How can a Canadian social scientist in 2007 set aside economic development, energy security, youth perspectives, mental and spiritual health issues to focus on climate change as it related to hunting, sea ice, and the maintenance of an Inuit [pre-contact?] way of life? What kind of questions were posed in encounters with “Inuit in their homes, in their offices, at the hotel, on the street, [. . .] on weekends as well as weekdays?” How much trust and intimacy can you develop in each community as you seek Inuit to gather impressions when the six-week enquiry is divided between tiny, remote towns, communities and hamlets like Nain in northern Labrador; Kuujjuaq in Nunavik; Iqaluit, Igloolik, Arctic Bay in Nunavut; Yellowknife, NWT and the Inuvialuit in western Arctic Ocean communities like Paulatuk and Tuktoyaktuk reached in twenty-five zigzag flights covering 24,000 kilometres? How does that put people in the picture in our studies of the Arctic? Where is the background context based on Inuit-initiated research? Where are the sources so a public policy researcher can follow through with questions arising from this article? Has this article and lecture by the same name helped in anyway to revisit the distorted history of the Inuit as called for in the Royal Commission on Aboriginal People (1996)? These are some of the questions in response to Griffiths’ (2007) article published in the Walrus magazine. 

 It is misleading to suggest that increased suicide will be a future unintended consequence of the destruction of the Inuit lifestyle without acknowledging the heart-rending on-going tragedy of youth suicide epidemic, with rates that are among the highest in the planet, that directly or indirectly touches every northern Inuit community as well as thousands of urban Inuit in the south. How can any social scientist claim a people-centred ethnography while skimming over key social issues and structional changes affecting Inuit lives such as land claims implementation and human rights concerns regarding access to housing, employment, health and education services (the early exit from schooling). Two or three well-edited and well-researched paragraphs could have briefly traced a critical Inuit social history to dismantle some of the commonly held myths about the north. Readers would have benefited from a more accurate thumbnail sketch of the complexity of Inuit today: linguistic disparities, Inuit governing bodies, local initiatives, the long history of meddling in Inuit affairs by successive waves of interlopers. At the end of the lecture did the assistant from PEI understand that Inuit do not live in igloos anymore and that there are Inuit hunters who are politically-saavy individuals with cellphones and computers who travel frequently to regional, national and international conferences. Did no Inuit in his travels mention the northerly creep of flora and fauna? Would Griffiths not have found both those who are deeply troubled, skeptical or even optimistic about climate change among Newfoundland fishers, PEI farmers, Alberta ranchers, First Nations hunters? Would isolationist southern fishers, farmers and ranchers not also be found to be ruled by immediacy, pragmatic and immediate in their responses to climate change? “As in the Arctic, local opinion tends to be conservative. Quite apart from the collapse of Canadian historical awareness and our ability to interrogate the future, opinion everywhere is presentist in its intent to keep things as they are (Griffiths 2007).” Did Griffiths manage to make meaningful any larger significance derived from local observations he gathered in six weeks?

“Inuit in particular may have something to tell us about civility as we extend it from the domain of human relations to that of nature at a time when the human condition is directly threatened by civilization (Griffiths 2007).”

“A crisis narrative is one that tells of impending disaster, explains why it is coming, and instructs the threatened in what to do. It is presented by others, familiar or foreign, who seek to persuade us of their view of our situation, and of our need to join promptly in the measures they recommend. But for those who already see themselves as put upon by unfamiliar or foreign others, the call to accept a crisis narrative is especially galling. A discourse of disaster that originates with others who are known to be dominant cannot but present a threat to our autonomy, to our ability to set our own priorities, to trust what we observe and experience in our everyday lives. This is what Louis Tapardjuk was talking about in Igloolik. Accepted, crisis narratives legitimate the authority and control of distant experts, officials, and decision-makers. They open the way to large-scale intrusions into our way of life (Griffiths 2007).”

