tag:theconversation.com,2011:/articles 2018-11-08T22:59:58Z tag:theconversation.com,2011:article/105965 2018-11-08T22:59:58Z 2018-11-08T22:59:58Z <figure><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/243618/original/file-20181102-83629-1kvqfit.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=496&amp;fit=clip" /><figcaption><span class="caption">Governments have made a difference to inequality in the past, as Roosevelt&#39;s New Deal did in the 1930s, and could do so again if citizens acted to ensure their voices are heard. </span> <span class="attribution"><a class="source" href="https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Signing_Of_The_Social_Security_Act.jpg">Wikimedia</a></span></figcaption></figure><p>Deepening economic inequality is a scourge across most of the world’s democracies. For decades now, the <a href="http://www.hup.harvard.edu/catalog.php?isbn=9780674504769">gap between the wealthiest and the poorest has been widening</a>. This has very real and very dangerous <a href="http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/107925/E92227.pdf?sequence=1&amp;isAllowed=y">consequences for people’s mental and physical health and for the cohesion of our communities</a>. So why isn’t anything serious being done about it?</p> <p>Reversing this trend, or at least ameliorating it, would not be difficult. Economists around the world have spent the last few years laying out some fairly straightforward policy solutions. These range from reform of the rules governing how pay is set in the big corporations to sustained investment in the foundational social services that everyone but the very richest relies upon, including public education, health and housing.</p> <p>Despite this clarity, very few of these initiatives are being pursued in any of the developed democracies. Instead, political action remains focused on tax cuts that favour the wealthy or big business, on immigration restrictions that can hinder economic growth, and on public subsidies for a handful of old industries, even where there are environmental reasons to be transitioning away from them.</p> <hr> <p> <em> <strong> Read more: <a href="http://theconversation.com/the-fair-go-is-a-fading-dream-but-dont-write-it-off-105373">The fair go is a fading dream, but don't write it off</a> </strong> </em> </p> <hr> <h2>Why the inaction on inequality?</h2> <p>The question that matters more than almost any other when it comes to inequality right now, then, is not whether it is a problem or how to resolve it, but what is it that’s holding us back from doing what we need to do?</p> <p>The answer to this question cannot lie in an absence of practice, knowledge or understanding. Most countries successfully initiated inequality-tackling reforms in previous generations. And they often did so in far more pressing political and economic circumstances, such as the Great Depression of the 1930s or the immediate aftermath of the second world war.</p> <figure class="align-right zoomable"> <a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/243615/original/file-20181102-83657-12pmlsj.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img alt="" src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/243615/original/file-20181102-83657-12pmlsj.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=237&amp;fit=clip"></a> <figcaption> <span class="caption">Joseph Stiglitz.</span> <span class="attribution"><a class="source" href="https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Joseph_Stiglitz_05.jpg">Bengt Oberger/Wikimedia</a>, <a class="license" href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/">CC BY-SA</a></span> </figcaption> </figure> <p>Even where there is not previous experience to draw upon, politicians and their advisers can draw upon a host of more recent studies of the causes, consequences and potential responses to the rise of inequality. This includes the work of this year’s Sydney Peace Prize recipient, <a href="https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2012/05/joseph-stiglitz-the-price-on-inequality">Joseph Stiglitz</a>. There is no shortage of expertise for a new generation of egalitarian reformers to draw upon.</p> <p>Nor does the answer lie in entrenched public unwillingness to tackle the problem. It is true that in the 1980s and 1990s, electorates the world over were often skittish about interventionist economic policy proposals. They favoured tax reductions over public service investment and were anxious about government’s efforts to “pick winners” in the economy.</p> <p>But such anxiety has greatly lessened right now. Indeed, polling consistently suggests that even in countries without a sustained tradition of government action against inequality, a large <a href="https://www.newyorker.com/science/maria-konnikova/americas-surprising-views-on-income-inequality">public appetite now exists for measures to tackle it</a>. Such measures, stretching from sharp increases in minimum wages to the nationalisation of major public utilities, enjoy majority support in many democracies. </p> <p>We have also witnessed electorates across the world take bold and risky decisions in their voting behaviour. This includes support for extremist political movements motivated partly by a desire fundamentally to shift away from the status quo.