information regarding the countries financial and health needs. The way forward for Swaziland is not just hindered by financial difficulties, but it is also held back by its own dated attitudes and lack of education. The Swazis must determine their own fate instead of relying on handouts from foreign governments. Most importantly women must rise up and grasp their independence, rather than acting subservient to the men. This would not only improve the women’s standard of living, but would also create a second breadwinner for the family. Through talking to families while staying in Swaziland it seems that a lot of money earned by the men is wasted on excessive amounts of alcohol, instead of being reinvested in the family unit. If women become earners too this would alleviate the male dominance over family finances and potentially place far more emphasis on primary care for children.
The discouragement of subsistence farming should also be implemented in an effort to create more taxpayers. Currently, only 15% of the population pay tax on their earnings. With so few tax payers Swaziland cannot invest money in hospitals or other nationalised institutions. I saw for myself hospitals with blood stained sheets and used needles that were simply left lying around. This practice does nothing to help prevent the spread of AIDS. African countries like Swaziland must help themselves before we can help them. Foreign aid in the form of financial support is simply not enough to create stable African nations. The countries in question must enact effective cultural change and a sensible money management plan before foreign aid can make a lasting difference. Philip Oldershaw is a third year PPE student at the University of York.
For more interesting articles on either of the above articles see “Mr Benn’s fancy dress” “A note on taxation in development” “Compassionate rationality” www.clubofpep.org/vox
In order to combat the AIDS crisis a further adaptation in Swazi culture is required. The nation still actively promotes polygamy, although it has become far too expensive for a man to support both his children and multiple wives. The notion of polygamy however, also promotes a casual attitude towards sex. This attitude is not helped by the exploits of King Mswati III, who just two months ago picked his 14th wife. His policy decisions regarding the AIDS crisis are also highly questionable. In an attempt to control the spread of the disease he banned all young girls from having sex for four years. Unsurprisingly the ban was highly unpopular among young people throughout the country. Any man who contravened the chastity rules would be fined one cow or £152.
Perhaps one of the defining features of the second half of the twentieth century has been the rise of multinational firms, swept irresistibly into our lives on a wave of globalisation. These firms have altered the nature of our social discourse, our preferences as consumers and the very town centres we live in. Naomi Klein explores this theme in great detail in her book “No Logo,” which seems to typify a growing feeling of ill will against corporations such as Nike, whom she blames for everything from the global economic divide to ghettoisation and the break down of free speech. A fully free-market economy may be undesirable, but it is entirely false to claim that it’s only outputs are the insubstantial metaphors of brand image. The basis upon which Klein’s argument appears to rest is that large corporations today are able to mould their brand names to fit within changing socio-cultural fashions without - 6 -
In this issue of VOX, topics covered include climate change, foreign aid and the raise of multination firms.