Friday, June 20, 2008


Its been a long time since i wrote my last post. i must say that a lot has changed since then..a lot..

First of all, im a married man now..that by itself proves how different i am now. The moment when I grab my father in law's hand and said the pledge to take responsibility over his daughter, I felt like the whole world is on my shoulder, I never looked at the world the same way before. A lot of things that I have to change and adjust. A lot of thinking, deciding, compromising and consoling. Well, they say that this is what we have to go through, sooner or later..and here I am.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

March for Justice

I am very proud to be among the crowd of lawyers that marched from Palace of Justice (POJ) to the gate of PM's office to serve two memorandums to the Prime Minister. I did not actually planned to go there, but my conscience drove me to the Palace of Justice that morning.
I arrived at the POJ at 9 a.m. which was quite early, then I entered into the Federal Court to watch the proceedings while waiting for others to join the march. Fortunately, the proceeding that I was in was tried by that particular 'Judge' in question. From my observation, I could tell that his mind was quite disturbed that morning. He could not focus on the trial as if he was worrying about something else.

Close to 10 a.m. my friend called me and I went out to the stairs in front of the POJ to join the crowd. Surprisingly, there were many prominent lawyers, including senior partners of law firms who were among the crowd. I must say that at that point of time, I was very proud of myself for being a member of Malaysian Bar, which is the only professional body in Malaysia that ever uphold the cause of justice without any fear or favour.

To reminisce the struggle that the Malaysian Bar has involved in to uphold justice and Democracy, some of the incidents that involve Malaysian Bar was in;

1988 when the sacking of former Lord President Tun Mohd Salleh bin Abas.
1998 when Zainur Zakaria was convicted for a contempt of court while defending former deputy Prime Minister Dato' Seri Anwar Ibrahim

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


LONG before I was even born, my father Tengku Mohamed Hamzah, the Menteri Besar of Kelantan, had been close to the royal family of Kedah. In the late 1950s, my father used to call on Ayah (Tunku Abdul Rahman) at The Residency whenever he was in Kuala Lumpur to attend the Rulers’ Conference. As for me, I met Ayah regularly while studying economics at Queen’s University in Belfast, when I was also Secretary-General of the Malay Society of United Kingdom.

In February 1962, when I was in my final year reading law at Lincoln's Inn, my father had a fatal stroke, thus forcing my early return to Malaya. My plane took me to Singapore. Ayah was kind enough to have sent a special plane to transport me from Singapore to Kota Bharu.
He asked me to remain in the country and become politically involved in Kelantan. However, I was not quite ready for electoral politics.

In the absence of my father, I had a responsibility to manage my family affairs, and make a mark, if possible, in the financial sector. Nevertheless, thanks to Ayah, I was myself inspired to swap my Saville-Row city suits for traditional Malay garb and to venture forth into the uncertainties of Kelantan politics. The fact that he was a prince did not inhibit him from going to the kampung to win support for self-government and later independence. I came to realise through the sheer force of Ayah’s living example that royal antecedence did not give us any special privileges in an independent Malaya – apart from those dictated by protocol – and that we would have to take our place as citizens on par with the rest.

Ayah was a Malay gentleman who was steeped in adat. He was extremely hospitable to his guests. Despite the great age gap between both of us, whenever I visited Ayah, I would find him literally waiting for me at the door. The tragic part of it all was that despite his good intentions and great concern for the Malay community, Ayah was portrayed as being anti-Malay in the aftermath of May 13 and his name sullied. Nothing could have been further from the truth. It was Ayah who had ensured Malay predominance in the country, to the extent that he was willing to allow Singapore to leave peacefully in the larger interest of the Malay agenda, despite the political cost. Again it was Ayah who ensured that certain provisions and safeguards were included in the Constitution to protect the special position of the Malays. He also ensured that the Civil Service, Military and Police Force would be headed by Malays. It was during Ayah’s premiership that massive rural development programmes were carried out to eradicate poverty among the Malays: a nascent class of Malay entrepreneurs was created through the Bumiputra Economic Congresses of 1965 and 1968, plus institutions such as Bank Bumiputra Malaysia Berhad, PERNAS (National Equity Corporation), MARA (Council of Trust for the Indigenous People) and FAMA (Federal Agricultural Marketing Authority) were established.