Franklyn Griffiths, George Ignatieff Chair emeritus of Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Toronto and co-founder of the Arctic Council, “travelled from one end of Canada’s Arctic to the other — from northern Labrador to the mouth of the Mackenzie River — between late April and early June. Seeking out and gathering impressions in encounters with Inuit from Nain to Kuujjuaq and Iqaluit to Igloolik and Arctic Bay, and on out to Yellowknife, Inuvik, Tuktoyaktuk, and Paulatuk, I flew some 24,000 kilometres in twenty-five flights. His initial contacts were with the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK). [. . .] I saw Inuit in their homes, in their offices, at the hotel, on the street, wherever I could, on weekends as well as weekdays. Setting aside economic development, energy security, youth perspectives, public health including the mental and spiritual, and any number of other possible themes, I determined to centre on climate change as it related to hunting, sea ice, and the maintenance of an Inuit way of life (Griffiths 2007).”

James Lovelock (2006) in his fictional horror story of climate change, a sensationalist crisis narrative, The Revenge of Gaia, described a world that’s became so unbearably hot that almost all humanity was destroyed and the last remnants of humankind subsisted in the High Arctic where they were forced to relocate. It became so hot there would be camels in the Arctic.

Sheila Watt-Cloutier, “the former international chair of the Inuit Circumpolar Council, who is seeking to bring the US government before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. She and other Canadian and Alaskan Inuit claim that the Inuit way of life is being destroyed as a consequence of greenhouse gas emissions produced by the United States (Griffiths 2007).”

Inuvialuit in communities like Paulatuk and Tuktoyaktuk “are the most clearly menaced by foreseeable change, which could see average surface air temperature rise by as much as 6°C by the end of the century — about three times the expected global mean increase (Griffiths 2007).”

“[T]he Arctic is the world’s climate change barometer. Inuit are the mercury in that barometer. What is happening in the Arctic now will happen soon further south.” Inuit are adaptable and resourceful, she added. But she also foresaw “a time — well within the lifetime of my eight-year-old grandson — when environmental change will be so great that Inuit will no longer be able to maintain their hunting culture. Global warming has become the ultimate threat to Inuit culture and our survival as an indigenous people.” Speaking on her behalf to a meeting in New York, Mary Simon drew Watt-Cloutier’s message to a very fine point a couple of years earlier: “When we can no longer hunt on the sea ice and eat what we hunt, we will no longer exist as a people (Griffiths 2007).”

Kusugak’s (2006) Unikkaaqatigiit Putting the Human Face on Climate Change: Perspectives from Inuit in Canada publication refers to the fearful possibility of “having to completely reinvent what it means to be Inuit.”

Who’s Who

2000 Of all Inuit it was the Inuvialuit who first took climate change seriously, this with a path-breaking video co-produced with the International Institute for Sustainable Development and presented to Kyoto delegations at The Hague in 2000. Today, the Inuvialuit are planning for the relocation of coastal communities threatened by intense storm activity and rising sea levels (Griffiths 2007).”

2006 Kusugak, Jose. 2006. Unikkaaqatigiit Putting the Human Face on Climate Change: Perspectives from Inuit in Canada.

2007 Organized by the Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences and held six times a year, the Breakfast on the Hill Lecture Series brings together parliamentarians, government officials, the media and the general public to hear important research on pertinent issues. In this November 22nd lecture, Franklyn Griffiths, Professor Emeritus of Political Science and George Ignatieff Chair Emeritus of Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Toronto, presented his findings on climate change, the Inuit and Arctic sovereignty. Entitled “Camels in the Arctic?“, this lecture is based on research Griffiths did while traveling in the Arctic.

2007 Griffiths, Franklyn. 2007. “Camels in the Arctic?” Walrus Magazine. November 30.

Kusugak, Jose. 2006. Unikkaaqatigiit Putting the Human Face on Climate Change: Perspectives from Inuit in Canada.
Franklyn Griffiths is George Ignatieff Chair emeritus of Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Toronto. He helped establish the Arctic Council.

Jose Kusugak is a past president of the national Inuit organization, the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami.

Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK)

Webliography and Bibliography

Griffiths, Franklyn. 2007. “Camels in the Arctic?” Walrus Magazine. November 30.

Griffiths, Franklyn. 2007. “Camels in the Arctic?” Breakfast on the Hill Lecture Series. November 22. Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences.

http://cpac.ca/forms/index.asp?dsp=template&act=view3&pagetype=vod&lang=e&clipID=513

CC Flynn-Burhoe, Maureen. 2007. “Inuit Communities as the New DEW Line: Camels in the Arctic?” >> Google Docs. November 30, 2007.