</p> <h2>The problem lies with our politics</h2> <p>If the problem does not lie in knowledge or public support, it must lie somewhere that does not currently get enough attention: in our processes of policymaking – in short, our politics.</p> <p>Political life in the developed democracies has been radically transformed in the last few decades. Usually this is told in a storybook version, with an endless rise of openness and inclusivity. </p> <p>In the early decades of the 20th century, this narrative goes, women and the poorest won the vote. In the middle of the century, trade unions and civil society organisations exerted increasing influence on national political decision-making. And as the century aged, other groups including LGBTQI action groups, minority and indigenous populations began to find some long-denied political influence.</p> <p>But there is another, far darker story to tell. The last few decades have witnessed the rise of another way of doing politics. The anthropologist Janine Wedel brilliantly describes that way in <a href="http://janinewedel.info/unaccountable.html">Unaccountable: How Elite Power Brokers Corrupt our Finances, Freedom, and Security</a> (2014). </p> <p>It is the world of the professional lobbyist, of the revolving door between global corporations and the highest levels of government, of uneasy relationships between public decision-making and private profit, and of the capture of elite thinking by norms and expectations that owe too much to the practices of the financial services sector.</p> <figure> <iframe src="https://player.vimeo.com/video/252163755" width="500" height="281" frameborder="0" webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen allowfullscreen></iframe> <figcaption><span class="caption">Meet the New Influence Elites, a 2016 IPR Public Lecture by Professor Janine Wedel.</span></figcaption> </figure> <p>All of this has happened at the same time, of course, as a sharp decline in the organisations that used to do much to hold these tendencies back. Union membership has fallen rapidly in the advanced democracies, for instance. And formal mechanisms that guaranteed that governments had to explain their policy decisions to multiple stakeholders have been <a href="https://www.versobooks.com/books/1447-ruling-the-void">eroded across the world</a>.</p> <hr> <p> <em> <strong> Read more: <a href="http://theconversation.com/to-tackle-inequality-we-must-start-in-the-labour-market-105729">To tackle inequality, we must start in the labour market</a> </strong> </em> </p> <hr> <p>As a result, the salience of issues such as “what the public thinks” and “what the public needs” when it comes to the economy have been significantly eroded as well.</p> <p>What all of this means is that economic decision-making increasingly responds to a narrower and narrower section of society. In such circumstances, it is no wonder that almost no concerted action has been taken to halt the rise of inequality.</p> <h2>Fight for the fair go is political first</h2> <p>What it also means, though, is that the action we need to restore the fair go cannot begin with the economy. It must instead begin with policymaking and politics.</p> <p>We need to make sure the voices of those affected by inequality are genuinely heard and heeded. This commitment should run through everything we do: from supporting our local trade union to opening up scholarly resources to those people in need, from demanding action to rein in corporate lobbying and special access to generating exciting and innovative ideas for using new technologies to accentuate the voice of those without access to formal power.</p> <p>These ideas are where our energy needs to be. If we want to see greater equality, we need to spend time working out precisely how our political life can become truly responsive. And then we must campaign to make those changes real.</p> <hr> <p> <em> <strong> Read more: <a href="http://theconversation.com/why-are-unions-so-unhappy-an-economic-explanation-of-the-change-the-rules-campaign-105673">Why are unions so unhappy? An economic explanation of the Change the Rules campaign</a> </strong> </em> </p> <hr> <img src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/105965/count.gif" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /> <p class="fine-print"><em><span>Marc Stears has received funding from the Leverhulme Foundation and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (UK). </span></em></p> Governments' lack of response to rising inequality is not a problem of knowledge or public support. The problem is that those whose needs are being ignored must find a way to make themselves heard. Marc Stears, Professor and Director, Sydney Policy Lab, University of Sydney Licensed as Creative Commons – attribution, no derivatives. tag:theconversation.com,2011:article/105776 2018-11-08T22:26:02Z 2018-11-08T22:26:02Z <figure><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/244621/original/file-20181108-74769-9ho9xs.