Despite these initiatives, efforts were directed at discrediting and nullifying Ayah’s contributions towards Malay pre-dominance in the country. Although Ayah was the mastermind behind the grand design to help the Malays, the Malays chose to see Tun Razak’s sole hand in the various departmental projects that were carried out during Ayah’s era. It was also unfortunate that my close association with (Tun) Dr Mahathir (Mohamad) was misconstrued. Ayah had fathered me politically in Umno. I was of course considerably more pro-Tunku than Mahathir or anyone else, but my sympathies for Mahathir upset Ayah. When Ayah retired, he was in financial straits. The Government allocated a bungalow in the Federal Capital for him to stay for life. This was the government quarters at No. 1, Kenny Road (now Jalan Bukit Tunku). When I became Finance Minister, I felt that as a national icon, Ayah must be given the opportunity to own the house. I discussed the matter with Tun Hussein Onn and it was decided that the house should be sold to Ayah at a special price normally fixed for the benefit of the disadvantaged, namely one-eighth of the market value. Since even that was too expensive for Ayah, I was more than happy to arrange for the money.

In 1989, differences between Mahathir and me resulted in the formation of Semangat 46, of which I was the president, and Ayah the adviser. Ayah became the first registered member of Semangat 46; Tun Hussein Onn was the second in line. It was Ayah who insisted that a party be formed when Umno Baru was registered. He was concerned that having blacklisted leaders of old Umno, the leadership of Umno Baru would bar the supporters and sympathisers of the so-called Team B from joining Umno Baru. If these political activists were alienated, he feared that they might join opposition parties like PAS and Parti Rakyat and might not return to Umno. Although he was instrumental in setting up Semangat 46, Tunku also advised me to keep an open mind because he was concerned about Malay unity. He advised me that in the event there was an opportunity for both sides to come together, then Semangat 46 should be dissolved. Even in his old age, Ayah was determined to set things right. As in Ayah’s era as Prime Minister, his was still the healing touch.

Born on 13th April 1937, into the Kelantan royal household, Tengku Tan Sri Razaleigh Hamzah, affectionately known as Ku Li, has been an MP since 1969. In Umno, he was elected to the Supreme Council in 1971, and became vice-president in 1975. He also served as Finance Minister under Prime Minister Tun Hussein Onn and is currently the MP for Gua Musang.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Positive Revolution

The positive revolution is a worldwide revolution promoted by Edward de Bono in his book, Handbook for the Positive Revolution (1991), also known as "the Yellow Book." It is the culmination of many of his approaches to the future, in particular his notion of "The Happiness Purpose."

The common current way of solving problems and differences is through the use of opposing forces in conflict. This was the negative revolution. Force is applied to an enemy with a goal of overthrowing it by using overwhelming power in direct confrontation. This system requires two polarized "sides" which attack each other head-on.

The positive revolution is a new paradigm of the use of a variety of forces to go around the enemy and solve problems in new ways. The focus is not on vanquishing the enemy, but on building a better structure. The energy is directed toward construction rather than destruction.
(See Yellow Book introduction)

Why do we need a positive revolution?
An emphasis on negativity seriously impedes progress. In order to go forward, we need to develop and nurture creative, constructive, and design energies instead of energies spent in destruction and conflict.

Humanity needs to change its perceptions and values, placing higher worth on that which is constructive and creative. An emphasis on productiveness supports progress, because the more you invest in the positive revolution, the more you (and everyone else) will get out of it. Furthermore, it's fun! The world would spin on its axis a bit easier if there were more fun and laughter.
In a positive revolution, there are no enemies.
(See Yellow Book introduction)

What is wrong with our current system?
In our current system, people in power use their resources and intelligence to defend their position and survive. They look after their own interests shortsightedly, without taking a longer view of the impact their actions have on the greater world. Intelligent people, who should know better, sling mud, confuse issues, attack, criticize and blame others.
Negative revolutionaries also take themselves too seriously. In our current system, having a light heart and a sense of humour often precludes getting your voice heard in the halls of power.
Many participants in our system seem to believe it's a "zero-sum game." In game theory, a "zero-sum game" is one in which someone must be defeated in order for someone to win. In other words, the winner takes all, and all other players lose. Another way to look at it is as if the "prizes" in the game are finite, and so what is gained by the winner is lost by the loser. Life is not like this; win-win solutions and compromises are possible, and usually preferable.
Our Western system is like two people in a tug of war: both sides are expending a lot of energy, but nobody is accomplishing or producing much.
(See Yellow Book, pp. 1-7)

