Week 13 Thoughts

There is an interesting link between democracy and the environment that I have never seen before. The principle of voting is to gain a voice and advocate for your own gains in the government, but what we often forget about are the people and things that do not gain a voice. The issue of global warming is becoming more and more recognized today in society. There needs to be a defense of the environment, and if this does not happen, not only will the environment break down, society will too. One important reason to oppose the destructive extracting industries that harm the environment is the effect that it has on the poor in Latin America. A diminishing environment can result in a loss of jobs (fishing and tourism) and food and water drought. But it is contradictory because these industries also provide jobs. I consider myself a strong advocate for the environment but I have never thought about it in this way: quite eye-opening!

There are a couple of concepts that I am still unsure about and I hope to clarify during class. I don’t understand the concept of neoliberalism and whether it is associated with the right or left wing. It’s also still a bit unclear of what the right and left wing are and who benefits from each of their policies and the term “injunction”.

We live in a world that large companies seem to have more rights than the people and the environment. It is amazing that Chevron was able to “shop around” for a favourable ruling. Our courts are not, and never have been witnesses of justice.

Max Cameron made an interesting point about the condition of middle class workers in Brazil but I think it reflects most leftist governments. He points out that these governments preserve the upper class while making the lowest class better off. This leaves the middle class frustrated. In American politics middle class republicans feel this same distress in that they feel that they shouldn’t be taxed more to give benefits to the poor. It is interesting how these ideas intersect across the Americas.

I also found his comments on Morales’ Bolivia very interesting because I have never heard him portrayed in such a positive light. I have learned about Evo’s government from the perspective of an upper-middle class Bolivian who strongly opposes his radical reforms. Now after this chapter I understand why she has this perspective.

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