economics

Corruption and Fraud

Pattern number within this pattern set: 
13
Version: 
3
Verbiage for pattern card: 

Corruption and fraud are, in this context, when an entity in power does things that are dishonest or contrary to commonly accepted ethics and laws.  This generally involves bribes or intimidation behind the scene.  Profit and power are usually the driving force behind such actions.  Go figure.

Criminalizing Poverty

Pattern number within this pattern set: 
20
Version: 
3
Verbiage for pattern card: 

Poverty can be one of the most dangerous things to the stability of a society.  It is especially dangerous to those in power if poverty is viewed as being a failure of the system.  If the poverty stricken are viewed as being personally responsible for their state however, then it is seen as their fault and not those in positions of power.

Sustaining World Hunger

Pattern number within this pattern set: 
24
Version: 
3
Verbiage for pattern card: 

Due to factors like poverty, displacement of resources, and environmental degradation many in the world go hungry every day.  One of the largest factors may well be that feed is viewed as a commodity to be purchased and sold, and not a human right.  In this way "the market" is responsible, not individuals, corporations, or the world community.

Profit-motivated Health Care

Pattern number within this pattern set: 
25
Version: 
3
Verbiage for pattern card: 

Pharmaceutical and health insurance companies profit off of disease and injury, and so it is in their fiscal interest to keep patients ill and/or injured.  Band-aid "solutions" and expensive procedures target symptoms, instead than causes of diseases in this pattern.  Health through prevention should be studiously avoided as it leads to "prevention" in profits as well.

Environmental Degradation

Pattern number within this pattern set: 
3
Version: 
3
Verbiage for pattern card: 

The natural environment; including but not limited to soil, water, air, flora, and fauna, has a natural balance. Through pollution, over usage, and lack of stewardship, the balance is broken causing the natural networks that sustain life on this planet to suffer.

Violence

Pattern number within this pattern set: 
2
Version: 
3
Verbiage for pattern card: 

Much can be achieved through dominance and submission by using violence. If the subject cannot be subdued psychologically through fear, then injury can be inflicted. If injury is not enough, then the subject can ultimately be eliminated by murder. This is ultimately the underlying threat of violence.

Inteligencia Cívica

Group Name: 
Spanish translations of Liberating Voices card verbiage
Version: 
1
Verbiage for pattern card: 

Inteligencia cívica describe que tan bien grupos de personas persiguen fines cívicos a través de medios cívicos.  Inteligencia Cívica hace la pregunta crítica: Es la sociedad suficientemente inteligente para afrontar los desafíos que se le presentan?  La inteligencia cívica requiere aprendizaje y enseñanza. También requiere meta-cognición – el pensar y realmente mejorar como pensamos y trabajamos juntos.

Good Development

Prateek Trivedi
Preserving cultural and ecological integrity in the face of a rapidly approaching, uncompromising modern reality
Version: 
1
Problem: 

 'Less-developed' societies are faced with an imminent choice of how they will use their resources, particularly land itself, and 'develop'. For most, this choice does not present itself to them and they find themselves mere bystanders as the world around them is reshaped and exploited. External parties seem  at liberty to plan the exploitation of these lands as if the resident communities can have no effective aspirations of their own. There is an increasing pressure of modernization, which stresses individualization over communal ownership. This is particularly dangerous as it will result in a struggle that could leave most with a diminished quality of life as well as heightened tension and conflict. 

Context: 

Rangelands constitute approximately 70% of the world's land area. In Kenya and indeed much of Africa, these rangelands are predominantly inhabited by semi-nomadic pastoralists facing the fast approaching modern world. They find themselves with inferior opportunities to integrate themselves into the modern economy and are torn between the simple but beautiful struggle of their traditional livelihood and the elusive promise of modern prosperity.

Discussion: 

In the modern age of fiat money, everything is defined against imaginary and, ultimately , unrealistic standards. As the modern economic system of the world faces inevitable collapse, many in the 'developing world' are faced with a hard choice and a golden opportunity. We need not follow in the mistakes of our more economically-developed counterparts, but over all we should be prudent and intelligent in our definition of value. If one is to define 'value' as a monetary or immediate concept, as is the acceptable practice of the modern economy, these rangelands and communally-owned lands will be of low priority to the policy maker- eventually becoming an easy target for wanton exploitation. 'Exploitation' can also be defined as any implementation of a design that perpetuates the singularity in value. Communities should therefore objectify value in multiple-use and develop means of benefitting from this multi-faceted value, as opposed to getting carried away with the deceptive benefits of single-use value. 

Recognizing a community's resources and thus its leverage is the first step. There has been a surge of community conservancies in Kenya registering land as 'group ranches', something that emerged in the context of potential eco-tourism revenue. However, the definition of these resources was often narrowly confined to its wildlife populations, most of which traverse but are not confined to these areas. There was seen to be little else in the way of economic potential and the primary activity of wildlife tourism often comes into conflict with the existing livelihood of the majority, livestock husbandry. It is important to recognize that many areas lack sufficient wildlife presence to attract or support tourism on any significant scale. There is a need, therefore, to develop more diverse means of buffering these communities against the encroaching modern world, so that they can preserve ecological integrity and safeguard their most important resource, the land. 