Is the positive revolution a political party?
No. Political parties encourage polarization and regarding other parties as "the enemy." It is possible to use the techniques of the positive revolution to work toward a variety of particular goals, apart from or in concert with specific political agendas.
Also, making the positive revolution a political party would encourage polarization by creating an "Us and Them" mentality; it's more in tune with the positive revolution's principles to help standing parties work together toward common positive goals. Furthermore, since the goals of the positive revolution are wide-based, constructive and positive, it's reasonable to believe that all other parties would benefit from working toward them. If a party cannot support positive goals, it becomes necessary to question the basis of that party, and for the party to explain why it clings to negative goals.
The FAQ maintainers believe that political factions themselves are indigenous to the modern political scene, yet not in keeping with the positive revolution's long-term success. Particularly in the United States, two-party politics leads to extreme polarization, with political action committees, lobbies, and similar groups affecting the system as more parties might in another system (but with less real power for minority groups). We believe that the melting of party lines, and the eventual obsolescence of insular political factions, should be an early step toward a more positive future.
(See Yellow Book, pp. 152-154)

How would a positive revolution work?
In essence, old-style revolution is concerned with hard forces directed in narrow channels toward a provided goal. By contast, the positive revolution is concerned with more organic action and creativity, and generating situations that inspire and nurture growth.
Some examples:
Instead of attacking something, it's better to build something new and better.
Instead of criticizing, create a better design.
Instead of using hard-edged "rock logic," use flowing "water logic."
Change comes through perception, rather than violence, and is powered by information rather than weapons.
Instead of relying on a centrally-organized system, the revolution grows from a self-organizing system.
Instead of providing direction through ideology and dogma, create a flexibility that allows changes in direction.
(See Yellow Book, pp. 6-7)

What is the foundation of the positive revolution?
The positive revolution is built on three solid foundations -- Principles, Methods and Power -- in the same way a stool has three legs that make it stable on rough ground.
Principles ... design with direction rather than destruction
Methods ... of change
Power ... of perception, information and effectiveness rather than violence and destruction
(See Yellow Book, p. 9 and forward)

What are the five principles of the positive revolution?
The symbol of the positive revolution is the open hand. The five principles can be mapped onto the fingers to help remember them.
Effectiveness: making sure that what you intend to do gets done. Symbolized by the thumb, without which the hand is not effective.
Constructiveness: ensuring that everything you do follows a positive direction. Symbolized by the index finger, the finger used to point a direction.
Respect: treating others as human beings, with human rights and human dignity. A revolution by people is also for people, so respect is essential. As this is considered the most important principle of all, it's symbolized by the longest finger, the middle finger... contrary to popular usage. :-)
Self-Improvement: continuously increasing positive attitude, habits and skills while decreasing negative ones. Every individual has the right as well as the duty to make himself or herself better. This is symbolized by the ring finger, which is seldom most prominent in our actions, but is always there.
Contribution: giving what you can toward bringing the positive revolution to pass. Symbolized by the little finger, meaning that even the smallest contribution is worthwhile, and will add up eventually.
(See Yellow Book, pp. 11-13)

What are the methods of the positive revolution?
As a painter uses a paintbrush to paint and a carpenter uses a saw to cut wood, a revolutionary needs tools to create revolution. The tools used in the positive revolution are many and include the following methods:
Changing perceptions
Creating new symbols
Altering thinking methods
Naming things
Educating on positive methods in positive ways
Creating organisations to facilitate action
(See Yellow Book, pp. 61-118)

Why is a positive direction so important?
Construction is action used in building and making things happen, always in the positive sense. Activity by itself is not necessarily constructive; to determine if an action is constructive, ask what is created when the activity is over. For example, a tug-of-war is not constructive, although in the sense of recreation and fun, it might be considered constructive. Passively watching television is generally not constructive, but time-filling instead. Planting a seed, cooking a meal, and creating a piece of art are all constructive.
Construction is the true opposite of drift, so in order to be effective, action must move in a direction. A person must choose to direct action positively, rather than allowing a passive drift, or choosing to act negatively. Acting negatively is often much easier than acting positively -- which demands effort and construction rather than just talk and destruction -- so people commonly fall into the habit of negativity or passivity, allowing themselves to simply drift through situations.
Without action, there is no revolution, only dissipated energy. Therefore, action in the positive direction fuels the positive revolution.
It's beginning to sound like the positive revolution is all effort and concentration, and lots of hard work. In fact, being happy while working toward positive goals is very important. It is important to make positive decisions, but also to enjoy life, friends, entertainment and so on as well; it asks no more of you than what you can afford to give at the moment, and reminds us that every contribution is valuable, no matter how small.
Many people have found that pursuing enjoyment as a total purpose robs them of the ability to truly enjoy a rich life. Achievement is one of life's more durable joys, and achievement comes through construction.
(See Yellow Book, pp. 14-19)

What are the goals and techniques of self-improvement?
Self-improvement can take many forms. Here are four possible ways of improving the self:
Developing positive attitudes, habits, and skills.
Reducing the domination of negative attitudes and habits.
Getting better at whatever you're doing -- your work, your job, or a specific task.
Acquiring specific new skills.
Slow, day-to-day self-improvement is a good goal.
(See Yellow Book, pp. 43-44)

How can we develop positive attitude and habit?
While the general goal of self-improvement should be toward refocusing attitudes and actions in a positive direction, it's often helpful to break down that goal into smaller components. There are many paths to this goal, and they tend to include the following:
Treating others with respect, even those you may disagree with. This is crucial to working the positive revolution.
Opening your mind to new things and being more active in pursuing new and old interests.
Becoming more interesting in your discussions, by putting more effort and thought into the style and content of your communication.
Trying to be helpful and agreeable; trying to build bridges rather than defensive walls between people.
Assessing what you're doing consciously, to make sure you are acting by choice and in positive directions. Praising and appreciating the things you do well, and noting the things you don't succeed at, so you can target them for improvement.
(See Yellow Book, pp. 45-46)

How can we be effective, and what are the joys of effectiveness?
Effectiveness is setting out to do something and doing it. Effectiveness requires:
Control of your own actions and knowledge of what you're trying to do.
Confidence that you can achieve the goal.
Discipline to have patience, perseverance and concentration on the way to the goal.
Set yourself small steps and carry them out. When you've completed something, pause and say: "I have done that task and I have done it well."
The joys of effectiveness include:
As we get involved in something, we become more interested in it, in ourselves and in others. In addition, we often become more interested in the process of effectiveness itself, wondering why we were effective in one situation and not in another.
As we develop the discipline of effectiveness, all tasks get easier. We decide what to do, and then we do it. Action is taken and effects can be counted. We gain more control and power in our lives. There is joy and pride in achievement, and our achievements grow as we become more effective. We become more valuable to our families, our friends, our employers, and others who have contact with our work.
(See Yellow Book, pp. 33-39)

How should we evaluate actions and other people?
Of any action, ask:
"Is it constructive?"
"To which area or areas does it contribute?"
Of a person, ask:
"What is her contribution?" instead of "Is she right or wrong?"
"Is she selfish?" Selfish people should be noted and discouraged.
(See Yellow Book, p. 26 and pp. 74-81)

What are the circles of concern?
Circles of concern indicate areas in which a contribution's effect is felt. There are three concentric circles: Self, Local, and Country/World (see below):
The circles are concentric to indicate that a contribution often affects more than one area. For example, if you learn to read and write, it is a contribution to your country as well as yourself. This model reminds us that contributions that seem small and personal often have wider influence than we may think.
(See Yellow Book, pp. 24-26)

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

ntah ape-ape ntah

Recently I went to a 'team building' camp sponsored by my firm in Genting Highland. I was not sure whether to go or not, but what the hell, I thought that maybe I would gain some experience there. Went with my buddies, Mahir and Norwen riding Mahir's Celica. We arrived pretty late as we planned, using the excuse of sending Norwen to the clinic coz he threw up (which was of course not true).

During the boring morning session, suddenly one of the partners decided to send me to make a presentation in front of everybody at the front of the hall about the firm's management. I didn't know what the hell I was presenting about, but I just talked on and on...

I have to admit that being there was a boring experience, except for the Karaoke session, where I sang 2 songs. Being 'tak kisah' as I always am, I was the one who pioneered the session, where nobody else wouldn't go and sing on the stage. Everyone seemed stunned as they only saw me in the office as a 'good silent' boy who does not have the nuts for anything (maybe I am).

Early next morning, me and my buddies escaped using some stupid reason which I can't remember (Im sure it was a very stupid excuse) where other lawyers and staffs went to some 'telematch activities'.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Microcredit: False Hopes and Real Possibilities

Making credit accessible to poor people is a laudable aim. But as a tool for fighting global poverty, microcredit should be judged by its effectiveness, not good intentions.

How effective is micro credit as a poverty-fighting tool? In 1976, Muhammad Yunus, the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize winner, launched the pioneering institution in the field, the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh. The industry’s growth has been explosive since Grameen opened its doors. According to a recent story in The Economist, “there are now some 10,000 microfinance institutions lending an average of less than $300 to 40 million poor borrowers worldwide.” These institutions have made important advances relative to the array of moneylenders and pawnbrokers that had previously controlled the provisioning of banking services to the world’s poor.

At the same time, considered on its own, Grameen-style initiatives have limited capacity to fight global poverty, especially when placed in a policy setting dominated by neoliberalism.

Neoliberalism became the ascendant economic model throughout the developing world in the late 1970s, at roughly the same time that the Grameen Bank began operations. The main tenets of neoliberalism include macroeconomic policies focused on eliminating inflation rather than expanding job opportunities; cutting government subsidies -- including credit subsidies -- and related systems of support for domestic businesses, including micro enterprises; and opening domestic markets to imports, multinational investors and speculative financiers. These policies in developing countries have produced slower economic growth, increasing inequality, and no progress in reducing poverty -- that is, an insurmountable headwind countering the efforts of the Grameen Bank and its confederates.

How the Grameen Model Works
Regardless of the larger policy issues, the Grameen model has made undeniable contributions in bringing financial services to poor people. The first contribution is the simple recognition that credit and related services -- including bank accounts and insurance policies -- can be important resources for advancing the well being of the poor, just as they are with everyone else. The second is in targeting women as loan recipients, empowering the women within their families and helping them to sustain their home-based micro enterprises.

Grameen’s most important advance has been to develop an alternative to traditional collateral as a basis for lending to the poor. Under a traditional system, you can’t obtain a loan until you have sufficient assets to surrender to the bank, moneylender, or pawnbroker in the event that you fail to make loan repayments. But poor people, by definition, have few assets to pledge -- perhaps a few livestock animals, a small plot of land, or jewelry. Losing these few assets to a creditor would likely bring destitution. Grameen’s innovation was to create borrowing groups, typically of five women. Each group member could receive loans only as long as everyone made payments. This promotes both mutual support among group members as well as peer pressure to keep up with payments. It also created opportunities for large numbers of poor people to become creditworthy for the first time.

Counteracting these positive innovations, the average lending rates by Grameen and other micro finance institutions far exceed standard measures of affordability. Real annual interest rates (i.e. after controlling for inflation) on group loans range between 30-50%, according to a 2004 survey in Microbanking Bulletin. These rates are perhaps lower than what moneylenders typically charge, but remain punishingly high. Imagine a working class family in the U.S. taking out a $100,000 mortgage to purchase a home, then having to pay $30-50,000 per year in interest alone in order to keep their home. Defenders of such arrangements in the micro finance world contend that, accounting for the risks to the lender, these rates are appropriate; and that anything less will not attract profit-seeking bankers into this market. According to this approach, micro finance can only reach its full global potential -- lifting out of poverty the more than 1 billion people of the world now living on roughly $1/day -- if it can attract profit-seekers into the business, not just aid agencies and private do-gooders.

In addition, the Grameen Bank has long prided itself on maintaining repayment rates as high as 95%. However, the accuracy of these figures have been disputed, including in a careful Wall Street Journal report in 2001. Some observers contend that, in fact, Grameen allows distressed borrowers to roll over or stretch out their repayments rather than declaring them in default. This may well be the most effective and humane approach under the circumstances. But again, it is clearly inconsistent with the hard-nosed business model supported by an increasing share of micro finance enthusiasts.

Context is Everything
But whether the credit terms are low or high, micro enterprises run by poor people cannot be broadly successful simply because they have increased opportunities to borrow money. For large numbers of micro enterprises to be successful, they also need access to decent roads and affordable means of moving their products to markets. They need marketing support to reach customers. They need a vibrant, well-functioning domestic market itself that encompasses enough people with enough money to buy what these enterprises have to sell. Finally, micro businesses benefit greatly from an expanding supply of decent wage-paying jobs in their local economies. This is the single best way of maintaining a vibrant domestic market. In addition, when the wage-paying job market is strong, it means that the number of people trying to survive as micro entrepreneurs falls. This reduces competition among micro businesses and thereby improves the chances that any given micro enterprise will succeed.

