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Isocracy Newsletter #5, November 21, 2009

This business of making people conscious of what is happening outside their own small circle is one of the major problems of our time, and a new literary technique will have to be evolved to meet it. Considering that the people of this country are not having a very comfortable time, you can't perhaps, blame them for being somewhat callous about suffering elsewhere, but the remarkable thing is the extent to which they manage to be unaware of it. Tales of starvation, ruined cities, concentration camps, mass deportations, homeless refugees, persecuted Jews — all this is received with a sort of incurious surprise, as though such things had never been heard of but at the same time were not particularly interesting. The now-familiar photographs of skeleton-like children make very little impression. As time goes on and the horrors pile up, the mind seems to secrete a sort of self-protecting ignorance which needs a harder and harder shock to pierce it, just as the body will become immunised to a drug and require bigger and bigger doses.

Eric Arthur Blair aka George Orwell, "As I Please", The Tribune, January 17, 1947

Of Borders, Wars and Refugees

An essay on the modern history and use of borders, wars and refugees argues of the probability of more asylum seekers in coming decades due to climate change and increased competition for monopoly over natural resources. Three policies are advocated within an Isocratic framework - universality of the 1967 Protocol, UNHCR processing of asylum seekers, and localised settlement of refugees - to provide greater justice for refugee claimants and local communities.

Written by Lev Lafayette, founder of Labor for Refugees (Australia)

Anti-Choice Amendment in U.S. Health Care

Health-care reform legislation recently passed the U.S. House of Representatives with two oderous components; firstly that the ammendment for states to adopt single-payer systems was not included (see previous newsletter). Secondly the proposed legislation included an anti-choice amendment making it virtually impossible for private insurance companies that participate in the new health system to offer abortion coverage to women.

Sign our petition calling on Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to stand firm against a ban on abortion coverage for women in the new health system.

Decline in global poverty

According to a recent study, and adjusted for inflation, the number of people living in below a standard of absolute poverty (the absolute minimum required for survival, valued at $1USD 2006 dollar per day) has witnessed a nearly 80% reduction from 1970 to 2006, from 11.2% of the world population to 2.3%. The most dramatic shifts have been in South and East Asia. Sub-Saharan Africa is now the center of world absolute poverty following the decline in East Asia and has only improved from a regional value of 0.4 to 0.32 in the thirty six year period. Of further concern is an increase in absolute poverty over the last six years in the middle-east and north africa. The same period has also witnessed a 9.5% decline in the Gini co-efficient, a measure of income inequality.

Paper by Maxim Pinkovskiy and Xavier Sala-i-Martin

As a reminder of our own relative income, or lack thereof, you are urged to visit the following URL:

US Steel Workers To Establish Worker-Controlled Factories

The United Steel Workers Union, North America's largest industrial trade union, announced a new collaboration with the world's largest worker-owned cooperative, Mondragon International, based in the Basque region of Spain. Since government efforts were being stifled by the greed of financial speculators and private capital was more interested in cheap labor abroad, unions will take matters into their own hands, find willing partners, and create jobs themselves, but in sustainable businesses owned by the workers.

"We see today's agreement as a historic first step towards making union co-ops a viable business model that can create good jobs, empower workers, and support communities in the United States and Canada," said USW International President Leo W. Gerard. "Too often we have seen Wall Street hollow out companies by draining their cash and assets and hollowing out communities by shedding jobs and shuttering plants. We need a new business model that invests in workers and invests in communities."

More at:

Isocracy on Wikipedia and Others

Until very recently the Isocracy entry on Wikipedia consisted of a few vague sentences; now it reflects and references the Network's 'about' page. This should raise a great deal of interest in the group. See:

Also, the Isocracy Network is expanding with new communities being established on various social networking sites. One has just started on the Google-based Orkut service: