Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Comment: There's no future for the eurozone without fiscal union. Lydia Prieg. Guardian.

Original article link: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/aug/09/eurozone-fiscal-union-europe
Similar mismatches occur with interest rates. Without national currencies there is no mechanism to make sure that eurozone nations' imports and exports between themselves ever come back into balance.
Why are we surprised that the nation at the centre of the European Union is the most financially successful, whilst those archipelagos nations on the periphery struggle to compete? The ERM should compensate for this on the basis of a nation's resources and the circumstances of geography.

Instead, Europe needs a more honest and nuanced debate. There are many options for reform, including reintroducing some domestic currencies alongside the euro, alternative mechanisms for preventing persistent current account imbalances within the eurozone, as well as a range of degrees and means of fiscal integration.

I wonder if at present there is a reluctance to discuss the dirtier side of our economies with each other? Is it this that prevents nations relinquishing more power to the EU whilst accepting governmental consultancy from fiscally successful nations? An even darker secret seems to be the macro economic history of the past two decades, the western economies have bucked and rippled as the economic wave of Russia and China's incorporation into the global economy ebbs within the system, facts the economists never reveal on news shows.

Alas under capitalism there is no idealism without economic wealth, yet every year improvements in technology reduce the cost and man power required for production. It has been a long time since the gold standard was abolished, today perhaps the only measure of currency is in the self belief of a nation or group of nations to do good and lead us forwards. Yet go forwards we must, accepting that we are willing to support each other, that is the direction of civilisation and the only economy worth valuing!

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Gender Equality

Alas the privileges and freedoms we have as men and women are not equal. Yet it is also true to say that neither sets of rights, for the male or the female, encompass the other: if today we gave women all the same advantages that men have, the system would be biased in favour of women. This reveals the oldest dichotomy in human history: between the sexes we support each other, though often in very symbiotic, rather than equivalent ways. Regardless we must strive to ensure that the same options are available to both sexes.

Marxists argue that without understanding sexual identity thru the lens of capitalism, we are presented with many contradictory and reactionary positions, the effects of wealth at every echelon of society affecting those contradictions, that it is - quantifying the value of these roles under capitalism introduces inequalities in the dichotomy: raising a child does not always guarantee the same monetary returns as working as a banker, doctor or barrister and certainly not in the short term. Free market capitalism does not value us equally. 

From where does this inequality stem? The problem must surely lie in the various forms of sexual segregation we undergo during education, particularly in sporting activities where the early opportunity to undermine later misconceptions and other imbalances between the sexes is not realised.

The UN has the following to say on gender equality in sport:
"Sport provides women and girls with an alternative avenue for participation in the social and cultural life of their communities and promotes enjoyment of freedom of expression, interpersonal networks, new opportunities and increased self-esteem. It also expands opportunities for education and for the development of a range of essential life skills, including communication, leadership, teamwork and negotiation. 
The participation of women and girls in sport challenges gender stereotypes and discrimination, and can therefore be a vehicle to promote gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls. In particular, women in sport leadership can shape attitudes towards women’s capabilities as leaders and decision-makers, especially in traditional male domains. 
The positive outcomes of sport for gender equality and women’s empowerment are constrained by gender-based discrimination in all areas and at all levels of sport and physical activity, fuelled by continuing stereotypes of women’s physical abilities and social roles. Women are frequently segregated involuntarily into different types of sports, events and competitions specifically targeted to women. Women’s access to positions of leadership and decision-making is constrained from the local level to the international level. The value placed on women’s sport is often lower, resulting in inadequate resources and unequal wages and prizes. In the media, women’s sport is not only marginalized but also often presented in a different style that reflects and reinforces gender stereotypes. Violence against women, exploitation and harassment in sport are manifestations of the perceptions of men’s dominance, physical strength and power, which are traditionally portrayed in male sport."
UN Inter-Agency Network on Women & Gender Equality, "Women, gender equality and sport."
This early segregation of our social development and later into fraternity and sorority groups would seem to be the cornerstone of the division of the sexes. There is clearly a need for integration in sport, instead grouping athletes by ability and not gender, whilst providing more televised coverage of sexually integrated events. Otherwise we must continue our perpetual lament of the sexual disparity we see as a result of our initial sabotage, continually restarting the feminist fight with each new generation.