THE POSITIVE AND NEGATIVE IMPACTS OF GLOBALIZATION

Globalization has had far reaching consequences to both the people living in India and the economy in general. Defining what is meant by globalization is important in the assessment of its advantages and disadvantages to India. This is particularly crucial since the exclusion of those who clearly support the phenomenon in its present form, that is, those who believe that globalization has many advantages and that these advantages will automatically be felt by the poor, also hold various and divergent views concerning this process. People, who are opposed to globalization or those concerned with its possible detrimental impacts on employment and poverty, constitute a wide political spectrum. It has been opposed from the perspective of economic and cultural nationalism by the extreme Right while liberals on the other hand are concerned about the loss of national sovereignty since globalization minimizes the effectiveness of the government to intervene in the regulation of labor and capital, eradicate poverty, among other things (Hensman 2000). There are numerous meanings attached to the term globalization. These largely depend on the context and the individual whom is making reference to the term. Even though there is no definite meaning or definition of the term currently, there are some definitions that are worth mentioning. According to Guy Brainbant, the process of globalization encompasses the opening up of world trade, the establishment of advanced communication methods, financial market internalization, increased importance of multinational companies, the migration of populations, increased mobility of people, goods, ideas, capital, pollution, data, diseases and infections. The term not only refers to the integration of global economies through unrestricted trade and financial flows but also exchanges in knowledge and technology. Globalization also includes unrestricted movement of labor between countries. Within the context of India, globalization means that the economy is being opened up to direct foreign investment by making facilities available to the foreign companies so that they may invest in various sectors of economic activities in India, clearing of obstacles and constraints to the entry of multinational companies in India, allowing collaboration between Indian and foreign companies and also encouraging the Indian companies to take part in foreign ventures.

This increased integration of societies and economies around the world has raised much concerns and praise at the same time. The phenomenon has affected the Indian society in both positive and negative ways. Among the positive aspects of globalization are the rapid growth and the reduction of poverty in India. However, it has also generated significant opposition internationally over concerns that it has resulted in increased inequality and the degradation of environment. Globalization in India can be traced back to when it opened up its economy during the nineteen nineties following a major financial crisis. More particularly, India took the first step to globalization when its currency was devalued against other major international currencies by 18-29 percent. The Indian economy was dragged to near defaulting on loans by the crisis which resulted in a slew of domestic and sector policy measures. This was to some degree prompted by the demands of the multilateral organizations and the immediate needs of the country. The new policy regime pushed for an open and more market oriented economy that had far reaching impacts, both positive and negative.

Advantages of globalization
There are numerous implications of globalization on the national economy. The phenomenon has intensified competition and interdependence between economies in the global market. In India, the economic reforms have resulted in the overall economic growth. The growth in the Gross Domestic Product has improved the global position of India. The direction of growth has also been shifted within the sectors. Initially, the primary sector generated a large percentage of the GDP. Due to globalization, the service sector is now the main driver of Indian economy. The overall rate of growth of India’s economy is one of the major advantages of globalization in India owing to the fact that during the 1970s, its rate of growth was as low as 3 percent. Countries like Mexico, Brazil, Korea and Indonesia had their GDP doubling that of India. Even though the 1980s saw the India’s growth rate doubling, it was still lower than that of Indonesia, China and Korea. As such, India’s position in the global arena has been improved from the time that it became part of the globalized world. In 1991, India was ranked fourth with regard to its economy. However, with the increase in the rate of growth that it experienced with the liberalization of its economy, it moved to the fourth place in 2001 (Pieterse 2004). Foreign direct investment has also increased due to globalization in India. There are also other sectors that have experienced growth owing to globalization apart from the above mentioned area. These include India’s imports and exports. As such, globalization has resulted in fiscal consolidation, growth in foreign exchange reserve, increased foreign investment and to a considerable extent, control of inflation. All these have helped the speeding up of growth of Indian economy. Globalization has seen an increase in the number of fortune companies in India. The implication is that there are more employment opportunities than before. This also means that the standards of living have been raised with more wealthy people being created due to the numerous opportunities that exist within the country. The liberalization of trade which consequently led to flexibilities in business policies to allow for equal opportunities for multinational companies has therefore resulted in desirable impacts for the overall Indian economy. New technologies and products have been introduced in India and this has created new opportunities. The multinational companies have made big investments and set up research and development centers which have brought about positive impacts in the lives of Indian people. As a result, India is among the lading countries in information technology, business processing and research and development investments. Globalization has also had positive impacts on the social and cultural realm. By opening new opportunities for employment, globalization has improved both economic and social life of individuals. The standard of living has been raised and more Indians can now enjoy the luxuries that were not known to them before. The perceptions of ordinary Indians have also been changed through increased cultural interaction through mediums. Indian companies are now gaining more recognition in the global arena than before. Products from other parts of the world are also finding their way into the Indian market with more people being in a position to purchase them owing to improved economic conditions. More Indians can also access goods from other parts of the world owing to reduced prices. Generally, globalization has improved the economic life of Indians due to more job opportunities as people are no longer worried about government jobs; there are numerous multinational companies that pay more attractive salaries than the government. As such, Indians have gained more from globalization in ways that are beneficial to both the state and the individuals within the state.

Disadvantages of globalization in India
As much as there have been numerous economic gains attached to globalization in India, there are also disadvantages. The rapid growth of industries due to globalization has not brought about benefits for everyone. There are various sectors that this growth has further aggravated the conditions of particular groups within the Indian society. Globalization has brought about rapid growth in the informal sector which has resulted in undesirable impacts on the working population. As much as it has led to the creation of jobs for many individuals, globalization is also contributing to the suffering of people within the informal sector. It is important to note that the informal sector is deliberately not included in the labor legislation. For instance, informal workers are not subject to the 1948 Factories Act which covers the general working conditions, working hours, safety and health, prohibition of child labor, basic amenities among other things (Stone 1996). With globalization finding its way into India, it is clear that its consequences have been undesirable for workers in the informal sector.  Globalization has resulted in poor health, deplorable working conditions and bondage. Employers have been able to impose working conditions that are extremely hazardous due to chronic insecurity among worker. For instance, the construction industry which is the second largest employer in Indian has not taken into consideration the working conditions of its employers. The employers are not concerned about the hazards involved. The proportion of fatal accidents is very high with some of the causes of serious injuries and deaths being crushes under collapsing structures, electrocution, and being buried under mud (Menon 1999). As such, the plight of workers under globalization has been miserable. The fish processing industry also expresses the grave consequences of globalization. The migrant women who work in this industry are subjected deplorable work conditions. They are virtually captives, forced to work in unhygienic conditions for long hours deprived of minimum wages, and subjected to various kinds of coercion including being sexually harassed (Goyal 2006). The negative impact of globalization is also felt in the Indian agricultural sector. A great number of laborers in this sector come from the ‘Scheduled Castes and Tribes’. In other words, they are from communities that are most exploited economically and oppressed socially under the caste system. The plight of this population has been worsened by globalization owing to the need to increase production to meet the growing demand from the global markets. As such, globalization has resulted in increased poverty and difficulties among particular populations in the Indian society. It has led to forced labor since employers are using crude methods to enforce bondage on the workers. All this is done with the aim of increasing production while at the same time cutting costs. Human beings have been turned into machines simply because of the need to increase profits and be competitive in the global market. This form of ‘slavery’ is especially rampant in the rural regions even though not exclusive to it. The export production has also seen an increase in child labor since liberalization (Vivekanandan 1996). More children have been forced to work in industries even though it is clear that children are not supposed to work. It is only in India where children are forced to work for long hours and under deplorable conditions even though there are legislations that are meant to protect children from any form of labor. From the above mentioned cases, it is clear that as much as globalization has resulted in economic gains for India, the people who work in the industries are wallowing in extreme poverty apart from being subjected to deplorable working conditions. As such, it may be argued that globalization has only resulted in gains for the rich industrialists and multinationals while the bulk of the population is languishing in poverty. What it has done is to increase the gap between the rich and the poor to levels that cannot be imagined. From this perspective, globalization has worsened the conditions of individuals who are at the bottom of the social ladder. On a broader perspective, globalization has led to low-income groups being increasingly undernourished due to the failure not only to create more jobs but also to improve the working conditions for this population. Apart from these impacts on particular groups, globalization has also contributed to the destruction of the environment through pollution and clearing of vegetation cover. With the construction of companies, the emissions from manufacturing plants are contributing to environmental pollution which further affects the health of many individuals. The construction also destroys the vegetation cover which is important in the very survival of both humans and other animals.

Globalization has had both desirable and undesirable consequences for India. These consequences have been felt from the general economy to more specific conditions of life for the individual. As mentioned, globalization has resulted in the growth of Indian economy which in turn has improved the lives of many people. It has also created many employment opportunities. However, it has also widened the gap between the rich and the poor part from resulting in more oppression for those at the bottom of the social ladder. However, it may be said that globalization is inevitable in the twenty first century despite these disadvantages considering the advances in information technology which has led to more integration between nations. Various ills such as inequality that it has created are also some of its inevitable consequences which results from the competitive environment and the need to increase production so as to meet the growing global demand. As such, it has created both winners and loser in India with loses being workers in the informal sector.

Juries

In the Hands of the Jury?
   
Take the O.J Simpson case, for example. Forgetting about the verdict for a moment, think about the makeup of the jury: some White, some African American, and some young mothers with children, others older. Then, you had a White woman and an African-American (Marcia Clark and Christopher Darden, respectively) trying the case on behalf of the State of California. Simpson countered with his team consisting of the late Johnny Cochran, Robert Kardashian, and Robert Shapiro, an African American and two middle-aged White men, among other lawyers. The judge was Lance Ito, an Asian-American who was his duty to make sure the trail did not get out of hand.
   
What is interesting is the makeup of both sides was balanced. It was not jaded on one side or another. That did not happen several decades ago, when an all-White male juries would routinely convict Black men of crimes, even if the evidence concluded otherwise (ask Ruben “Hurricane” Carter for starters).
Selecting 12 people to sit on a jury and decide another person’s fate sounds like more a television game show than reality. Asking 12 strangers to hold a person’s life in their hands when they are inexperienced in the areas of law and order (pardon the pun) is a tall task indeed. I would be more comfortable having a panel of judges determine my guilt or innocence than the latter.

Jury selection is usually an inexact science, basing the competence of a potential juror on a few minutes of questioning. Worse, everyone has preconceived notions heading into the case. Attorneys have the ardent task of figuring out if someone if capable of making a group decision without imposing their own beliefs.

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Good Luck. Attorneys on both sides must decide if someone if fit for their side. Kind of like picking a team for a game of basketball: the best go first while the rest of the picks are chosen as the best of the rest. Why ask juries of one’s peers when they have little or no knowledge or interest?
Jury selection has a history of being exclusive—not what one hopes for in a fair and speedy trial.

In the U.S. Supreme Court case Carter v. Jury Commission (1970), the Black people of Greene County, Alabama were upset that their voice was not being heard. They were not being  counted in the state census readings for one reason or another (discrimination would be one reason, the plaintiffs argued) and were not getting adequate representation in court for due
process. The litigants argued that they would not be given fair and speedy trials based on their race and color, characteristics that were outlawed a few years back through the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
   
The Supreme Court agreed, saying there must be a better way for the census to be updated and that all persons, regardless of their color, creed, nationality, etc., were to be included if they were of the correct age (18 or older). This would make it a better representation of a “jury of its peers.”
   
It also makes for a tainted jury pool that is not willing to listen before handing down a verdict. Black people were not considered equals until the 1960s, and even then, there were obvious signs of prejudice around. You are asking them to make a rational, informed choice based on the evidence presented? It will not work because the people involved have their own notions about a race, gender, etc., and will use that criterion in order to convict or acquit.

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    The issue of jury selection is not always Black or White either, as a 1975 Supreme Court case proved.
The case between Taylor v. Louisiana ultimately gave women the power to be selected for jury duty. Previous to this, women were not considered for jury service unless they provided the state with a written statement or petition indicating their interest and ability to serve as a jury member. Cases were decided by men in all case prior to this ruling, and with more than half the Louisiana population consisting of females, it made the judgment more relevant.
The Court, with an 8-1 majority for overturning the previous statute, said juries must be a cross-section of the community. Having one or more races excluded from the process does not fulfill that requirement. Justice Rehnquist provided the dissenting view.

OK, so if you were either a woman or a person of color, you were automatically disqualified for jury duty. This is a jury of one’s peers? Not! The system is flawed to only give those in power (often men) a chance to win their freedom. That is not the correct basis for due process. Even attorneys with the ability cross-examine jurors will find ways to exclude jurors based on their appearance. Due process is supposed to be fair, and this process is far from that when entire groups are banned from participating.

Now, let us return to the Simpson case. The jury rendered a “not guilty” verdict based on evidence presented. We hope. However, there were no other suspects, the alleged murder weapon, a knife, was never recovered, and the police investigation was presumably botched  because of the celebrity involved. Simpson was a famous collegiate and pro football player, a commercial pitchman and actor. His defense lawyers were the tops in their field. How could the

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His celebrity and surrounding media circus that emanated from the proceedings not do influence jury?
    Celebrity may have swayed the Simpson jury. During cross-examination, Cochran asked the defendant to put on the glove in question. When Simpson could not put on the glove, Cochran famously said, “If the glove does not fit, then you must acquit.” How is a jury that may watch Court TV or cop shows going to react? Like they are supposed to have sympathy for the defendant. Cochran was doing his job to persuade the jury, but jury members were putting who was on trial ahead of the evidence—never a good sign.

    Although Simpson got his due process, it is not always the case—and that can have a negative impact. Take the case of Cunningham v. California (2006), where a judge levied the maximum sentence on a defendant based on evidence that was not heard or considered by the jury. The defendant sought a more favorable ruling (given that he was convicted of molesting his son) and did not want to serve the maximum penalty.

    The Supreme Court agreed that the judge in this case should have either instructed the jury to consider the evidence, in this case that there were extenuating circumstances that warranted the heavy sentence. Or, not presented the option of handing down a stiffer sentence.

    The defendant won his appeal in that the judge’s negated his right to a jury trial decision to act outside the boundaries of this case.

    A judge serves to uphold the law. If the evidence suggests that more (or less) time is warranted, then his or her discretion should be used to make that choice. That does not mean withholding evidence, because that would be wrong. Being able to collect the facts and provide a coherent verdict is paramount. Juries are not always correct, but they are not experts in this field, Juries 5 either. This is why experts are needed to make these difficult choices, not strangers.

It is hard for people in this day and age to be closed to meetings, news and other areas of
news. In a world of blogs, 24-hour news cycles, social networking and other forms of communications, there is little that would be considered private. That was not the case in 1986, when the highest court heard the case of Press-Enterprise Co v. Superior Court, in which the issue of free speech came into play.

    The defendant wanted to wave his right to a jury trial and wanted his hearing closed to the public and transcripts not be made public. The newspaper disagreed, saying they have a right to the information through the First Amendment granting Free Speech.

The Supreme Court eventually ruled that the right of a defendant receiving a fair and impartial trail would not be hindered by the records of the preliminary hearing would injure his case. The majority said it would have to be a case in which the defendant would not be able to secure a fair jury trial for some reason. The court felt in this case that records were available to the public upon request before this case and that provided the press/media with a history of process.

    The same result could be found in the case of Blakely v. Washington (2004), in which the defendant pled guilty to kidnapping his wife and would have been sentenced to more than four years in prison. However, the judge saw the case differently and sentenced the defendant to seven-and-half-years in jail.

    The defendant appealed saying his sentence did not factor in the jury’s consideration. The judge argued that it was within his discretion to increase the sentence based on mitigating circumstances. The Supreme Court sided with the defendant stating that the jury decides the fate of the defendant and not the judge.

    Using the judicial system as a barometer to the world is a tricky proposition. It took decades before people or color, persons over 18 years old and women were even allowed to be considered to serve on a jury, let alone sit on one. Prior to that, a requisite was being White man and a land owner to be accepted. The world has evolved some since then, but that does not eliminate the inherent biases for or against law enforcement, lawyers, judges and those sworn to serve and protect.

    This is why I feel that a panel of judges should make the decisions. Juries are not equipped to know the law and make rational judgments based on what they hear and see. They go for the glitz and glamour and care less about the facts and the mundane and trivial. Worse, some jurors may be looking at a trial as an opportunity to promote themselves. That is definitely not the reason to be on a jury.

    It is said that no man is above the law. Juries were formed to hear all of the evidence on both sides and render a verdict. This would prevent a judge from playing judge, jury and executioner. Yes, judges are there for guidance and can direct juries to read information as they see fit. They are not there to hand out the decision and punishment, if applicable.

    In the end, it should be left to those who have a degree and knowledge of the law instead of someone looking to get them out of jury duty to serve.

    That is why Lady Liberty covers her eyes—because justice is blind.

The Declaration of Universal Human Rights a Magna Carta

The United Nations (U.N) General Assembly on the year 1948 December 10th proclaimed and adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Paris at Palais de Chaillot. It contained an outline of the views by the organization guaranteeing human rights to everybody in the world. Roosevelt Eleanor, the chairman of Human Rights who drafted the declaration referred to it as “Magna Carta for al Humankind”, it also received praise from the global figures like Charles Malik, John Paul 2, among others The U.N General Assembly the called on all the member states to publicize the declaration text and to make it be displayed, read, disseminated, and to be principally expounded in all the educational institutions and schools, with no distinction on the basis of the country’s political situations (Ezra 2008).

     This document is described as Magna Carta because it is a common standard of human rights for everyone and all the countries so that all individuals and society organs do bear with the declaration in their minds to strive and aspire to teach it to gain the respect for the said freedoms and rights through progressive measures both at the national levels and international levels to gain universal observation and recognition among the member states and their jurisdiction territories.

    This Universal Declaration starts with a preamble containing 7 paragraphs followed by proclamation statement. Each and every paragraph in the preamble gives an explanation of the Universal Declaration adoption (Paul 2009).
    In the first paragraph, preamble of the document professes human dignity as the foundation of peace and justice in the world; a number of human rights: freedom rights etc. It recognizes the common aspiration of the human life as freedom of speech, from fear and belief. Humans should use rebellion against vices like tyranny and oppression as the last resort, and these must be protected by the rule of law. The nations have the duty to build healthy relationships amongst them (Ezra 2008). The preamble also recognizes gender equality, the human worth and other fundamental human rights. Member states cooperate in achieving these goals in observing human rights and lastly the common interpretation and proper understanding and realization of the pledges.

    The preamble paragraphs is preceded by Declaration “proclamation” as “a common standard of achievement” to “all nations and all peoples” so that “all the society organs” and “all individuals” should by education and teaching promote respect accord for these freedoms and rights through progressive measures, international and national , get their effective and universal observance and recognition. (Mary &  Schabas 1998)

    This declaration basically rose due to the Second World War experience and is being representative of the world expression of human rights each and everyone is entitled to. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights contains 30 articles elaborated in a number of international treaties, the human rights tools in different regions, national laws and constitutions. The international Bill of Human Rights contains the international covenant on Social, Cultural and Economics Rights, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the international agreement on political and civil rights. In the early 1966 the two conclusive covenants were adopted by the General Assembly, after ratification by significant number of nations, it then took force from international law.

Europe, a Global Model to Human Rights Protection
    The current situation regarding the human rights practices in Europe generally is believed to be good by many. The European Convention on Human RIGHTS also called the Convention for Human Rights Protection and Fundamental Freedoms was adopted in Europe under the watch of Council of Europe in the year 1950 basically for Human Rights Protection and other fundamental freedoms. Europe member countries of all councils are party to it and new members are invited to ratify it. This convention bore the European Court of Human Rights, where those who feel their rights have been violated can forward their cases to these courts for hearing especially under the state part convention. This does not mean that this court decisions are legally binding automatically, though they have the power to recommend damages. The idea of courts establishments to protect human rights violations is very innovative in the face of international convention for the protection of human rights because it gives as it makes people active on international arena (European Convention for Human Rights 2008).

    The European convention on human rights protection is the only international agreement on human protection providing a very high level of human protection compared to any other in the world (Ovey et al 2006). The court also accepts or hears a case where one state reporting the other in the court for human rights violation, though this power is not used most often. The convention contains many protocols, like protocol 13 prohibiting death penalty among others; these protocols differ from one country to another. (European Convention for Human Rights 2008)

    Though European countries have one of the best practices in protection of human rights, they also numerous human rights problems alleged which include police brutality on the asylum seekers, judicial rights infringements and the business person’s freedoms under corrupt regulatory bodies. The European countries have been reported in the annual reports of Amnesty International for different violations on human rights. Belarus is a major culprit here, the only European country rated “authoritarian” with either “hybrid regime”, flawed democracy” or “full democracy” ratings. Europe history on human rights have been a contradiction and a combination of fundamental human rights violations on one hand and intellectual and legislative progress on the other hand both at home and its colonies.

In 2005 the Council of Europe adopted a convention against human beings trafficking. In 2008 the European Union issued a directive on illegal immigrants return, 67,000 people crossed the Mediterranean Ocean to Europe, many drown and died, those who made it led a terrible life without identification papers, they were exposed to exploitation by the Europeans. Some     EU member states made bilateral agreements with African states to return migrants or even stop them from leaving (Ovey et al 2006).

The EU holds the banner and is ever ambivalent on its human rights commitment. Even though EU have strong stand on issues like freedom of expression, death penalty and human rights defenders protection, many member countries does not conform to international standards on discrimination and racism, refugee protection, or own up to terrorists extraordinary rendition.

How to Solve the Crisis in Zimbabwe

After its independence in 1980, Zimbabwe had remarkable economic growth and was a model of good governance in Africa. Its beauty was a source of jealousy to any visitor who came to the country. More so, the people of Zimbabwe have always been peacefully coexisting with one another over the years. The events that have culminated to the current situation can be traced back to 1965 when the then leader of Southern Rhodesia, issued a unilateral declaration of independence where the African majority under the leadership of Robert Mugabe of the Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU) and Joshua Nkomo’s Zimbabwe African Peoples Union (ZAPU) contested in a general election in which Robert Mugabe won and was allowed to form the first government in Independent Zimbabwe. The white minorities were only allowed to occupy 20% of the parliamentary seats.  The problems that Zimbabwe is facing today began when President Mugabe started to implement land reforms which involved replacing the vast firms owned by white settlers with the native Zimbabweans. Such reforms angered the west and mostly Britain that was the former colonial master from which most of the white settlers came. The international community started to impose embargoes and sanctions on Zimbabwe unless they stop the land reforms that they had started around 1990s. (Afrol News 2009) This issue was not taken easily by the Government backed by the Zimbabwe War Veterans Association in which Mugabe was and still is the patron. Just to fast track to the current situation is that the 2008 general election was irregular with MDC led by Morgan Tsvangirai and ZANU PF led by Robert Mugabe both claiming victory. This led to a runoff that Mugabe won without a competitor and led to a crisis which ended up with a power sharing agreement which is still facing problems today. (Afrol News 2009)

    On behalf of the Zimbabwe War Veterans Association, the following should be adopted by the African Union as a way to end the political deadlock in Zimbabwe and ensure that it goes back to its former glory.

    First and foremost, if Zimbabwe is to become a progressing state again, then the west should stop meddling with its internal affairs. This is to say that countries like America and Britain have been known to engage in almost every international debate and internal country politics. This does not mean that they should keep quiet whenever people in a certain country are suffering. For instance, when Zimbabwe was implementing the land reforms in the 1990s, the west should not have meddled in the affairs of Zimbabwe since under the international law the sovereignty of Zimbabwe is guaranteed and should therefore be respected at all times. To add on this is that when Zimbabwe attained its independence, it meant that all those Africans who had been alienated by the colonial British regime were supposed to surrender the titles of those lands they snatched from the Africans and not necessarily leave the country since they could rent the land from their new owners.( Giggy 2009) If the war veterans who fought for the independence of Zimbabwe are languishing in poverty, then what is the meaning of that independence? Zimbabwe can only progress if foreign countries can stop interfering with internal matters and let the land reforms to be implemented and Zimbabweans own their land.

    Another thing that can be done to solve the current impasse is to forget about removing President Mugabe from power and concentrate with the process of fulfilling the agreement that was signed in September, 15, 2009. The Zimbabwe War Veterans Association has made observations and has realized that most of the western countries are pressuring the Southern African Development community (SADC), the African Union (AU) and the United Nation (UN) to try and oust Mugabe who has ruled for the last 28 years. It is impossible and such attempts will lead to worsening of the problem as more Zimbabweans will continue to languish in poverty. Instead, the international community should focus on reopening the mediation talks between ZANU and MDC to go back on the table and solve their problems with SADC and AU representatives but not from outside Africa. Such move will ensure that progress is made in the right direction.

    The other proposed solution from the Zimbabwe War Veterans Association is that the international community should try and lift the embargos and sanctions placed on Zimbabwe. This is because Zimbabwe like all the other developing countries faces many monetary challenges, meaning that they mostly depend on foreign donations and grants from the developed nations. In addition to that, the people of Zimbabwe also need humanitarian assistance since the country is faced with acute food shortages, diseases as cholera that is killing many people, unemployment and inflation rates which has reached historically dangerous levels. Instead of imposing sanctions the international community needs to provide assistance. (Africa Report 2007)

    Another way to solve such issues is to ensure that western countries such as the United States do not take sides with any political party. It was reported recently that the US was funding parallel government structures. As if that was not enough, the US government also admitted that it also funded parallel government structures in the prime ministers office and also their constitution agenda and electoral reform. Such deep marauding is the one which splits the government and acts for setting up parallel state structures that can be deployed as a destabilizing force and can lead to coup attempts. The west should therefore recognize only one Zimbabwe.

    The Zimbabwe War Veterans Association also advocates for a complete constitution dispensation. This means that the people of Zimbabwe should start the process of looking for a new constitution that will clearly design government structures in a way that resources reach the grassroots. The constitution should also involve extensive land reform which clearly ensures that all the native Zimbabweans have access to land resources. This is important since the land issue has been the genesis of the current conflicts. In addition to that, the families of the freedom fighters need to be compensated for their struggle in the process of fighting for independence.

