year 20, edition 2
The Ecunomist official magazine of study association ECU’92
“beat yo wives, beat yo kids”
“being hunted for their skin and vital organs”
in UTRECHT towhere eat ?
List of human rights. prepared by Christina Schenten
Undoubtably, human rights are important to protect, and their violation must be hindered. However, if we would ask you to tell us ten (of 30) human rights right now, could you reply? Without wanting to insult you, we were so free to list the human rights for you again. Although all these rights are most likely in your mind already, at least in an indistinct way, it is interesting, and also inspiring, to see them black on white. Right to protect moral and material interests Born free and equal No discrimination Right to live free Social security No slavery Universal laws Protection by law Equality before law No unfair detainment Right to work and to receive adequate payment Innocence until guilt is proven Fair and free world in which the human rights can be pursued Everyone can develop his personality freely and
Right to marry and have a family. Freedom of expression. Freedom to move. Right to privacy Right to asylum No torture Right to trial Right to assembly Right to ownership Freedom of thought. Right to democracy. Right to education. Right to a nationality. Right to rest and leisure. Food and shelter for all. fully as long as he does not harm others in doing so.
no one can take this away from you
contents 4 5 6 8 10 11
From the Editor From the Board African Albinos A human right to Food Wailling Wall Fluor Party
p.16 12 14 16 18 20 22
24 26 28 29 30
The Reflections of Elmisaurus Women Empowerment The Human Ritghts for Animals Beat yo wives, beat yo kids Final Say
Yes, we’ve just celebrated Christmas Where to eat in Utrecht? Photo page Beflow the Ruler’s Horses Editorial Committee Quiz Professor Y.S.Brenner
Five times a year The Ecunomist is published in a circulation of 1500 for the members, patrons, Ecunomen and external contacts of ECU’92. John R.Tindel | Julie Ann Goodfellow | Christina Schenten | Milda Jasaite | Alexander Visser Leila Maria Scott | Miles Hilton | Sara Zapata Esteban | Jessica Krom | Willem Isbrucker | Kai Strohmeyer Study Association ECU’92 | Janskerkhof 12 | 3512 BL Utrecht | 030-253 9680 firstname.lastname@example.org | www.ecu92.nl | Printed by Drukkerij Hakker van Rooijen 3 Special Thanks to ECU’92 Board and Y.S.Brenner
FROM the Editor The Luxury of Human Rights Dear Readers: It is with a heavy heart that I report the passing of our distinguished emeritus professor and long-time friend of The Ecunomist, Prof. Dr. Y.S. Brenner. You may know him as the man who wrote the “Dinosaur” articles for our magazine, sharing his decades of worldly experience and knowledge with the students of this university. Prof. Dr. Brenner will be sorely missed. In this issue, we’ve included an article about the life and times of Prof. Dr. Brenner, along with the final article he wrote, which he managed to send to us not long before he passed away. Now, on to the theme of this issue: For my generation, the idea that all people are entitled to certain rights, regardless of country of birth, economic circumstances, gender etc. is largely a foregone conclusion. In a way, you could say that we take it for granted. For the previous generation, human rights were a more novel idea, and there were still large parts of the world where the idea was entirely unknown. Go back a couple more generations and people could still be bought and sold as property. Further back, the idea that people were anything more than servants of the church and/or ruling elite would be considered preposterous. While precise definitions of human rights today are still rather nebulous and vary slightly by country (healthcare is a right in much of Europe, but not in the US), human rights are generally accepted as a noble concept worth protecting. It would be considered extremely asocial to be in opposition to equal human rights in this day and age, and protection of human rights is now used as a justification for war and economic sanction. But to what degree do we only care about human rights when it is convenient? Even the UN acknowledges that some human rights can be suspended in cases of extreme emergency. Further, many member nations of the UN tacitly accept violations even of those rights that they define as indispensible (such as the right against torture, which the US most certainly violated with no consequences save for a tarnished reputation). George W. Bush stated Hussein’s human rights violations as a justification for invading Iraq, yet the ensuing American occupation was riddled with violations of the same calibre. We have made North Korea an economic pariah partially as a result of their flagrant violations of human rights, yet we have tolerated the same and worse from China for years. With such hypocrisy on both sides, I can’t help but roll my eyes when I hear someone talking about human rights in absolute terms. How can we say that there’s anything at all “universal”, “natural” or “inalienable” about human rights when their application is so sporadic and arbitrary and only began in recent modern history? I’m not trying to comment on the nature of human rights or say that human rights are relative in the way that many philosophers would classify good and evil. I guess the point I’m trying to make is that human rights are far more tenuous than we realize. There has been no other time in history when people have given so much attention to human rights as we do in the modern western world, and we should not take them for granted. Recent history has shown that they can be taken away just as quickly as they were given.