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;rect=0%2C120%2C1007%2C306&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=496&amp;fit=clip" /><figcaption><span class="caption">A narwhal is spotted swimming with a group of belugas in the St. Lawrence</span> <span class="attribution"><a class="source" href="https://gremm.org/">Research and Education group on Marine Mammals </a></span></figcaption></figure><p>Since the age of the Roman Empire and the story of how the twins <a href="https://www.ancient.eu/Romulus_and_Remus/">Romulus and Remus</a> were raised by a wolf, tales of interspecies adoptions have captivated the human imagination. The story that emerged from Canada’s St. Lawrence River in July of 2018 was no exception. While researching belugas, a group of scientists captured <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LdusjFmgn-w">drone footage</a> of a young male narwhal, more than 1,000 kilometres south of his Arctic home, <a href="https://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/belugas-narwhal-stlawrence-1.4820602">swimming with a pod of belugas</a>. </p> <p>It sounds like something straight out of Disney’s <em><a href="https://movies.disney.com/finding-nemo">Finding Nemo</a></em>. But in the three years since the narwhal was first spotted with his adopted family, this real life drama has been playing out in the waters of the St. Lawrence estuary. And the unlikely alliance has researchers scratching their heads. </p> <p>The cause of this consternation? A funny word called “adoption.”</p> <figure> <iframe width="440" height="260" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/LdusjFmgn-w?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe> <figcaption><span class="caption">A narwhal swims with a group of beluga whales in the St. Lawrence River. Source: Group for Research and Education on Marine Mammals.</span></figcaption> </figure> <p>In the human realm, adoption is seen as a benevolent act, but in the wild it poses a real evolutionary dilemma. This is because the goal of every organism in the natural world is to reproduce and transfer its genes to future generations. Adoption is puzzling because it requires an individual to invest resources into another’s offspring, with no guarantee of passing on its own genetic material. Despite this, <a href="https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/10.1086/412936">adoption is well-documented across the animal kingdom</a>. </p> <p>The question is, why?</p> <p>Understanding when and where we see cases of adoption often comes down to understanding how adoption can provide a <em>benefit</em> to the foster parents or adoptive group members. In other words, how can investing in another’s offspring actually <em>increase</em> the potential for adoptive parents to contribute genes to future generations?</p> <h2>A family matter</h2> <p>One possibility is through the adoption of kin.</p> <p>Since related individuals share genes, by raising family, animals can help to ensure the survival of their own DNA. This is the most widely documented explanation for foster care in the wild. Many social species, including <a href="https://academic.oup.com/beheco/article/5/4/362/203711">lions</a>, <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/BF02381155">primates</a> and <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0003347287802348">elephants</a> have been known to care for or raise the offspring of a mother, sister, aunt or other relative. </p> <p>But scientists from the <a href="http://redsquirrel.biology.ualberta.ca/">Kluane Red Squirrel Project</a> have found that social species aren’t the only animals that adopt kin. In the icy north of Canada’s Yukon, red squirrel mothers preferentially <a href="https://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/squirrels-adopt-strays-canadian-study-finds-1.898990">adopt orphaned relatives</a>. This is intriguing because red squirrels are territorial rodents that live in isolation. Even so, red squirrels were able to identify relatives and actively chose to foster pups to which they were related. Out of thousands of litters, researchers only identified <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/ncomms1022">five cases of adoption</a>, all of which were orphaned kin. </p> <figure class="align-center "> <img alt="" src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/243939/original/file-20181105-83644-v2ebrh.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip"> <figcaption> <span class="caption">A red squirrel mother carries a 25-day old pup to a new nest.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Erin Siracusa</span>, <span class="license">Author provided</span></span> </figcaption> </figure> <h2>You scratch my back, I scratch yours</h2> <p>But adopting individuals with shared genes isn’t the only way that potential foster parents can benefit. Reciprocity, or an “exchange of favours,” might also motivate shared parenting. Under certain circumstances unrelated females will <a href="http://rstb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/371/1687/20150095">swap “babysitting” duties</a>. This has the benefit of allowing the mother to forage more efficiently without youngsters tagging along. </p> <p>Alternatively, mothers might <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1111/eth.12334">nurse each other’s offspring</a>, providing temporary relief from maternal duties. Scientists are still uncertain, however, how important reciprocity might be for facilitating <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0003347201918950">allonursing</a> — non-maternal milk provisioning — or other forms of foster care provided by non-relatives. </p> <h2>Practice makes perfect</h2> <p>Even more puzzling are circumstances in which adoptions occur between members of different species. Such cases can’t be explained either by shared genes or reciprocity among group members, and while interspecies adoptions are rare in the wild, they aren’t unheard of. For instance, in 2004, researchers in Brazil observed an <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/ajp.20259">infant marmoset</a> being cared for by two female capuchin monkeys.