Read more about the article Milk: Symbol Of Purity, Symbol Of Conflict
Photo: Geert Vanden Wijngaert / AP

Milk: Symbol Of Purity, Symbol Of Conflict

European Union dairy farmers protest milk price controls by spraying police with high-pressure hoses filled with milk. It certainly wasn't the first time that food has been both subject and symbol of unrest. But this one stands out because of the dramatic images.

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What’s So Great about Gates?

This article was recently pointed out to me by a friend who knows of my distaste for the Gates Foundation and all of the “good work” they are doing. I once looked through a long list of all the projects they were funding in ‘developing’ countries and was quite disturbed. One example of something they funded which I think is entirely redundant was mosquito nets drenched in mosquito repellent. I feel very concerned for the kids sleeping in these pesticide tents every night. In some ways giving out these ‘gifts’ of mosquito nets is rather like the gift of small-pox blankets given to the native Americans so many years ago. This article shows other ways in which the Gates Foundation is working with some very money hungry corporations.

You can read the full article here: Market-led Development Aid for Africa. Good For Business, Bad for Farmers. by Richard Jonasse. July 13, 2010.

The mixture of quasi-religious faith in free markets, and their conflation with democracy, perfectly encapsulates current US (World Bank, IMF, USAID …) development philosophy. USAID no longer provides aid through local governments as it did during the Cold War era. In the post-1980 neoliberal era, its primary activity has been farming out aid via contracts to private corporations.

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Farmers Markets of Myanmar

Click here to view exotic images of farmers markets around Myanmar.

kid in marketWho can resist an open air market? In Shan State they have a very clever system by having their farmers market run on a five day cycle. So, for example, around the mystical Inle Lake, the market will be one day in Nyaung Shwe, the next at Mein Tauk, the next at the other corner of the lake as a floating market, etc. This way local farmers can sell their product without having to go too far afield, and tourist just love going to the different locations each day. It is a system worth considering bringing back to other areas of the world. The Burmese have been forced to maintain their traditional methods of farming and subsistence living, which may in the long run be a blessing in disguise for them and the rest of the world. If any of us want to know how to live really sustainably, I recommend following in the footsteps of E.F. Schumacher (author of Small Is Beautiful: Economics as if People Mattered) by going to Burma and learning from them.

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