Free trade, loss of support systems crippling food production in Africa

February 15, 2010
A worker in Cote d'voire finds work removing the husk from locally produced rice using old-fashioned, but functional mortar and pestle techniques. (Photo courtesy of Oregon State University)

Despite good intentions, the push to privatize government functions and insistence upon "free trade" that is too often unfair has caused declining food production, increased poverty and a hunger crisis for millions of people in many African nations, researchers conclude in a new study.

Market reforms that began in the mid-1980s and were supposed to aid economic growth have actually backfired in some of the poorest nations in the world, and just in recent years led to multiple food riots, scientists report today in , a professional journal.

"Many of these reforms were designed to make countries more efficient, and seen as a solution to failing schools, hospitals and other infrastructure," said Laurence Becker, an associate professor of geosciences at Oregon State University. "But they sometimes eliminated critical support systems for poor farmers who had no car, no land security, made $1 a day and had their life savings of $600 hidden under a mattress.

"These people were then asked to compete with some of the most efficient agricultural systems in the world, and they simply couldn't do it," Becker said. "With tariff barriers removed, less expensive imported food flooded into countries, some of which at one point were nearly self-sufficient in agriculture. Many people quit farming and abandoned systems that had worked in their cultures for centuries."

These forces have undercut food production for 25 years, the researchers concluded. They came to a head in early 2008 when the price of rice - a staple in several African nations - doubled in one year for consumers who spent much of their income solely on food. Food riots, political and economic disruption ensued.

The study was done by researchers from OSU, the University of California at Los Angeles and Macalester College. It was based on household and market surveys and national production data.

There are no simple or obvious solutions, Becker said, but developed nations and organizations such as the World Bank or International Monetary Fund need to better recognize that approaches which can be effective in more advanced economies don't readily translate to less developed nations.

"We don't suggest that all local producers, such as small farmers, live in some false economy that's cut off from the rest of the world," Becker said.

"But at the same time, we have to understand these are often people with little formal education, no extension systems or bank accounts, often no cars or roads," he said. "They can farm land and provide both food and jobs in their countries, but sometimes they need a little help, in forms that will work for them. Some good seeds, good advice, a little fertilizer, a local market for their products."

Many people in African nations, Becker said, farm local land communally, as they have been doing for generations, without title to it or expensive equipment - and have developed systems that may not be advanced, but are functional. They are often not prepared to compete with multinational corporations or sophisticated trade systems. The loss of local agricultural production puts them at the mercy of sudden spikes in food costs around the world. And some of the farmers they compete with in the U.S., East Asia and other nations receive crop supports or subsidies of various types, while they are told they must embrace completely free trade with no assistance.

"A truly free market does not exist in this world," Becker said. "We don't have one, but we tell hungry people in Africa that they are supposed to."

This research examined problems in Gambia and Cote d'Ivoire in Western Africa, where problems of this nature have been severe in recent years. It also looked at conditions in Mali, which by contrast has been better able to sustain local food production - because of better roads, a location that makes imported rice more expensive, a cultural commitment to local products and other factors.

Historically corrupt governments continue to be a problem, the researchers said.

"In many African nations people think of the government as looters, not as helpers or protectors of rights," Becker said. "But despite that, we have to achieve a better balance in governments providing some minimal supports to help local agriculture survive."

An emphasis that began in the 1980s on wider responsibilities for the private sector, the report said, worked to an extent so long as prices for food imports, especially rice, remained cheap. But it steadily caused higher unemployment and an erosion in local food production, which in 2007-08 exploded in a global food crisis, street riots and violence. The sophisticated techniques and cash-crop emphasis of the "Green Revolution" may have caused more harm than help in many locations, the study concluded.

Another issue, they said, was an "urban bias" in government assistance programs, where the few support systems in place were far more oriented to the needs of city dwellers than their rural counterparts.

Potential solutions, the researchers concluded, include more diversity of local crops, appropriate tariff barriers to give local producers a reasonable chance, subsidies where appropriate, and the credit systems, road networks, and local mills necessary to process local crops and get them to local markets.

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Mesafina
3.3 / 5 (7) Feb 15, 2010
When will people realize that capitalism is an extremist ideology just as much as communism. Both of them sound great on paper "if only people would just behave according to some idealistic nature" which has nothing to do with how people actually behave.

I can't stand communists and capitalists who are so ignorant and so quick to rip each others throats out. You all would destroy the very world we live in just to see it out of the hands of the other.
marjon
1 / 5 (3) Feb 15, 2010
"Historically corrupt governments continue to be a problem, the researchers said."

I wonder what the tariff barriers are to tools which will enable more efficient production.
Caliban
4.2 / 5 (10) Feb 15, 2010
There is the idiotic notion that somehow, a First World for-profit agricultural/industrial system can somehow be imposed or "grafted" upon a subsistence-based(specifically in terms of agricultural production) economy, completely lacking any of the infrastructure(processing, planning, marketing, inspection, distribution, extension, support, government regulation et c.) taken for granted in the developed world, and expect it to somehow, miraculously, WORK! In other words- the usual Top-down Development Fallacy. It hasn't worked over and over again, but it is still the preferred model for developmental assistance. This model MUST be turned around and attempted from the ground up, where there may be some justified expectation of success.
The current model is essentially a tool to extort concessions from weak, corrupt governments for the exploitation of more valuable resources by First World Interests, specifically petro-drilling and metals/gems mining.
paulthebassguy
1.8 / 5 (5) Feb 15, 2010
I disagree with the above comments. Free trade does not go far enough - what needs to happen is that western businesses need to be able to purchase or lease long term land in africa (albeit with appropriate regulation), so that it can be developed properly.

If farming businesses with enough capital and proper processes were established in Africa they would provide jobs and make the land much more productive.
croghan27
4.7 / 5 (3) Feb 15, 2010
"Historically corrupt governments continue to be a problem, the researchers said."

I wonder what the tariff barriers are to tools which will enable more efficient production.


Hi marjon ..... I do not think that new tools are going to help places such as Haiti that has to compete with (such as) the heavily subsidized American rice producers.

Clinton, now ramrodding some kind of rescue for Haiti forced them to open their borders to foreign producers that they cannot possibly compete with.

A local and viable industry was then destroyed.
Caliban
4.1 / 5 (9) Feb 15, 2010
paulthebassguy,
I can see that you are well-intentioned. I also see some problems with your reasoning. In the first place, the best land is already generally under cultivation, either privately or communally. Are you proposing that these nations' governments seize these lands, and sell them to offshore interests, for private development? Or that maybe some kind of "lease" be granted? Or that the current owners of the land be forced to sell it?
Ignoring all the legal, ethical, and moral ramifications for the moment, what would you expect said agricultural developer to do? Why, grow monoculture crops, and sell them at the highest price possible- regardless of what the end market might be. Just because food is grown in a given area does not guarantee its distribution in the same. You can see this distribution model at work right here in America. But here in america, most people have cars or have access to transportation to get to where the food is being sold. Continued
Caliban
4.1 / 5 (9) Feb 15, 2010
In the third world, people have to depend much, much more on food that is produced locally, and through their own efforts, especially since so much of their time is consumed on a daily basis in the quest for a sufficient amount of the equally important drinkable water and fuel for fire.

This is why I say that current models of development(for the most part) are really just models of exploitation. They generally don't include any requirement for distribution of even subsistence amounts of resources to the very people they disenfranchise and put further at risk.
croghan27
not rated yet Feb 15, 2010
Well said, Caliban ..... you are spending your time on the island well! :)
mary_hinge
4 / 5 (4) Feb 16, 2010
Caliban- some excellent and well thought out points. There was an good article in New Scientists which showed how West African farmers are moving towards growing native fruits commercially with huge improvements in living standards. The article is here http://www.newsci...ull=true
operator
4.8 / 5 (4) Feb 16, 2010
something the report doesn't point out is the wealth of genetic diversity in the crops that subsistance farmers propagate, saving their seed from year to year an usually growing local strains that are tolerant to conditions in that area.
this is another aspect of imposing 1st world tech on 3rd world countries, the death of local diversity amonst crops, we've seen this in mexico amongst the corn growers, in iraq amongst the wheat growers, an india amongst rice growers.

what the farmers dont need are monsanto or segenta type terminator seeds but rather help in utilising the local varities that they do have, which have been shown to have tolerance to drought an diseases specific to the areas in which they've been historically grown.

this also bring into question a lot of the western capilalist systems we have in place for exploiting 3rd world countries for their resources an making them supply us with cheap food. we really do need to look at how we feed ourselves in the west
mary_hinge
3 / 5 (2) Feb 16, 2010
In Kenya they have remarkable success with introducing the option of tissue cultured banana to local farms rather than relying on the usual method of division, a process that can spread diseases very efficiently. By taking the tissue from the most productive plants farmers have been doing very well despite the higher price of the tissue grown plants. If the tissue is taken from a wide number of productive plants then a large enough gene pool should be there to help prevent wholesale loss due to vector transmitted diseases.
I think this is a case where 1st world technology can help 3rd world farmers allowing more productive crops for small farmers.
ForFreeMinds
2.1 / 5 (11) Feb 16, 2010
I find the article full of contradictions. The title blames free trade and "loss of support systems" (what is meant by support systems?) on reduced food production. Then later it says the imported food was found to be less expensive than producing it, and later says that a spike in rice costs led to riots. A truly free market does exist - see Hong Kong. Then later they write that corrupt governments continue to be a problem - but how can a free market exist with a corrupt government? Then the article blames "urban bias" in assistance programs for farmers problems. Yet the government can produce nothing, and government assistance comes only from taking it away from others first. A free market requires the rule of law and property rights to work. The authors seem to miss that.
Bloodoflamb
3 / 5 (4) Feb 16, 2010
I find the article full of contradictions. The title blames free trade and "loss of support systems" (what is meant by support systems?) on reduced food production. Then later it says the imported food was found to be less expensive than producing it, and later says that a spike in rice costs led to riots. A truly free market does exist - see Hong Kong. Then later they write that corrupt governments continue to be a problem - but how can a free market exist with a corrupt government? Then the article blames "urban bias" in assistance programs for farmers problems. Yet the government can produce nothing, and government assistance comes only from taking it away from others first. A free market requires the rule of law and property rights to work. The authors seem to miss that.