    After the constitution has passed through the national referendum and starts to work, the government should now call for new and fresh democratic elections which are to be conducted by an independent electoral commission. Most importantly is that there should be no international interference in the elections. This is important because in the controversial elections of 2008, though MDC was perceived to have slightly won the first round, the Zimbabwe War Veterans Association and majority of the Zimbabweans thought that Mr.Tsvangirai was nothing but a political puppet of the west who was to be used to remove President Mugabe from power so that they can champion their interests. (Muzondidya 2008)

    In conclusion, it is important to state that most of the problems that Zimbabwe is facing today are mainly result of imposed sanctions which are a retaliatory tactic the West use to ensure that a country suffers economic, political and social difficulties and is forced to succumb to their will. Well that is at least according to the Zimbabwe War Veterans Association. The above possible solutions need therefore to be implemented as soon as possible in order to save a once prosperous nation from totally collapsing.

Commodification of sports

In our contemporary society, there are ways through which other institution like churches, schools, and multinational corporations reach the community and one of the ways is through sports, since sports is regarded as a special form of human venture. Sport is considered as an efficient institution since it appeals to human sense of emotion. While playing or even watching, sports brings about self satisfaction. Sport touches us at emotional and visual point of view and this is why some other institutions use sports in reaching the community since they are unable to provoke such senses (Sewart, 1987).

The importance of sports to media and corporate interests is creating a fascinating and also a disturbing condition for sport. Sport which is a very old human activity together with its own cultural importance in many societies is starting to lose its independence. Instead of people participating in sports because they enjoy, sports has been turned into a consumer commodity because of corporations and their media counterparts. The process of turning sports into consumer goods or services is called Commodification. Sport has been turned into an economic activity like selling goods, airtime, earning a living as a player or even a camera man. The sporting activities which have huge economic rewards grow while those which do not produce any reward are abandoned. Players whose skills are loved by many are allowed to play most of the times while those who are moderately skilled are discouraged from playing (Sewart, 1987).

Changes in rules, format, and scheduling
Evidences which show that the sport has been turned into economic activity include rising player salaries, high intensity of advertisement of sporting events and also in sporting uniforms, sponsorship and promotion of sporting events by commercial companies, and selling of stadium naming rights. In the process of Commodification, the parties involved are the laborer who is the player, the consumer who is the spectator, and the capitalist or the owner of the competing club. The competition of the trio of roles enables the capitalist system to succeed and form an arena for the exploitation of the laborers and the consumers (Sewart, 1987).

 All sports are considered as games but not all games qualify to be called sports. Sports are games where the physical component is highly needed and it is the physical component which make such games special. In such games, the players are expected to show their physical wit. Physical nature of such games is considered as a very important factor in Commodification since it is the physicality of the sport that enables it to gather many consumers more than other games since it is considered  fun seeing players outdoing one another as  observed in boxing, running after the ball as seen  in either rugby or football. In such scenarios, a spectator is a consumer; he consumes the product or the service and does not pay for the right to consume the product. At times, such consumers pay for the service through paying for the gate pass to the stadium where the game is taking place (Sewart, 1987).

The sporting activity has been turned into a profession where one is involved in sports to earn a living. The rise in the number of spectators in various sporting activities has led to the ability to play sports to earn a living or even to generate some income. In the early days, the wealthy patrons used to pay athletes or even musicians so that they remain as artists or athletes, but currently the players are called professionals or even semi professionals and they have sports as their primary source of income. Emergence of professional sports requires the owners. The need for organized sports on regular basis with good players requires someone to organize matches, sell entry tickets and pays the players. The owners of the clubs make maximum profit from their laborers. In such a case, all the three players in Commodification process have participated, i.e. the laborer, the consumer, and the capitalist (Sewart, 1987).

There are a series of changes which have been experienced in the sports industry has it undergoes Commodification. The critics of Commodification believe that this process is leading to the degradation of athletic activity. The current situation in sporting industry is compared to the pre modern sports which was not contaminated by the mass commercialization and sensationalization that is associated with the modern sport industry. Today, technology is highly employed in sports like directives issued to fans and big electronic video screens instructing them when to cheer among other thing (Sewart, 1987).

 Scientific and technological developments which occurred in the 20th century have had a lot of influence in the sporting industry. The impact has changed all the aspects of sporting ranging from the management of athletic competition to the amount of money allocated for different sports events. There has also been a rise in the number of promoters of sports competitions which has led to increased public interest to such sporting events. We can therefore conclude that modernization and Commodification have contributed a lot to the current development in the sporting industry (Sewart, 1987).

Sporting events during the pre modern times were not organized but they were sudden and informally organized. The sporting competitions were arranged by the people who were involved either directly or indirectly. The rules which guided the sporting competition were simple and unwritten, made according to the local customs and tradition and were different from one place to the other. Because of technological advancements, current sporting activities are organized very officially, rules are uniform and official, practically and rationally elaborated, and legalized by organizational means (Sewart, 1987).

Currently, sporting events are conducted at various levels e.g. national, international and preliminaries which are based on local contest. This enables the participants to be known both nationally and internationally. Initially, there was no difference between participating in sports and observing. Coverage of sporting events which was previously done locally has also advanced with all information about sports being recorded on daily basis in the local newspapers, and journals and they contain detailed sports review. Statistic and records about sports are valued in modern sports and the information is kept regularly. Supporter’s of commodification believes that it has affected sporting industry in a positive manner since it has attracted many people to sporting industry. Commodification has also transformed every sporting event into a bright and exciting event (Sewart, 1987).

The abandonment of the ethic of skill democracy
It has been shown that the corruption and dehumanization of sport is as a result of both commodification of athletic activity and the social behavior and consciousness of sporting fans/ consumers. Sport was considered as a social occurrence linked to interpersonal ethical order. It has been identified as the ethical, aesthetic, and dramatic occurrence at the same time a way of individual satisfaction. A sport is meant to create interpersonal bonding (Sewart, 1987).

There have been tremendous changes in the rules, format and even scheduling of sporting activities. The media consider sports as an entertainment and will put a lot of pressure on the bodies governing sports to put up large advertising revenues. This leads to changing the rules of the game which will also modify the nature of contest, changes in scheduling, long playing periods among other changes. Commodification has had several harmful effects on the sporting world. It has resulted in bad morals within the participants. Since they are regarded as good, they try as much as possible to please their fans by engaging in activities like doping. The popular use of drugs by athletes is not an individual choice but it comes from the pressure put on them to win as well as commercialization of the games. Since sports have become business enterprises, then winning gold is a must for a participant since silver and bronze have very little commercial value. The drugs which the athletes use are potentially dangerous to their health like the currently popular erythropoietin which thickens blood in the night exposing the victim to heart failure (Sewart, 1987).

Commodification has turned sports into consumer goods and services making club owners to work very hard in order to attract most consumers. Success of the team is regarded as success of the spectators as well as the community where that team is coming from. With the sports changing its role in the society, its ability to represent the fans symbolically via the action in the field has been snatched away. The interest of the owners and the players have changed from winning the competition to making huge profits and this in return affects the ability of the spectator to feel like part of the team.

Briefing Notes on the United States of American Democracy Policy and How to present it to Kenya


 This is a briefing note addressed to the United States of America Secretary of State concerning the need by The United States to present its democratic policy to Kenya.  Throughout the history of time, Kenya has grown to become a strategic partner of the United States both in East Africa and beyond. Hence, the country remains to be of vital America’s security and economic interests.  This briefing is for the use in the upcoming meeting between the Secretary of State and Kenya’s Head of State scheduled to take place in Nairobi, Kenya from November 12th to 15th.


Background
    One of the fundamental issues which should be addressed by a majority of African nations is democracy and good governance.  The present-day 21st century social and economic challenges facing the African continent have made the need to uphold democracy as well as good governance to be paramount. A closer look at this continent reveals the fact that despite it being endowed with a great deal of resources and expertise, poverty and failed leadership have taken their toll on the people as has been argued by Maathai (2009). As one moves from one country to the next in the continent, it is evident to note that people are greatly disillusioned by their respective leaders according to the World Bank report (2009). The few which have been cited to being democratic on the other hand have done very little if any to improve the present status of events.

    The rapid increase in the number of coup attempts should serve as a warning to the rest of the world that the African people are frustrated. According to Esispisu and Isaac (2009), majority of societies in Africa are yearning for democracy. To this end, Kenya has not been an exception. It is imperative to note that there is a positive correlation between failed leadership and increase in global security. The fact that Kenya is bordering the Taliban backed and troubled Somalia makes the absence of democracy and good governance to be top priority to the United States of America. Failure by the Kenyan leaders to uphold the principles of good governance and democracy increases America’s vulnerability within the region. More often than not, Kenya has always been viewed to be a great ally of the United States of America an aspect which has helped the latter to strengthen its presence in the region.  Furthermore, in the recent past, Kenya has been instrumental in terms of complementing America’s efforts on the war againist terror. In addition, this nation has grown to become one of America’s economic partners within the region for quite a long time in comparison to other East African nations.