The life of a coordinator
of External Affairs
One of the most famous sitcoms of the early nineties is for me Married with Children. The series, featuring Al Bundy, ‘shoe sales man from Chicago’, who already in the opening sequence hands out all of his hard earned money to the members of his family. Even the family dog, Buck, only turns to Al for money. Of course none of the ladies in my board compares to a dog, but still the whole process of one person earning money to let others ‘within the household ‘spend it all, reminds me sometimes of my function within the ECU’92 board. On a more serious note: external benefits are very important for the revenue stream of an association. Although the process of interesting companies and institutions in you (yes, YOU are my main product to sell) can be very rewarding, my tasks are luckily more diverse than that. You strive for a good match between the profile of the Utrecht University Economics student and the participating company. There is no use in getting you in touch with an future employer that fits nowhere near what you expect of your future dream job. The same goes for the companies. But luckily, there seems to be quite a good match most of the time. If you however have ideas of companies that you would like to see, you can of course always come to me. Also for committees that think that they can attract sponsor money, I’m willing to help you in brainstorming for suitable partners (and of course have a chat on general committee affairs). Besides the acquisition part of my function I am also involved with some of the more ‘serious’ committees within ECU’92. For instance the Company Day Committee who did a wonderful job on arranging this year’s Company Day falls under my responsibilities. The same holds for the Discussion and Lectures Committee (now organizing an activity for our Dies-week in March of next year). But there is still one thing I want to discuss with you: human rights. For once there seems to be a direct link between the theme of the Ecunomist and my daily work. I can hereby state that all the partners of ECU’92 at this moment are perfectly ‘clean’ when it comes to human rights. Ethics in acquisition, at ECU’92 it is the case! Kind regards, Onno de Jong
A by Leila Maria Scott
Who do you turn to for help and guidance? Your parents, lover, maybe your friends? What about your local witchdoctor?
Eastern Africa, more specifically the Great Lakes region, the witchdoctor or sangoma or healer might be the person you turn to when you feel troubled or need direction or luck. In rural areas of countries like Tanzania, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the sangoma may be the only person in the village with healing skills and is therefore a very important figure in village life. Spiritual leaders, they are comparable to priests, rabbis and imams, with one striking difference. Sangomas make muti or traditional or spiritual medicine, which may then be sold for common ailments like a headache, but also to bring wealth or power and to frighten away evil spirits.
stronger the ingredients, the stronger the muti, the more powerful effect it has. One ingredient in particular has been popping up all over eastern Africa: albino body parts. Albinism is a hereditary condition which renders the body unable to produce melanin, which provides pigment and thereby protects skin cells from UV And now, albinos are being huntrays. Itâ€™s caused by two recessive genes, you need it from both parents, which ed for their skin and vital organs. means it is seen more in countries where there is more intermarriage. Albinism is documented across all species with a back bone, the most famous being Moby Dick, the big white whale. Besides being extremely vulnerable to the sun, albinos are also susceptible to vision problems. And now, albinos are being hunted for their skin and vital organs.
right, African albinos are being hunted for their body parts, which are purported to have magical powers. A complete set of albino parts including all limbs, genitals, ears, tongue and nose can fetch $75,000 in countries where the average annual income is less than $1,000. The parts may be ground into a powder or made into a potion for consumption. The resulting muti is very expensive and purchased by politicians and businessmen in the hopes of attracting wealth, closing deals and winning elections.
The parts may be ground into a powder or made into a potion for consumption.
© 2003 - 2005 Michael Stevenson. All rights reserved.
albinos have never had it easy; they are often subjected to discrimination and insults. Ignorance is their worst enemy; many rural societies believe that albinos are the ghosts of colonists, while others believe that albino children are the result of an infidelity, leading to extremely high rates of albino children being raised by single mothers. When you add the exceedingly high risk of skin cancer to the prohibitively high cost of sunscreen, it starts to look very bleak.
Due to their poor vision, albinos are often thought to be slow and discouraged from attending school. This leads to an illiterate and undereducated albino population, which is forced to work servile and manual jobs, which usually expose them even more to the sun.
this isn’t very new, it’s also not old. Estimated to have begun in Tanzania within the last 10 years, experts point the finger at the last global recession, claiming that witch doctors have used albinos as a type of marketing gimmick. With a frequency of 1 in 20,000 across the entire human population and 1 in 3,000 in many African countries, the gimmick appears to be working. Numbers vary, but at least 20 Tanzanian albinos have been murdered this year alone. Children are the most frequently targeted, snatched on their way to or from school and even out of their houses. There are many reported cases of groups of men with machetes rousting a family in the middle of the night, only to take one of their children. The child is then dismemGroups of men with machetes rousting a family in the bered, usually middle of the night, only to take one of their children. on the spot, sometimes the blood is drained from a hole in the neck and the remains are discarded. Should a family member try to intervene, they meet the same fate. Unfortunately, the horror doesn’t stop there. The families of murdered albinos must bury their loved ones inside the house or encased in cement, to stop people from stealing their bones and hair.
bright side to depressing situation? Increased awareness is doing a world of good for the albino community and support from the international community is bringing this issue to the forefront. Advances in education and social welfare will make strides as the general population becomes more developed. But, in the words of Voltaire, “As long as people believe in absurdities, they will continue to commit atrocities.”
a human right to food by Kai Strohmeyer
Indeed, there is a human right including food. Article 25 § 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of the UN (1948) says: “Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food (…)”. However, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is rather an agreement than a supranationally valid law, so that no one can enforce his right to food by legal action.
ust assuming, this was the case, the following questions would arise: What would such a law mean and who or what would be to blame for the large-scale food shortages and starvation on our planet? Intuitively, one would probably answer that no one is to blame and that it’s a matter of economic development. But does food production in fact have the highest priority in our global economy? And does mankind really do its best to allocate scarce resources in the production process of food in the most efficient way? At least, that would be its duty in order to obey such a law. Yet, looking at the current system of agriculture, the same would have to be changed dramatically.
onocultures, as we find them in agriculture in industrialized countries, are the condition for allocating the scarce resource of labour in the most efficient way. With only one crop, one can reduce the number of workers by automating the production process with crop-specific technology. In contrast, polycultures make use of the benefits of ecological systems, using the principle of biodiversity. In addition to being more eco-friendly, this way of farming allocates the scarce resource of land much more efficiently. It produces more food per area; the economic productiveness is higher, so this model would more conform to the right to food. As it is more costly in terms of labour, biodiverse farms are much smaller, but no attractive model for e.g. profit-seeking multinational companies. Particularly land-grabbing - the purchase of huge areas of land by big 8
companies in countries where the population doesn’t formally own its inhabited and cultivated land – in combination with growing monocultures for biofuel or luxury food would disobey such a law.
onsidering luxury food, especially the consumption of animals and animal products would have to be questioned. One kilogramme of meat protein requires about 100 times more water than the same amount of grain protein. One kilogramme of beef may require 13 kg of grain and 30 kg of hay, at that. Cultivable land is used for growing animal food, so this model feeds animals rather than humans. As a result, the meat-based diet of the majority of people in many Western countries wouldn’t be justifiable under a law about food for every human being.
evertheless, in the end, it must be emphasized, that the Declaration of Human Rights shouldn’t be ignored only because it is not compulsory. It should always be remembered that every violation against it is a highly symbolical act, expressing a neglect of the human dignity of those who are subject to the violation, and acknowledging them as not possessing the full value of a member of the human species, which those rights apply to. As a result, the status quo of food production cannot be approved from a Human Rights proponent’s point of view.
Doing our best to allocate scarce resources in the production process?
wailing WALL Welcome to the second edition with new and improved Wailing Wall! From now on you can send in your wailings and we will post them right here for everyone to read. You can drop off your comments in the Wailing Box in the UCU break room or in the ECU 92’ room. So get your wail on people! People complain too much about the weather, it is always too cold or too warm. Get over it.
Christmas shopping, why oh why didn’t I do it a week earlier? Now it is overcrowded. The trains, there is always something at Utrecht Centraal. Can they ever be on time?
I always loved football, but the Eredivisie is one of the worst leagues in Europe. Girls with text on their boobs and then I am the weird one for reading it!?
I would like to wail about the fact that I could not find the wailing box at the UCU. (Editor’s note: get a pair of glasses) People who keep staring at my face: Yes, it is burned from an accident, get over it.
We’ve just celebrated Christmas!
by Sara Zapata The most meaningful time of the year to spend and celebrate together with people, family and friends, you love. On the other hand, it is very hard to imagine how lucky we are and it is even harder to think about those billions of migrant people who perhaps, for different reasons, will not have the chance to travel from one side of this world to the other to see their relatives. Moreover, since this past 10th of December was Human Rights Day, but also on the 18th was the International Migrant Day, I would like to combine these two facts in one. I’d like to give a broader view of how migration and human rights are seen from an economical perspective in Europe. First of all, taking as a reference what Kofi Annan, ex-Secretary-general of United Nations, said a few years ago: ¨Immigrants and refugees should not – and must not –be seen as a burden. Those who risk their lives and those of their families are often those with the greatest ambition to make a better life for themselves, and they are willing to work for it¨. The basic international human rights treaties derive from human being’s dignity, which cannot change regardless of the type of passport or visa a person holds. Therefore, individuals and communities have the minimum requirement to live with dignity, be respected and realize their potential wherever they go, no matter where they come from. But secondly what are the reasons that push people to migrate? According to the World Bank, approximately $420 billion is the cipher of Economic Migrant, those people have emigrated from one region to another with the purpose of seeking a better employment position or simply improving their financial status. One of the main cases why people decide to cross borders in search for a better place where it’s possible to achieve a higher level of life conditions, is due to economic reasons. This is where some conflicts against immigra12
tion might arise. What kind of effect does immigration have on labour markets? This is an important question, since competition among those markets is frequently perceived as one of the main driving forces determining some social behaviour and attitudes towards immigration. Here we have two cases, those who think immigrant labour is likely to be a kind of substitute to their own labour skills and therefore, are likely to oppose immigration. The opposing case is of those for whose skills it is something complementary, may view immigration more sympathetically and positively. Thirdly, immigration might be able to increase or alleviate tax burdens when immigrants are expected to be different from the current population of a particular place, either in skill mix or relating to propensity of the use of public services. As such that any expected impact on unemployment may also be expected to feed through into concerns about public tax and welfare burdens. Therefore, if immigration creates unemployment, it will properly increase the tax burden, thus affecting the economically active in the resident workforce of that particular place. Finally, why do we have immigration laws in the first place, and what would be the
the most meaningful time of the year
economic implications of taking them away completely? Immigration laws have always existed in their varied forms depending on the area or region, but they mainly are the crux of any country’s identity in order to protect the unity and cohesion of the prevalent and dominant culture from foreign cultures. They are in place to prevent possible illegal arrivals of people without any kind of documentation, to avoid racism, exploitative employment practises, to increase cooperation with destination countries for the protection of migrant workers and to build a frame of equality among national citizens and migrants. Taking laws away will just create a situation of disorder and chaos; human rights would be in danger. And giving the chance of acting in a rational and economically adequate manner would not
Those who risk their lives and those of their families are often those with the greatest ambition to make a better life be at the top of the list of priorities of that country... Some economist’s statistical models take into account that some immigrant-held jobs would be filled preferably by natives; some think the opposite. But, to be a bit sensible, a fact is that without immigrants, some of the jobs would not even exist. Let’s take as example, the issue of immigrants taking jobs then. If someone asks a narrow question, such as do low-earning immigrants pay more in taxes than they receive in public services, or do immigrants pay more in taxes to some city or county than they receive in services, they will undoubtedly find examples where they don’t. Obviously, we suspect that low earners (whether immigrants or natives) don’t pay very much in taxes. But this does not mean that low-income workers are not beneficial to the country or their communities. Think of an immigrant, we’ll call him Peter, who works for an employer in some town. Peter pays taxes to the federal and state governments, but receives services (education for his children, medical services) from the city. If we calculate Peter’s fiscal impact on his current city, it would probably show his household pays less to the city than it receives in city services. Moreover, Peter’s household spending and his employer’s business activity create additional income and jobs for merchants and native workers. 13
in UTRECHT most recommendable places
to ....eat by Sara Zapata
If you are looking for a good restaurant with high level cooking and a very nice atmosphere, go to ¨Goesting¨. Everything in this place is made and decorated with pure passion and love. Prices are of course a bit higher than the regular student budget, but you forget about this during the first bite!
Choosing among more of 50 cocktail creations at ¨Zussen¨, one of the most hippest restaurants including an exquisite baroque decoration and offering awesome Italian dishes. Also¨Café-lust¨ which is located in a very strategical place.
Having a lovely and great dinner with someone you love at ¨Hemingway¨ where they have a special menu including 3 courses for 23,50 so a good student proof for different night! Very close to our faculty, Janskerkhof 6.
What about a yummy Chinese dinner on a regular day during the week at ¨Het Paradijs¨ finding it on Vredenburg. The Dim Sums taste like a peace of heaven. And the prices, they just make u smile! Spending some fun and entertaining time with friends from day to night enjoying live music at ¨Grasvandeburen¨ Drinks, Snacks, lunch and dinner offered for very affordable prices.
You cant beat Cafe Belgie along the beautiful canals of Utrecht. Great for living the real student environment of this wonderful city, and drinking some Belgian beer at while enjoying the crowd due to its tiny and reduced small space, but really worthy of a few beers!
“Filemon & Baucis¨ is a very popular and stylish restaurant that gets hipper as the evening goes on, while at the same time a clubby atmosphere takes over. The interior is dark and smart, with a pink-hued candle-lit bar. Very attractive! 15
stone age party
your membership fee gets the board drunk
Below the Ruler’s horses by Miles Hilton
34 °C, heavy perfume, women wearing metal frames on their face and elevators shooting up at the speed of light; welcome to the United Arab Emirates, the Middle East’s answer to Las Vegas.
Sheik Mohammed just built the tallest building in the world, isn’t that a great accomplishment?
lying above this former fishing village, you can observe the very inorganic development of this metropolis called Dubai. I once spoke to German engineers working for the construction of an office complex called “internet city” and despite their high position within their company, they didn’t know what was going on. They could not understand the magnitude of this information technology park. I had a beer on the beach with them and then walked up to an Arab who was sitting on his camel trying to sell rides, but letting his camel be stroked and kissed for free by some very attractive Russian women. For me it was not the camel but the Arab that made me think. He was one of the very few doing such a low paid job. You will find most natives in Aston Martins, post-modern villas and some of the largest shopping malls in the world, perhaps occasionally hitting the indoor skiing hall. They are a minority within their own country, at about 18
5 % of the total population. Is he a poor man?
T he world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, was completed just a year ago. It is so tall that
taking a full picture of it takes a long time to figure out where to take it. Workers, predominantly from south Asia, were involved in its construction and surprisingly, they made the news more frequently than the building itself. (Local news, of course). Both western and Middle Eastern media have portrayed the circumstances under which the labourers are working as inhumane and close to slavery. There is no slavery in that industry but in other headlines, Sheik Mohammed was accused of slavery in 2006 for child camel racing. Al Maktoum’s horse stables are allegedly bigger and more decorated than the labour camps outside the city. Ironically, there is one camp where the apartments are labeled as villas.
T heir water is not sanitized, working hours are too long, payment is low, irregular and too many of them die in accidents. Their wage is about 1 dollar per hour or even lower, and 11-15 hours workdays are regular. Although prohibited by law, most companies confiscate their passports just to make sure they cannot escape their work.
T he most common problem is having to wait for payment. It can take months and that means that they are taking on debt and incurring interest. This also means that their families, who are highly dependent on them, will struggle for alternatives. With the credit crisis came the great plight for migrant workers: they did not receive their payments and went on strike, although this is illegal.
P robably the most unbearable aspect is that they must wear their jumpsuits, which cover the whole body, at temperatures of 45°C and 98% humidity in sum-
mer. And that’s not all: there are at least 500,000 of these construction workers barely scraping by. 84 workers committed suicide in 2005; most of these cases are uninvestigated. A psychiatrist in a Dubai hospital explains these suicides as the very sad reaction to being trapped in a bonded-labour situation. They cannot go back anymore; their passport is in the hands of some big corporation, which is also struggling after the bubble had burst. And still thousands arrive here every year, to receive an income that may give their families a better life back home. Some might say that this is a form of slavery. The corporation might not own these workers by some form of contract, but they have created a bonded-labour type situation, which resembles with circumstances of slavery.
id they know about these circumstances before deciding to leave their country? Many of these workers are from financially barren countries and are not yet educated enough to work professionally. In addition, high illiteracy makes the whole idea a nightmare. Those who know about the circumstances probably did not know that they could not cope with such misery.
n theory, as perceived by the human rights watch, the United Arab Emirates legislation does provide sufficient legislation to protect workers. However, the enforcement of these laws is not functioning. On paper, this economic relationship is lacking in institutional mechanisms which could prevent this form of exploitation that causes inefficiencies and complications in international relations.
T he Dubai police have now introduced a human rights department for mediations of la-
bour disputes. This, however, does not give the labourers the power of an institution that represents their interest, such as labour unions. Under international human rights law, the right to freedom of association and collective bargaining, including the right to organize unions, is guaranteed. Just three years ago, this right was acknowledged in the UAE.
hen things move too fast, especially if you move from the 19th century into 21st century within 3 decades, you are prone to make mistakes. Let’s hope that these men will soon be put above the ruler’s horse, for it is a kingdom built on their shoulders. 19
pick a phrase forthe members of the Editorial Committee!
describes them the best?
. likes to bang head to metal music . ultimate wish is to have her own horse. . saw every single episode of Friends at least 3 times
. has hairy man nipples
. thinks he is very funny . is allergic to cats
. someplace warm where the mountains meet the sea: his ideal location. . 18 year old scotch: his perfect drink . any kind of cat: his least favourite animal (list 20 includes cockroaches)
. has his guitar and dog in bed on sundays . chicken-apple sausage, grilled asparagus and egg is his kind of breakfast . he always showers listening to The Rolling Stones
. potato chips are his nicotine . on his breakfast bread you can find kaas and stroop combined . loves to observe the quirks of people
ra a S
. will do a whole Asia tour . Ben&Jerry’s caramel chew chew makes a movie’s night irresistible - loves it . Black or grey converse say are insdispensable on the wardrobe
. addicted to Blistex-Lipbalm . was in Australia for a few months . is not a good cook (but likes to eat)
. invented her own language when she was little, "Pooka Pooka" . takes freakish delight in shopping for boots. . extremely calm under extreme stress
W ill da
Mil . likes Panda accessories the most . crying is a must at least once per month . wants Lamborghini Gallardo with pirate skull print as the logo and with free private chauffeur
. best time of the day - 19 o'clock in May
. doesn’t like you
. turtle neck black sweater must have
. go away
. drive Route 66 with convertible - on to-do list
. you suck
â€œReflections of a Dinosaur has always been presentâ€?
Professor Y.S. Brenner 22
24 December 1926 - 14 December 2010
In the many years of existence of the Ecunomist, all sorts of articles and sections came and went, but one has always been present:
Reflections of a Dinosaur, by professor Yehojachin Simon Brenner.
Always reflective, full of relevant content, and with a humorous touch. On December 14th, 2010, professor Brenner has passed away. In honor of his work and his important contributions for both USE and ECU’92, this article is dedicated to him.
growing up in Palestine during the revolts in the 1940’s (to which his book ‘Verboden land’ is devoted – a part of history many students might not be familiar with), his 3 studies and employed career brought him all over the world, from Ankara to London, from the United States to Ghana, and finally to the Netherlands, where he taught for over 24 years. After his retirement in 1996, he kept on writing. Next to the articles, two fiction novels, published in 2006 and 2007, are worth mentioning here.
Brenner has been important not only for his scientific and literary contributions, but also for the Utrecht School of Economics and ECU’92. Already before a complete Economics studies existed, he taught the Economics course at the faculty of Social Science. With the formation of the domain-related Economics in 1992, his group became one of the founders of the program. His socially driven form of Economics, as documented in his many scientific publications, has been important for the stream of Economics which Utrecht became known for. Even after years of retirement professor Brenner remained in contact with some of his former colleagues, and gave speeches at congresses even in the USA until recent years– which was a sort of holiday to him.
the Ecunomist he wrote many ‘Dinosaur’ articles since 1997, of which the first 60 articles were bundled and published after 10 years in ECU’92 lustrum year 2007. His commitment was shown by his presence during the opening ceremonies of that lustrum.
part of the tradition, both the Editorial board and the ECU’92 board visited professor Brenner once a year in his hometown Bilthoven. The author of this article had that honor twice. He was impressed by the sharp thinking, knowledge, and worldwide experience of professor Brenner, who simply preferred ‘Joe’ instead of ‘professor’ in communication. A memorable man is no longer among us. Our condolences go out to his wife, children and all who were close to him. For a selection of professor Brenner’s work, see www.allbookstores.com/Y-S-Brenner/author/1. 23
Reflections of an Elmisaurus T he editor of de Ecunomist told me that the topic of the next issue will be human rights.
Thinking about this topic took me back to my student days. Like many others who lived through the Great Depression and survived the Second World War, I believed that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which was adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 10th 1948 signalled the coming of a new world of justice and peace, in which all “human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief, and freedom from fear and want, and of friendly relations between nations.” We were naive. We should have seen that at least the desire for friendly relations between nations was no more than a pious hope at the time when the Cold War was dominating most political issues.
T he concept of Human Rights is fairly recent. In its modern form it came first into use in the
era of the Enlightenment with the notion that human beings have natural rights. In 1776 it was invoked in the US Declaration of Independence as a self-evident truth that men are created equal and are endowed with certain unalienable rights among which the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations was more specific. It not only reaffirmed the political faith in “the dignity and worth of the human person, and in the equal rights of men and women,” and mankind’s determination to promote social progress and better standards of life, but also the desire for social and economic rights . Articles 22 to 25 of the Declaration clearly postulated that “Everyone has the right to social security; everyone who works has the 24
right to just and favourable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity and supplemented, if necessary by other means of social protection; everyone has the right to rest and leisure, including reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay; everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services: and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control”.
n fact the humanitarian notions underlying the social and economic Articles were in Britain already inherent in the Beveridge Report on Social Insurance and Allied Services, published in December 1942, which proposed a comprehensive scheme of social insurance in order to “to check the evils of capitalist society – poverty and mass unemployment”. Beveridge was not a Socialist but a Liberal. But his report aroused great enthusiasm in the Labour Party, and later formed the basis for the social legislation of the Labour Government, (1945-1950) notably for the National Health Service. In the US, though more pragmatically, similar notions were inherent in President F.D. Roosevelt’s first New Deal that soughtfinancial recovery and relief of unemployment, (1933-5) and second New Deal which concentrated on social security for the working population and protecting small farmers, (1935-9) and in President H. Truman’s “Fair Deal” (1947). Yet whereas in most European countries the social and economic aspirations reflected in the Universal Declaration of Hu-
man Rights gave birth to the Welfare State, in the USA they aroused strong opposition as a form of “creeping socialism”, and there were judiciary attempts to block social federal legislation as “unconstitutional”. Eventually, in 1953, the Americans refused to sign Human Rights Declaration.
n part the abandoning of the progressive social legislation was due to the Americans’ notion that government social legislation encroaches on personal liberty, but more important was the hostile attitude of the US Congress, and the anti-red hysteria which was stirred up by the Republican Senator Joseph McCarthy (19471950). McCarthy alleged that he had the names of fifty-seven card-carrying communists in the State Department and that 205 people employed by the Department were known communist sympathizers. Like the popular support for Sarah Palin nowadays, much of the early appeal of McCarthy lay in its philistine contempt for intellectuals. Like the “Tea-Party” public in the recent US elections, which wrongly claimed that President Obama was not born in the USA and is a Moslem, the extreme fringe of the Republican Party in the McCarthy era conducted a smear campaign against prominent Democrats including such persons as the Secretary of State Dean Acheson and the initiator of the Marshall Plan George Marshall, to discredit President
Truman’s “Fair Deal”. (There is indeed little new under the sun). What really enabled McCarthy to create the anti-red hysteria, and hinder Congress to adopt Truman’s progressive legislation were the inability of the Truman administration to halt the advance of communism in China; the threat of Soviet expansion into western Europe, the Russian atomic bomb (1949), and the Korean war (1950-1953).
n Europe the progressive social and economic human rights, which the United States refused to sign, survived in the legislation of the Welfare States, and only began to be nibbled away since the 1980s with the reactionary onslaught led by Margaret Thatcher , and followed by leaders like van Agt in the Netherlands and similar minded politicians in other countries. Whether in the shadow of the hysteria created by the collapse of the banking system the process of privatisation in Europe will lead back to the dreadful social and economic relations of the 19th century has still to be seen. In other words, the question whether the right to social security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond a person’s control is a human right, as the authors of the Universal Declaration Human Rights in 1948 took for granted, or is just a pious hope, needs these days once again to be determined.
Bilthoven: December 2010
Women empowerment and it’s Slow Process: Rights to Education by Jules Goodfellow
uman rights are based on the principle of respect for the individual. Their fundamental assumption is that each person is a moral and rational being who deserves to be treated with dignity. They are called human rights because they are universal. Human rights are the rights to which everyone is entitled no matter who we are or where we live, simply because we are alive. Equality of access to all levels of education is crucial to empowering women and girls to participate in the economic, social and political life of their societies. Education unlocks a woman’s potential and is accompanied by improvements in health, nutrition and well-being of women and their families.
espite widespread agreement that all people have the fundamental human right to education, 100 million children, at least 60% of them girls, do not have access to primary education. 960 million adults in the world are illiterate and more than two-thirds of them are women. Women and girls continue to face discrimination at all levels of education, a fact which poses tremendous obstacles to their advancement.
T he full scope of human rights is very broad. They mean choice and opportunity. The freedom to education is a small part of human rights. I will discuss women’s right to educa-
tion particularly in the Philippines and relating it to the western woman’s rights to education. It is not just about the choice of going to school or having the chance to get higher studies that arises to an issue with education but its significant role in the labour market.
n the Philippines, for example, 53.3 percent of newly enrolled university students in 2010 were 26 women, who have almost consistently accounted for 55 percent or more of first-year stu-
education unlocks women’s potential
dents over the last 15 years. Moreover, the proportion of women among university graduates is over 60 percent every year, which demonstrates that they are more successful students too, according to Commission on Higher Education (CHED).
n fact, females represent a majority at every level of education, and the average rate of schooling among Filipina women is more than one year higher than that of men. Yet women continue to earn 30 percent less than men for the same work. But women tend to pursue higher studies in areas like education and health, while men represent over 80 percent of engineering and law studies. But women make up only 42 percent of the active workforce and earn 30 percent less than their male colleagues.
A t some point in recorded time, societies offered women a lower rung on the ladder of success. This disparity showed up in the home, through employment discrimination and even in relationships.
here did this fall from? The route of human evolution propagated throughout history, in world religions, has held 'man' first. Probably, the physical ability for early man to be able to venture and dare and provide, simply rippled down throughout the ages. This is the best possible explanation for male chauvinism and the paradigms of society being redefined to accommodate the evil.
Education alone cannot work miracles”. When it comes to overcoming the inequality of opportunities between the sexes, changing values and attitudes is much more complex. Men are given more opportunities than women with regard to career and employment after graduation. I am one of the living society offered women a examples of this kind of inequality. I recently graduated in the Philippines, Bachelor of Science in Business Ad- lower rung on the ladder ministration, major in Business Management, had expeof success rienced working in a bank but it doesn’t sound as rewarding as it may seem. Men, as always in our culture. dominated in securing the job before us women.
n addition, gender equity extends to education itself. School curricula, textbooks and teaching methods reinforce stereotypes that devalue the role of women and confine them to the home and to low-status jobs and careers. In a number of countries and societies, girls are not educated since she is considered a strain on the family's resources. Without an education, she cannot even voice her opinion, stand up for herself monetarily as well as emotionally, or battle the discrimination from a social pulpit. Women have come a long way in many societies around the world. It is not that there hasn’t been a shift. However, the shift is slow in some societies and more evident in others. The problem is not with the number of instances coming up each day, it lies with identifying an effective measure to eradicate the economic situation. The attitude that results in widespread neglect needs to be 'treated' and drained of social support. It is only in a united stand that the focus will provide the right guidelines.
The fight is not to determine the 'first among equals', but to enjoy a stage that is conducive to both. 27
The human rights for animals by Charlie the Unicorn
Not only humans have the rights, animals are also in need of the basics of life: food, shelter and education. Why education you ask? Ever looked into the eyes of a chicken and seen the suppressed anger hidden deep in their soul? It takes years of training for a chicken to stop and subdue its violent tendencies. But what about the other animals out thereâ€Ś Some people think we only exist in fairy tales, just like the Yeti or the deep-sea Kraken. Others claim we are nothing more than a horse with a horn: Unicorns. Long forgotten, until now. The abuse stops here, my fellow cornies, we will unite and roam the earth with our pretty horns once more. Never again will the humans take our horns and put it into dark holes that can only be described as really yucky. We must stand up on our four feet, not only for ourselves, but also for others that are in dire need of our help, yes this is about you leprechauns. Thought to be standing at the end of the rainbow with a pot full of gold. Associated with Ireland, a country full of drunks and angry people, where beating up leprechauns is the number three pastime. We, creatures of the imagination, must unite and do what the humans did to us: Rape them all. This will be the last thing you humans will ever see, an army full of unicorns and robocops! We have already started with phase one of our world domination plan; leprechauns are infiltrating the human world and are waiting to strike!
n r , o ten c ot g i or . n g f ow n U n l o L nti u s
beat yo wives, beat yo kids!
by Alexander Visser In the middle of the rainy November month, a warm message reached my ears: the federal Supreme Court in the United Arab Emirates has ruled that it is legal for a man to beat his kids and wife in order to discipline them. And to be fair, I totally agree, every time my girlfriend takes too long to make me a sandwich there is some disciplinin’ to be done… by me. It also made me think about other laws that would be useful in everyday life. I know that there is a large population of Asian women in the Randstad, especially Chinese. Coincidentally, my apartment needs to be cleaned at least once a week, and it is a wide known fact that Chinese women are very a voluntary skilled in cleaning. So why not combine these “why not introduce two matters and introduce some kind of volunstem?” Chinese cleaning sy tary Chinese cleaning service, because if you want to live in the Netherlands you have to work for it. Another phenomenon we see happening is the migration of eastern European women to the Netherlands, unfortunately some of them end up in a shady industry and end up being paid for some of their eastern European qualities. I say unfortunately because they are charging way too much. It is more reasonable to make it free of charge so I can spend my money to buy sexy lingerie for my pretty, young, high maintenance, high school girlfriend. You know what else really grinds my gears, till I have no more gears left to grind? Little children. Everywhere you go, they are there too, screaming and shouting and pooping wherever and whenever they feel like it. I say, keep them in the basement where they belong. And if you take them out of the dark, damp underground, do it preferably on a leash, with an electric shock system, that will keep them quiet. In the Randstad we have the problem of space, meaning it can get pretty crowded and that it can take some time before I am where I needed to go in the first place. Since we have the Chinese people cleaning, there are still over a billion Indian people left doing nothing else than living like a bunch of horny rabbits. They can take me on their rickshaws, whenever I need to go somewhere. If they are a little bit in shape, then Utrecht-Amsterdam only has to last half an hour. All in all, I believe that there is plenty of room to expand on the wife beating law. There are still so many unresolved issues that complicate my life and making laws that help me get what I want sounds like a good way to deal with them. And when we implement the ideas I have put forth above, we will only use resources that we have in abundance: poor people. Editor's note: This article is intended as humorous satire. The content is in no way serious nor does it represent the opinions of the author, the Ecunomist, ECU'92, or Utrecht University. 29
final SAY by Christina Schenten
This Ecunomist gave you a lot of information about human rights, and how they are violated. Your first reaction was probably the appropriate indignation everyone feels when reading about the ignorance of human rights. We need to protect human rights. Everybody has human rights. This is common sense. But are we really aware of them, especially in our daily lives? Speaking for myself, and probably for many others also, I often lose track of how lucky I am to enjoy the comfort of living in a country where I don’t have to fear hunger, where I am not denied education and where I am free in my decisions and actions. In fact, it is so easy to complain about so many things. Freedom of choice? Uh, can’t somebody just tell me what to study, there are way too many options! Upcoming elections? Well, these guys “up there” won’t change anything to our benefit anyway. We should be aware that these problems are a luxury. Of course it is hard to decide which track to choose for the future. But we should actually constantly celebrate the fact that we are able to make these important decisions ourselves, that our lives are not predetermined by poverty and discrimination, just because we might belong to the wrong religious group or have the wrong skin color. It is scandalous that so many citizens are not going to elections, where they would have the chance to express their opinion, freely and without fear. This is an affront against all those that have fought (and fight) for democracy, and those who are suffering under totalitarianism. We should appreciate our freedom of speech and action a lot more, and we should also step up more strongly when politicians try to curtail these rights. These are only two examples of a whole bunch of human rights that we come in contact with in our everyday lives. Make yourself aware of them and keep an eye on the relative importance of your own problems. It will make your own life easier and it will also raise your attention towards the violation of human rights which must be fought against. Human beings “are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.” This is what is says in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Become aware of your rights, and treat others the way you want to be treated. You will not 30 change the world by doing that, but you can make a difference!
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