Solution: 

The community conservancy concept is an example of how a community can organize itself to improve the management of its resources, as well as formally delineating an area of communal ownership. It serves as a filter for development as well as an economic arbitrator between the community and the modern economy. In this way it can encourage the preservation of cultural integrity. The objective is thus to develop the community conservancy into an organization that not only manages an area for environmental health, but acts as a bridge for economic opportunity originating outside an area. For example, economic activities with limited potential for scale, such as gum collection and agroforestry, can provide cumulatively significant benefit when managed centrally. Most importantly the conservancy serves to affirm the common objective of healthy land and allows a community to be selective in how it develops economically. 

Media Intervention

Pattern ID: 
427
Pattern number within this pattern set: 
132
Douglas Schuler
Public Sphere Project (CPSR)
Version: 
2
Problem: 

Corporate media exists to make as large a profit as possible; responsiveness to the public interest is secondary at best. Like a drumbeat, its endless repetition presents an unremitting pulse to our lives. Corporate media is scripted by people far away from the "ordinary" people who spend their time with it. Alternatives to corporate media exist of course, but the audiences are substantially smaller; the alternatives generally have lower "production values" (due to fewer resources) and are much harder to find. Consequently they are enjoyed only by the more intrepid among us. People and organizations who struggle to interject alternative messages into the public consciousness via the media — even with paid ads — will be soundly rebuffed. For example, the AdBusters Foundation has repeatedly attempted to get their "Buy Nothing" piece aired on television in the US. only to be turned down by the major networks. MoveOn's "Bush in 30 Seconds" was also rejected by the networks. Environmental organizations have trouble getting their messages aired but corporate ads on the same themes are aired without questions.

Context: 

When access to media is blocked...

Discussion: 

Until fairly recently, it was a commonly held notion in the United States that "the people owned the airwaves." Although that notion has apparently vanished from the minds of many politicians and government regulators, people periodically reassert this right when other routes have failed.

With few exceptions, access to media is generally blocked to citizen and, especially, alternative viewpoints. The choices of media often boil down to state-run media (often propaganda) or purely commercial (or a combination of the two) or none at all.

In the US particularly but in other countries as well people are bombarded with images and ideas that are generally cut from the same cloth. Whether news, "reality" shows, police dramas, talk shows, or commercials television is a seamless and impenetrable wall that is assiduously protected from invasion. Media Intervention is one tactic to fight this particular and ubiquitous form of censorship. In this case, the media truly is the message: while the content itself is commercialistic, addicting, intellectually and psychologically (and emotionally? and politically?) stultifying (debilitating?), the sheer immensity and second order effects of the media as a societal phenomenon make it impossible to ignore. It's a problem for everyone when the "vast wasteland" grows vaster.

Media intervention comes in many guises and new approaches are devised fairly frequently. There are vast differences in the ways that this pattern is employed — all the way from the most polite and prescribed to the most overt and officially prohibited. This pattern is general enough to encompass Culture Jamming (Lasn, ____), Textual Poaching (Jenkins, ____), subvertisements, "disciplining the media" and "Billboard Adjustment."

Randolph Sill carried out a brilliant Media Interventio with aplomb in Seattle in the summer of 2003. He attended a televised Mariner's baseball game with a sign that was adorned with the number of Mariner star player, Ichiro Suzuki, and some writing in Kanji. Unbeknownst to the non-Japanese speakers at the game and, in particular, the people who were televising the game who captured Sill and the sign that he enthusiastically brandished whenever Ichiro was at bat, the Kanji on one side read, "President Bush is a monkey's butt" which was complemented on the other side with the claim that "Americans are ashamed of their corrupt president" (Jenniges, 2003).

In the late 1990's, the Barbie Liberation Organization engineered a similarly clever caper which ultimately was covered with bemusement on the television evening news in a number of U.S. cities. The intervention began with the purchase of several ultra-feminine "Barbie" dolls and the ultra-masculine "G.I. Joes" "action figures" (not dolls). Back in their secret laboratory, the BLO surgically altered the dolls, performing a gender swap (or "correction" as they called it) of the voice boxes of the two stereotypical avatars. Then the dolls were repackaged and placed ("reverse shoplifting") on various toy store shelves around the country where they were purchased by unsuspecting shoppers. Back at home, the young recipients of the dolls were surprised when the he-man Joe professed a love for shopping while the wire-thin Barbie newly masculinized wanted to "take the next hill" presumably with a hail of hot lead. One intriguing postscript was that at least some of the recipients of the transformed doll/action figure preferred the new version to the old.

Finally, the techniques of (1) trying hard to get one's issue injected into the media and (2) disciplining the media for content that people find objectionable (and, less frequently, praising the media for appropriate coverage), form the traditional "bread and butter" core of this pattern and are not expected to go away or lose their importance in the face of the other approaches discussed earlier.


NY Act Up Activists Make an Unscheduled Visit to the CBS Evening News.
More information can be found at: http://www.actupny.org/divatv/indexN.html

Solution: 

Sometimes it becomes necessary to intervene in the media to nudge it into new avenues that it might not have taken without the intervention. This can be done cleverly and effectively but it's not easy. The tactic and campaign should be carefully tied to the aims and the particulars of the situation — but it still might not work!

Verbiage for pattern card: 

Whether news, "reality" TV, police dramas, talk shows, or commercials, corporate media is a seamless and impenetrable wall that is protected from citizen intrusion. People and organizations who struggle to interject alternative messages into the public consciousness via the media are often ignored or rejected. By nudging the media into new directions, Media Intervention is one tactic to fight this particular and ubiquitous form of censorship.

Pattern status: 
Released
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