    The United States on the other hand has had a long history of engagement with Kenya on a range of issues especially in the last three decades. In particular, the framework for its engagement with Kenya has always been centered on helping the country to develop economically. A number of economic development projects have in the past been initiated by America in order to help this nation to grow and eradicate poverty among its citizens. However, despite America’s efforts, Kenya has always been faced with the challenge of lack of democracy. Throughout its history since independence, Kenya has been witnessing bad leadership from one regime to the next. Most of the leaders have always used unconventional means to ascend and stay in power which in turn has led to the present-day high poverty index amongst its people. The previous regime for instance was characterized by lack of respect for democracy according to Maathai (2009). During this period, dictatorship was substituted for democracy and thereby leading to blatant violation of basic or fundamental human rights and high poverty index. In this regard, it is imperative for the United States of America to present its policy on democracy to Kenya in order to help strengthen the country within the region.

Kenya’s current Situation
    Just as it has been the case with the previous elections, the 2007 Kenya’s general elections were marred by allegations of rigging and lack of respect for the rule of law as presented by Wessendoff (2009). To some, the then incumbent president Mr. Mwai Kibaki won the tightly contested general elections according to Kossler (2008). Yet still, others held the opinion that the opposition had won the election by a wide margin but had been rigged out in this regard. This controversy led to unprecedented three-month period of post election skirmishes. Statistics from the national security registry show approximately 1200 persons lost their lives in this violence. At the same time, approximately 250, 000 individuals were displaced owing to the fact that this violation was based along ethnic lines as presented by Kriegler (2008) and Human Rights Watch (2008).

    Concerted efforts by the United States as well as the European Union led to the establishment of a coalition government using the German government model. In this arrangement, the county was presented with the president and the prime minister, a move that helped to quell the post election violence within the country. One of the key issues that the two leaders were to address as a matter of urgency was institution of democratic reforms before the next general elections scheduled to be held in the year 2012 according to Kriegler (2008). This was to take the approach of development of key reforms in all the three arms of the government namely; the judiciary, the executive and the legislature in order to anchor the country on sound democratic practices. In principle, this would necessitate radical changes in the country’s constitution.

    It is imperative to note that two years after the formation of the grand coalition government, as it is commonly referred to, key fundamental democratic reforms have not been instituted as was promised. With 2012 fast approaching, there is the possibility that the country could be plunged into a similar violence as was the case with the 2007 general elections. Against this backdrop, the international community has been applying pressure to the leaders to come up with key democratic reforms in order to safe guard the lives of Kenyans. Consequently, this has led to the two leaders initiating the process of making the constitution. Currently, this process is at the debate stage within the public domain. At this stage, members of the public are required to read the harmonized constitutional draft, debate the various contentious issues and submit their proposals to the country’s constitutional review committee.

    Kenya’s ability to finally appreciate the tenets of democracy shall have both direct and indirect impacts on America’s influence within the region. Building on the current cordial relationship with the nation, America is therefore provided with the perfect opportunity to present its policy on democracy during this meeting (Europa Publications, 2004).  Hence, it is important for the United States to take into account that its democratic policy is relevant to the Kenyan context since it is founded on the premise of upholding the rule of law as well as principles of good governance as argued by Weintraub (2000).  America’s voice towards the importance for the Kenyan leaders to respect and develop the various elements of democracy at various levels of governance is desired in this regard. The constitution making process which is currently under way provides the perfect platform for the United States to present its policy on democracy in terms of recommendations on how the Kenyan government can strengthen its democratic process.

    Based on the various political analyses of Kenya’s Head of State, he strikes out as a conservative and reserved personality. In this regard, it is extremely important that such recommendations should be presented as feasible strategies that his government can use in order to strengthen its democratic process. Acting on the contrary might be interpreted as to questioning his legitimacy as the Head of State based on the country’s 2007 general election events.

Recommendations
    In order to ensure that this policy is incorporated by the Kenyan government, it is important that the United States reiterates its commitment to support Kenya both democratically and economically. This is extremely important since Kenya is a developing country with a staggering economic growth. Therefore, this shall for both short-term and long-term support in all its development initiatives. On the other hand, America should consider putting a freeze on aid in the event that the leaders do not implement democratic reforms as soon as possible. This shall go a long way into helping the Kenyan government to underscore the need to have a comprehensive democratic policy since it is directly linked to economic development. A lot of emphasis should be placed on the importance of including such principles in the constitution.
    To add to that, the Secretary should express concerns on the deplorable economic conditions to which the Kenyan citizens have been subjected to due to the absence of sound democratic policies.

The Downward Spiral: The Elements Fighting Themselves


After a long time of oppression under Iberian crowns, Latin America took another dimension which saw it agitate for freedom. This agitation was dual and as such it was struggling against both the mother state as well as from absolutism. In what is recorded as among the greatest historical struggles for freedom as well as liberty in the history of the modern world, the creoles triumphed. These battles span years and cost untold thousands of lives. This understates the importance of analyzing democracy that was fought for and the Implication of overlooking it with unjustly conducts that is now prevalent all over Latin America. With the exception of Cuba, the agitators of liberation significantly achieved what was considered to be the primary goal, independence, which saw the rise of eighteen new states across Latin America in the early nineteenth century. This were El Salvador, Mexico, Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, Haiti, Honduras, Guatemala, Bolivia, Colombia, Costa Rica, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Venezuela, Paraguay, Peru and Ecuador (Drake 2009).

The Agitators of liberation though had achieved a fundamental goal, did not fair on well with their secondary objective of formulating stable nations or their constitutional monarchies. Despite this fact, it is worth observing that they had taken a momentous step towards achieving democracy. Their endeavour gave birth to the largest web of republics in the world. In comparison to that era they founded a model on which the rest of the world could look upon in a bid to rise democratic institutions and nations alike. One has to ask then why is Latin America still lagging behind as far as democracy is concerned with rampant military coups and civil unrest as well, not forgetting un-savvy media frenzy, considered to be the fourth estate in countries vibrant democracies. The founders of this nations embedded republicanism in their manifestos which was to act as the backdrop against which their democracy was to be laid, the seed bed for democracy, the template for the future. Why has this template not thrived in the modern era? What factors are agitating against these models of vibrant democracies? This are the questions that this study endeavours to answer.

The founders of these nations embedded republicanism in their models as a result of the history of the time. There were fundamental concepts that explained there due significance to republicanism which explains why they widely considered to the extent of architecting it in their institutional frameworks and its consequent flounder in the founding years. Republics, which were to a large extent oligarchies, were the prevalent forms of democracy in the time. It was simply not feasible to exercise any other form of governance in the time. Does this historical record bear any answers as to why there is a prevalent split between perspectives of protected as well as popular democracy? One prevalent aspect in Latin America is the characteristic nature of the political atmosphere’s forecast of the future. They are rampant with unstable constitutions which are often rendered inoperable as a result of direct implantation from abroad. It therefore follows that these constitutions do not strive to meet the needs of the compact majority. It is the case because of the fact that these constitutions are drawn from developed countries whose public and national interests are in conflict with most of the Latin American states that are exclusively third world states. Are superficial constitutions the factor that is agitating against democracy in Latin America?

Another problem is the extreme centralism that characterises the government. The lack of devolution of power which ideally would spread the function and benefit of the government onto far flunk regions that are regionally distant from the power of the state embedded in the capital city results into isolation. This isolation results into underdevelopment wrought with undesirable aspects like low educational levels that renders the citizenry unskilled to grasp the central place that the state politics takes in development. As such it raises a compact majority of citizenry ill informed to comprehend national interests and rights which can consequently motivate them towards agitation for this interests that can be achieved on a democratic level ground. This study will be guided by the question; how has the policy of extreme centralism in government affected democracy in Latin America?

In all failing democracies, one aspect that is often under scrutiny of which the undesirable trend is always ascribed to is hyper-presidentialism (Mainwaring and Shugart 1997). In trends that exhibit downward spirals with regard to democracies the executive power embedded in the principal often traverses the norm with the principal exercising immense powers in his rule. Philosophers such Thomas Hobbes expounded on presidents being all-powerful. Hobbes understanding of society’s regulation can be well understood by analyzing his understanding of what constitutes a commonwealth, of which to him was divided into the supreme power vested in the leader who was in command of his subjects. In this regard, Hobbes postulated that the leader was the bigger person which primarily meant that he was ideally the law of the society. As such Hobbes did not take the same road as that of the famous jurist Sir Edward Coke who challenged the claims by the seventeen century King’s James 1st and Charles 1st that they were above the law. Following this stand, Hobbes appeared to be taking the same side as the royal kings, agreeing with the fact that they were above society’s norm of conduct and thus something that was below them could not be used to punish them. What comes out of this interpretation is the fact that Hobbes disagreed with the law ruling the country as opposed to Presidents. He noted that it would be dangerous to place the leader, in this regard the President, at the mercy of his opponents, which we can take to be those who deferred in ideology with the President. Hobbes queried that if the King, the President, was to be at the mercy of the country’s law, then the wrong interpretation in the jurist’s assumption would be that the jurist had assumed that the President was a kind of man with his senses in their natural form, even if he were assumed to be illiterate could not find himself ruled by his opponents whom he believed could kill him or act to his detriment when he could not adhere to the country’s law. Here the Jurist had built his assumption on a fallacy. But this assumption has been outlived with the time with the agitation of democracy, freedom and accountability. As such Presidents ought to be under the law, which ideally controls their action. However this is not the case in Latin America, with most elements in power assuming Hobbes assumption resulting into tyranny. Such is the case in the recent Honduran Case with the military leader, Roberto Michelletti, failing to acknowledge the state law by toppling the rightfully elected president. How has hyper presidentialism impacted on the thriving of democracy in Latin America?

