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N°15 July - September 2008
« Joseph Ki-Zerbo(1922-2006) – Self made development »
by Amadé BADINI, University of Ougadougou, Burkina Faso

He is a classical intellectual moulded by the French school and university system during the colonial period who experienced in mind, body and intellect the agonies of the various abuses that colonization—its rationale, objectives and methods—inflicted upon the African, especially Black African, peoples after the turn of the century and even before. His keen awareness of his origins, his commitment to his country and people, his gratitude to his continent and the strong, healthy spirit of revolt smouldering within him combined to make him a leading activist in the early days of the national and African liberation struggles—though this constant activism was nurtured by the knowledge he had acquired in the colonial education system.
Ki-Zerbo is a true scholar indeed. He holds an agrégation in history and graduated from the Institute of Political Studies in Paris. Already at the time of his studies he personified the transdisciplinarity or ‘indisciplinarity’ (Edgar Morin) that later became the epistemological backdrop of the approach to African development issues that he was to advocate. [ ...]
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N°14 April- June 2008 "Karl Polanyi about Instituted Process of Economic Democratization and Social Learning"
by Marguerite MENDELL, Karl Polanyi Institute of Political Economy, Montreal, Canada

This text will not focus on The Great Transformation but will deal with previous and following writings from Karl Polanyi where his emphasis is on the constitutive elements that define us as social beings and as agents of social change.
To be sure, Karl Polanyi is best known for The Great Transformation. This book published in 1944 has been translated into eleven languages and is considered a twentieth century classic. In The Great Transformation, Polanyi documents the contradictory political interventions that were necessary to install the self-regulating market economy in the nineteenth century and the subsequent protective measures to prevent social collapse. The utopian vision of a free market economy could not be realized. Polanyi’s analysis is grounded in a historical and comparative framework that has challenged foundational arguments in economic theory and economic history. The failure of the self-regulating market economy was due to a misconception of how economic life is organized. All economies are embedded in social institutions; nineteenth century liberalism wrote its own obituary in its failure to understand how societies are constituted. […]
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N°13 January - March 2008 « World Social Forum- a Process in Construction »
by Chico WHITAKER, WSF committee, Saõ Paulo, Brazil

In January 26th 2008 takes place a new experiment in the World Social Forum process: the Global Day of Action (GDA), with free activities, all over the world, self organized by WSF participants, in all levels, places and themes of the struggle to overcome neoliberalism (the whole can be seen in That is to say, this year the WSF is absolutely decentralized, instead of one Forum somewhere in the world, as in Porto Alegre (2001, 2002, 2003 and 2005), Mumbai (2004) and Nairobi (2007), or three nearly simultaneous Forums as in Bamako, Caracas and Karachi in 2006. [...] Download the full text

N° 12 October - December 2007 « Economy and society – a Gandhian perspective »
by Jeevan KUMAR University of Bangalore, India

« True economics never militates against the highest ethical standard, just as all true ethics, to be worth its name, must at the same time, be also good economics… True economics stands for social justice; it promotes the good of all equally, including the weakest, and is indispensable for decent life" - M.K. Gandhi in ‘Harijan’ dt. 9th October 1937.
The critical task before a student of Gandhian economics is to define M.K. Gandhi’s understanding of economics, as distinct from the mainstream economic tradition of Adam Smith. While it is true that Gandhi was not a professional economist, his economics is rich in its comprehension of the dynamics of economic processes, and thought-provoking in its provision of creative alternatives. To Gandhi, economic activities cannot be separated from other activities. Economics is part of the way of life which is related to collective values. Economic activities cannot be abstracted from human life. Gandhi wanted to ensure distributive justice by ensuring that production and distribution are not separated. […]
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N°11 July - September 2007 « Institutional economics, social capital and the negociated economy : a Scandinavian approach of economic theory »
by Klaus NIELSEN, University of London, United Kingdom

Mental modes are formed by historical and geographical contexts. No doubt, the locations of the upbringing and adult life of an individual strongly influence his or her perceptions and ideas. Although neoclassical economics has an obvious homogenizing effect this is also the case for the identity of an individual trained as a social scientist and economist. For my part, growing up and living for most of my life in the economic and political context of a Scandinavian social democratic welfare state has strongly influenced my views and ideas as an economist. The comparative perspective developed through comparative studies and the experience of living for periods abroad has supplemented and further strengthened the identity forming role of the Scandinavian context of my social life experience.
Scandinavia, or in my case Denmark, is hardly heaven on earth. It is not difficult to identify areas in need of improvement and there are good reasons to be critical at many aspects of actual phenomenaas well as current trends of development. Even so, it is a fact that does not escape any Scandinavian with a view on your own society enlightened by a comparative perspective that Scandinavia scores favourably on a lot of indicators. […]
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N° 10 April- June 2007 « Concerning the sense of linking the local and the global level from a perspective of social economy »
by José Luis CORAGGIO, UNGS, Argentina,

In many countries, whether from the Centre or from the Periphery, national or local governments have taken initiatives for transferring productive resources to unemployed female and male workers, not only to relieve hunger and to satisfy their primary needs with their own production, but so that they may also undertake individually or by associating themselves, sustainable economic activities, expecting that, according to the common sense of liberalism, they would soon no longer need this transfer of public resources (considered as initial subsidies). It is not always easy to discover whether such policies are the public version of the second type of solution that we have formerly described. Anyhow, in a political system where there is a hegemonic force and its counter-hegemony, one thing is the intention of the public decision-maker and another thing will be the content that it will be given in the socio-political game which implements them. […] Download the full text

N° 9 January- March 2007 « African peasants and Moral Economy »
by Kazuhiko SUGIMURA Université de Fukui, Japon

Despite the continuous assistance to African countries that various international organizations and donor countries have so far given, the stagnation of rural Africa still stands out even among developing countries. In rural Africa, although commodity economies are spreading, modernization of agricultural production is not progressing. This stagnation of rural Africa must be closely related to some unique mechanisms pertaining to the African peasant economy. It is an urgent task to uncover its mechanisms. We shall pay attention to internal rather than external factors of the dynamics of African rural areas and focus on the moral economy of African peasants as a customary economy based on the right to subsistence and the norm of reciprocity. […] Download the full text

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