CC Flynn-Burhoe, Maureen. 2007. “Inuit Communities as the New DEW Line: Camels in the Arctic?” >> papergirls. November 30, 2007.

post to del.icio.us.


She’s only fifteen but she is already an advocate for her people. Perhaps she inherited some of her great-grandfather’s wisdom for she already understands the need to know intergenerational stories. How easy it would be for researchers who prepared documents for the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples to make their reports accessible in every possible format so that young people like her could learn and be proud. She emailed me with this request:

Well I am very curious about his because Robert was my great gran father he has now passed on, and I’d really like to read more of this because the reserve we are now in Tsulquate; and the town we live in has really seperated our families with all of the alcoholism and addiction to drugs that has been introduced to us over the years has now grown on the children, youth and has had a very large impact on our elderly that have passed over the years due to being torn from there homeland. I am sure that the elders of our community would be very greatful to get a response as to what was said by my great gran father Robert Walkus Sr. who was a very wise man and a prayer warrior one of the few who has tried to change the future for our youth. I am only fifteen years old but I am very interested in what had gone on back then when our people were forced from our homeland. I honestly think that the youth and children would know more about our own culture, language, and alot of our elderly would still be alive today if we hadn’t been relocated. Thank you ever so much for listening and if you would please get back to me . . .



The Canadian business community has taken the most active interest in politics at the CEO level than any other business community in in the world (d’Acquino cited in Brownlee 2005: 9 Newman 1998:159-160). And this interest and influence has been on the rise in the last decades. Canada’s business community has had more influence on Canadian public policy in the years 1995-2005 then in any other period since 1900.

Look at what we stand for and look at what all the governments, all the major parties . . . have done, and what they want to do. They have adopted the agendas we’ve been fighting for the in the past few decades (cited in Brownlee 2005: 12 Newman 1998:151).

Tom D’Acquino should know as he is the CEO of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives.

While the average North American is becoming increasingly concerned by climate change, a recent report by Pricewaterhouse Coopers has found that fewer than a fifth – 18 per cent – of North American chief executives are concerned about climate change putting them increasingly out of step with their colleagues in Europe and Asia Pacific.

This a current list of the Chief Executive Officers of the Officers of the Board of Directors of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives:

  • Dominic D’Alessandro, Vice Chair Canadian Council of Chief Executives (CCCE) and President and CEO Manulife Financial
  • Thomas d’Aquino, Chief Executive Officer and President of Canadian Council of Chief Executives
  • Paul Desmarais. Jr. Vice Chair President of Canadian Council of Chief Executives and Chairman and C0-Chief Executive Officer of Power Corporation of Canada
  • Richard L. George, Honorary Chair Canadian Council of Chief Executives and President and CEO of Suncor Energy Inc.
  • Jacques Lamarre, Vice Chair of Canadian Council of Chief Executives (CCCE) and President and CEO SNC-Lavalin Group, Inc.
  • Gordon M. Nixon, Chair of Canadian Council of Chief Executives (CCCE) and President and CEO of Royal Bank of Canada
  • Hartley T. Richardson Vice Chair of Canadian Council of Chief Executives (CCCE) and President and CEO of James Richardson and Sons, Ltd.
  • Annette Verschuren Vice Chair of Canadian Council of Chief Executives (CCCE) and President of The Home Depot Canada

Selected bibliography

  • Brownlee, Jamie. 2005. Ruling Canada: Corporate Cohesion and Democracy. Halifax: Fernwood Publishing.
  • Brownlee’s (2005) publication stems from his MA thesis supervised by University of Manitoba Sociology Professor Greg Olsen. It builds on the work of William Carroll, Wallace Clement and Murray Dobbin. I highly recommend this book for teaching, learning and research on how Ottawa really works. Some of the well-constructed arguments are located in sections entitled: economic cohesion and the structure of corporate capital, mergers and acquisitions, interlocking directorates, a class conscious business elite, public policy formation network, Canadian Council of Chief Executives, Global policy organizations, advocacy think tanks and economic elite, corporate social responsibility and the role of states in the era of globalization. The bibliography is a book in itself. The appendices, Media-Corporate Director Board Interlocks and Think Tanks – Corporate Director Board Interlocks for 2003 provide missing pieces to a puzzle.