Buddy - when people don't have jobs they can't buy food.
marjon
1.8 / 5 (9) Feb 16, 2010
I find the article full of contradictions. The title blames free trade and "loss of support systems" (what is meant by support systems?) on reduced food production. Then later it says the imported food was found to be less expensive than producing it, and later says that a spike in rice costs led to riots. A truly free market does exist - see Hong Kong. Then later they write that corrupt governments continue to be a problem - but how can a free market exist with a corrupt government? Then the article blames "urban bias" in assistance programs for farmers problems. Yet the government can produce nothing, and government assistance comes only from taking it away from others first. A free market requires the rule of law and property rights to work. The authors seem to miss that.

Buddy - when people don't have jobs they can't buy food.

Jobs aren't available because governments inhibit economic enterprises that create such jobs.
Shootist
2.1 / 5 (8) Feb 16, 2010
When will people realize that capitalism is an extremist ideology just as much as communism.


Unrestricted capitalism will inevitably lead to the selling of human flesh. But all the slaves in the world are better than the world of Mao or Marx.

In the end, Mr. Churchill was correct, our's is the worse form of government except for every other form of government.
fourthrocker
2.3 / 5 (3) Feb 16, 2010
Free trade and the importation of non-essential goods only benefits profiteers. It not only doesn't benefit the common man, it does great harm in many ways. Just the importation of invasive species causes enough damage to stop all importation. The destruction of our manufacturing capacity, the enrichment of China and the filling of our landfills with their products which are garbage should also be enough for intelligent people.
Skeptic_Heretic
not rated yet Feb 16, 2010
Free trade and the importation of non-essential goods only benefits profiteers.

Say that to the exporters who are paid handsomely for difficult to obtain items.
marjon
1 / 5 (3) Feb 16, 2010
Free trade and the importation of non-essential goods only benefits profiteers. It not only doesn't benefit the common man, it does great harm in many ways. Just the importation of invasive species causes enough damage to stop all importation. The destruction of our manufacturing capacity, the enrichment of China and the filling of our landfills with their products which are garbage should also be enough for intelligent people.

Maybe African farmers would like to import more tools to make their farming efforts more efficient. That is how USA agriculture progressed from nearly everyone living and working on a farm to less than 2% today.
I know many countries put high tariffs on all sorts of imports.

BTW, Zimbabwe once exported food. Now they are starving. Why is that?
dachpyarvile
3.2 / 5 (5) Feb 16, 2010
While it is an unfortunate situation in Africa the root of the problem is too much change too fast. Our capitalistic society had old roots but the technology that made it possible gradually came to bear, as did the accompanying changes.

Africa did not have that luxury, however, as the current situation was foisted upon them before they were ready for it.

Had it been a more gradual approach to things these people might have been prepared for the changes over time and such problems might not have cropped up as they did.
3432682
2.3 / 5 (6) Feb 16, 2010
Sad to see so little understanding of economics in the article and the comments.
1. The world economy is the best ever, and living standards are soaring by historic and absolute standards. Free trade is the heart of that improvement.
2. Subsidized crops ought not be allowed into any nation. Poor nations cannot compete with them.
3. Corrupt government is the biggest problem in the world. Big government is the 2nd biggest problem.
4. Free people will work in harmony to advance themselves, better than any government scheme.
5. Free markets will allow poorer nations to export food and simple materials to richer nations. The subsidies in the richer nations militate against that free trade, thus harming the poorer.
6. US exports have been fairly steady for 70 years at about 24% of world exports. Efficiency of production has cut the manpower required to produce them. The same thing happened over 2 centuries to farming, reducing the workforce from 80% to 3% of the workforce.
ShotmanMaslo
3.7 / 5 (3) Feb 16, 2010

5. Free markets will allow poorer nations to export food and simple materials to richer nations. The subsidies in the richer nations militate against that free trade, thus harming the poorer.


The point of the article is that if developed country A can export cheaper food to undeveloped country B, then it could make many people in country B unemployed, especially if we are talking about undeveloped, mostly agrarian economy.

Thats why a trade regulation could be reasonable.

I fully agree that farming subsidies in developed countries are a height of stupidity.
Skeptic_Heretic
1 / 5 (3) Feb 16, 2010
So you'd prefer for everyone to remain as a local subsistence farmer rather than importing their food and elevating their quality of life through industrial and technological development?

Like the above article's conclusion, utter lunacy.
Bloodoflamb
4.2 / 5 (5) Feb 16, 2010
Jobs aren't available because governments inhibit economic enterprises that create such jobs.

Wrong. Jobs aren't available because the industrial state of African nations is such that local economies are based around agriculture. When you destroy agricultural sources of jobs by importing food, you leave these people without jobs and without the money to purchase the imported food. And it's not like industry is rushing in the fill the gap caused by corrupt governments put into place by Western powers driven to exploit the resources of these nations at the behest of multinational corporations.
Skeptic_Heretic
2.2 / 5 (6) Feb 16, 2010
When you destroy agricultural sources of jobs by importing food, you leave these people without jobs and without the money to purchase the imported food.

That's wrong.

When you start importing food to a subsistence society, people now have free time to get jobs and innovate. Since the only innovation in the region appears to be war then I'd say the issue is the corrupt goverments.
Bloodoflamb
4.2 / 5 (5) Feb 16, 2010
That's wrong.

When you start importing food to a subsistence society, people now have free time to get jobs and innovate. Since the only innovation in the region appears to be war then I'd say the issue is the corrupt goverments.

What does a subsisting society have to offer more technologically advanced capitalistic societies? Sweat shop labor? These people don't have the educational or industrial infrastructure to create goods that they can export in order to make enough to import food. They need to advance their agricultural industries and invest the money they make in education and higher tech industries.

It's not as though you can go from nothing -> innovative export economy and skip everything in between.
frajo
3.7 / 5 (3) Feb 16, 2010
When you destroy agricultural sources of jobs by importing food, you leave these people without jobs and without the money to purchase the imported food.
When you start importing food to a subsistence society, people now have free time to get jobs and innovate.
Free time is of no use if there aren't jobs.
Skeptic_Heretic
2.3 / 5 (3) Feb 16, 2010
What does a subsisting society have to offer more technologically advanced capitalistic societies? Sweat shop labor?

Sweat shops seem bad to you and I but over there people flock to them. Why? It's the best pay you can get. Working 10 hours a day in a factory is better than working 24/7 on your farm.
Free time is of no use if there aren't jobs.
Stop the constant war and perhaps industry will create some.
Thrasymachus
2 / 5 (14) Feb 16, 2010
I love capitalists. They're so wonderfully and naively optimistic. They don't believe in any kind of limits to human imagination and innovation. It's like a children's fairytale. While in the long-term, they may well be right, in the short to mid-term, there certainly are wrong. When you take away a large number of jobs in any economy, it takes time for someone to figure out something for those displaced workers to do that's worthwhile (i.e. profitable). In the meantime, they suffer, because they don't have their previous income, and even though the stuff they need is cheaper than it used to be, they're worse off because they don't have any money to buy it with.

And don't be fooled by the rhetoric, in the absence of innovation, free markets necessarily destroy jobs, not create them. Only innovation creates jobs.
croghan27
5 / 5 (5) Feb 16, 2010
What does a subsisting society have to offer more technologically advanced capitalistic societies? Sweat shop labor?

Sweat shops seem bad to you and I but over there people flock to them. Why? It's the best pay you can get. Working 10 hours a day in a factory is better than working 24/7 on your farm.
Free time is of no use if there aren't jobs.
Stop the constant war and perhaps industry will create some.


Skeptic H ---- the problem being that sweat shop work is better than starving not working your own farm. All too often subsistence farmers have been driven off their land by the heavily subsidized products available from free trade.

You are certainly correct in your assessment of the benefits of peace, or even just of constant waring. Yet it is not the African peanut farmer that can afford to buy guns, tanks and fighter planes.

Ken Saro Wiwa was not killed by palm oil farmers - Shell had its' capitalist had in there for that.
marjon
1.6 / 5 (5) Feb 16, 2010
And don't be fooled by the rhetoric, in the absence of innovation, free markets necessarily destroy jobs, not create them. Only innovation creates jobs.

What is limiting innovation today in Africa or in the USA for that matter?
Major corp. in the USA are not hiring because they don't know what the government will do to them. They want the cash to be able to survive any government 'fix'.
Thrasymachus
2.2 / 5 (13) Feb 16, 2010
All the various governments (from local to federal) in the USA are far far behind well established, multi-generational and multi-national corporations in terms of stagnating innovation. Such businesses are notoriously risk-averse, and all attempts at innovation are inherently risky. Indeed, governments are one of the few sources of risk-free funding for innovation.

Right now, barriers to entry involving unbeatable competition from economies of scale and a grossly perverted financial system are the largest obstacles to innovation, and only governments have the power to regulate and mitigate these occurrences.
Yellowdart
3.8 / 5 (4) Feb 16, 2010
The problem isnt lack of innovation. Businesses have plenty of money to do so, and would have plenty more if they didnt spend it lining government pockets. That goes for USA too.

Capitalism is not a free market without responsbility (such a poor strawman). Governments exist..at least the USA in theory, to provide that freedom to its people. To protect it, to uphold it. That means they should provide education, infrastructure and a court of law, esp against those who prey upon and exploit the freedom that capitalism brings (such as a Madoff).

Free market doesnt mean that a country cant protect its own products. That is the failure of these countries. Mali has made means to protect its products, and provided the infrastructure to do so. Thus it has protected its people far better, and provided the freedom to do so.

Continued...
croghan27
not rated yet Feb 16, 2010
When will people realize that capitalism is an extremist ideology just as much as communism.


Unrestricted capitalism will inevitably lead to the selling of human flesh. But all the slaves in the world are better than the world of Mao or Marx.

In the end, Mr. Churchill was correct, our's is the worse form of government except for every other form of government.


WOW - shootist .. if you do not like Vlad or The Chairman ..... stay away from Metro Vancouver:

http://www.vancou...ory.html
Yellowdart
4 / 5 (5) Feb 16, 2010
Capitalism is not the government bailing out failures, taking over failures, while spending almost nothing on infrastructure.

Captialism is not businesses taking advantage of their consumers, exploiting the weak, frauding, or eliminating competition.

Both of those are abuses of the model. And when either is propped up, it only screws the model over more.

Capitalism succeeds when a country's citizens decide who stays and who goes. That is all the government needs to protect and foster, its people. If AiG gets big off of exploiting the housing/insurance market and preying on the weak, then it should go the way of the buffalo. By sustaining such practices, you ruin the markets own capability of weeding out bad.

First worlders need to get off the concept that everyone needs an iPhone too. Nothing wrong with 10 bucks a day or working over 40 hours a week..much less Saturdays to simply provide food, clothing, shelter. We are so over materialized.
paulthebassguy
1 / 5 (1) Feb 16, 2010
caliban:

I was certainly not advocating that private land in Africa be seized by governments. I do agree with you that a business model like what I suggested best suits America (and western countries), especially with the transport issues.

The issue still remains that a lot of African farms don't have the capital or resources to make their farms as efficient as they could be so with proper & fair agreements from the private land owners and proper regulation from the state, I still think that business investment is a good idea. Do you have any ideas as to how they can increase productivity?
Caliban
3 / 5 (4) Feb 16, 2010
Paulthebassguy,
As a matter of fact, I do. For starters, development aid should be spent on critical infrastructure(roads, water/desalinisation, communications, transit) doesn't have to be hi-tech to work, either- just has to be robust and dependable. Creates jobs, too. Also education and healthcare.
Initially, at least, set up govt sponsored markets. these should be located where the traditional markets are, at least to start- until transit structure creates need to move to newly-established meeting places. Primarily keep it local, local, local- so that the people have the first crack at the food being produced in their locality.
Business investment is fine, but it should be limited to direct investment into locally owned farms to ensure that production remains in balance with local subsistence needs. Advisory staff to coordinate/train/admin. Until a region is stabilized- then a more free-market type agri-business model could be fostered sustainably.
Continues
Caliban
3 / 5 (4) Feb 16, 2010
with this model, wealth is continually created(relative, individual wealth, that is) which allows for innovation and diversification locally, right in the community- and from there to a regional and national level, creating self-sustaining economies in terms of individual, community and state scales. The same model can be adapted to just about any other type of resource- or industrial- development plan.
As you can see, though, this "trickle to a stream" model does not produce an immediate windfall profit -depending, of course, on how you define "profit". Is it more important that Corporation X rake in 3 billion over the next 5 years(at taxpayer expense, since we're talking IMF or World Bank funding)leaving thousands unemployed and starving, in the midst of a wasteland- or that those same thousands have a livelihood(or at least access to one) and will be able to sustain active, contributory involvement in the world economy moving forward?
Continued
Caliban
2.3 / 5 (3) Feb 16, 2010
This isn't some mere "utopian fantasy" it is a workable model. It requires a fairly long-term commitment in terms of advice/admin/training, and close spending oversight- but hey! Guess what? It's your money, so how do you want it spent?
marjon
1 / 5 (1) Feb 16, 2010
This isn't some mere "utopian fantasy" it is a workable model. It requires a fairly long-term commitment in terms of advice/admin/training, and close spending oversight- but hey! Guess what? It's your money, so how do you want it spent?

And it requires a government that is not corrupt.
marjon
1 / 5 (1) Feb 16, 2010
Capitalism is not a free market without responsbility (such a poor strawman). Governments exist..at least the USA in theory, to provide that freedom to its people. To protect it, to uphold it. That means they should provide education, infrastructure and a court of law, esp against those who prey upon and exploit the freedom that capitalism brings (such as a Madoff).


Maybe its a quibble, but the government in the USA does not 'provide' freedom. The government, whose power is 'on loan' from inherently free individuals, is supposed to help protect the freedom.
Thrasymachus
1.9 / 5 (12) Feb 16, 2010
Maybe its a quibble, but the government in the USA does not 'provide' freedom. The government, whose power is 'on loan' from inherently free individuals, is supposed to help protect the freedom.


It IS a quibble. It's mere semantics. Without that protection, you're not free in any real sense, but at the mercy of evil individuals willing to do anything and everything to maintain that power over you and others. And that guy's not free either, but forced to take those measures to prevent others from taking him over. In the absence of a government, nobody's free in any real or practical sense. Only by some elitist theory are people free in the absence of a governing authority, and even then, only if that authority meets standards of representativeness and consent of the governed.
Yellowdart
1 / 5 (1) Feb 17, 2010
Yeah, bit of a quibble, I think you get my point. You could say that the position of government exists by the people for the people :)

And Caliban I think proposes a reasonable idea, the problem is, is why hasnt that happened already? Usually it is because the local government is uncooperative or hoarding for themselves and gets nothing in return (trade). If your going to allow a company to import to your country, you can always require that they invest in the infrastructure of your country to do so (jobs,roads,other products,education). This wasnt done. Thus Gambia fails 25 years later, not because they had the freedom to trade, but because they failed to invest in their people. It's like if Apple let MS sell prodcuts in its stores. You dont bring the competition in without getting something in return. You dont hoard what you get, you have to reinvest it.

Yellowdart
1 / 5 (1) Feb 17, 2010
There isnt a quick fix to this either. At this point, a place like Gambia needs to do several things. 1. Find some way to get this rice companies to invest in the country, namely local production and jobs. 2. Which means that Gambia will need to borrow money to invest in infrastructure and to encourage these companies to do so 3. Find other products and resources of value at least on a local scale.
marjon
1 / 5 (2) Feb 17, 2010
Zimbabwe used to export food.
Now it is starving.
What changed? Natural climate or political climate?
Political climate can be changed by people. Natural climate is more difficult.
Thrasymachus
1.4 / 5 (10) Feb 17, 2010
What changed is that Mugabe confiscated much of the productive agricultural land held by whites to redistribute it to blacks. While whites only made up 10% of Zimbabwe's population, they owned or controlled up to 70% of the land as a result of colonization by the British.

Mugabe's redistribution efforts would have hurt Zimbabwe's agricultural productivity anyway, from just the downtime and costs of the transition, but during the redistribution, Zimbabwe experienced severe droughts, exacerbating the problem. Now, what remains of their agricultural capacity cannot compete against vastly cheaper and more efficient foreign imports.
Skeptic_Heretic
not rated yet Feb 17, 2010
Now, what remains of their agricultural capacity cannot compete against vastly cheaper and more efficient foreign imports.

And those imports are cheaper and more efficiently delivered due to industrialization and a break from subsistence living.

A single subsistence farmer cannot own and operate the equipment necessary to compete with industrialization.
Thrasymachus
1 / 5 (9) Feb 17, 2010
It's not as if they weren't somewhat industrialized in their agricultural production before, after all, they were net exporters in the 80's. A radical land-grab and corrupt redistribution destroyed what industrial capacity they had.

Since agriculture was the biggest employer in Zimbabwe, the devastation of that industry leaves a lot of people unemployed, unable to afford even the cheaper food, and unable to eke out their own subsistence through lack of access to arable land, lack of knowledge in utilizing what they have, and excessive interference by a corrupt dictator.
otto1923
1 / 5 (1) Feb 19, 2010
-Reminds me of mao's 5 year plans.
When will people realize that capitalism is an extremist ideology just as much as communism
'Communism' as it was installed in various parts of the world was never communism- it was and is martial law, meant to stabilize populations while the job of destroying obsolete cultures, begun in wars and previous colonial occupations, can be completed. So what makes you think capitalism as we are led to understand it is really capitalism at all? Capitalism implies free markets, which they are not. Free markets are anathema to progress In The Right Direction, which is essential to the future and to survival. As countries are rid of their obsolete cultures, consumption can be ramped up, thereby contributing to true and beneficial Progress. Re; the article: culture carriers, often as not, will die rather than lose their ancient beliefs. Famine can be engineered.
marjon
1 / 5 (1) Feb 19, 2010
Free markets are anathema to progress In The Right Direction, which is essential to the future and to survival

What is The Right Direction?
Free markets have been the engine that has freed millions of people around the world from tyrants like Auto I.
frajo
1 / 5 (1) Feb 20, 2010
Working 10 hours a day in a factory is better than working 24/7 on your farm.
If working 24/7 on my own farm can keep me living, then it's the best life I could imagine. Nothing surpasses a life without master.
Skeptic_Heretic
not rated yet Feb 20, 2010
If working 24/7 on my own farm can keep me living, then it's the best life I could imagine. Nothing surpasses a life without master.

Ok, how about kids, a wife, healthcare, modern convenience? With capitalism comes those services that are non-existant otherwise.

If you want to rail against sweatshops, talk to a few people who work in one first. See what they think of it.
frajo
1 / 5 (1) Feb 20, 2010
If working 24/7 on my own farm can keep me living, then it's the best life I could imagine. Nothing surpasses a life without master.

Ok, how about kids, a wife, healthcare, modern convenience?
I was speaking of an acceptable living, of course. Whether that comprises your needs or not, is of no importance for me.
With capitalism comes those services that are non-existant otherwise.
Ok, that's your POV.
Skeptic_Heretic
not rated yet Feb 20, 2010
Ok, that's your POV.
And it has proved true multiple times.

