Development and Underdevelopment -Desarrollo y Subdesarrollo

Why too many in poverty, and not so many rich?

I was reviewing the other day the book about Development and Underdevelopment from Seligson that I used when I went to Pitt . I do not have the last edition which I plan to get soon. This was a really good book to learn about different approached to explain why there are some "developed" countries, such as the USA or Canada, or Norway or France, etc. and why there are some others "underdeveloped",  or "developing" como podrian ser Nicaragua o Argentina. It goes in history, with the classic Rostow with the simple explanation about the "race" between countries and how those who started the race before (take-off) or ran faster are the today winners; passing for the "cultural" theory or the famous (specially in Argentina and South America decades ago) "dependency" theory.  I need to refresh a little bit this book and update it but, before doing that, I just want to think about this just observing reality. I still think that reality about this issue is shaped basically for the power of elites and companies who decide what is good and what is bad for the world. They have enough power to do it, as we can see with the deterioration of the environment and with poverty in most of the world. Of course, all these phenomena create some "logic" in the system, some "infrastructure" (in this I still like Wallerstein ) that determines greatly the "superstructure" of what people think, of course, today we should add some other issues than may affect the system such as the impact of internet and media communication. Anyway, this is just ideasñ I will take a look to the book and some others these Holidays to "update" the issue, at least to have some peace of mind that I do not have the power to change that "logic". Do I?

Estaba releyendo el otro dia el libro de Seligson sobre Desarrollo y Subdesarrollo que use cuando fui a Pitt. No tengo la ultima edicion pero pienso comprarla estos dias. Este es un buen libro para aprender sobre diferentes "approaches" sobre porque algunos paises son "desarrollados", como Estados Unidos o Canada o Noruega o Francia y otros son "subdesarrollados" o "en vias de desarrollo". Va por la historia, comenzando con Rostow con la famosa e ingenua teoria de la "carrera" donde los paises que "arrancaron" antes o "despegaron" antes o corrieron mas rapido y mejor son los ganadores actuales, pasando por la teoria "cultural" y por la teoria de la dependencia, famosa en Argentina y Latinoamerica hace decadas. Tengo deseos de ponerme al dia en estos temas, pero antes, quiero pensar algunas explicaciones solo observando la realidad. Entonces, "a priori", pienso que la realidad actual es producto del poder de ciertas elites y organizacioens o empresas que tienen todo el poder para decidir lo que es bueno o malo para el mundo. La evidencia es el deterioro del ambiente y la pobreza que cubre gran parte del mundo. Estos fenomenos generados por supuesto van creando una "logica" en el sistema, cierta "infraestructura" (en esto me gustaba Wallerstein) que determina entonces la "superestructura" de lo que la gente piensa y le gusta y se retroalimentan mutuamente, por supuesto que habria que agregar algunos temas actuales como el impacto de internet y los nuevas formas de comunicacion. De todos modos, esto es solo una idea; voy a leer la ultima edicion (y alguno otro libro relacionado) estas vacaciones para ponerme un poco al dia o, al menos, para quedarme tranquilo y saber que es poco lo que puedo hacer para cambiar la realidad...

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Iron Law of Oligarchy – Ley de Hierro (o bronce) de la Oligarquia…

Thanks Michels

I was discussing the other day with a friend about laws in social and political life. She said there is no cycles in political life, or at least, most of what happens is coincidence. Then, I remembered Robert Michels, born in Germany at the beginning of the 20th Century. He said, whatever the type of government, even the most democratic, it will always become, sooner or later, an Oligarchy. “The reasons for this are the technical indispensability of leadership, the tendency of the leaders to organize themselves and to consolidate their interests; the gratitude of the led towards the leaders, and the general immobility and passivity of the masses” (Wikipedia…http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iron_law_of_oligarchy). I remember my professor of Political Theory drawing a perfect equilateral triangle with the upper little portion of it representing that oligarchy. So, why worry about changing anything? I think the answer would be: well, we can try to become part of that Oligarchy right? or, we can try to remove the present Oligarchy (depending on the country). But, the question would be: are not these oligarchies always the same? Are not those who belong to these oligarchies always the same? Are not those who want to belong to these oligarchies always the same? I just wanted to thank Michels for making me think about these issues so many years ago…and still makes me think…

Latinos or the vulgarization of Spanish Language – Latinos o la vulgarizacion del idioma Castellano (Español?)

Hablar castellano es malo?

After many years in the U.S.A. I have noticed how, at least in Texas, the Spanish Language has been vulgarized, meaning, associated (by the media in general) with vulgarity, with illegal immigrants, with lack of culture or even primitivism. Not only in schools where Spanish is almost only associated with Mexico or Central America with textbooks, vocabulary used and even Holidays and Celebrations, but also in Libraries where many books are just light novels for very uneducated people where Isabel Allende is considered the maximum. Please…!  Spanish, called “Castellano” in Argentina and some other countries, is a very rich Language with uncountable famous authors from countries other than Mexico and others than authors of supposedly “intelectual” novelist such as Isabel Allende. I do not know exactly the reason for this biased view of Spanish. I have some guessings, though. May be it is not good (meaning money) for some people to try to educate in Spanish, may be it is good to make think that English is a more “educated” language, may be it is not good to show that someone who speaks Spanish can be intelligent, or brilliant, or even beautiful (not the typical “latin” type of beauty). May be it is not good to show Spanish speakers as people who are concerned for something else other than immigration or “tacos”. There is a lots of “maybe”s. May be the reader can help me to find more…

Second life: there is life beyond our life…

A better life?

I assume that, as a consequence of the desperated times we are living, more and more people are looking for alternatives to be happy. I found one very interesting: Second Life. I have created my avatar, and I have been able to meet some other avatars. Some are very nice, some are very sexy, some are very rude, etc. Finally, someone is able to give all us an alternative, a more hygienic life, a life where you can say whatever you want, a life where yo do not need to touch anybody to have sex, a life where even you can fly… I can say that some places are really beautiful, and some really talented people are there working to make this fantasy world really attractive.  Some people behind the avis are really interesting to meet also but, I wonder, is this a new typo of schizophrenia? I think, “prima facie”, that this is just something that shows how unhappy people are with their lives, and, worse, how unable they are to change it…