  • Flynn-Burhoe, Maureen. 2006.Media and Objectivity: a Selected Timeline of Events
  • Flynn-Burhoe, Maureen. 2005. Interview with Jamie Brownlee in response to Globe and Mail article “Canada’s top 10% pay 52% of total tax bill.”
  • Flynn-Burhoe, Maureen. 2007. “King of Canada: Tom d’Acquino CEO of CEO’s” Google Docs and Spreadsheet. mirror
  • “The Globe and Mail Weekly Appointment Review.” Globe and Mail. January 22, 2007. p. B6
  • Hackett, Robert A. and Gruneau, Richard. 2000. The Missing News: Filters and Blind Spots in Canada. Ottawa: Centre for Policy Alternatives/Garamond Press Inc.
  • Hackett, Robert A. and Zhao, Yuezhi. 1998. Sustaining Democracy? Journalism and the Politics of Objectivity. Toronto: Garamond Press Inc.
  • I first read this book while preparing to teach a Northern-centred introductory human rights course in Iqaluit, Nunavut. My students were often employees of the Nunavut Government involved in making history as they introduced their own human rights bill. I wanted the inconvenient truth claims in Hackett and Zhao to be illegitimate but their research was unfortunately very robust. I thought I lived in a country whose forms of democratic governance were maturing until I read how we were actually going backwards not forwards in terms of objectivity and mass media.

    These recent shifts in media ownership and policy might be seen as the equivalent of a non-violent coup d’etat, a metaphor evoking the inherent link between media power and state power — between the colonization of the popular imagination and the allocation of social resources through public policy and market relations. Communications scholar Herbert Schiller suggests that what is at stake is “packaged consciousness”: the intensified appropriation of the national symbolic environment by a “few corporate juggernauts in the consciousness business (Hackett and Zhao 1998:5)

  • N/A. 2007. “U.S bosses out of step on climate change.” Management-Issues
  • Newman, Peter. 1975. The Canadian Establishment. Toronto: Mclelland and Stewart.
  • Newman, Peter. 1975. The Canadian Establishment. Toronto: Mclelland and Stewart.
  • Newman, Peter. 1981. The Acquisitors.. Toronto: Mclelland and Stewart.
  • Newman, Peter. 1998. Titans: How the New Establishment Seized Power. Toronto: Penguin Books.
  • Olsen, Gregg. 1991. “Labour Mobilization and the Strength of Capital: The Rise and Stall of Economic Democracy in Sweden.” Studies in Political Economy. 34.
  • Olsen, Gregg. 2002. The Politics of the Welfare State: Canada, Sweden and the United States.. Toronto: Oxford University Press.

Speechless

December 11, 2006


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Somewhere on the Pacific a small lifeboat shared by two unwilling and unlikely passengers rolled with the waves. Pi knew he could do more than just survive once he realized that Richard was dependent on him. Pi could fish. A Bengal Tiger, king of his own ecosystem, would die at sea without the help of the seventeen-year-old. The book really ended there; it didn’t matter after that what was truth or fiction. Pi’s understanding of power in everyday life was his new reality.

Speechless refers to both the writer and reader. At one level it’s about a writers’ block being blogged. At another level is refers to deafening silence that occurs when one speaks with too much feeling or mentions an uncomfortable idea in a nice place, a unpleasant reminder in polite company, a divergent idea in a space of group think, another perspective than the Renaissance perspective. But it also refers to robust conversations among political philosophers who understand the power of language and everyday life. Socrates, Plato, Derrida called for renewals in philosophy. They examined what we do with words, the role of memory. Speechless alludes to Derrida’s urgent appeal for a renewed democracy, for a revitalized philosophy from a cosmopolitical point of view.

The human eye can distinguish 16 values of grey but that’s not including the subtle differences in the colours of grey. We just don’t have the time to see the variations.

I began speechless on October 16, 2006. Two months later I have learned what a permalink is and how to make one. It’s the equivalent to the old web page’s index.html. Now I have to learn where to use it.

https://oceanflynn.wordpress.com/index.php/2006/12/11/speechless

The cloud of tags below has grown organically since I first began using WordPress as my main blog host on October 16, 2006. I am building my customized clouds of folksonomies by working on and learning from a number of Web 2.0 feeds. This includes a Flickr account for photo blogging which attracts alot of viewers. I have only a couple of dozen images but one image alone uploaded on October 22, 2006 was viewed 1,179 times over a period of 64 days! I reworked this image again and posted it on speechless under “Wave Algorithms.”