You cannot have even a subsistence agrarian society without some form of capitalism and trade. If you want to play the role of King Cannute, be my guest.
Shootist
1 / 5 (1) Feb 20, 2010
"free trade" that is too often unfair "

an oxymoron.
frajo
1 / 5 (1) Feb 20, 2010
Ok, that's your POV.
And it has proved true multiple times.
The nick you chose is quite misleading.
otto1923
not rated yet Feb 20, 2010
Working 10 hours a day in a factory is better than working 24/7 on your farm.
If working 24/7 on my own farm can keep me living, then it's the best life I could imagine. Nothing surpasses a life without master.
Your farm becomes your master, and when drought hits, it turns on you. Masters are inescapable, especially the Ones we're not aware of.
frajo
1 / 5 (1) Feb 20, 2010
Working 10 hours a day in a factory is better than working 24/7 on your farm.
If working 24/7 on my own farm can keep me living, then it's the best life I could imagine. Nothing surpasses a life without master.
Your farm becomes your master, and when drought hits, it turns on you.
I said "if it can keep me living".
Masters are inescapable, especially the Ones we're not aware of.
I spoke of human beings.
Human masters and nature's mastery set the difference between inacceptable and acceptable hardship.
marjon
1 / 5 (1) Feb 20, 2010
I said "if it can keep me living".


There were a lot of farmers in the midwest who felt that way who have sold out because they can't make a living farming.
Part of that reason is the fault of government commodity subsidies and trade restrictions that inhibit farmers from their most productive enterprises.
Tax laws also prevent farms from being inherited forcing children into debt if they want to keep farming.
NZ ended government ag subsidies and their farmers and economy have benefited quite well.
otto1923
not rated yet Feb 20, 2010
@frajo
Nur ein Paar:
" ... The communist creed: From each according to his ability, to each according to his need. The capitalist creed: From each according to his gullibility, to each according to his greed."
The posting, dated Feb. 18, was signed "Joe Stack (1956-2010)."(ex-pilot) -und:
"Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul." -und so weiter.
-Favorite quote of 2 domestic terrorists. Who is #2?Thought they were relevant.
Human masters and nature's mastery set the difference between inacceptable and acceptable hardship.
I think youre 'splitting hairs.' Either can be unpredictable and unforgiving. Your implication that human overseers- bosses- are uniformly malevolent and thus uniformly intractible makes them a force of nature, which they are not. Some Bosses have your best interests in mind. Nature never does unless you invoke some god you believe in, and then you are only ever half-righ
Nederluv
1 / 5 (1) Feb 20, 2010
When will people realize that capitalism is an extremist ideology just as much as communism. Both of them sound great on paper "if only people would just behave according to some idealistic nature" which has nothing to do with how people actually behave.
I can't stand communists and capitalists who are so ignorant and so quick to rip each others throats out. You all would destroy the very world we live in just to see it out of the hands of the other.

Capitalism follows the laws of nature. The world doesn't have endless resources. Those that are capable of producing efficiently thrive. The economic version of survival of the fittest. Adapt or fail. It's their fault they fail, not the fault of capitalism. Capitalism is the natural way. As long as there is scarcity there will be competition.
frajo
1 / 5 (1) Feb 20, 2010
There were a lot of farmers in the midwest who felt that way who have sold out because they can't make a living farming.
The laws that enable people to buy, sell, inherit, steal land are markers of a fundamentally flawed stage of human development. Fortunately, as this stage had a historical beginning it will find a historical end.
frajo
1 / 5 (2) Feb 20, 2010
Your implication that human overseers- bosses- are uniformly malevolent and thus uniformly intractible makes them a force of nature, which they are not. Some Bosses have your best interests in mind.
Your assumption is wrong. The worst bosses are the good fellows, as they mislead simple people to direct their grief against themselves.
frajo
1 / 5 (2) Feb 20, 2010
Capitalism is the natural way.
Why not feudalism? It flourished several thousand years longer than capitalism ever will.
As long as there is scarcity there will be competition.
As with, for instance, digital copies?
Thrasymachus
1.4 / 5 (10) Feb 20, 2010
I went looking, and in the past 20 years, I've found only two examples of a "family farm" that had to be sold to pay inheritance taxes. Government subsidies are only part of the reason one cannot live as a "subsistence farmer" in the US. No such farm can possibly produce everything one needs, so you have to buy it from others, which means you need money, so you need to sell the excess product from your farm. The problem is, factory farms are so much more efficient at producing farm goods, that whatever excess one can reasonably produce isn't worth enough to cover everything else you need but can't produce on your own.
Caliban
2.3 / 5 (4) Feb 20, 2010
Yes, the Law of Capitalism is not "Compete and Thrive", but rather "Absorb and Pervade"

And something that is being missed here in this discussion is that a subsistence mode of agriculture IS the economy in the instance. Once that has been disrupted, there is no alternative, fall-back economy to turn to. You either stay and try to continue to survive in a usually much-degraded area, or you take your chances, and hope you don't starve, thirst to death, or get killed on your way to the Capitalist Heaven of being another stray, scrambling to survive at the fringes of an urban ghetto. Not much of a choice- especially since you didn't have any say in the matter from the outset.
marjon
1 / 5 (1) Feb 20, 2010
I went looking, and in the past 20 years, I've found only two examples of a "family farm" that had to be sold to pay inheritance taxes. Government subsidies are only part of the reason one cannot live as a "subsistence farmer" in the US. No such farm can possibly produce everything one needs, so you have to buy it from others, which means you need money, so you need to sell the excess product from your farm. The problem is, factory farms are so much more efficient at producing farm goods, that whatever excess one can reasonably produce isn't worth enough to cover everything else you need but can't produce on your own.

It is called comparative advantage.
'Factory farms' are typically owned by family corporations which allow farms to stay in a family.
otto1923
3.5 / 5 (2) Feb 20, 2010
Your assumption is wrong. The worst bosses are the good fellows, as they mislead simple people to direct their grief against themselves.
Not assumption, not wrong. Humans are social creatures. Cooperation is essential in accomplishing things the individual could never do for themself such as hunt large predators who would normally hunt us. Our brains have evolved to facilitate communication; language is a major part of their function. The fundamental human social unit is not the family (a recent, artificial construct) but the tribe. Tribes have leaders- bosses- who are needed to make vital decisions that opposing factions cannot make for themselves. If Solomon hadn't threatened to divide the baby, the 2 women wouldve torn it apart fighting over it. Bosses are essential to any complex social construct whether it be tribe, company, country, or empire. The most effective Bosses are the ones you're not aware of (because you resent them).
otto1923
3 / 5 (2) Feb 20, 2010
Further, bosses enabled the formation of larger, more stable and effective tribes which were the ones which continuously prevailed in competition over resources. Bosses are therefore an integral part of the evolutionary process which produced modern humans. Bosses may be as integral to our brains as speech; that is, the expectation that leaders and the led are what comprise tribes, just as other species follow dominent males and females. Question- who leads the herd? Not the stallion, he was compelled to fight by the dominant females, and afterward was too tired to choose his mates- he mated with those chosen by the dominant females. Stallions are dupes. This is apparently how the Iroquois social structure worked. Female clan heads chose the chief to do their bidding.
otto1923
3 / 5 (2) Feb 20, 2010
One more thing:
Why not feudalism? It flourished several thousand years longer than capitalism ever will.
Agriculture in the beginning quickly became communal, whereby a few people could grow enough food to feed a much larger number who themselves had nothing better to do than reproduce. Much mayhem ensued. Leaders would put idle people to work building huge mounds of rock in the desert or useless great walls, using people for mortar; partially successful, but temporary, solutions. Feudalism divided up communal farms and made the peasants subsist on just enough to keep them alive, and support the kingdom. Feudalism is population management, which is why it was so popular among leaders for so long.
croghan27
not rated yet Feb 20, 2010
otto a couple of things there ... from an upper management POV the good boss is one that gets company goals and objectives achieved. That may be by a 'my way of the highway' method or one of friendly coercion, 'we are all here for the same reason' approach. It matters not so long as the job is done.

We all know that given the chance that corporations will readily resort to physical intimidation - even the most 'liberal and benign' corporations in N. America will quickly hire goons in 3rd world countries to break the limbs of these fool union organizers.

Politically it has been pointed out that the best administration is one of a benign dictatorship - so in the work place it is one of identifying common cause with the company. Unions use this theory all the time - they rthe supposition that others care more about 'the job' than them and offer training courses and management education. Self-directed teams of workers are (as per Harvard School of Business) 10% to 15% more productive.
otto1923
not rated yet Feb 20, 2010
the most 'liberal and benign' corporations in N. America will quickly hire goons in 3rd world countries to break the limbs of these fool union organizers
I don't know- I associate that mental imagery with Hoffa-type unions and the mob. Personally, if I had to spend a lot of time trying to participate in running a company by committee and not doing the job I was trained to do and enjoy, I'd look for work elsewhere. I did work for a company where the professionals were unionized. It folded- couldn't compete, couldn't match salaries in companies where experts ran things.

"Kibbutzim began as utopian communities, a combination of socialism and Zionism. Over the last decades, most Kibbutzim have been privatized and no longer practice communal living" -wiki ... Another utopiaN dream shot to hell.
otto1923
1 / 5 (1) Feb 20, 2010
Third worlders live in brutal cultures based on ancient, often Pleistocene rules of conduct. In order for western cultures to take root, these obsolete cultures have to be destroyed. The people need to desire something in their lives besides making and raising their offspring. You can't educate a people whose religions tell them they are already educated, and that what you have to offer is satanic. In order to spread peace and love in this world, sometimes you gotta crack a few heads. Some things are indeed important enough to fight for. There are goons and thugs on all sides, of necessity. Obsolete cultures will not yield without a fight, and yet the fight is essential in order to free the people. Poverty is only the current perspective on the entire Pleistocene. What else did they need but food, shelter, their tribe, and a few good weapons? That formula is ruinous in today's world.
marjon
1 / 5 (1) Feb 20, 2010
Third worlders live in brutal cultures based on ancient, often Pleistocene rules of conduct. In order for western cultures to take root, these obsolete cultures have to be destroyed. The people need to desire something in their lives besides making and raising their offspring. You can't educate a people whose religions tell them they are already educated, and that what you have to offer is satanic. In order to spread peace and love in this world, sometimes you gotta crack a few heads. Some things are indeed important enough to fight for. There are goons and thugs on all sides, of necessity. Obsolete cultures will not yield without a fight, and yet the fight is essential in order to free the people. Poverty is only the current perspective on the entire Pleistocene. What else did they need but food, shelter, their tribe, and a few good weapons? That formula is ruinous in today's world.