The second question of great significance that Hobbes builds is the fact that the country’s law is nothing but mere words on mere paper.  To Hobbes and much in the same way as in Latin America, It is wrong to assume that this mere words embedded in the Latin American states penal codes would control the people. As such the resultant of embedding the states supremacy in mere paper and words would be putting the existence of the country at the mercy of anarchy and lawlessness, because people would disregard these words. Hobbes had yet another third assumption which echoes democracy in Latin America. He suggested that in a bid to control the country, the President ought to instil the fear of God in the people which ideally means that the leader must use means, which in this regard can be taken as the law that primarily threatens the people with harm should they act in disregard of the leader who in most cases would be agitating for democracy. In comparison to Latin America, a Hobbes analysis of the law realizes solutions that are much to the delight of the ruling class. In the first instance the president was to be the supreme power. As such, he would be above the law and insulated from public scrutiny for he himself was beyond reach. Hobbes justification of Latin American leaders’ all powerful status is justified by the fact that by stripping the president of the power beyond the state would be assuming a dangerous path as it would place him at the mercy of his political opponents and thus resulting into a dysfunctional country where the leadership was constantly threatened by rebellion resulting into civil war that would disintegrate society. This study assesses how Hobbes dimension of imperial presidents has influenced the advancement of democracy in Latin America, which often unfortunately is not a delightful picture as it is filled with overtones of failure.

The downward Spiral Peru
The country, as earlier mentioned has had a turbulent political history that succeeds successive periods of democratic governance and authoritarian rule. The tumultuous political history of the country could be traced far back during the period of Spanish occupation. Since the birth of the state of Peru in 1821, it has had thirteen constitutions. In regard of its elected presidents, only nine out of the elected nineteen presidents have completed their term in office (McClintock 1999). After twelve years of military governance, the country transitioned to democracy in 1980. The whole of 1980 was characterized with undesirable trends in the country’s economy with a prolonged period of stagnation with the Maoist guerrilla insurgents pressurizing the government. The period between nineteen eighty and 2000, the insurgents’ (Shinning Path otherwise known as Senderos Luminoso) conflict with the government troops accounted for approximately 69,260 deaths as well as disappearances (Palmer 1994).

In 1985, American Popular Revolutionary Alliance (APRA) candidate, the leftist Alan Garcia won the election with his first term in office characterized with conflicts with the world financial community as he pursued a policy that was pro-socialist which saw him engage much of government earnings in social programs. This policy resulted into hyper inflation as the government expenditure exceeded national income. The situation was further aggravated with the government’s internal security framework not comprehensive enough to face and demolish the insurgent Maoist rebellion. In five years, the compact majority was already disillusioned with Garcia’s administration with the consequence of voting him out of power. Consequently, the election saw the independent candidate Alberto Fujimori assume presidency. Fujimori initially attempted to turn Peru around by reformulating the state’s policies and mounting pressure on the Maoist insurgents. In nineteen ninety two, Fujimori developed tension with the country’s congress and in reaction he resolved to carry out a self coup, ultimately dissolving parliament and summoning a constituent assembly to draft a new constitution. As such, by dint of the new constitution, Fujimori fulfilled his interests by assigning spots on the country’s judiciary and legislature alike with his supporters. In 1995, he was re-elected back into office but the waning economy aggravated his popularity with the compact majority feeling dissatisfied with his economic policies that did not act to help them in their direful economic predicament. His strong handedness characterized in his handling of the Shinning Path with more or less military antics added to negative public perception of the president as an authoritarian ruthless ruler. His tactics to disintegrate the Maoists rebels resulted into momentous violations of human rights.

President Fujimori won his third term in office in 2008 amidst a public outcry of fraud and irregularity. A few weeks after assuming office Fujimori’s presidency was hit by a bribery scandal and was further aggravated by the prevalent public sentiment that associated the president with human rights violations. This tied the president’s hands and he was obliged to call for election in which he was considered ineligible to run. An interim administration assumed office between 2000 and 2001 and was succeeded by a democratically elected government in July 2001, headed by Alejandro Toledo. Toledo ruled Peru in the period between 2001 and 2006 with his term characterised with tremendous growth in the country’s economy but surprisingly low approval ratings. Toledo’s presidency also implemented several reforms including tax reforms and finalised trade agreements with the U.S. Nevertheless his presidency was marred with accusations of rampant graft that was allegedly rooted in government. In addition there were also recurrent protests that were prevalent as well as popular in the country.

Current Political and Economic Issues
Alan Garcia, a former President, trounced populist Ollanta Humala with a six percent majority vote that saw him clamour fifty three percent of the votes counted against his opponents forty seven percent. In the second round, after wooing the support of the corporate community who had been noncommittal in the first round, Allan Garcia was declared president of Peru. Humala, a retired army chief, had summoned public pressure in October 2000 against the then president Alberto Fujimori. Humala had embraced nationalist policies that opposed the country’s integration into the global community seeking to create a national culture for the Andean state. This nationalist image together with his civic aggression as well as his nationalist policies drawn against a backdrop of states across the world that embraces it were perceived as traits of an authoritarian leader who was opposed to democracy and as such Humala did not fair on well with the public. In 2006, the current leader of opposition in the Peruvian Congress was charged with murder allegedly carried out in the nineties. In the legislative elections, APRA secured thirty six sits while Humala acquired forty five of the a hundred and twenty seats in the unicameral congress. The supporters of Fujimori were rated low with only thirteen seats as the National Unity coalition secured seventeen of the seats in congress (Taft-Morales 2006).  

Economic dimension
The elected president Alan Garcia, on his election, made significant strides to reassure the international community that was uncertain of his policy widely perceived to be pro-socialist and acting in disregard of national earning. The country has taken immense strides towards redefining its democratic governance as well as reformulated its policy framework with regard to economic models to embrace market friendly trends. For the past eight years the country has seen tremendous economic growth indexes compared to the rest of the region. In 2007, the country’s gross domestic product was calculated at eight percent. Despite this trend the government continues to sustain public unrest wrought with popular protests that ideally linger concerns on inequality as well as poverty.

Reducing poverty and inequality
Basing on indexes retrieved from the World Bank, minority affluent Peruvians have a hold of the states forty one percent income while Peru’s poorest 10% control on a single percentage of the national income. In recent years, the country has seen popular protests that agitate for economic equality. A significant majority of indigenous households approximated at 63% languish in poverty compared to only 43% of non-indigenous communities (Hall and Patrinos 2006). The president has vowed to increase to investment that will ideally benefit the majority as well as increase welfare grants that will improve the poor people’s lives. Despite this fact the president is reeling relentlessly against quenching the quest of popular expectations (Wall Street Journal 2006)

Fujimori Trials
In 2007, the state commenced indictment of the former leader Alberto Fujimori. Fujimori is accused of humongous violation of human rights as well as well as rampant graft that stemmed in the government under his rule. A prevalent perception in Peru was a feeling that the former president by being held accountable and imprisoned for not less than thirty years as well as fines in the excess of thirty three million dollars would be a harsh sentence on the former leader. The former president fled to Japan in 2000. He attempted to return to Peru in 2005 but was taken into custody by Chilean authorities. In 2007 the Chilean government extradited the former president back to Peru and in 2009 the former leader was handed a 25year jail term by Peruvian Judicial system. President Garcia lost backing of the Fujimorista section of legislators who still pledged allegiance to their former leader and perceived the government’s crackdown on the former president as mere witch-hunting.