Featured folksonomy:

Benign colonialism is a term that refers to an alleged form of colonialism in which benefits outweighed risks for indigenous population whose lands, resources, rights and freedoms were preempted by a colonizing nation-state. The historical source for the concept of benign colonialism resides with John Stuart Mills who was chief examiner of the British East India Company dealing with British interests in India in the 1820s and 1830s. Mills most well-known essays (1844) on benign colonialism are found in Essays on some Unsettled Questions of Political Economy. Mills’ view contrasted with Burkean orientalists. Mills promoted the training of a corps of bureaucrats indigenous to India who could adopt the modern liberal perspective and values of 19th century Britain. Mills predicted this group’s eventual governance of India would be based on British values and perspectives. Those who adopt benign colonialism as a truth claim argue that education, health, housing and employment possibilities improved conditions for indigenous peoples as settlers, merchants and administrators also brought new industries, liberal markets, developed natural resources and introduced improved governance. The first wave of benign colonialism lasted from c. 1790s-1960s. The second wave included new colonial policies such as exemplified in Hong Kong (Liu 2003)), where unfettered expansion of the market created a new form of benign colonialism. Political interference and military interference (Doyle 2006) in independent nation-states, such as Iraq (Campo 2004 ), is also discussed under the rubric of benign colonialism in which a foreign power preempts national governance to protect a higher concept of freedom. The term is also used in the 21st century to refer to American, French and Chinese market activities in countries on the African continent with massive quantities of underdeveloped nonrenewable envied resources. Literature that challenges the assumptions of benign colonialism claiming colonialist project as it actually unfolded placed First Nations, Inuit and Métis at higher risks of vulnerabilities to catastrophes, to social exclusion and human rights abuses, have not been as widely publicized.

For more see Flynn-Burhoe (2007).

There is a widespread Canadian mythology that First Nations, Inuit and Métis are among those who benefited from settler colonies prempting, improving, managing and governing aboriginal lands, resources and educating, training, developing, serving, monitoring and governing its peoples. Those who adopt benign colonialism as a truth claim argue that education, health, housing and employment possibilities improved conditions for the indigenous peoples since the arrival of settlers. Literature that challenges the assumptions of benign colonialism claiming colonialist project as it actually unfolded placed First Nations, Inuit and Métis at higher risks of vulnerabilities to catastrophes, to social exclusion and human rights abuses, have not been as widely publicized. The Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (RCAP) addressed these claims but the term benign colonialism is still a convenient truth for many. Celebratory and one-sided social histories of the Hudson’s Bay Company, the RCMP, and various government leaders such as John A. MacDonald or civil servants such as Indian Agents, northern adventurers, when viewed through the lens of settlers while ignoring the perspective of First Nations, Inuit and Métis contribute to on-going dissemination of distorted histories. Museums, maps and census contribute to these distorted histories by grave omissions.

Related citations:

“Today, Mill’s most controversial case would be benign colonialism. His principles of nonintervention only hold among “civilized” nations. “Uncivilized” peoples, among whom Mill dumps most of Africa, Asia, and Latin America, are not fit for the principle of nonintervention. Like Oude (in India), they suffer four debilitating infirmities – despotism, anarchy, amoral presentism and familism — that make them incapable of self-determination. The people are imposed upon by a “despot… so oppressive and extortionate as to devastate the country.” Despotism long endured has produced “such a state of nerveless imbecility that everyone subject to their will, who had not the means of defending himself by his own armed followers, was the prey of anybody who had a band of ruffians in his pay.” The people as a result deteriorate into amoral relations in which the present overwhelms the future and no contracts can be relied upon. Moral duties extend no further than the family; national or civic identity is altogether absent. In these circumstances, Mill claims, benign colonialism is best for the population . Normal relations cannot be maintained in such an anarchic and lawless environment. It is important to note that Mill advocates neither exploitation nor racialist domination. He applies the same reasoning to once primitive northern Europeans who benefited from the imperial rule imposed by civilized Romans. The duties of paternal care, moreover, are real, precluding oppression and exploitation and requiring care and education designed to one day fit the colonized people for independent national existence. Nonetheless, the argument also rests on (wildly distorted) readings of the history and culture of Africa and Asia and Latin America. Anarchy and despotic oppression did afflict many of the peoples in these regions, but ancient cultures embodying deep senses of social obligation made nonsense of presentism and familism. Shorn of its cultural “Orientalism,” Mill’s argument for trusteeship addresses one serious gap in our strategies of humanitarian assistance: the devastations that cannot be readily redressed by a quick intervention designed to liberate an oppressed people from the clutches of foreign oppression or a domestic despot. But how does one prevent benign trusteeship from becoming malign imperialism, particularly when one recalls the flowery words and humanitarian intentions that accompanied the conquerors of Africa? How far is it from the Anti-Slavery Campaign and the Aborigine Rights Protection Society to King Leopold’s Congo and Joseph Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness”?

