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For a millennium, from the seventh to the seventeenth century, Muslims controlled the intercontinental and transoceanic trade between Europe and the Indian Ocean. While doing this, they also created one of the greatest civilizations of the world.
Janet Devlin's insight:
"It was a humbling experience to read the product of such a remarkable feat of scholarship. It is all at once an exploration in analytic history and a comprehensive text of Islamic finance theory and application. It is also one of the most succinct renditions of evolution of Islamic finance embedded in a comprehensive account of particularities of economies as diverse as Malaysia and Turkey. This is a unique contribution to Islamic finance and Islamic economic history. It has been a rewarding learning experience. It is truly a breathtaking effort."
<a href="http://www.demos.org" title="Demos | "><img src="http://www.demos.org/sites/default/files/imagecache/data-byte-medium/data_bytes/RetailsHiddenPotential_DB.png" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-data-byte-medium" width="74" height="263" /></a>
'America’s largest retailers play an important role in our nation’s economy and in the well-being of millions of their workers’ lives. It has become conventional wisdom that retail workers must be paid low wages.
Yet our study, adding to a growing body of research, demonstrates that retailers could provide the nation a needed economic boost by paying higher wages, while remaining profitable and continuing to offer low prices.
After years of slow economic growth and income stagnation or decline, retail can help put America back on track, creating meaningful gains for household budgets, GDP, employment, and their own outlook for growth.'
from Demos: A policy and advocacy center producing research, policy proposals, strategic litigation, and commentary at the intersection of government, the economy and democracy. Publishes PolicyShop.net and supports the next generation of progressive leaders.
A new report claims perinatal depression and anxiety stemming from the births of children born in 2012 could cost Australia almost $500 million by the time the children turn two.
'Using projected birth numbers in 2012 and the current rates of perinatal depression in men and women, the report calculated the projected health-care and lost productivity costs to mothers, fathers, their children and the wider community of perinatal depression and anxiety not being treated.
It found that the total cost of not treating perinatal depression and anxiety stemming from approximately 290,000 births in 2012 would be $496 million by the time every one of those children had turned two.'
'............The report found the associated health cost relating to women who experience depression or anxiety during the perinatal period, including costs such as hospital bills as the mothers’ health worsens and leads to further illness, is $70 million for the year between the children’s first and second birthdays. The cost for fathers over the same period is $16 million.
The report also found that because women experiencing perinatal depression or anxiety are forced to take more time off work, there is an additional cost to the Australian economy of $142 million in lost productivity over the period between the children’s first and second birthdays.'
'..............The same cost to the economy of fathers’ lost productivity stemming from untreated perinatal depression or anxiety is $62 million.
The report predicts that because maternal depression and anxiety can also lead to poorer birth outcomes, such as higher risk of premature birth and low birth weight, there is an estimated associated health cost of $200 million as a result of treating these babies.'
The activist philosopher John Ralston Saul traces how we in the West became Walmart societies, with lots of stuff and not much substance.
'Globalism, Saul long argued, weakened nation states in the name of economics, and took away the democratic power of citizens to determine their futures.
"Globalism basically came to an end in about 2000, and we had five to ten years in a vacuum, before we were hit by a moving truck. The financial crisis … was not a crisis in and of itself, it came out of the earlier crisis, the failure of globalism."
'............. Saul mostly blames the people who filled the void [for the GFC], the people who called themselves neo-classical or neo-liberal economists and who he calls neo-conservatives. After the crisis of the 1970s, their views — advocacy of free trade, open markets, privatisation and deregulation, smaller government and a bigger role for the private sector —quickly came to dominate political thought. He calls that idea of a deregulated international marketplace, in which goods and finance travel far more easily across borders than do people, "globalism".
So complete was the hegemony of its advocates, says Saul, that ultimately "everyone, whether they are Labor or Liberal or social democrat or whatever … adopted their language."'
CESAR HIDALGO is an assistant professor at the MIT Media Lab, and faculty associate at Harvard University’s Center for International Development. Before joining MIT, Hidalgo was an adjunct lecturer in public policy at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, and a research fellow at Harvard's Center for International Development.
Hidalgo's work focuses on improving the understanding of systems by using and developing concepts of complexity, evolution, and network science
No matter how the try to define the issue away, the government's diversion of resources from foreign aid will make the very poorest pay.
Janet Devlin's insight:
shameful abuse of valuable resources anyway you look at it
It’s an old cliché for businesses to talk about people being “our greatest assets”. Many a Human Resources department will wax lyrical on this point, to win the best recruits and, in turn, the highest profit margins.
'Intriguing documentary that turns traditional anthropology on its head. Five tribesmen from a remote South Pacific island travel 10,000 miles to observe the natives of a strange and exotic land – Britain and USA.
What natives say: “People from England and USA come here and see about us. But what if we go to them and live in their tribes and learn their customs?”'
Prime Minister Julia Gillard launches the Government's Asian Century white paper and pledges to increase the focus on students learning a priority language from the region.
'The policy document sets out 25 objectives for Australia to take advantage of the Asian boom by 2025 which are divided into five key areas: the economy, education and skills, commerce, regional security and culture.
The Prime Minister described it as a road map for national success as Asia's unstoppable rise continues.'
Sending asylum seekers to Nauru and Manus Island is an expensive undertaking that will achieve nothing but a transient political advantage for the Government.
'The rest of the world was not impressed by Australia's attempts to palm off boat people who had arrived here seeking protection. Given our size and wealth, the number of refugees we get is manageable. People assessed as refugees on Nauru or Manus will have to be resettled somewhere: they can't be sent back to the country they are fleeing.
Perhaps we will end up doing what we did last time: bringing them to Australia.
I would welcome that outcome, but in the meantime we will have spent fantastic sums of money to achieve absolutely nothing except a transient political advantage for the Government.
If this exercise runs for three years, it will cost Australia billions of dollars.'
'The human and economic costs of mental illness in Australia can no longer be ignored...............'
'The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare reports that 26.5% of adolescents (one in four young people in this age group) will experience a mental health problem. In spite of this, rates of helpseeking among young Australians, and particularly among young men, remain low. Tragically, suicide continues to be the leading cause of death for young men in Australia, accounting for 22% of all deaths; with male youth suicide rates in rural areas double those of metropolitan areas.'