn boek bespreek ik de laatste decennia van de slavernij, het staatstoezicht en eerste jaren van volledige vrijheid. Ik maakte gebruik van de dagboeken van de Herrnhutters en van rechtszaken. Die documenten brachten mij zo dicht mogelijk bij de mensen die zelf nooit een stem kregen in de bronnen.

Op hoop van vrijheid is in 1997 verschenen. Het woord slaaf is nu omstreden, maar was toen gangbaar. Het boek is al lang niet meer leverbaar.

Het boek in PDF-formaat is hier te downloaden: http://ellenklinkers.nl/op-hoop-van-vrijheid/

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Dismantling Domination: What We Can Learn About Freedom From Karl Marx

Karl Marx (1818-1883)  Ills.: Ingrid Bouws

Over the years, especially following the latest global financial crisis that erupted in late 2007, there has been a renewed interest in the work of Karl Marx. Indeed, Marx remains essential for understanding capitalism, but his political project continues to produce conflicting interpretations. What really motivated Marx to undertake a massive study of the laws of the capitalist mode of production? Was Marx interested in liberty, or merely in equality? And did Marx’s vision of communism have any links to “actually existing socialism” (i.e., the socialist regimes of the former Soviet Union and the Eastern bloc)?

Marx’s Inferno: The Political Theory of Capital, a recently published book by McGill University Professor William Clare Roberts, offers a rigorous and unique interpretation of Marx’s political and philosophical project. The book reveals why Marx remains extremely relevant today to all those seeking to challenge capitalism’s domination and violence — from its exploitation of labor power to the use of oppressive stage apparatuses as reflected in the exercise of police brutality. We spoke to William Clare Roberts about Marx’s project and vision of communism.

C.J. Polychroniou: In your recently published book Marx’s Inferno, you contend that liberty, rather than equality, was Marx’s primary politico-philosophical concern and, subsequently, claim that his work and discourse belong in the republican tradition of political thought. Can you elaborate a bit on these claims and tell us how they are derived from a particular reading of Marx’s work?

William Clare Roberts: I would say it a bit differently. Marx is certainly concerned with equality. Everyone on the left is. The question is: equality of what? This is where freedom, or liberty, comes in. In my book, I argue that Marx shared the radical republican project of securing universal equal freedom. When we talk about equality on the left today, this is too often assumed to mean equality of material wealth or equality of treatment, such that economic equality is the goal in itself. For Marx, economic inequality was not the main problem. It was a consequence and a breeding ground of domination. This was Marx’s prime concern.

To be dominated is to be subject to the whims or caprice of others, to have no control over whether or not they interfere with you, your life, your actions, your body. Republicans, going back to the Roman republic, have recognized that this lack of control over how others treat you is, of itself, inimical to human flourishing. [According to their philosophy], whether or not the powerful actually hurt you is actually less important than the fact that they have the power to hurt you, and you can’t control whether or not or how they use that power. It is in this space of uncertainty and fear that power does its work. So, for example, that an employer can fire a worker at will is usually enough to secure the worker’s obedience, especially where the worker doesn’t have many alternative sources of income. Likewise, that the police have the basically unchecked power to arrest, beat and harass people in many neighborhoods produces all manner of distortions in how people live, regardless of whether they have actually been beaten or harassed. To live free is to live without this fear or this need to watch out for the powerful. And this means being equally empowered.

Traditionally, republicans were concerned only to protect the freedom of a certain class of men within their own political community. In the 19th century, however, workers, women, escaped slaves — people who lived with domination — began to take over this republican theory of freedom and to insist that everyone should enjoy equal freedom. I read Marx as part of this tradition.

Marx’s major innovation in this tradition was to develop a theory of the capitalist economy as a system of domination. Radicals then — like many radicals today — assimilated capital to previous forms of power — military, feudal, or extortionary. They saw the capitalist simply as a monopolist, and the government as the enforcement squad of the monopolists. To Marx, this was insufficient as a critical diagnosis. The capitalists are, like the workers, dependent upon the market. They must act as they do or be replaced by other, more effective capitalists. Marx saw in this market dependence a new sort of all-round social domination. The livelihood of each depends upon the unpredictable and uncontrollable decisions of many others. This impersonal domination mediates and transforms the other forms of domination people experience.
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