Here Doyle is referring to John S. Mill cited in “A Few Words on Nonintervention.” . 1973. In Essays on Politics and Culture, edited by Gertrude Himmelfarb, 368-84. Gloucester, Peter Smith.

See also WordPress featured blogs Benign colonialism.

Related tags: Tom Kent Royal Commission on Newspapers, Hackett and Zhao, economic efficiency, Power and everyday life, ethical topography of self and the Other, teaching learning and research, wealth disparities will intensify, C.D. Howe, Cannibals with Forks.Selected annotated webliography

Campo, Juan E.  2004. “Benign Colonialism? The Iraq War: Hidden Agendas and Babylonian Intrigue.” Interventionism. 26:1. Spring.

Doyle, Michael W.  2006. “Sovereignty and Humanitarian Military Intervention.” Hoover Institute.

Falk, Richard. Human Rights Horizons: the Pursuit of Justice in a Globalizing World. New York & London: Routledge.

Flynn-Burhoe, Maureen. 2007. Benign colonialism. >> Speechless. Uploaded January 14th, 2007

Liu, Henry C. K. “China: a Case of Self-Delusion: Part 1: From colonialism to confusionLiu 2003.” Asia Times. May 14, 2003.

Kurtz,Stanley. 2003.”Lessons from the British in India.” Democratic Imperialism: A Blueprint. Policy Review.Mill, John Stuart. 1844. Essays on some Unsettled Questions of Political Economy.
Of these Essays, which were written in 1829 and 1830,

Current debates on colonization and human rights (Falk 2000) raise questions about the notion of benign colonialism. The dominant language, culture and values of colonizers imposed on colonised peoples is often narrated as salutary. Dominant social and cultural institutions contributed to faciliating the entry of indigenous peoples trapped in unsustainable subsistence economies. Previously colonised peoples claim that the colonization process resulted in a parallel process of the colonization of the minds of indigenous peoples. The process of decolonization of memory (Ricoeur 1980), history and the spirit is crucial for the social inclusion (OECD) of indigenous peoples and nations within nations, such as Canada.

 


Fantasy Palace, Iqaluit, Nunavut June 27, 2002

Fantasy Palace, Iqaluit, Nunavut June 27, 2002@ Flickr

This is a partial truth, more like a flicktion, or a dream, or the virtual than the real. It’s not science or art, more like an invention or innovation. Pieces of this a flicktion are scattered throughout my semi-nomadic cybercamps like tiny inukshuk on a global landscape. It mimics visual anthropology but isn’t. It imitates ethnography but lacks the objectivity. There are words written, pictures taken of events, dates, settings, stages and characters without an author. Maybe it’s the wrong venue in a photo album of beaming faces, stunning scenery, professional photographers, travelers, techies, retirees. But we can all choose to follow each others sign posts in this cyberspace or move on. This is the power of this new social space spun in CyberWeb 2.0.