Counter-narcotics policies
The Peruvian government has primarily undertaken forced eradication to attain its cocaine annihilation objectives. Consequently, this has resulted into violent and to an extensive level deadly encounters that pits the state authority engendered in the police force against the coca farmers. In 2006 alone the state annihilated over 12,688 hectares of cocaine, ideally surpassing its set target of ten thousand hectares per year (International Narcotics Control Strategy Report 2007). Former Maoist insurgents are the major farmers of coca and they provide security for traffickers of the illegal drug in Peru (EFE News Service 2007).
Ecuador

Political Context
Ecuador was once portrayed as a significantly stable country that fell in a relatively unstable as well as conflicted region, the Andean region. However, in the recent past, the country has been under a momentous storm, characterized with both economic as well as political strife. Lucio Gutierrez, in the countries spiralling and fledgling political atmosphere, is its third consecutive president, popularly elected to be thrown out of power before his term would be completed. Another president, in the country’s quiet tense political atmosphere, never to see completion of his term though constitutionally by dint of being declared as mentally unfit to rule the nation by the states national congress in 1997 was Abdala Bucaram. It is worth observing that, in addition to the above reason was another cause which accused the president of allegedly misappropriating state funds in the excess of $90 million. Jamil Mahoad is yet another Ecuadorian president that was ousted by a coup with the reason being a long spell of economic downturn (Ribando 2005).

Historical Analysis
The instability that has thrived in the Ecuadorian political atmosphere has a historical dimension. As such it draws from a long philosophy that characterizes the fundamentals of the republic which aggravate a direful political situation with implications on democracy. Since the inception of the state in 1830, concepts that primarily stress regionalism as well as personalism have been deeply embedded in the country’s political culture. Another element that seems prevalent in the country is the strife between the two major cities in the country, Guyaquil, the industrial port and Quito the capital city formed by the colonial government. This two cities struggle to attain the country’s grasp of urban dominance. To aggravate the situation, there also has been regional divide in Ecuador that is characterised along ethnic as well as class divisions. This has created the tendency for political parties to be formulated as electoral bodies which are exploited as political segments by the ruling elite. Ecuador’s resumption of democracy in the late seventies was not much desirable as it was accompanied by party splits as well as rampant graft together with bureaucratic ineptitude (Ribando 2005). Political fragmentation was a major obstacle in the reform of the country’s services sector and laws as well as banking regulation which was kept pending in congress by dint of vocal opposition that wanted to protect their own corporate interests. The consequence of this was a deteriorating economic situation that with models that hindered prosperity being adopted, ultimately leading up to negative public sentiments that primarily blamed the incumbent leadership for their languishing in poverty. The populist was consequently supported which saw the likes of Lucio Gutierrez assume power. This trend that has largely characterised Ecuador’s economic as well political policies with its succeeding administration doing little in terms of policy reformulation to reverse it, has resulted into turmoil wrought with economic problems and rampant corruption
Economic Policy

Ecuador’s dependence on exports of oil as well as remittances sent by overseas Ecuadorians together with the country’s vulnerability to disasters primarily natural, tremendous levels of debt and its nucleic geographical location in an unstable Andean region aggravates its economic situation as these factors expose the country to exogenous shocks. This is resultant from the unstable oil prices in the world market which dictate internal policies, yielding unfavourable environment most of the time. The country is also exposed to an inefficient policy making process, a responsibility charged to its political leadership who fail to dissociate politics and the national economy, often yielding a systemized web of competing corporate and political interests for political spoils. This stalls policy initiatives ultimately failing to insulate Ecuador from exogenous shocks (Andres et al 2004).
Dominican Republic

Back ground
The Dominican Republic is to be found on the eastern two thirds that forms the Caribbean island of Hispaniola. The Republic shares this island with another Latin American nation of Haiti. With a population that is calculated at 8.8 million people, the island’s land mass can be approximated to cover the whole of Vermont and New Hampshire combined (CRS Congress Report 2005). It has an income per capita of $2,230, thus it is described as a lower income country. After fighting to attain its independence from Spanish conquerors in early 19th century as well as Haiti in 1844, the island nation assumed an uneven road to achieve its current Democratic governance. This saw the island’s leadership characterised by long spells of authoritarian military dictatorship evenly supplied with frequent coups.

Political Situation
In the nineties, the Dominican Republic experienced tremendous economic growth which also saw it develop formidable institutions of democratic governance. Its widely popular 1994 “Pact for Democracy” gave birth to a new dawn in the country’s political atmosphere as it went on to oversee the subsequent de-crowning of the elderly Joaquin Balaguer from office. This was after Balaguer’s shortened 2 year term in office. It also prevented consecutive presidential elections. Balaguer had served for six succeeding terms. He was mentored by Rafael Trujillo and he dominated the Island nation’s politics for years. A center-left left candidate of the PLD party which primarily constitutes middle class professionals, Lionel Fern├índez succeeded Balaguer and oversaw a period of tremendous economic growth. The curse of graft that is rampant in Latin America hit Fern├índez’s presidency which saw Hipolito of the Dominican Revolutionary Party (PRD) trounce Danilo Medina, the PLD candidate. President Mejia rise to power was on a platform of rural development that significantly lagged behind in development. The merry period of the elected president did not last long as he came under fire loosing popular support when he opted to spend public finances excessively. His fall also came as a result of opting to save deposit holders of the top three massive bank failures by way of bailing them out. This bail out plan cost the government approximately fifteen to 20% of the gross domestic product of the country (Goldstein 2004). Critics observed that Mejia paid more focus on holding onto power and as such he was least concerned with the country’s economic status which was direful. To meet this goal, he needed a constitutional amendment (Latin American Regional Reports 2004).

2004 Presidential Elections
In 2004 Leonel Fernandez carried the day in the island’s election with a convincing initial round with a fifty seven percent allotment of the counted votes. This was a resounding victory compared to 34% secured by Mejia as well as the 9% received by the Social Christian Reformist Party (PRSC) Eduardo Estrella. A compact majority turned in numbers to award Leonel Fernandez victory. They linked the president elect with the tremendous economic growth that the country witnessed during the nineties. The elected president sought to exploit his populist advantage to steer the country on a path of posterity which was absolutely critical in resolving the nation’s fiscal shortfall as well as its Central Bank Debt that was catapulting together with power shortages that were significantly chronic.

Fiscal Reform and DR-CAFTA
In late 2004, the country’s legislature that dominantly consists of members allied to the PRD wing legislated and successfully enacted Fernandez’s fiscal policy package. This policy was characterized with a heightened sales taxes as well as a 20% reduction in public spending (Financial Times 2004). This negatively impacted on the poor as they bore the brunt of government’s policy plan. The passage of this bill in the country’s congress favourably placed it on the negotiation table with the IMF.

The Dominican Republics former president Mejia was alleged with links to an array of corrupt activities but many critics have rendered the indictment of the former president futile. An inquiry into the former president’s financial resources realized that in his term in office he was able to increase his wealth by a whopping $800,000 (Reuters 2004). The report also revealed that the former president as well as political big wigs of primary parties together with other individuals that were well placed was enticed with gifts as well as monetary grants from Ramon Perez the chairman of the presently defunct Banco Intercontinental (Economist Intelligence Unit 2003). Mejia also assumed control of the Banco Intercontinental subsidiaries which included Listin Diario, the Dominican Republic’s biggest publishing company. The government also saw off an array of editors as well as the company’s managers despite the fact that they did not play a part in the corruption scandal, a move that was seen an attempt to control publishing. There re also corruption allegations levelled against several bankers prominent in the Dominican Republic including Mr. Baez. Several PRD officials were charged with financial misappropriations as well as fraud and embezzlement by the Fernandez administration.

Human Rights
    Though the country has made significant steps with regard to its human rights record, bad human rights sentiments still linger in the air. Reports retrieved from the local media put the death toll resultant from police killings at 160 people more in 2004 compared to killings 2003 (EFE News Service 2005).

Tremendous growth in both tourism as well as Free trade Zone fuelled rapid expansion in the country in the nineties at a perennial rate that was approximated at 6-8%. However the country’s primary industry remain in its mining as well as agriculture remain its highest export revenue earner. Remittances from oversees Dominicans are also a primary sector of the economy as they are calculated at $1.5 Billion annually. One reform that promoted growth was the privatization of white elephant state enterprises that ate in the government’s earnings.

Latin America
Economic Crisis
What exacerbates democracy in Latin America on overall is the regions engulf in economic crisis which pits the governments against the populace.

Since the region was struck by a debt crisis in the early eighties it has been languishing in a direful economic predicament that has spanned a long period. Calculating g the trends for the entire region approximates fallen gross domestic products by a whopping 10% with some countries fairing on badly. In Argentina and Nicaragua for instance   the income per capita has dropped by a whole 25% with only 2 countries namely Chile and Colombia recording improved standards of living over the last decade though with minute margins.

The consequence of this worrying trend is the entrapping of more people in poverty with rampant unemployment as well as well as underemployment wrought in nearly every country. The wages of Latin Americans have also diminished considerably with some places recording dropping of nearly 50%. The quality of life medical care as well as education has been falling over the years. The crime rates as well have been on the rise and in a statement life generally has faired on badly for the citizenry. All this negative economic sentiments have resulted into devastating loss of confidence. A majority of the regions citizens drawn across all classes have resorted to migration to other regions. Assessing an array of countries from the region reveals that the direful economic situation has resulted into its leadership’s loose of credibility as the people are more pessimistic of their capacity to govern. This has impacted negatively on democracy as the people have failed to enhance the governments.