</p> <p>Since interspecies adoptions are so uncommon, it’s challenging to understand why they occur. One possibility is that adoption provides an opportunity for young females to practice their mothering skills. Scientists believe that proficiency in parenting is based on learned as well as innate behaviours. </p> <p>In elephant seals, <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0003347281800024">experienced mothers</a> are more successful in raising offspring. Researchers think that these benefits of maternal experience may be one reason <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/BF00300063">adoption occurs so frequently</a> in this species. By practising with adopted young, females can ensure that they are competent mothers when it comes time to raise their own offspring. </p> <h2>Mistakes do happen</h2> <p>Of course, not every instance of adoption is likely to be beneficial for the adoptive parent. One simple cause of mistaken foster care is reproductive error. </p> <p>Breeding females that have recently lost their young are often still <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0003347295801022">behaviourally and physiologically ready</a> to provide maternal care. In such cases, a female’s motherly instinct may be so strong that it leads her to mistakenly <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/BF00300063">redirect her care</a> toward unrelated young. </p> <p>Alternatively, parents may simply be bamboozled into raising another species’ young. Brown-headed cowbirds lay their eggs in the nest of an unsuspecting host who, unable to distinguish the cowbird’s offspring, will <a href="https://academic.oup.com/beheco/article/9/1/64/239514">raise the young as their own</a>.</p> <h2>All for one and one for all?</h2> <p>But in the chilly waters of the St. Lawrence River, a different sort of adoption story is unfolding. The welcoming of a young narwhal into a pod of juvenile male belugas cannot be explained by kin selection, reciprocity or maternal instinct … leaving what?</p> <p>It’s a good question, and frankly, scientists are still uncertain. One possibility is that adopting a lone individual might provide a benefit for the entire group. For instance, having a larger pod might offer <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0022519371901895">protection from predators</a>. </p> <p>This “safety in numbers” benefit has been suggested as an explanation for adoption <a href="https://zslpublications.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1469-7998.1996.tb05493.x">in other species</a>. Alternatively, both narwhals and belugas are highly social animals and the benefits of social companionship alone might lead to this unlikely alliance. </p> <p>This is particularly true given that narwhals and belugas do not directly compete for food. Narwhals <a href="https://www.afsc.noaa.gov/nmml/education/cetaceans/narwhals.php">feed on deepwater fish</a>, while belugas prefer <a href="https://www.afsc.noaa.gov/nmml/education/cetaceans/beluga.php">surface dwelling salmon and capelin</a>. The costs of adoption are therefore likely to be low.</p> <p>In the end, the narwhal’s adoption might be one of the many natural mysteries that scientists have yet to solve. Nevertheless, footage of this long-tusked, grey-skinned <a href="https://www.afsc.noaa.gov/nmml/education/cetaceans/index.php">cetacean</a> frolicking with its fellow belugas is offering people worldwide a rare glimpse into an animal behaviour almost never seen in the wild.</p><img src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/105776/count.gif" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /> <p class="fine-print"><em><span>Erin Siracusa receives funding from the American Society of Mammalogists, the Arctic Institute of North America, and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada. </span></em></p> What can the story of a lost narwhal and his beluga family tell us about interspecies adoptions? Erin Siracusa, University of Guelph Licensed as Creative Commons – attribution, no derivatives. tag:theconversation.com,2011:article/106593 2018-11-08T22:25:58Z 2018-11-08T22:25:58Z <figure><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/244614/original/file-20181108-74757-15ijmc3.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=496&amp;fit=clip" /><figcaption><span class="caption">A scholar takes a pilgrimage of the Western Front to try to comprehend the loss of lives of the First World War. Here British soldiers in a battlefield trench, c. 1915-1918.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Shutterstock</span></span></figcaption></figure><p>With the armistice signing on <a href="https://learning.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/11/11/nov-11-1918-world-war-i-ends/">Nov. 11, 1918</a>, it was all over: one of the greatest conflagrations the world had seen, the butcher’s bill, in the end, totalling <a href="https://www.facinghistory.org/weimar-republic-fragility-democracy/politics/casualties-world-war-i-country-politics-world-war-i">6,000 soldiers per day</a> for four of the longest years ever experienced. A century on, over the past four summers, I undertook a pilgrimage walk along the complete length of the Western Front from the Swiss border to the English Channel, to bear witness to this inconceivable loss. It was a distance of more than nine hundred kilometres, with side trips ranging over the major killing fields and eastward to the location of the first and the last battles at Mons.</p> <p>Throughout, I was conscious, often to the brink of heart-rendered grief, of the overwhelming death count. Traversing the landscape slowly on foot rather than by motorized travel enables one to develop a private and profound intimacy with both the terrain and what it reveals, as well as the way in which memory is invoked. </p> <h2>Heaps of bones</h2> <p>The first year’s walk ended in Verdun, a place which set the template in terms of pointless wastage for that which was to come. Here, the Germans hurled everything they had, and the <a href="https://www.theworldwar.org/explore/exhibitions/past-exhibitions/they-shall-not-pass">French adopted their “They Shall Not Pass”</a> motto, the result being more than 700,000 dead on both sides. The remains of many these victims are visible today as vast heaps of bones glimpsed through the observation windows at the massive ossuary there.</p> <figure class="align-center "> <img alt="" src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/244597/original/file-20181108-74766-1bohxwb.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip"> <figcaption> <span class="caption">Menin Gate.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Canada War Museum</span></span> </figcaption> </figure> <p>When standing in front of the <a href="https://www.cwgc.org/find/find-cemeteries-and-memorials/80800/thiepval-memorial">Thiepval Memorial</a> or <a href="https://www.warmuseum.ca/firstworldwar/objects-and-photos/archival-documents/personal-documents/menin-gate/">the Menin Gate</a>, many find it hard to wrap their heads around the tens of thousands of names inscribed of those who are “missing,” having no known graves. It may be easier to comprehend this immensity when one can witness a sign of the individuality of loss. This happened to me when crossing a field at the Somme, and coming upon a human jaw bone emerging from the recently plowed spring soil. </p> <p>There was nothing to do. Out of respect, I took no photo. I unshouldered my backpack and dropped to the ground and shared some moments with the individual before I gently pushed his bones back into the receiving embrace of the earth.</p> <h2>“Sacrificed to the fallacy that war can end war.”</h2> <p>As impressive as the major national memorials are – nowhere more so perhaps than the giant <a href="http://www.veterans.gc.ca/eng/remembrance/history/first-world-war/road-to-vimy-ridge/vimy7">twin-pronged tuning fork of that of Canadians at Vimy Ridge</a> – it is the small, makeshift and private ones, occurring along lonely rural roads, that most resonate the feeling of loss. As fine as is the justifiably famous<a href="http://www.canadainternational.gc.ca/belgium-belgique/bilateral_relations_bilaterales/route1915-17.aspx?lang=eng"> “Brooding Solider” memorial to Canadians exposed to the first use of poison gas at St. Julien</a>, I was affected more by a small, private memorial nearby. </p> <figure class="align-center "> <img alt="" src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/244599/original/file-20181108-74775-5m2bd.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip"> <figcaption> <span class="caption">Canadian tank with soldiers advancing with Infantry at Vimy, April 1917.</span> <span class="attribution"><a class="source" href="https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Canadian_tank_and_soldiers_Vimy_1917.jpg">Canada. Dept. of National Defence/Library and Archives Canada</a>, <a class="license" href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/">CC BY</a></span> </figcaption> </figure> <p>There, a British family had included a photograph of their relative killed, along with a description of what had transpired. He had lain severely injured in the field immediately in front of where I was standing for a remarkable six days before being recovered and evacuated to a hospital behind the lines, where he soon expired. Lying there unmoving, all alone, among his dead companions for that period, with no water and no doubt in constant pain is unbearable to contemplate. </p> <figure class="align-center zoomable"> <a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/244602/original/file-20181108-74778-l7zw9s.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img alt="" src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/244602/original/file-20181108-74778-l7zw9s.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip"></a> <figcaption> <span class="caption">Private memorials along a small country road to several British soldiers killed in the field immediately behind, one of whom lay there struggling for life for six days.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Robert France</span>, <span class="license">Author provided</span></span> </figcaption> </figure> <p>Of all the tens of thousands of graves seen, it is worth explicitly mentioning those of three individuals. </p> <p>The last cemetery I visited lay outside of Mons, in Belgium. Here, separated by a distance of about thirty metres, lie the graves of <a href="https://livesofthefirstworldwar.org/lifestory/3403342">John Parr, the first British Commonwealth soldier killed on Aug. 21, 1914</a>, and of <a href="https://ottawacitizen.com/news/local-news/war-museums-victory-1918-exhibit-commemorates-final-days-of-first-world-war">Canadian George Price, the last, killed at 10:58 am on Nov. 11, 1918</a>, tragically just two minutes before hostilities ceased. </p> <p>They are separated in time by the deaths of 953,000 of their compatriots. A gruesome math exercise reveals the true magnitude of that horrific statistic: if you stacked up all those bodies between the two gravesites, the wall of corpses would tower almost 32 kilometres high. It is unfathomable. </p> <p>That is only the toll for the British Commonwealth; both France and Germany lost more men. And then there are those from all the other nations. </p> <p>One grave, above all others, stands out in sharp contrast. Its inscription is remarkably different from the oft-quoted “for King and Country” slogan. It is located near Ypres and is for Arthur Young. Written by his father — tellingly a diplomat — it is a bitter indictment to the purposeless waste of a generation, and reads: </p> <blockquote> <p>“Sacrificed to the fallacy that war can end war.”</p> </blockquote> <p>There is no better testament to sum up the whole enterprise. And there is, of course, nothing that is ultimately more depressing. </p> <h2>The war did not end all wars</h2> <p>The absolute saddest thing I observed during my entire pilgrimage was the series of red and white banners hung at the exit from <a href="http://www.toerisme-ieper.be/en/page/334-337-338/other-great-war-museums-.html">the war museum in Ypres</a>. On them are listed, one after another, all the wars that have transpired in the years since ‘The War to End All Wars’ finished in 1918. Each name leaps out as a stark and shameful reminder of our collective failure. </p> <figure class="align-right zoomable"> <a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/244603/original/file-20181108-74787-tgrj7m.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img alt="" src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/244603/original/file-20181108-74787-tgrj7m.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=237&amp;fit=clip"></a> <figcaption> <span class="caption">List of global armed conflicts occurring since the end of the ‘war to end all wars’ in 1918, with space left at the end to add more names.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Robert France</span>, <span class="license">Author provided</span></span> </figcaption> </figure> <p>I counted 101 armed conflicts throughout my six decades of life; and to my embarrassment, there were names on that banner of armed conflicts about which I had never head. Worst of all, however, was that the last panel contained space…waiting to be written on in the future. </p> <p>Remembrance is essential, but it is not enough. More than a tenth of a million people have lost their lives due to armed conflict in 2018. </p> <p>When we remember the end of the Great War on this Nov. 11 and subsequent remembrance days and think of Ypres, we must reflect upon Yemen; when we mourn the dead at the Somme, we must rue the deceased in Syria. And somehow we need to shift from contemplation to action. </p> <p>While the rise of right-wing populism in the West is meritoriously troubling, in the end, both America and most of the rest of us will survive another two or six years of U.S. President Donald Trump. Most, but not all. For the same cannot be said for the hundreds of thousands whom will die in wars distant from North America and Europe <a href="https://newint.org/features/2012/09/01/media-war-coverage">which receive correspondingly little or even no media coverage</a> over that same time.</p><img src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/106593/count.gif" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /> <p class="fine-print"><em><span>Robert France does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.</span></em></p> From the Swiss border to the English channel, a scholar describes his pilgrimage of the Western Front as a tribute to fallen soldiers and to learn more about the devastating loss of life. Robert France, Associate Professor of Environmental Science and Landscape Studies, Dalhousie University Licensed as Creative Commons – attribution, no derivatives. tag:theconversation.com,2011:article/105637 2018-11-08T22:25:56Z 2018-11-08T22:25:56Z <figure><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/244427/original/file-20181107-74775-1dsowr9.