Those evil Christian missionaries are doing significant work it this area.
marjon
1 / 5 (1) Feb 20, 2010
We all know that given the chance that corporations will readily resort to physical intimidation - even the most 'liberal and benign' corporations in N. America will quickly hire goons in 3rd world countries to break the limbs of these fool union organizers.

When workers can vote with their feet and work for a competitor or start their own business, such intimidation will quickly put the company out of business.
Unless, of course, such businesses are protected from competition by 'progressive' governments.
gkhill
5 / 5 (1) Feb 20, 2010
Man there are a lot of comments on this so I gather there are alot of opinions on the subject. it seems that a number of folk miss the point being made. I will respond to the comment closest to this one and that is from Otto1923. You don't need anymore head knocking in these cultures. If asked the majority of these people need very little to have the Pleistocene culture removed. Security is one, Education is another. With out taking change slow and in rational order you will only end up with a dysfunctional society. It is very easy for a person to sit and judge with western values. As for free trade, ha show me truly free trade, fair trade is what is needed. BTW I live in Canada and have lived with the endless carping by the US on certain commodities being embargoed with the WTF calling foul but it goes on.
otto1923
1 / 5 (1) Feb 21, 2010
Third worlders live in brutal cultures based on ancient, often Pleistocene rules of conduct. In order for western cultures to take root, these obsolete cultures have to be destroyed. The people need to desire something in their lives besides making and raising their offspring. You can't educate a people whose religions tell them they are already educated, and that what you have to offer is satanic. In order to spread peace and love in this world, sometimes you gotta crack a few heads. Some things are indeed important enough to fight for. There are goons and thugs on all sides, of necessity. Obsolete cultures will not yield without a fight, and yet the fight is essential in order to free the people. Poverty is only the current perspective on the entire Pleistocene. What else did they need but food, shelter, their tribe, and a few good weapons? That formula is ruinous in today's world.

Those evil Christian missionaries are doing significant work it this area.

What?
otto1923
1 / 5 (1) Feb 21, 2010
If asked the majority of these people need very little to have the Pleistocene culture removed. Security is one, Education is another
Youd have to discuss it with the local imam or shaman or warlord, none of whom allow proselytizing. Bring lots of trinkets and $$ and Kalashnikovs.
Skeptic_Heretic
2.3 / 5 (3) Feb 21, 2010
Those evil Christian missionaries are doing significant work it this area.
Yes they are. Wholesale slaughter of heathens thanks to God's little invention of AIDS and the Church's edict against condoms.
otto1923
3 / 5 (2) Feb 21, 2010
Education. Western women walk around with their hair uncovered and their breasts covered, both of which insult god or spirits or whatever. The men only have one wife and she doesn't even need to be a virgin. Westerners and everything they have to teach you are EVIL. The people are taught this from birth. They are already educated. This is true in Afghanistan, the Sudan, etc. -most of the third world.
frajo
1 / 5 (1) Feb 21, 2010
The problem is, factory farms are so much more efficient at producing farm goods, that whatever excess one can reasonably produce isn't worth enough to cover everything else you need but can't produce on your own.
Yes.
This situation should be changed by a sound government chosen by a sound people. It will take some time, though, as both are not within sight.
frajo
1 / 5 (1) Feb 21, 2010
The fundamental human social unit is not the family (a recent, artificial construct) but the tribe.
Yes.
Tribes have leaders- bosses- who are needed to make vital decisions that opposing factions cannot make for themselves.
No. You're mixing up here the romantic German image of a "Fuehrer" with the pre-neolithic distribution of functions by the adult members of the tribe. It was not the leader who told the other members what to do - it was the community who picked one (or more) of them, on a day-by-day scheme, to do the administrative tasks. The best hunter was to lead the hunt, the best plant savvy was to administer the care for the sick. As long as these "leaders" did their jobs, their community "followed" them. But the moment they failed, their community replaced them.
This is not a hierarchical model, it is a model of effective cooperation.
frajo
1 / 5 (1) Feb 21, 2010
Agriculture in the beginning quickly became communal, whereby a few people could grow enough food to feed a much larger number who themselves had nothing better to do than reproduce.
No. It did not become communal, it was a communal thing from the beginning. As hunting was a cooperative task, so was agriculture. There was no private property of land as the roots of agriculture are nomadic.
Private property developed later, after the switch called the neolithic revolution. And of course it developed in all conceivable directions, not only in the desirable directions.
Fortunately, most of us are now convonced that human beings as private property is not a good idea.
The future will bring further corrections.
frajo
2 / 5 (2) Feb 21, 2010
Third worlders live in brutal cultures based on ancient, often Pleistocene rules of conduct.
Not all of them. And not only them.
I don't buy that you know the PLeistocene rules of conduct.
these obsolete cultures have to be destroyed.
How do you know whether your own culture is obsolete or not?
The people need to desire something in their lives besides making and raising their offspring.
They don't need to, they do. Otherwise there would be no culture of theirs.
You can't educate a people whose religions tell them they are already educated, and that what you have to offer is satanic.
Are you speaking of your culture from the POV of the original inhabitants of America?
In order to spread peace and love in this world, sometimes you gotta crack a few heads.
That's what you have to offer. Nothing new.
frajo
1 / 5 (1) Feb 21, 2010
Western women walk around with their hair uncovered
Non-Westerners, too.
and their breasts covered, both of which insult god or spirits or whatever.
Where on this planet are covered breasts seen as an insult? Not even in the ancient Minoan culture.
The men only have one wife
And several girl friends if you don't prefer polygamy.
and she doesn't even need to be a virgin.
But the Westerners like to pay a higher price for a virgin in Bangkok.
Westerners and everything they have to teach you are EVIL.
This is only one understandable conclusion after centuries of historical experience.
The people are taught this from birth.
They are taught history. That's a good thing.
They are already educated.
No difference to Western hubris.
This is true in Afghanistan,
Devastated by the powers of all times, but never conquered. The grave of empires.
the Sudan, etc. -most of the third world.
Where do you count China and India?
croghan27
3.7 / 5 (3) Feb 21, 2010
Those evil Christian missionaries are doing significant work it this area.
Yes they are. Wholesale slaughter of heathens thanks to God's little invention of AIDS and the Church's edict against condoms.


Skeptic H. There is a situation of babies and bathwater here. You are certainly correct that some missionaries have indeed contributed to the degradation of life in the 3rd world and in ways you mention. But some do very good work.

The movement to democracy in Haiti was and is lead by Catholic Priests (Aristide, Pres. until chucked out in favour of a bunch of thugs was a Priest) and the Catholic Overseas Service does very good work - the Quakers are admirable where ever they go.

Certainly missionaries can be seen as some kind of spearhead of western colonialism - yet this is moderated by some actions to reign in the worst excesses.
otto1923
not rated yet Feb 21, 2010
@frajo
You split hairs as you split posts I think. My theory- agriculture started when some young woman, tired of fighting with her elders at foraging locations and picking through the garbage dump, noticed some cuttings had taken root. She may have chosen a hidden site to experiment or counted on her brothers to guard her little patch. Foraging was still preferable fora long time, but these little home plots gave rise to private property within a tribe; tribes themselves always had territory.

China and India- emergent western cultures. Our own culture becomes obsolete with every generation and is easily replaced- the definition of western culture. In ancient cultures youth are taught history by their elders who tell them to maintain tradition at all cost. They only ever change by force.
otto1923
not rated yet Feb 21, 2010
This is true in Afghanistan,
Devastated by the powers of all times, but never conquered. The grave of empires.
an apt demonstration of the intractibility of obsolete cultures. Chinas took a millenium? to destroy and it's still far from complete which is why 'communist' martial law is still in force there. It will be lifted at The Proper Time, yet one more indication that this world is Managed.
otto1923
not rated yet Feb 21, 2010
Not all of them. And not only them.
I don't buy that you know the PLeistocene rules of conduct.
Ah but I buy that I do. Stone agers had weapons, fire, well-organized tribes, and had defeated most predators which had kept their numbers in check. Which meant they had chronic overpop problems and chronic conflict over resources, which the west has observed throughout their history (and from which the west emerged). Jared Diamonds 'guns etc' gives a good description of hunter-gatherers. You may find examples of temporary pastoral settings but these are usually after enemies have been wiped out in a region.

The ONLY time lasting order in a region is seen, is when heads of tribes get together and reach the obvious conclusion that the people are the enemy... and begin to manage them by staging wars. Greece being a notable example. The west Itself being another notable example.
otto1923
not rated yet Feb 21, 2010
I'm not saying this is a favorable thing you understand, but it is obviously what has been going on, and the only thing which can explain our emergence from Afghanistan- and Haiti-like ruin. Look at that region- from the levant to the Balkans, over to the gobi, down through Egypt and across the Sahel - not a tree in sight. Overgrazed, overirrigated, ruined. Look at the moors in the britain. Look at Haiti. Empty and unable to sustain anything more than pockets of stone age misery without an influx of resources. SOMETHING HAD TO BE DONE! :-)

they even told us what and why, and how. Read the bible and the Babylonian stuff.
otto1923
Feb 21, 2010
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
marjon
1 / 5 (1) Feb 21, 2010
Those evil Christian missionaries are doing significant work it this area.
Yes they are. Wholesale slaughter of heathens thanks to God's little invention of AIDS and the Church's edict against condoms.