Worsening economic conditions have also been the backdrop against which insurgents such as the shinning path have thrived. In some countries, there have been cases where governments bid to tame economic shocks have motivated violent protests pitting the democratic governance against the economy. In Venezuela for instance, more than 300 people died in violent outbreaks that agitated against rising staple food prices. Similar food riots in Argentina also saw the country’s democratically elected president hand over power to Menem before he saw the completion of his term. Such a case is a threat to democracy.

Democratically elected leaders have also been weakened by their inability to stem economic declines consequently loosing the citizenry’s goodwill as well as support. As such they have been incapacitated from instigating readjustments that are needed for development. The stop and go policies are a major factor that aggravates the situation as they aggravate political instability. This is a stumbling block in the path of democracy.

Latin American nations like Columbia, El Salvador as well as Peru together with Guatemala reel against insurgent threats which compromise their ability for effective governance. The said nations are faced with a vicious cycle of violence as well as counter violence which to a great extent and diversified ways compromises the host country’s institutions as well as procedures together with values that are primary for democracy to thrive. As long as violence thrives the practice of democracy will be held hostage implicating that it will be superficial in the sense that it will be truncated rendering it precarious. The insurgent militia’s intrusion on decisions that are political which do not consider their interests, as well as their compromise of civilian leader’s authority together with institutional intrusion will continue to hamper economic progress, polarizing the political atmosphere. This will be worsened by the fact that in dealing with this insurgency on government, human rights will have to be compromised as in the case of Peru consequently tainting the image of the host governments and ultimately the democratic process.

Columbia is a case in mind that continues to be threatened by insurgency. Two militias continue to battle the government with the militia that has been inculcated into government difficult to guarantee security too. The killing of political candidates as well as other political figures together with kidnapping of various influential individuals compromises the countries freedom and its ability to sustain practise of free political sentiments that characterize successful democracy. This freedom is muzzled by the country’s inability to tame rampant insecurity.

In addition to these there is also the threat posed by drug lords. This outlawed drug cocoons as well as paramilitary groups which are cushioned and enhanced by the national security forces which conduct their operation in a web of complicated alliances with the drug loads. This compromise the country’s security and ultimately democracy as the elected officials are unable to make decisions of governance freely always operating under the muzzle of these warlords. It is worth noting that, despite the fact that the state of insecurity in Colombia is wanting, the country’s institutions continue to resiliently reel against these powerful negative forces with commendable demonstration of flexibility. Colombia’s political leadership as well as a majority of its citizenry continue to commit to democratic governance. The constitutional reforms that are in the making will go a long way in enhancing this endeavour.

After a prolonged decade of civil war that claimed approximately 70,000 lives with both militia and government forces guilty, El Salvador is also reeling against the curse of militia insurgency. The insurgent militia have the grasp of the country’s territory but their prospect of victory over the country’s military is diminished. Though the country’s forces are sufficiently equipped to sustain the militia, it is not sophisticated enough to crack down on them and force their surrender. The existence of the militia groups compromise democracy as they disable institutions with their pockets of resistance.
In Guatemala, a prolonged period of warfare characterised with guerrilla insurgency is responsible for the loose of 100,000 lives. This is in addition to a significant majority that were perceived not to be toeing the militia groups’ party line consequently leading to their kidnapping and torture. This trend compromises the thriving of democracy as the citizenry is always weary of making political decisions that regard governance.

Strong Armies and fragile polities
Where insurgents do not exist they are supplemented by the armed forces that fail to pledge allegiance to the elected government with complete disregard to civilian control. This results into conflicts between the civilian government and the institution of the military which hampers democratic processes.

The armed forces of Latin American countries such as Nicaragua, Bolivia and Honduras as well as Peru and Ecuador are institutionally autonomous and can be best described as only conditionally subordinate to the democratically elected central government. This autonomy pits two forces in power with the military having an edge as a result of the weaponry.

The national armed forces of Panama are a stumbling block to democratic rule. This is in spite of the cashiering of four hundred senior officials in 11/2 years of attempts to reform the army into a state security institution that would be subordinate to the elected government. This pits democracy against military opposition in Latin America.

In Argentina, the national armed forces have been involved in confrontation with the civilian government over the past several years. This has impacted negatively on democratic institutions

Brazil has to a significant level been cushioned from this military confrontation, though primarily it has been forced to compromise democracy by making concessions to the military.

In Haiti, the military is infamous for its emblem of a rogue force. There’s some hope though bearing in mind the early nineties precise halt by the army of a Duvalier loyalists’ coup.
 
Conclusion and Recommendations
Effective countries are necessary to enable successful democratic practices

The failure that characterized prior stabilization in earlier endeavours in Latin America has revealed that attempts to adjust macroeconomic imbalances by reducing budget deficits as well as doing away with price distortions together with adoption of monetary policies is not applicable in the context of Latin America. Such endeavours in order to suffice must be taken along with permanent structures in the national economy. This calls for policy formulation that will derive a win/win situation for the populace as well as enable the government to practice sound economic policies. Economic stability is inextricably bound to democratic viability.

In order to sustain democracy in Latin America it calls fro strong presidents that are able to show leadership in a prevalently tumultuous political environment. Strong presidents will be well positioned to sustain public pressure. The powers of these presidents should be regulated by empowering legislatures to curb the excess of an imperial presidency.

The court system that oversees the penal code should be rendered autonomous institutions that are only bound by the law.

Political parties should be reformulated as movements as opposed to vehicles that drive the elite into power. They should embrace the people and as such the peoples interests as well. Latin American leadership must be willing to accept lose as well as victory. They should live with uncertainty that is wrought in the political sphere. This is absolutely critical because for democracy to thrive, it requires a politically active citizenry, practising its trade in an organized circle characterized with regulatory institutions that operate within the circle of accepted laws of the land.

To root democratic governance in the grain of Latin America, the regions pockets of internal resistance ought to be sustained. The thriving of democracy can not use a platform wrought with civic strife with expanded almost if not exclusively autonomous national armies.

The national armed forces of Latin America should also be willing to accept subordination to civilian and democratically elected leadership. For this to occur in Latin America, it calls for rethinking of the mandate of the army who to a great extent operate under the curse of the regions imperial occupation.

Many countries that form the legion of Latin America are yet to make significant steps that will enable member states to curtail pervasive violations of rights against humanity. For democracy as a process to be consolidated, it requires political dissidents’ rights to be acknowledged with minorities as well recognized and accepted by the nation which ideally calls for an open and free society.

School funding in Texas State


The education system in Texas attracts attention in many ways. This is because Texas has the highest number of school going children in the United States. Moreover, it has the highest growth rate in the number of children joining public education system per year. This means that the overall cost of education is increasing at a very high rate compared to other states due to the large number of students which translates into high number of children who need special attention and needs. Despite the high number of school going children in Texas, the state spending on education per child is less than the average in the whole country. This is despite the increase in state budgetary allocation in 1996. In 1996, the Texas state was ranked 31 out of the total fifty states in the education spending.

    Over the years, the funding of education has attracted a lot of political and legislative debates. The financing of Texas schools is done by the local, state or the federal funds. Almost half of all the funds are obtained from the local sources while only about ten percent is allocated from the federal government. The rest is obtained from the state resources. Different districts have varying financial and economic resources and therefore their revenues also vary. This means that the districts which are more endowed with economic resources fund their education systems with the local funds while the poor district receives more allocation from the state.

    There is some inequality in the allocation of education funds in the Texas state. All the students do not receive equal funding despite the attempts to make the education funding equitable following a court order. Once different districts are compared there is a very big variation in the amount spent per student. In some district, the spending per student is observed to be less than what is spent in another district. For example, in the 1996/1997 fiscal year, it was observed that some districts were spending over ten thousand dollars per child while others were spending less than four thousand. These variations had a direct influence on the student performance which will in turn affect his or her achievement in life and will have a long term effect of making the uneven distribution of resources even worse.

    However, in an attempt to reduce these disparities in funding, two types of equity have been proposed. The vertical equity aims at taking care of the disadvantaged by allocating more funds to cater for the special programs required. This takes into consideration the disabled children who are not likely to perform in academics as their normal counterparts and may require special facilities. The other type of equity is the fiscal neutrality which rules out relating the revenue generated in the district with the spending per student. It was estimated that in 1997, the school property taxes had gone up with 174% in one decade since the districts were trying to tax the poor members of their districts.

    In conclusion, evaluation of the education spending in taxes and other states to determine the level of inequality in allocations is essential. The state should ensure that all students have equal opportunities by providing equal resources. This can be done by increasing the state funds to reduce the local property tax burden especially in the poor districts. More over Texas State should allocate more funds into their education systems.