Welcome to Monday, where Kyiv and other Ukrainian cities wake up under air strikes for the second consecutive week, Xi Jinping gives no ground at China’s Communist Party Congress and seven billion crabs have gone missing. Meanwhile, Christoph B. Schiltz in German daily Die Welt says it would be a mistake to think Putin is cornered, noting four distinct options he has to try to regain the upper hand in Ukraine.
The folly of “degrowth” economics — A view from the Global South
Those touting degrowth for the sake of the planet should remember that the majority of the earth's population has yet to taste a fraction of the material prosperity now blamed for destroying the natural world, writes Reinaldo Spitaletta in Colombian daily El Espectador.
A Colombian poet once said that to keep the peace in this country, people had to be kept fed. But to do so, profound changes need to be made that will tackle the causes of misery in a place like Colombia. That means industrializing the countryside, creating new fronts in employment, and, above all, developing that thing called capitalism.
James Lovelock, a pioneer of environmentalism, observed years ago that the friends of the earth had their heart in the right place, but not so much in their head. The industrialized world, he said, needn't yank itself back to primitive farming but rather the poorer countries should first industrialize their farming.
This beautiful and long-suffering homeland of ours remains today in the grip of a residual feudalism, with a countryside that grapples systematically, and fearfully, with such regular practices like paramilitaries grabbing fertile plots.
Growing calls to pursue a policy of degrowth in the world's advanced economies jibe very little with life in these parts.
Prior to any calls on the privileged of this world to cut consumption, surely the poorer countries must first strengthen and modernize their economies, set their farming and manufacturing in motion and break the chains of oppression and dependency.
That is the relationship we have had so far with the United States.
Neoliberalism and its unfettered trade and money-making for big firms and a tiny minority has been the agent of massive impoverishment worldwide, especially in those places they used to call the Third World. In the 1970s, India was a land of hunger, where thousands died of famine. This began to subside with the coming of Indian agronomist Swaminathan and his Green Revolution, which introduced high-yield wheat and rice to the country. He touted freedom of speech as the best defense against hunger, which he deemed to be not natural but political.
So the solution today may not be what Colombia's new Minister of Mines and Energy Irene Vélez proposes in demanding that other countries start shrinking their economic models, but to boost production and development here, after decades of our submitting to the manipulation and demands of the IMF and other agencies. And in any case, who would pay attention to a country of Colombia's stature?
Does the minister want the United States and European countries to grow less, so our economies can be on the same level?
The idea of degrowth began with the theories of economist Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen in the 1970s. It was controversial and prompted criticisms — from the biochemist Moisés Wasserman, for example. He observed that an economic theory wasn't validated simply "because someone proposed it and I like it. You have put it next to facts, models and calculations, or it will remain in the realm of economic fiction."
The most urgent move in Colombia might well be a fairer distribution of existing wealth and rational production methods to help extract so many socio-economic sectors from a state of paralysis and underdevelopment. Let us first ensure that all, or at least the majority, of our citizens have a full belly and a contented heart. We may also have to nurture a resilient spirit, a determination to fight neo-colonialism and a love of independence and freedom.
Years ago, the Brazilian writer Jorge Amado wrote that "leaders and heroes are empty, mad, arrogant, hateful and malicious. They lie when they claim to be the people's interpreters and speak in its name. The standard they bear is of death, and to survive, they need oppression and violence."
He knew a thing or two because apart from being a wonderful writer, he was in the Brazilian Communist Party.
History may well have shown this to be relevant to all leaders, whether they're from the Left or the Right. Who, Amado asked, could "distinguish between a hero and a murderer, or a leader and a tyrant?" Think of the injustices we have seen in our own country: the "the extra-judicial killings of civilians," land expulsions and the multiple ways in which the weak are squashed time and again. Instead of waiting for those who have harmed the world so much to tighten their belts, let us nurture the seeds of humanism on our land.
Vain and idealistic though it may sound, we might first urge a democratization of our economy, culture and education. We should pursue "growth" — as a people — in the face of so many kinds of famine and shortages.
— Reinaldo Spitaletta / El Espectador
• Ukraine cities hit by new wave of Russian attacks: At least three people were killed in Kyiv, and many others wounded and missing around the country after Russia unleashed a new barrage of air attacks on Ukrainian cities. Meanwhile, Russia is investigating an attack over the weekend in which two men gunned down a group of Russian soldiers in the Belgorod region in western Russia.
• Xi’s hard line at Chinese Communist Party Congress: Chinese President Xi Jinping has kicked off the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party in Beijing, with a focus on security and reiterating policy priorities as well as the country’s “Zero-COVID” policy. Xi is expected to be reconfirmed as General Secretary for a third term at the end of the week-long congress which has gathered roughly 2,300 delegates from around China.
• Death toll rises from Tehran prison blaze as protests continue: Eight Iranian inmates have been killed in a fire at Tehran’s notorious Evin prison, doubling the official toll from the blaze, which authorities have blamed on “riots and clashes” among prisoners. Human rights groups doubt the official version of events, with reports from prisoners that guards fired tear gas at inmates. Hundreds of the protesters arrested in recent weeks have been sent to this facility.
• Thousands protest in Paris against inflation: An estimated 140,000 people took to the streets in Paris on Sunday to protest against soaring living costs, fuel strikes and climate inaction, as strikes at oil refineries continue, with calls for a general strike in the country.
• Japan to investigate Unification Church after Abe killing: Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida has ordered a government inquiry into the Unification Church amid a scandal linking his party to the religious group. The church has come under the spotlight following the assassination of former leader Shinzo Abe last July.
• Nigeria floods toll tops 600: More than 600 people have died in the worst flooding Nigeria has seen in a decade, according to a new toll released by the West African nation’s government. The floods, which have been ongoing for several months, have also forced more than 1.3 million from their homes and are expected to continue until the end of November.
• Qatar to host 2023 soccer Asian Cup: World cup host Qatar will stage the 2023 Asian Cup soccer tournament for the third time in its history after China, which had originally won the bid to host the event, withdrew earlier this year because of its “zero-COVID” policy.
As the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China opened in Beijing, the People's Daily (Rénmín Rìbào), the newspaper owned by the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), is dedicating its front page Monday to Xi Jinping’s speech. Xi, who is widely expected to be reelected, spoke in front of 2,340 delegates and invited representatives, boasting of the Party’s achievements under his leadership, and reformulated the CCP’s vision of a great modern socialist country that is united and rejuvenated.
The Alaska Board of Fisheries and North Pacific Fishery Management Council announced last week that the Alaska snow crab harvest has been canceled for the first time ever after billions have disappeared from the Bering Sea. According to Benjamin Daly, a researcher with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, the snow crab population shrank from around 8 billion in 2018 to 1 billion in 2021. Officials say overfishing is not to blame, and cite the possible effect of warming waters due to climate change.
Here are four ways Putin could turn the tide in Ukraine
Ukraine's recent successes on the battlefield have put pressure on Vladimir Putin, who has launched what appear to be desperate attacks on civilians and infrastructure in response. Experts warn that it is dangerous to believe that Russia is bound to fail. Christoph B. Schiltz, writing for German daily Die Welt, looks at the four options that Putin has ahead of him in order to strike back.
🎯 Option 1: targeting key infrastructure. There is much to suggest that Putin will continue to intensify the attacks on Ukrainian infrastructure that have been underway for days. “Moscow has regained the initiative with the latest missile attacks. Putin is being celebrated for this on social networks. What is crucial for him is that as long as the people of Russia stand behind the tyrant, they will continue to fight,” says Commander Markus Reisner of the Defense Ministry in Vienna.
🇧🇾 Option 2: help from Belarus. Call it: the Belarus card. Moscow and Minsk have recently formed a "joint regional force" in Belarus. Satellite images show that the new unit is currently moving towards the Ukrainian border. In the short term, Moscow could relatively easily attack targets near the border on Ukrainian territory, such as Kovel or Korostov, which lie directly on the highway from Lublin in Poland to Kyiv.
💥 Option 3: hybrid attacks against the West. Moscow could disrupt Elon Musk's Starlink satellite communications system, making attacks and communications by Ukrainians much more difficult. It is possible that this has already happened at times. In addition, Russia could fuel conflicts in Syria, in Libya or in the Sahel. The consequence: new waves of refugees toward Europe. Or Moscow could attack critical infrastructure in Western countries through cyberattacks.
🎖️ Option 4: long-term mobilization. The long-term mobilization of up to 30 million Russian reservists over the course of 2023, while Ukraine has far fewer people available. “If you want to conquer or regain a country, you need infantry,” says Reisner. “Afghanistan has shown that it's not the F-16 fighter-bombers that decide a war, but who has their foot in the villages, like the Taliban.”
➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com
“Lula, stop lying, it's bad for you at your age.”
— The gloves came off between Brazil’s far-right incumbent President Jair Bolsonaro and his leftist rival Luiz Inacio “Lula” da Silva as the two roamed the stage and traded insults during the first televised debate of the run-off for the presidency in Brazil. The current leader repeatedly referenced his opponent’s sentence for corruption, while Lula counter attacked by mentioning Bolsonaro’s disastrous management of the pandemic: “Your negligence led to 680,000 people dying, when more than half could have been saved.” Brazilian voters will go to the polls on Oct. 30 for the runoff.
Rescue efforts are underway after drone attacks hit the Shevchenkivskyi district of Ukraine’s capital Kyiv. — Photo: @HromadskeUA via Twitter
✍️ Newsletter by Anne-Sophie Goninet, Laure Gautherin and Sophia Constantino
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