Lutherans are doing significant missionary work in Africa. Most Lutherans are not opposed to condoms, birth control or even abortion.
http://www.luther...ironment
marjon
1 / 5 (1) Feb 21, 2010
Agriculture in the beginning quickly became communal, whereby a few people could grow enough food to feed a much larger number who themselves had nothing better to do than reproduce.
No. It did not become communal, it was a communal thing from the beginning. As hunting was a cooperative task, so was agriculture. There was no private property of land as the roots of agriculture are nomadic.
Private property developed later, after the switch called the neolithic revolution. And of course it developed in all conceivable directions, not only in the desirable directions.
Fortunately, most of us are now convonced that human beings as private property is not a good idea.
The future will bring further corrections.

Pima Indians in AZ moved rocks around to slow flash flood rain water encouraging certain native plants to grow and be harvested later.
marjon
1 / 5 (1) Feb 21, 2010
Man there are a lot of comments on this so I gather there are alot of opinions on the subject. it seems that a number of folk miss the point being made. I will respond to the comment closest to this one and that is from Otto1923. You don't need anymore head knocking in these cultures. If asked the majority of these people need very little to have the Pleistocene culture removed. Security is one, Education is another. With out taking change slow and in rational order you will only end up with a dysfunctional society. It is very easy for a person to sit and judge with western values. As for free trade, ha show me truly free trade, fair trade is what is needed. BTW I live in Canada and have lived with the endless carping by the US on certain commodities being embargoed with the WTF calling foul but it goes on.

How easy would it be to take away the rifles and snowmobiles from the Inuit in northern Canada?
croghan27
5 / 5 (1) Feb 21, 2010
marjon - bit of a drift here, but I find it interesting .... I recall seeing a picture of an Abrams MBT motoring over the desert during one of the invasions of Iraq. It was obviously a very dry area - the tank was leaving a cloud of white dust. As this was supposed to he 'the fertile crescent' I wondered what I was missing here.

It seems that rulers of Baghdad(the first western civilization) instituted a large irrigation project to feed the growing masses in the city. The problem being that the alkaline waters of the Tigris/Euphrates was introduced to the areas with no means of renewal, as is possible with the river systems.

The previously productive lands were covered with a salt carried down from the mountains of Turkey and now the land is permanently devoid of growing capabilities. The 'good earth' is still there, but covered by salt.

Local populations do not need anyone to come in and screw up their lives .... (see Easter Island as well.)
marjon
1 / 5 (1) Feb 21, 2010


Local populations do not need anyone to come in and screw up their lives .... (see Easter Island as well.)

Without technological advances, such areas will remain deserts.
A distant cousin raises tomatoes in a greenhouse outside Stavanger, Norway using hydroponic technology from Israel. Israel has turned their desert into productive land while their more primitive neighbors attack them for doing so.
In New England I can buy hothouse tomatoes from Canada.
frajo
1 / 5 (1) Feb 21, 2010
Israel has turned their desert into productive land while their more primitive neighbors attack them for doing so.
What's more primitive? Those who are killed en masse by wealthy invaders?
Or maybe devaluing the victims of invasions as "more primitive"?
IMHO it's more primitive to not see the advantages of integrating policies while already Alexander the Great did so millennia ago.
Thrasymachus
1 / 5 (9) Feb 21, 2010
Yes.
This situation should be changed by a sound government chosen by a sound people. It will take some time, though, as both are not within sight.


Ummm...no. Subsistence farming is a waste of land resources when there are more productive alternatives available. We've got people to feed, damnit. The sort of subsidies that would be required to make subsistence farming livable again are beyond most people's capacity to imagine, and then, ironically, you'd have to deal with massive food shortages. And governments don't have as much power to change us back as you'd think, things like technology and economics will eventually overwhelm any government that opposes them, just like ocean waves wearing down the shore.
Sanescience
1 / 5 (1) Feb 21, 2010
*HAAA ha ha ha ha ha*
All these people arguing about how specifically people are selfish and mean to each other. Get a clue, people suck.
croghan27
5 / 5 (1) Feb 21, 2010
snip
people suck.


Speak for yourself there, SS.
ShotmanMaslo
1 / 5 (1) Feb 21, 2010
12 myths about hunger, interesting read:

http://www.foodfi...ode/1480
otto1923
not rated yet Feb 21, 2010
Ummm...no. Subsistence farming is a waste of land resources when there are more productive alternatives available. We've got people to feed, damnit
People need to work for their sustenance in one way or another. Obviously.
What's more primitive? Those who are killed en masse by wealthy invaders?
Angriff ist die beste Verteidigung.
otto1923
Feb 21, 2010
This comment has been removed by a moderator.
marjon
1 / 5 (1) Feb 21, 2010
12 myths about hunger, interesting read:

http://www.foodfi...ode/1480


They get part of it right:

"The real culprits are an economy that fails to offer everyone opportunities,"
"Rapid population growth is not the root cause of hunger. Like hunger itself, it results from underlying inequities that deprive people, especially poor women, of economic opportunity and security. "
Wrong: "Recent trends toward privatization and de-regulation are most definitely not the answer."

As Adam Smith wrote: "It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest.
Adam Smith "
When governments protect the individual property rights of everyone, people have the opportunity to provide products and services that others want.
Caliban
3 / 5 (4) Feb 21, 2010
marjon,
I'm pretty sure that Adam Smith was aware of his own sophistry in trotting out that premise. The Butcher's "enlightened" self-interest arises, in part, from his(we assume) knowledge that he can't charge more than his nearest competitor for the same product. Nor, in all wisdom, can he indulge in practices that might invoke the penalty of the law. On the other hand, if he's the "only game in town" then he is free to charge"whatever the traffic will bear".
Capitalism is most definitely not intrinsically benevolent, nor is it a cure-all. It is intrinsically rapacious and opportunistic. Outside of the parts of the world where government regulates capitalism, and thereby mitigates is corrosive effects, it almost always utilizes the "rape and pillage" strategy.
otto1923
1 / 5 (1) Feb 21, 2010
@caliban
Capitalism is most definitely not intrinsically benevolent, nor is it a cure-all. It is intrinsically rapacious and opportunistic
Youve got to consider, what happens if the butcher charges so much that his customers begin to starve, or at least cannot afford other staples. The butcher must purchase these other staples; if he is the only consumer left then the supply will dry up. Capitalist societies can tend to be self-regulating because they are very complex and interactive; the greedy rely on the same infrastructure as everybody else. Otto thinks caliban reads too many manifestos and books with red covers and grapes of wrath.

Besides, haven't I convinced you all that ALL of what we see is CONTRIVED? market theory was concieved and anticipated a few millenia ago. Much of what we were taught was rampant capitalist excess was only Planning In Action.
otto1923
not rated yet Feb 21, 2010
Examples: Carnegie was only standardizing railroads, absolutely essential for interstate commerce. King leopold, safely ensconced in his phoney country Belgium, busied himself in the Congo, securing resources as others like Cecil Rhodes were doing, because it was inevitable and the wars soon to follow would offer the greatest opportunity to consolidate most of the world. Were rockefellers, bill gates, et al thieving robber barons? No. They were performing their assigned tasks while serving the Greater Good. Otto has spewed too much this thread- but he has lots to spew-

@frago
The great African land grab exposes the nature of primitive tribal chiefs- they sold their young members to the invaders for working the mines and building railroads. All euro countries were buying slaves in Africa even as slavery was being abolished in Europe and the western hemisphere. Chiefs were not removed by their people for doing this.
Caliban
1 / 5 (1) Feb 21, 2010
@otto,
"red covers" or no- it may surprise you to know that I am largely in agreement with your assessment. Where we diverge is in whether this way is the best or necessary one.
Also- while we're on the subject of this "Guiding Power"- be it Overlord, Overmind, nascent World Consciousness, Alien Intelligence or whatever- if we are being "groomed" to some end or purpose- what might that be? I am interested in hearing your thoughts in that regard.
Thrasymachus
1.3 / 5 (10) Feb 21, 2010
The major error in your thinking here, marjon, is that you think the "government" is the biggest obstacle to free and fair markets. In truth, it's other businesses in the market that resist treating each other and their customers fairly, and put up unbreakable barriers to the entry of new competitors. Government's official role is to maintain the fairness of markets, because nothing can be free if it's not fair. Businesses again corrupt this role by buying out their own legislators, bribing regulators, and engaging in deceptive and irrelevant advertising to manipulate attitudes and beliefs. But the source of this rot is our form of corporate business, not the governments they corrupt and use.
marjon
2 / 5 (2) Feb 21, 2010
But the source of this rot is our form of corporate business, not the governments they corrupt and use.


Government has the real power. It can legally use force: guns, police, jail, etc.
Citizens, in the USA at least, have choices. They can try to vote out the corrupt politicians that send earmarks back to their districts. They can change the laws to limit the power of the government to control markets removing the incentives for corporate bribery.
Then customers will have the ultimate power.
marjon
1 / 5 (1) Feb 21, 2010
Outside of the parts of the world where government regulates capitalism, and thereby mitigates is corrosive effects, it almost always utilizes the "rape and pillage" strategy.

Where?
Only governments are legally permitted to use force. No corporation can legally use force, in a free market, to stifle competition.
What does happen, is big corporations convince government to regulate their industry to drive out smaller competitors. This is what the big meat packers did. They convinced the socialist Teddy Roosevelt to start the FDA.
As a side, Oscar Mayer, a small butcher shop, was doing very well at the time because he had a reputation for quality.

Government's official role is to maintain the fairness of markets, because nothing can be free if it's not fair.

This is where you are wrong. That is not government's role. Its role is to protect private property rights by prosecuting theft and fraud.
otto1923
2.3 / 5 (3) Feb 21, 2010
Caliban
er, thanks. Our Shepherds: I see the Sumerian flood story as the flood of people upon the earth and the ark full of animals as the Priesthood charged with preserving our store of True Knowledge throughout the flood. For what are genes but a record of lifes successful interaction with the world? Ancients saw an animals form and function as this record. They could see that man the animal could abandon this record of success and destroy his world, and himself.

They also knew of many possiblities in mans future, and could see that by mapping these things to occur at The Proper Time, the world and the species could survive. Like the tower of babel, too far too fast and it would collapse as it always had. They knew what city mounds meant.
otto1923
2.3 / 5 (3) Feb 21, 2010
As to a Goal: they knew that to survive the people had to be given meaningful things to do besides reproduce and fight about it. They knew societies could evolve, one system supplanting the next, all at the proper time and in the proper order. They knew that the whole world would have to be brought into this or primitives woould always threaten to overrun and destroy their construct. Sustainability was their Goal. Did they know all that science had to offer, both asset and danger? No. They did know of potentials in nature which could only be allowed at the proper time. Did they ever think we could leave the planet? Maybe. They certainly knew we lived on one, circling the sun. The Formula will be the same out there as it is here. They also knew all about domesticating animals.
Caliban
1 / 5 (1) Feb 21, 2010
Otto-
I follow you. But, given the timescale involved, it seems to me that there are more effective and equitable methods that could be employed to achieve the goal. So far, the domesticating of the "animals" appears to have met with only limited success. There's still hope though! I, for one, hate to think that it's all just a blind struggle to gain advantage. Advantage is a fleeting thing...
otto1923
3 / 5 (2) Feb 21, 2010
Ecclesiastes:
18 I hated all the things I had toiled for under the sun, because I must leave them to the one who comes after me. 19 And who knows whether he will be a wise man or a fool? Yet he will have control over all the work into which I have poured my effort and skill under the sun. This too is meaningless.
-and then the heavenly chorus chimes in in ecc3, and tells Solomon how to preserve his kingdom for All Time...
http://www.bibleg...sion=NIV
frajo
1 / 5 (2) Feb 22, 2010
Angriff ist die beste Verteidigung.
Kalitera na diavaseis Thukydides kai Sun Tzu apo ton von Clausewitz.
Caliban
1 / 5 (1) Feb 22, 2010
Otto,
Real wisdom there, encoded from millenia of human thought and experience. I wonder when and where the next iteration will arise.
frajo
1 / 5 (1) Feb 22, 2010
and then the heavenly chorus chimes in in ecc3, and tells Solomon how to preserve his kingdom for All Time...
Even for the time after 5 billion years?

Real wisdom there
I don't see any.
Just the grievance of an ailing old powerful one who begins to understand that there is no meaning in his life.

He should have made a nice song.
Bloodoflamb
not rated yet Feb 22, 2010
Tax laws also prevent farms from being inherited forcing children into debt if they want to keep farming.

Myth. Complete myth. Absolutely and unequivocally untrue.
otto1923
not rated yet Feb 22, 2010
and then the heavenly chorus chimes in in ecc3, and tells Solomon how to preserve his kingdom for All Time...
Even for the time after 5 billion years?

Real wisdom there
I don't see any.
Just the grievance of an ailing old powerful one who begins to understand that there is no meaning in his life.

He should have made a nice song.

The bible- it's about saving the world, and it will promise you absolutely anything to do it; up to, and including, eternal life. I suggest reading it from that perspective.
marjon
1 / 5 (1) Feb 22, 2010
Tax laws also prevent farms from being inherited forcing children into debt if they want to keep farming.

Myth. Complete myth. Absolutely and unequivocally untrue.

"My dad bought this place for somewhere around $700,000 about ten years ago. If he were to leave this land to me, the current value is somewhere around $3 million.

It shouldn't be worth this much and it isn't based on its ability to produce income. But it is due to its recreational value and perhaps as investment property. Despite that fact, the government will tax me according to present market value."
"When all is said and done, this land I am told is worth $3 million pays me a salary of $30,000 a year. At best. And that is it.

So, if I get an exemption of $1 million and owe 55% on the balance, I will owe $1.1 million dollars in inheritance taxes should my dad decide to leave this place to me. Takes a while at $30,000 a year gross to save a million bucks."
http://agonist.or...ce_taxes
Bloodoflamb
not rated yet Feb 22, 2010
"My dad bought this place for somewhere around $700,000 about ten years ago. If he were to leave this land to me, the current value is somewhere around $3 million.

It shouldn't be worth this much and it isn't based on its ability to produce income. But it is due to its recreational value and perhaps as investment property. Despite that fact, the government will tax me according to present market value."
"When all is said and done, this land I am told is worth $3 million pays me a salary of $30,000 a year. At best. And that is it.

So, if I get an exemption of $1 million and owe 55% on the balance, I will owe $1.1 million dollars in inheritance taxes should my dad decide to leave this place to me. Takes a while at $30,000 a year gross to save a million bucks."
http://agonist.or...ce_taxes

"Page Not Found." Too bad!
frajo
1 / 5 (1) Feb 22, 2010
The bible- it's about saving the world, and it will promise you absolutely anything to do it; up to, and including, eternal life.
A lot of undefined words: "save", "world", "eternal", "life". I like poetry; I'm interested in history - but I don't care about any promises based on undefined terminology from millennia ago.
I suggest reading it from that perspective.
I did so. Have a guess in which language.
croghan27
not rated yet Feb 22, 2010
marjon I am surprise you read the Agonist ..it is usually described as a left wing blog.

I found the posting you mentioned .... http://agonist.or...ht=taxes if this helps.

Bloodoflamb, you can access it by going to The Agonist and putting 'taxes' into the search option.

The quote here is one of the responses to the original posting.
marjon
1 / 5 (1) Feb 22, 2010
marjon I am surprise you read the Agonist ..it is usually described as a left wing blog.

I found the posting you mentioned .... http://agonist.or...ht=taxes if this helps.

Bloodoflamb, you can access it by going to The Agonist and putting 'taxes' into the search option.

The quote here is one of the responses to the original posting.


I don't read it. I found an example disproving the claim death taxes don't force people to sell.
Skeptic_Heretic
not rated yet Feb 22, 2010
I don't read it. I found an example disproving the claim death taxes don't force people to sell.

Even if Death taxes forced people to sell, what right does the government have double taxing a dead person?
croghan27
not rated yet Feb 22, 2010
Again, a bit of drift here ...... this on factory farms from The Guardian.

http://www.guardi...-farming
Thrasymachus
1 / 5 (8) Feb 22, 2010
Umm, yeah. So we should trust an anecdote from a guy writing an opinion piece who clearly doesn't understand his tax liability or all the options available to him to mitigate it. Moreover, we should use the fact that he thinks he'll have to pay $1 million in tax on a $3 million property (even though he's wrong), as evidence that family farms have had to be sold to pay the inheritance tax.

Instead of looking for people who are worried that they MIGHT lose their family farm or business from an inheritance tax, try looking for people who actually DID have to sell the family farm or business to pay the tax. And good luck. I'll be impressed if you can find even one case where it happened.
otto1923
not rated yet Feb 22, 2010
The bible- it's about saving the world, and it will promise you absolutely anything to do it; up to, and including, eternal life.
A lot of undefined words: "save", "world", "eternal", "life". I like poetry; I'm interested in history - but I don't care about any promises based on undefined terminology from millennia ago.
I suggest reading it from that perspective.
I did so. Have a guess in which language.
Greek? Swahili? Esperanto? Sorry otto is not succinct like the philosopher. Ive expounded enough here and elsewhere for you to know what Im talking about, nicht wahrr? The bible IS history, if read from the proper perspective. Eternal life, escape from death, resurrection of the body, life everlasting, amen. People dont need details to say whoopee and sign up.
otto1923
not rated yet Feb 22, 2010
We are getting older, and we're looking around, and all we can make out are... bars. Our imaginations and memories put us in cages and it terrifies us, like confinement does any animal. "I have seen the burden God has laid on men. 11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end." -ecc3 Eternity in the hearts of men (and frajo)- means we have become aware of this 'burden'- the cage. No other animal can ponder what happened before or after them. No other animal sees this cage. But, being partial domesticates (most of us) we've learned some tricks- Shepherds can get us to ignore the cage in return for something obviously bogus.
frajo
1.5 / 5 (2) Feb 22, 2010
The bible IS history, if read from the proper perspective.
The bible is a product of history, but not history.
Do you happen to know the Greek word for him who tries to stir the dice?
otto1923
not rated yet Feb 22, 2010
mageiras?
History is not endless facts, it is the reason and purpose of things. Youre still looking at the book as myth and fantasy. I see it as an explanation and an instruction manual, about empire-forming... world dominating. Its not only about the judeo-xian religion. Rather, the religions are only a small part of it.
frajo
1 / 5 (1) Feb 22, 2010
mageiras?
That's a Koch/cook. No.
History is not endless facts, it is the reason and purpose of things.
Two things are remarkable here.
First, by postulating reason & purpose (in evolution) you are outing yourself as a believer. A believer who condems other believers (like the Christians).
Second, you are playing the role of a HighPriest who claims to know better what The Book means.
But this is not a temple for self-appointed scholars of exegesis.
This is PhysOrg.
otto1923
not rated yet Feb 22, 2010
First, by postulating reason & purpose (in evolution) you are outing yourself as a believer.
Wrong. I believe in the extraordinary power of people. There is no god. You are incapable of separating the book from the concept of god. You say its about god or its nonsense. I say it is a third thing. The book was written by People. People. To cajole and persuade the masses to suffer and sacrifice (one reason). But it says So Much More. And I do believe I do know better than most about why it was written. So What?
This is PhysOrg
Reason gives rise to Empire as it does to Science. My explanations for what is discussed in some of these articles seems to make more sense than not; means maybe otto is on track-
A big mystery- if the bible describes theory and method of empire-building, why isnt it secret? Why tell everybody? (otto knows)
stir the dice
kopilatis?
Caliban
1 / 5 (1) Feb 22, 2010
Don't remember the stir the dice answer, but I believe it involves -chiro-
I like the fact that the Books are constructed of layers of meaning. They are telling us something. The meaning is enhanced heirarchically, to advance human action toward a common goal- whether they be beggars or kings- and regardless of their individual level of understanding. A comparison of world mythologies reveals many correlations, and thus(most likely) a common origin. Who were they, and when?
otto1923
2.3 / 5 (3) Feb 22, 2010
2 tribes are coming into conflict over resources. Young braves in both camps want to fight and they feel their leadership is old and weak because they want restraint. These leaders know that all-out war will weaken both tribes, and a 3rd tribe over the hill will take the opportunity to overrun them both. So the chiefs have a pow wow. "We share a mutual problem. How about you send your troublemakers out to attack us and we ambush them for you. Then you can do the same for us."
"But how can I trust you?" the other one asks. "We have no other choice. If you want your children to have a future, you'll agree. Here, marry my daughter and I'll marry yours. "
Leaders quickly became an unseen tribe unto themselves, and their enemies were their own subjects. Later on they learned the power of religion and became priests.
otto1923
3 / 5 (2) Feb 22, 2010
The most obvious examples of this arrangement were the Greek city-states. Leaders would consult with the oracles who would decide who were enemies or allies, where and when wars were fought, and thus who would win and who would lose. Tactics were like chess in a field- hoplite weekend warriors replaced chariots because chariots were hard to contain. Citizen soldiers were less apt to plunder nearby villages. And once those who had grievances were dead, there was no longer any reason to fight. And of course there was Greek honor in battle- a word frajo?- which made conflict even easier to design. This lasted until the peloponnesian war; all of Greece would be prepared for the great Alexandrian breakout. War became nasty. Little did they know Alex and Darius had the same agreement? Ask Aristotle. He taught Alex, and artabasus, and the mercenary generals, how to play chess. Millions of hapless Persians were slaughtered and Empire took the known world. Ha.
frajo
1 / 5 (1) Feb 24, 2010
The throw (of the dice) is pronounced like "volee" and written like "boli". By changing the suffix "i" to "-os" you get a word with the meaning "thrower".
The grammatical preposition for "perturbing" is "dia".
The meaning of the English word "scrambler" seems to be appropriate for the Greek word "diavolos".
otto1923
not rated yet Feb 24, 2010
Sorry I wasn't up to your riddle. Satan is also known as the Accuser
Just the grievance of an ailing old powerful one who begins to understand that there is no meaning in his life.
Solomon expresses despair, depression in ecc1 and 2. But ecc3 is something different; a song. Is it more lament at the inevitability of things like death, hatred; or is it actually veiled clues to a solution? Not all the alternatives are bad, but all are Inevitable. 'Everything is beautiful in Its Own Time' say the chorus. This is a Solution to the Teachers perplexity about the future and the Empire he has constructed. Macht Sinn?
frajo
3 / 5 (2) Feb 24, 2010
Satan is also known as the Accuser
"Satan" is a semitic (Hebrew) word and therefore coupled to the Abrahamic religions. One of its meanings is "adversary". While "satan" obviously refers to and is only a (for reasons of stringency necessary) by-product of an antithetical power, a so-called god, the Greek "diavolos" is thought to be effective even when there is no god.
Skeptic_Heretic
not rated yet Feb 24, 2010
Satan is not semetic. It's arabic actually. Its meaning in old arabic is "The Adversary" and comes from the Babylonian "Satariel" or "Satan'el", God of below. The Hebrews later took Satriel as the opposition for their god, originally "Elohiem" God of All.
Skeptic_Heretic
not rated yet Feb 24, 2010
Instead of looking for people who are worried that they MIGHT lose their family farm or business from an inheritance tax, try looking for people who actually DID have to sell the family farm or business to pay the tax. And good luck. I'll be impressed if you can find even one case where it happened.