Cultural ethnographers are supposed to return to their academic spaces, sharpen their methodological tools to a tip that almost cuts the paper they write on (and too often the culture, pop or otherwise they are writing about). You’re not supposed to return from the field with their your mind numbed from the frosted words of those who were seduced by the gold mine of benign colonialism, their voices confident, mocking, paternalistic, jaded by years, or decades of northern experience (1970s-2002). Your were supposed to leave the field with the pace of your beating heart uninterrupted inside your embodied self. You weren’t supposed to leave your a chunk of your soul in that graveyard in Pangnirtung on the Cumberland Sound. This is just lack of professionalism. Get a grip. Just write that comprehensive, proposal, dissertation. Move on. It’s just the way it is.
In this coffee shop sipping a cup of freshly brewed French Roast, (better than a Vancouver Starbucks!), SWF listened with her eyes. She was compassionate but ever so slightly distant. She doesn’t seem to realize how much others from the outside can perceive her knowledge. It is what at times makes her intimidating. Her three generation life story is the stuff of Inuit social history. She seems to almost be unaware of how important that story is. She was surprised that the First Nations cared about the creation of Nunavut. I remember our first class together. She spoke so softly but she was so firm, so insistent, modest and dignified. The wails I had heard by the open graves that still echo in my mind, were all too familiar to her. Slowly, insistently she explained to me as if I really needed to listen, remember, register this.

“We do not need your tears. We have enough of our own. We do not need you to fix this. We need your respect. We need you to not make it worse. We need you to listen to us, really listen. Alone, with no resources an elder has been taking them out on the land. She gets no funding. What she has done works. The funding is going elsewhere on projects that are promoted by the insiders. Inuit like her are not insiders.”


Circumtomato

Economist Milton Friedman, propagated 18th century values in the Post-WWII global economy. Like Adam Smith he preached the gospel of minimal government, laissez-faire. The triad, Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom (1944), Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged (1957), and Milton Friedman’s Capitalism and Freedom (1962) pit economic efficiency against social justice.

“It is standard doctrine, at least among American economists and in much of the business community, that firms should maximize the stock market value (Joseph E. Stiglitz, 2007. “What is the Role of the State?” in Escaping the Resource Curse. supra note 154, at 3, 28-29).” Under U.S. corporate law, for example, a corporation’s board of directors must make decisions that reflect the profit motivations of shareholders or risk liability for a breach of fiduciary duty.” (The Yale Journal of International Law. Vol.36:167:184).


A Circumtomato Globe: Devouring the Earth, Extremes of Wealth and Poverty

I compiled this digitized collage, inspired by Deborah Barndt’s Tangled Routes: Women, Work and Globalization on the Tomato Trail on November 16, 2006. I used a Google earth generated globe to situate as a kind of circumtomato globe. I developed the concept of John Elkington’s Cannibals with Forks for the image of a world being devoured by those who choose to make decisions based on only one bottom line.


In its Oxford style debate 2.0 on sustainability and corporate responsibility, The Economist set forth the proposition for debate, “Without outside pressure, corporations will not take meaningful action on sustainability.” The final vote count was: Pro 73% / Con 27%.


Henry C K Liu, chairman of the New York-based Liu Investment Group wrote this in his article (2003) about Hong Kong’s benign colonialism that seduced Milton Friedman.

Love is blind and infatuation disguises faults as virtues. As Rudyard Kipling fell in love with the pageantry of colonialism and saw racial exploitation as the “White Man’s Burden”, Milton Friedman, Nobel economist, fell in love with colonial Hong Kong, seduced by the wine-and-dine hospitality of its colonial masters and elite compradores. Friedman mistook Hong Kong’s colonial economic system as a free market, despite Hong Kong’s highly orchestrated colonial command economy.

The violence of extremes of wealth and poverty is the moral dilemma of the 21st century, not the acquisition of wealth by individuals, corporations and nation-states. The use of that wealth to convince civil society through mass media of a fair redistribution of wealth is unconscionable. In his book entitled The End of Poverty: Economic Possibilities for Our Times, Harvard Economist, Jeffrey D. Sachs (2005) reveals the gaping chasm between the real and the perceptions of the real in terms of the ways in which the world’s wealthiest share their wealth with the world’s most vulnerable, at-risk populations. Based on OECD statistics and his own research Sachs claims that the extremes of poverty could be overcome in 25 years if wealthy nations devoted just 0.7% of their GNP (instead of the 0.33% currently provided) official development assistance (ODA) in developing countries. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) reported that Canada’s official development assistance (ODA) was 0.28% of gross national income (GNI) up from an all time low of 0.22% in 2001. In 2005 the world’s most powerful, wealth nation, the United States devoted just 0.22% of its GNP to foreign aid.

