The papers, books and studies related to the urban development of gated communities in the Global South have provided lots of information by problematizing the history and politics behind the imaginary of these projects. Urban developers all over Latin America, Africa and Asia are building hundreds of communities and apartment buildings that imitate European and Western Styles of construction, lifestyle, norms and regulations. This morning I got my hands in one more of these advertisements for a housing project located in a recently developed dormitory city near Guatemala City, Guatemala.
The community is called “Residenciales Pasaje Español” and the development aims at replicating the lifestyle of a Spaniard ideal of a community (while, of course, ignoring reality about Spain’s complexities). The advertisements are all directed at the appeals of the growing middle-class market in Guatemala which is backed by a search for: affordable housing, accesible parks, gated walls around the housing project, 24/7 private police service, white houses that offer access to parking spaces for family-sized cars. All of this providing a “theme-park” feeling that enables you to transport yourself from the violent and insecure life outside of the gates.
Guatemala City and the dormitory cities around it are inhabited by aprox. 3.5 million people with more than 1 million cars and the figures are quickly rising. Many of the gated communities are 1 or 1.5 hours away from most of the office and industrial areas and traffic jam is a constant worry for this people. Alienated from crime and lack of rule of law, these gated-communities offer an escape from public worries to taxpayers and an excuse to ignore the country’s multiple problems.
But as any other theme-park there are many flaws and dangers in the aim to replicate the “ideal society”. The complex is located straight next to a line of huge power towers that represent a health menace to the people that will live in the houses. Also, the gated-community is surrounded by hundreds of new houses and dozens of new gated-communities that once completed and sold will represent an increase in the traffic jam outside of the “housing dream”.
Perhaps it is still time to Rethink the future of our cities. We still have time to further problematize our development model and think about the contradictions behind these city-building dystopias. And bring to light more information regarding how these gated-communities further weaken collaboration, cooperation and citizenship in our societies…
“A revolution is the climax of a long philosophical development and expresses a nation’s profound discontent; a Putsch is a minority’s seizure of power. The goal of a revolution is to overthrow tyranny; the goal of a Putsch is to establish it.” Ayn Rand
The day after Revolution the streets were in silence. Anarchy was the rule and a no man’s land emerged. The protests against the ruling party had started several weeks before. However, as my grandmother recalled, the problems that had ignited the most recent uprising had always existed: ” these were the very old unfulfilled promises long inherited from Colonial times.” Indeed, these promises were the idea that Government was here to rule over Us, to give Us and to provide Us for our needs and to care for our frailties. The Global South has known dozens of revolutionary movements, dozens of attempts of revolutions and a handful of sanguinary coup d’états. Unfortunately, not much if anything has changed after the uprisings.
Around the world today conflict continues in many areas that were once colonized or controlled by Western European or Soviet powers. The source of many of these protracted conflicts, in large part, lies in past colonial policies, and especially those “regarding territorial boundaries, the treatment of indigenous populations, the privileging of some groups over others, the uneven distribution of wealth, local governmental infrastructures, and the formation of non-democratic or non-participatory governmental systems.”
It is therefore essential, if one wants to understand current revolutionary movements, intractable conflict and its causes, to examine not only the issues and problems of the moment, but also influential historical factors and actors – most notably, past colonial policies and today’s ruling power of these metropolis over former colonies – and their lingering effects.
The idea that the government should provide for our needs is more accepted in post-colonial governments that inherited institutions of dependency and granted privileges by the metropolis. Imagine yourself traveling 200 years back in time to the period in which colonies were ruled by Western Capital. Interestingly, you will find yourself observing almost the same institutions and the same old problems that societies in the Global South still face today in Africa, the Middle East, South America, Eastern Europe and South Asia. The problems in these societies are the result of a long list of misguided decisions all centered in one fatal conceit: the conceit of revolution by force, not in defense, but in violation, of individual rights.
The colonial institutional heritage of the Global South is built around the abuse and violation of individual rights. Not a single revolutionary movement in the Global South has really aimed at restoring individual rights but to the granting of privileges for a minority. The minority groups have taken many forms, received many names and have taken many slogans. They have been revolutions organized by and in contraposition of one minority group versus a majority: of the poor versus the rich, of the middle classes versus oligarch classes, of national interests of capital versus foreign interests, of enlightened groups versus conservative groups, of different ethnic groups against each other, of indigenous groups tired of being exploited, and many many more.
In order for a revolution that aims at restoring individual rights to take place it would be necessary for all citizens to first redefine their code of values upon principles that allow them to pursue happiness without violating the rights of others. This means that for a “revolution and not a putsch” to take place in the Global South we need first to understand that today’s revolutions have no moral justification and are all gang warfare. As such, in order to change our immoral systems of government we require to first our own immoral code of values. This means that we need to learn our history and fix all those immoral decisions taken in the past by our former enslavers.
I believe that the ideal way for starting to learn which is the code of values that provides for a consistent philosophy of life that protects individual rights and allows for humans to pursue happiness is the philosophy of Objectivism and the Objectivist Ethics.