Happens all the time in most states. The inheritance tax is about 30 to 50% of total estate in most states of the US. One notable exception is Florida, and that's due to the elderly population.
frajo
2 / 5 (2) Feb 24, 2010
Satan is not semetic. It's arabic actually.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Satan says that the Hebrew, the Persian, and the Arab version of the word "satan" stem from one semitic root.
http://en.wikiped...anguages says:
The most widely spoken Semitic language by far today is Arabic. It is followed by Amharic, Tigrinya, and Hebrew

otto1923
1 / 5 (1) Feb 24, 2010
Satan is not semetic. It's arabic actually. Its meaning in old arabic is "The Adversary" and comes from the Babylonian "Satariel" or "Satan'el", God of below. The Hebrews later took Satriel as the opposition for their god, originally "Elohiem" God of All.
Another brilliant innovation. If god is on your side in battle, then you want him to be good and nothing but good. If there is only one god then your enemies serve him too. Therefore there must be an evil influence separate from god. In the bible, satan always gets gods permission before tempting jesus/aaron/Job/adam et al. So we see that god actually still has a duel nature, but due to his infinite timidity he must be 'bad' through an agent. But he does leave it up to us to decide whether his actions are 'evil' or not- according to the book.
otto1923
not rated yet Feb 24, 2010
Here, marry my daughter and I'll marry yours. "
Lets see, 2.3 / 5 (3) - thats one 5/5 and two 1/5s; along gender lines I bet. Somebody lets their Artemisian extremism color their view of reality. Leider so.
Thrasymachus
1 / 5 (8) Feb 24, 2010
Happens all the time in most states. The inheritance tax is about 30 to 50% of total estate in most states of the US. One notable exception is Florida, and that's due to the elderly population.

Like I'm gonna take your word for it? Find one example of it actually happening in the last 10 years, and I'll happily eat crow on this, publicly. Good luck.
Skeptic_Heretic
3 / 5 (2) Feb 25, 2010
Like I'm gonna take your word for it? Find one example of it actually happening in the last 10 years, and I'll happily eat crow on this, publicly. Good luck.

Yeah good luck is right, go read a paper and you'll find one. Typing bankruptcy and estate tax or any combination there of brings up a llist of lawyers longer than Google's legal division in China.
croghan27
5 / 5 (1) Feb 25, 2010
Satan is not semetic. It's arabic actually. Its meaning in old arabic is "The Adversary" and comes from the Babylonian "Satariel" or "Satan'el", God of below. The Hebrews later took Satriel as the opposition for their god, originally "Elohiem" God of All.


Not that Wiki is the total answer - but in defence of frajo:

"Satan (Hebrew: הַשָׂטָן ha-Satan ("the accuser"); Persian "sheytân"; Arabic: الشيطان al-Shaitan ("the adversary") - both from the Semitic root: Ś-Ṭ-N) is an embodiment of antagonism that originates from the Abrahamic religions, being traditionally considered an angel in Judeo-Christian belief, and a Jinn in Islamic belief."

"from the Semitic root" would seem to indicate it IS a semitic word.
Skeptic_Heretic
not rated yet Feb 25, 2010
@frajo and croghan:

It may say "from the semetic root, however wiki also says:
"The Book of Enoch contains references to Satariel, thought also to be Sataniel and Satan'el (etymology dating back to Babylonian origins)."

Which predate the semetes by half a millenia.
croghan27
5 / 5 (1) Feb 25, 2010
Unless you believe that the world was created in 4004BC and Shem came later - here is run at what a semite is ..... elsewhere it is said that, all in all, a semite can be someone who speaks a semitic language ....

Semite
1847, "Jew, Arab, Assyrian, Aramæan," from Mod.L. Semita, from L.L. Sem "Shem," one of the three sons of Noah (Gen. x:21-30), regarded as the ancestor of the Semites (in the days when anthropology was still bound by the Bible), from Heb. Shem. Semitic (1813 of languages, 1826 of persons) is probably from Ger. semitisch (first used by Ger. historian August Schlözer, 1781), denoting the language group that includes Hebrew, Arabic, Aramaic, Assyrian, etc. In recent use often with the specific sense "Jewish," but not historically so limited."

Perhaps: "member of a group of Semitic-speaking peoples of the Near East and northern Africa, including the Arabs, Arameans, BABLONIANS, Carthaginians, Ethiopians, Hebrews, and Phoenicians."
croghan27
5 / 5 (1) Feb 25, 2010
"A member of a group of Semitic-speaking peoples of the Near East and northern Africa, including the Arabs, Arameans, Babylonians, Carthaginians, Ethiopians, Hebrews, and Phoenicians."

from: http://dictionary...e/Semite
Skeptic_Heretic
not rated yet Feb 25, 2010
You're using a false biblical character to define the origin of a people.

Shem was allegedly a son of Noah however there is no reasonable historical record speaking of Shem.

The Semetic language originated in the Middle or Near East during the beginning of the iron age.

The culture and language of the Babylonian founders, the originators of Satan'el/Satriel Decent from the Sumerians and settled the city of Babylon, their language was Akkadian a potential originator or sub dialect of Semetic, decended from Sumerian, one of the known parent languages for Semetic and other Canaanite texts.

Skeptic_Heretic
5 / 5 (1) Feb 25, 2010
Couple that with the fact that the Akkadian language and it's origins are recorded on clay tablets that greatly predate the time of Abraham and it's even clearer that relying on biblical dates and sources is fallacy.
frajo
1 / 5 (1) Feb 25, 2010
You're using a false biblical character to define the origin of a people.
You are confusing "people" and "language". When I mentioned that "satan" is a Semitic (Hebrew) word I was talking about languages, not about people. In your (wrong) answer
Satan is not semetic. It's arabic actually.
you stayed on topic. But now you are changing the topic by talking about people.
Forget Wikipedia - but there is no scientific source which doesn't include Arabic and Hebrew in the Semitic language family.
croghan27
not rated yet Feb 25, 2010
but there is no scientific source which doesn't include Arabic and Hebrew in the Semitic language family.


Thx frajo - I try to avoid Wiki and only use it when its' explanation agrees with other sources. In this it did.
Skeptic_Heretic
5 / 5 (1) Feb 25, 2010
Frajo, for someone who says they're interested in breaking preconceptions you seem to hold quite a few of your own rather near and dear as of late.

Has there been a paradigm shift in your thinking recently?
frajo
1 / 5 (1) Feb 26, 2010
Frajo, for someone who says they're interested in breaking preconceptions
Where did I say something as superficial as this?
you seem to hold quite a few of your own rather near and dear as of late.
Of course; everybody does. Interesting is not whether one nourishes preconceptions but which ones. :)
Has there been a paradigm shift in your thinking recently?
If you think there are contradictions in my comments just point at them.

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