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diumenge, 12 de juny de 2016

La falacia de la desigualdad

El 'Nobel de la desigualdad' dice que el aumento de ésta en España ha sido “modesto"

EL ESPAÑOL.- En una conferencia magistral ofrecida en el Paraninfo de la Universidad de Alcalá, el Premio Nobel de Economía 2015, Angus Deaton, destacó que le ha sorprendido el considerable espacio que ocupa el asunto de la desigualdad en el debate español pese que considera que el aumento de ésta ha sido “modesto” en relación con lo que ha sucedido en otros países desarrollados, especialmente Estados Unidos.

El Nobel reconoció, sin embargo, que la desigualdad interna ha aumentado en todos los países. En el caso español añadió que el desempleo parece ser la principal razón del aumento de la desigualdad. El economista escocés reclamó una visión no moralizante de la desigualdad. “La desigualdad es muy compleja y es simplista pensar que es algo bueno o malo”, dijo antes de recordar que “el progreso ha sido siempre desigual”.

“No tiene sentido condenar la desigualdad, es como decir que el progreso es malo. La desigualdad se produce cuando un grupo humano avanza. Así que no sólo es un indicador del éxito, sino un incentivo para alcanzarlos”. Deaton recordó las tesis de su famoso libro, El gran escape (Ed. Fondo de Cultura Económica, 2015), donde viene a decir que, pese a todos los sinsabores, la Humanidad vive hoy uno de los mejores momentos de la historia y citó la reducción de la pobreza, la extensión de la democracia, la disminución de la violencia y el aumento de las personas educadas, “sobre todo las niñas que antes estaban postergadas”, apuntó.
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Carta abierta al Parlamento Europeo de un granjero keniata contra la prohibición de los trangénicos

La Unión Europea ha votado recientemente una resolución para instar al G8 a que presione para que no se permita el desarrollo de cultivos transgénicos en África. Desde el continente negro han llovido críticas a esta decisión, como la carta abierta de un granjero keniata al Parlamento Europeo que reproducimos a continuación. ¿Qué sentido tiene vetar a los países en desarrollo el acceso a una tecnología como los transgénicos que cada vez más se está utilizando en todo el mundo, incluida Europa?. Las razones son dos: la corrección política instalada en las instituciones y gobiernos europeos que desconfía y quiere limitar los transgénicos y los intereses del lobby agrícola que quiere evitar la competencia de los países del tercer mundo.

"In 1885, the great European powers met in Berlin to share Africa amongst themselves, launching a dark period of colonialist exploitation.

Today, European lawmakers gather in Brussels to attempt to subjugate my continent once more, this time by pressuring us to forswear the scientific innovations that have revolutionized agriculture around the world.

This new offensive comes from the European Parliament’s Committee on Development, which has prepared a draft resolution that “urges the G8 member states not to support GMO crops in Africa.” It has received surprisingly little attention in the press and it may receive a vote as early as June 6.

As a Kenyan farmer who participates in the daily struggle to grow food in a land that doesn’t produce enough of it, I have a short message for the well-fed politicians who would consider supporting this neo-colonialist measure: “Leave Africa alone.”

Your hostility to GMOs already has set us back a generation. Please don’t take a step that could impoverish us for another generation by discouraging African governments from accepting important crop technologies that farmers in so many other places take for granted.

Here in Kenya, untold numbers of people struggle with food security, unsure about how they’ll afford their next meal. I see the evidence of it everyday. With 46 million people, a high rate of population growth, and the rapid urbanization of our arable land, our challenges probably will grow worse before they get better.

GMOs can play a positive role, letting us grow more food on less land in an economically and environmentally sustainable way. Farmers like me need access to agricultural biotechnology.

Instead of ordering Africans to abandon science, Europeans should listen to what their own scientists say: The European Commission and the World Health Organization both have vouched for the safety of GMOs. So has the National Academy of Sciences, the leading scientific advisory group in the United States, which just published a comprehensive study that endorses GMOs.

If the European Parliament wants to help Africa, it should try to spread scientific knowledge among the lawmakers and citizens of less-developed economies, enabling us to become self sufficient in the production of basic commodities, notably those that improve the lot of African farmers to assure food security.

What we don’t need are lectures from Europeans whose lifestyles look luxurious to ordinary Africans. They want us to remain agricultural primitives, stuck with technologies that were antiquated even before we entered the 21st century.

Only a handful of African countries have accepted GMOs, among them Burkina Faso, Sudan and South Africa. Yet we could see a boom in the next few years.

Kenya is GMO-ready. We have regulatory protocols in place, coordinated by the National Biosafety Authority. The first field trials of GM maize are underway and they may start soon for cotton. We still can’t cultivate, market, or import GMOs, but we’re on the verge of lifting these restrictions. Once they’re gone, my country will enjoy a new weapon in the fight against hunger.

The last thing we need is a bunch of wealthy nations frowning upon our progress without having any understanding of our predicament.

If Africa fails to take up modern farming methods, my continent will face disaster. We’ll never realize the potential of either the Green Revolution or the Gene Revolution. Farmers will use more and more herbicides and pesticides, cutting into our incomes and endangering biodiversity. The cost of crop production will rise, which means the cost of food will rise, too. More people will go hungry.

This is the bad future that the resolution now before the European Parliament asks us to embrace.

Thankfully, the resolution is non-binding. The European Parliament cannot force a policy upon any member of the G8 and at least two of its members, Canada and the United States, are sure to reject it out of hand.

But that is not the point. Africa is in the habit of looking to Europe for political leadership and economic opportunity—and whatever the European Parliament decides, its choice will send a powerful signal.

Let’s hope it makes the right one". | Gilbert Arap Bor

Versión en español de la carta