If successful, most probably, the ongoing revolutionary movements in the Middle East, Ukraine and Venezuela will reflect to be nothing but immoral putsches of the very same old privileged groups that they were supposed to fight. Corruption will take a new name, the citizens will be again defrauded by their leaders, immorality will again reign. the power currently upheld by immoral leaders is not a simple system of domination of one specific group but it completely traverses the entire social body. When social relations are not based upon a consistent and ethical code of values its result is “the immanence of force” that Foucault widely studied. In this game of power, the incessant struggle and confrontation will be reinforced, transformed and reshaped without any meaningful outcome. This never-ending cycle of revolutions will encrust and institutionalize itself if it hasn’t already. I truly believe that a Peaceful Philosophical revolution is Possible. It is up to you reader, to chose wether to start it or not.
His health may be have been an issue. However, it seems to me that the real problem started when the Papal conclave of 2005 elected him above the other contestants for the Pope position without taking notice of all the changes that institution has gone through centuries.
Globalization is slowly forcing them to adapt to this new demographics and the election of a Latin American (a Mediterranean look would suffice) or African Pope could bring some new Fresh air to this archaic institution. The Latin America region already represents 42 percent of the world’s 1.2 billion-strong Catholic population, the largest single block in the Church, compared to 25 percent in its European heartland.
In 2005 among the “popeable” (one who might become pope) where also the cardinals Carlo Maria Martini, who died last year and obtained 40 votes in the first ballot versus the popular Italian cardinal Camillo Ruini who also was a contestant for the position in that initial ballot. Cardinal Ruini has been very active in the mass media and was one of the cardinals who most often appeared on Italian television, newspapers and magazines. I would suppose that his election as a new Pope in the Conclave of cardinals that will choose the next pope in mid-March is very high. Camilo Ruini is very popular among the “Reformer” side of the Catholic Church as the news inform (he is also more photogenic and could appeal to the Hispanic followers easily).
Lets see what happens in March, 2013 with the new Papal Conclave. Meanwhile, I share with you a documentary on the new face of this Eurocentric organization that is finally (slowly) changing its own look!
Nobel laureate and Classical Liberal economist James M. Buchanan has died today. He was one of the most important economist of the 20th. Century and will be long remembered for his work on the principles of economic self-interest and their use to understand why politicians do what they do.
The article is astonishingly confusing and misleading because the author arguments that it is more/less guns what results in more/less deaths. And as such, that only by decreasing the amount of available guns the deaths can be reduced. In order to defend this position she tries to defend her position by bringing a sometimes useful comparison of explaining local problems (those of the U.S.) by comparison to more global regions (in this case, Latin America).
Rosenthal does not propose a better solution than the one she is trying to question and which was proposed by the NRA (National Rifle Association) to President Obama. Truth, “A society that is relying on guys with guns to stop violence is a sign of a society where institutions have broken down”. Why? Because the bureaucrats and the NRA consider as she does that it are guns the ones that “kill” and as such, it are guns the ones that “give life“. Neither of the cases can be more false.
The parallels between the Latin American countries with high homicide rates and the US Massacre of schools kids cannot be correctly understood behind the “more guns/less-more deaths” causal relationship.
Then, how? As usual in this times of miss-integration of concepts. The events in Latin American countries with high homicide rates and the US Massacre of schools kids have no parallels. The high homicide rates in Latin America are the result of a failed War on Drugs and the institutional decay caused by corruption, state failure in providing rule of law and the reconfiguration of power relations amongst many other causes. In this case the guns are not a cause nor a solution. The massacres in U.S. schools are in my opinion the result of a decay of family values and a philosophical problem of identity that can only be solved behind an urgently much needed moral revolution. In this last case it is not guns or the state which can do much about to change things.
Future massacres in schools can only by stopped from happening when the roots of family decomposition are diminished (divorces, unemployment, family violence, alcoholism, drug addiction, among many others). The murderers in these schoolswere seeking for revenge from society and saw that killing kids was the perfect way of enacting revenge on those he was angry with. Until we understand this things I see no probable hope for future improvement of any of the cases. As well, for as long we have journalists with a philosophy of life that relies on the State as the “giver” or “healer” of society’s problems things are also going to continue going in the wrong direction…
Matthew Might, a computer science professor at the University of Utah, writes: “Every fall, I explain to a fresh batch of Ph.D. students what a Ph.D. is. It’s hard to describe it in words. So, I use pictures.” It’s September 26. That means fall is here again, and it’s time to bring you an encore presentation of Matt’s Illustrated Guide to the PhD. Have a look, and you’ll see the whole undertaking in a less hubristic way:
Imagine a circle that contains all of human knowledge:
Today, Americans who Love Freedom lost a battle against the Welfare State. In a historical decision, the Supreme Court decided to support Obamacare and to extend the devastating track of health care regulations in The United States of America.
The effects of Obamacare will represent higher costs, less competition, less innovation, more bureacracy, and decreased quality. and in the long run, the result will be the complete destruction of American health care, as the system’s problems are inevitably blamed on our ‘private’ health care system and a fully socialized ‘single payer’ medicine is offered up as the only cure as explained, Yaron Brook, the Director of the Ayn Rand Center.
To learn how today’s decision will impact your life in the short and long term, I invite you to read the following articles that were collected by the Classical Liberal network Kosmos with the opinions of some the most important Libertarian and Classical Liberals: