out-of-reach elections and Free market hangover

This morning I was going to attend “Election Insights Breakfast” at the University of Toronto to hear what the experts have to say about the elections on both sides of the border. I haven’t been sleeping that well lately – my brain seems to be in overdrive with all the stimulation of a big university, big city stuff; talks, panels, interesting conversations that inspire me to think what needs to and can be done… It is a bit overwhelming after having lived some time in a dark box (the word ‘intellectual wasteland’ came to mind first but that would be a bit too harsh). So I didn’t set the alarm and decided that this week can be my ‘listening to wise indigenous women’ week instead of trailing male (almost exclusively white) experts on elections (this one is not the only panel on the topic on campus but so far, I haven’t seen a single woman as a panelist or discussant)

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Market economy exploded – what’s next?

Like most people, I’m disgusted about the US government bailout (‘rescue’) plan of $700 billion. I am also trying to grapple with what happened – while I understand some of the reasons behind this ‘worst ever economic crisis since the Depression’: the subprime crisis, the collapse of the housing bubble in across the US, soaring oil prices, I’m having hard time to get my head around the details, such as the basic terminology used when discussing the economy and the current crisis. Since I started my Saturday subscription of the Globe and Mail, I’ve been religiously reading the Business Section (which I never did before; Business sections of any newspaper used to go straight to the recycling bin with the Sports section before I started reading the paper). But my head starts spinning with the terminology – I don’t know what equity, liquidity, toxic security and the other terms I can’t even remember actually mean. I don’t know what the difference is between mortgage and a regular loan (except that the former is a loan for your house) and after consulting Wikipedia, I’m not much wiser (despite Wikipedia’s best efforts).

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women in charge – long live the peasant!

In Rwanda, women have taken charge of running the country since the 1994 genocide. “In the 14 years since the genocide, Rwanda has emerged as a leading example of how empowering women can transform post-conflict economies and fight poverty.” I read this in a recent Guardian Weekly (June 13, 08) and found it very interesting. But after finishing the short piece (written by Anthony Faiola for Washington Post), my question was: what is this piece doing at the very back of the paper (on p. 42) under the header “International Development”? I almost missed the article – I was about to recycle the paper when I noticed it.

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