When wealth shapes policy-making, democratic governance suffers and corruption proliferates: Winnie Byanyima, Oxfam International

The following post is dedicated to a range of topics. The links are also posted at the Long Branch Historical Facebook page.

When I drink coffee, sometimes a question comes to mind.

Sense making

The question is: How do we make sense of the world? What are the means that we use to make sense of things?

A wide range of sense-making options are available to us.

Ideology can provide a person a sense of certainty about who they are and what their purpose is.

Ideology gives rise to action. For governments with strongly ideological orientations, such as the current federal regime in Canada, the suppression of scientific evidence and elimination of public debate appear to serve a range of  useful purposes.

Occasionally, ideology gives rise to the exercise of what has been described as the geographical imagination.

The value of evidence is determined by the beholder

The option that appeals to me, by way of sense making, is evidence and evidence-based practice, assuming such things are clearly defined and operationalized. Evidence offers a person a great way to make sense of everyday life. What works for me may not work for you.

The quality of the evidence is a key variable related to its value. In this regard a May 30, 2014 Global News article, entitled “Ontario election: Why experts suggest ignoring opinion polls,” is of interest.

Aside from the quality of evidence, another key variable concerns the frames of reference that are applied to data. By way of example, mathematical models of personal and civic behaviour derived from big data may hide rather than reveal the deepest sources of social ills, as an April 14, 2016 MIT Technology Review article notes. The article is entitled: “Limits to social engineering.”

Scams are driven by fake evidence

Fraudulent evidence is a key feature of scams and scamming.


As noted in More Real: Art in An Age of Truthiness (2012), some observers have proposed that we live in an age of “truthiness” – “a time when our understanding of truth may not be bound to empirical evidence – that is, to anything real, provable, or factual” (p. 34).

I’m pleased to share some links, related to the above-noted topics, that I’ve recently found of interest:

Africa Rising: Time for a fair deal for Africa’s people

OXFAM International news release, published May 30, 2014:

“When wealth shapes policy-making, the rules bend to favor the rich, democratic governance suffers and corruption proliferates.” – Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director, Oxfam International

Maputo, Mozambique – Extreme inequality is a threat to democracy, warns Oxfam International’s Executive Director Winnie Byanyima, at today’s closing session of the IMF – Mozambique government’s Africa Rising conference.

Addressing global decision makers, Ms. Byanyima said that “when wealth shapes policy-making, the rules bend to favor the rich, democratic governance suffers and corruption proliferates.”

Africa has six of the top 10 fastest growing economies in the world – yet despite strong economic growth, Sub-Saharan Africa is home to six out of the 10 most unequal countries in the world.

[End of excerpt]

Like Big Tobacco, Big Energy targets the developing world for future profits

The Grist article, cross-posted from TomDispatch, can be found here.

Aboriginal people and alcohol: Not a genetic predisposition

The subhead to the May 30, 2014 CBC article reads: “Social conditions create a predisposition for alcoholism, medical expert says, not genetics.

The world as 100 people

You can find the link for this concept here. It’s a great way to attempt to visualize information.

Harper’s actions unconscionable and immoral: Former PM

You can find the May 30, 2014 Global (Toronto) article here.

Desmond Tutu visits Fort McMurray, Alberta for conference on climate change, First Nations

You can find the Canadian Press article, published on May 30, 2014 in the National Post, here.

Many thanks to @ojibray

Many of the May 30, 2014 links cited above I found out about this morning on Twitter via @ojibray.


The following post adds background to the discussion:

Voter anger explained – in one chart – March 15, 2016 Brookings Institution article


An April 5, 2016 Foreign Policy article is entitled: “Taxpayers of the World, Unite!
The Panama Papers confirm that the world’s elite cheat, lie, and steal. Will the masses finally do something about it?”


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