These additional measures for supporting micro enterprises -- a decent transportation infrastructure, support in marketing the products of micro enterprises, a high level of domestic demand, and an abundance of decent wage-earning jobs -- have all been closely associated with what used to be termed the “developmental state” economic model. Different versions of the developmental state model -- including state socialism, import-substituting industrialization, and the East Asian state-directed economies -- prevailed in developing countries for the first 30 years after World War II, before these models were overtaken by neoliberalism. Each of these developmental state models encountered serious problems. But on balance they all achieved successes in promoting economic growth and greater equality. This is in contrast with the neoliberal record of declining average growth rates and rising inequality.

One of the key institutions of the developmental state model that was largely dismantled under neoliberalism is the state-directed development bank. State-directed development banks provided cheap, long-term credit for domestic businesses that enabled these businesses to develop their productive and marketing capabilities at a sustainable pace. The MIT development economist Alice Amsden concludes in her major study The Rise of the Rest: Challenges to the West from Late-Industrializing Economies: “From the viewpoint of long-term capital supply for public and private investment, development banks…were of overwhelming importance.” Amsden documents this in the cases of Mexico, Chile, Korea, Brazil, and Indonesia. Amsden also points out that the government’s role in providing subsidized long-term credit was substantial even in developing countries where development banks themselves were of relatively minor importance. These cases included Malaysia, Thailand, Taiwan, and Turkey.
It is true that, in the countries that Amsden cites, the subsidized credit went to large-scale enterprises focused on breaking into export markets. But the general approach can also be adapted to dramatically expand the availability of affordable credit to small and micro enterprises producing primarily for domestic markets.

A Proposal for Kenya
A good case study of how this might be done is Kenya, where, under the auspices of the International Poverty Centre of the UN Development Program, two colleagues and I are working on an “employment-targeted” development model that gives prominence to issues of credit access for the poor. At present, Kenya already has a widespread system of micro-finance institutions in place. Its commercial banking system is also generally well-developed.
Despite this, Kenyan farmers, small formal businesses and informal micro enterprises are starved for credit. This is because commercial banks do not generally lend to these sectors while the micro finance institutions themselves do not have sufficient resources to provide large-scale funds.

The solution seems straightforward: to bring into much closer alliance the formal commercial banking system and the micro-finance institutions. Our proposal is to inject a major pool of subsidized credit equal to roughly 20% of total private investment in Kenya. These funds would be made available to commercial banks on condition that they in turn make loans to the microfinance institutions. The micro-lenders will be far more adept than the traditional commercial banks at making loans to small businesses, informal enterprises, and agricultural small holders.

We propose that government guarantees be set at 75% of the total amount of loans that commercial banks make to microfinance institutions. This will enable interest rates to fall dramatically -- specifically by the amount at which the loan is being guaranteed and the bank’s risk is correspondingly reduced. This means that, with a 75% government loan guarantee, if the market rate for a micro-credit loan was 40%, the subsidized rate would be 10%. This would make the loan affordable for borrowers while still maintaining market incentives for lenders. The creative methods of establishing eligibility for loans pioneered by the Grameen Bank could be applied effectively within this framework.

Even assuming default rates on these guaranteed loans as high as 30%, the total cost to the Kenyan government of paying off the guaranteed portion of the loans to creditors would be no more than about 5% of its total fiscal budget. This is a relatively small price for creating credit access for the poor throughout the country at interest rates 75% below market rates.
This example suggests that the way to realize the promise of micro credit is to embed the best features of the model within a broader developmental strategy for promoting growth, decent employment, and poverty reduction. Operating within the context of a neoliberal policy framework, micro credit initiatives will continue to face overwhelming obstacles in fighting global poverty.

Robert Pollin is professor of economics, co-director of the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, and a contributor to Foreign Policy In Focus ( His most recent books include An Employment-Targeted Economic Program for Kenya (forthcoming 2007 UNDP co-authored) and An Employment-Targeted Economic Program for South Africa (2006, UNDP and Edward Elgar, co-authored) .

Thursday, July 19, 2007

intellectual fraud

"Augustus was sensible that mankind is governed by names; nor was he deceived in his expectation, that the senate and people would submit to slavery, provided they were respectfully assured that they still enjoyed their ancient freedom." Chapter 3 (Gibbons)