Public perceptions reflect support for higher levels of aid. When asked what percentage of the federal budget they think goes to foreign aid, Americans’ median estimate is 25% of the budget, more than 25 times the actual level. Only 2% of Americans give a correct estimate of 1% of the budget or less. When asked how much of the budget should go to foreign aid, the median response is 10%. Only 13% of Americans believe that the percentage should be 1% or less. Over 60% of Americans believe that contributing 0.7% of national income to meet the Millennium Development Goals is the right thing to do (Sachs 2005).

In an article published in The Economist in 2005 entitled “The Biggest Contract” (in reference to Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s concept of social contract), Ian Davis challenged Anglo-Saxon corporate management to revisit, redefine, re-articulate and reinforce with greater subtlety their relationship with society as an implicit social contract that acknowledges obligations, opportunities and mutual advantage for both sides.” Corporate management needs to recast this debate and recapture the intellectual and moral high ground from their critics.” Davis argued that like the political leaders in Rousseau’s 18th century, corporate management in the 21st century will lose legitimacy if they refuse to serve the public good. Davis rejects the nonproductive binary oppositional environment of public debate on economic efficiency vs social justice. The strongly held belief in Anglo-Saxon economies [1] that the “business of business is business” (to create shareholder value) is as outworn, ideology-based and caricature-driven as is the extreme version of Corporate Social Responsibility” (CSR).

Davis argued that an informed, educated and engaged [2] CEOs and upper-level management should map-out long term options and responses to relevant, evolving, overarching, broad, carefully researched social pressures and issues as an implicit and integral (not merely peripheral) part of corporate strategy rather than depending exclusively on lower-level public-relations tacticians operating with a knee-jerk, defensive, narrow, reactionary, rebuttal stance to individual, local and immediate (at times, ill-defined) laws, (political, ideological, etc) tensions and (environmental, sustainability, NGO) concerns. “Large companies need to build social issues into strategy in a way which reflects their actual business importance.” The CEOs should blend and harmonize their supporting efforts, such as trade regimes, with sophisticated, sensitive and successful approaches to risk management, social and economic development issues, access to social services particularly for the most vulnerable populations and resolutions of regional geopolitical conflicts. See The Economist premium content.

“Since 2006 investors have flocked to sign the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment (UNPRI) but now find themselves in the firing line for ‘greenwashing’, as many fail to fulfill their promise to fully integrate and report progress on environmental, social and governance factors. Most Australia-based UNPRI signatory super funds contacted by Ethical Investor admit there is still much work to be done to fully integrate Environmental, Social Governance (ESG) into its investment analysis and decision-making (Wagg and Taylor 2009-05-31).”

Notes

1. The Anglo-Saxon shareholder-value model has increasingly taken on global significance.

2. Davis argued that executive managers must introduce explicit processes which include the development of resources such as broad metrics, summaries and analysis of relevant social issues in order to systematically “educate and engage their boards of directors.

For more on this topic see also papergirls.wordpress.com

Selected Bibliography

Wagg, Oliver; Taylor, Nicholas. 2009-05-31. “UNPRI: Greenwash or Green Fix? Ethical Investor.

Barndt, Deborah (2001) Tangled Routes: Women, Work and Globalization on the Tomato Trail, Aurora, ON, Garamond Press.

Davis, Ian. 2005. “The biggest contract: By building social issues into strategy, big business can recast the debate about its role, argues Ian Davis.” The Economist. May 28.

Elkington, John (1997) Cannibals with Forks: The Triple Bottom Line of 21st Century Business, New Society Publishers, Limited.

Elkington, John (2003) Chrysalis Economy: How Citizen CEOs and Corporations Can Fuse Values and Value Creation, Wiley, John and Sons, Incorporated.

Friedman, Milton. 1970. “The Social Responsibility of Business is to Increase its Profits”, The New York Times Magazine, September 13, 1970. Copyright @ 1970 by The New York Times Company.

Liu, Henry C. K., 2003, “China: a Case of Self-Delusion, from colonialism to confusion,” Asia Times, May 14, 2003.

Sachs, Jeffrey D. 2005. “Facts on International Aid.” The End of Poverty: Economic Possibilities for Our Times.

Sachs, Jeffrey D. “The Strategic Significance of Global Inequality.”

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