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=496&amp;fit=clip" /><figcaption><span class="caption">Canadian orthoodontists were able to sell braces and other orthodental procedures by promising patients better lives with better teeth. </span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">(Shutterstock)</span></span></figcaption></figure><p>Why do Canadians, especially younger Canadians, have such straight, white teeth? Why are so many parents and so many adults willing to invest in expensive orthodontic treatment? </p> <p>We recently published <a href="https://muse.jhu.edu/article/705540/summary">an article in the <em>Canadian Bulletin of Medical History</em></a> that explores the history of orthodontic treatment and the various justifications that have been advanced for undergoing a medical procedure that is often painful, prolonged and expensive. </p> <p>In the early decades of the 20th century, most adult Canadians were lucky if they had any teeth at all. Among the elderly, dentures were the norm. </p> <figure class="align-right zoomable"> <a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/244437/original/file-20181107-74783-fcylya.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img alt="" src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/244437/original/file-20181107-74783-fcylya.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=237&amp;fit=clip"></a> <figcaption> <span class="caption">Vintage Pepsodent toothpaste ad from 1921.</span> </figcaption> </figure> <p>In the 1920s, toothpaste manufacturers began to promise that regular use of their product would lead to romantic and financial success. Their advertisements often featured young women with gleaming smiles of straight, white teeth. </p> <p>After the Second World War, advertisers and governments urged parents to look after their children’s teeth. Water fluoridation proponents stressed that teeth could last a lifetime. Gradually, straight, white smiles — based on natural teeth rather than dentures — became the desired norm. </p> <p>It was one thing to keep the teeth but it was another to make them straight. Orthodontics emerged as a field in the early part of the 20th century. In Canada, at the start of the Second World War, there were only 40 orthodontists practising in Canada, mostly in Montréal and Toronto. By 1975, there were nearly 500. </p> <h2>Did straight teeth improve self-esteem?</h2> <p>In the 1950s and 1960s, orthodontists tried to convince parents to straighten their children’s teeth by claiming that straight teeth could have a remarkable impact on a child’s self-esteem. American orthodontist John January counselled his fellow orthodontists to tell parents that “the mouth is the psychological key to happiness” and to promise that straight teeth could led to business and romantic success. </p> <p>Magazine articles argued that bullied children could become popular as their teeth straightened and their “inferiority complexes” disappeared. In wealthy neighbourhoods such as Toronto’s Forest Hill, parents invested in orthodontics to improve their children’s looks, especially their daughters. </p> <p>As gender scholars have noted, <a href="https://www.harpercollins.com/9780061969942/the-beauty-myth/">beauty expectations have long been much higher for women than for men</a> and suburban parents believed that investing in their girls’ teeth was part of preparing them for a successful adulthood. </p> <p>But did straight teeth really contribute to improved self-esteem? The scientific literature on the topic was slim. </p> <p>A <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11603318">1966 study</a> suggested that Americans believed that dental appearance was important for finding a job, making friends and even running for office. Most agreed that dental appearance was important for romance. </p> <p>A few years later, <a href="http://www.angle.org/doi/10.1043/0003-3219%281970%29040%3C0231%3ASAPIOD%3E2.0.CO%3B2">another study claimed that crooked teeth were one of the most difficult “handicaps” a person could have</a>. The author stressed that the degree of psychological distress caused by crooked teeth was not related to the severity of the problem. In their textbooks, orthodontists cited these studies with alacrity.</p> <p>But the claims were hard to support. </p> <p>A sociological study of people who had undergone orthodontic treatment found that although they believed that they looked better, the impact on their psychological health was small. </p> <p>Another <a href="https://www.jstor.org/stable/2137115?seq=1#metadata_info_tab_contents">study comparing a group who planned to undertake orthodontic treatment</a> with a control group found very <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/286552">few differences between them in terms of self-esteem</a>. </p> <h2>Orthodontics are about looking your best</h2> <p>Orthodontists were also becoming more skeptical about the physical benefits of orthodontic treatment. <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1600-0528.1980.tb01252">Studies in the 1980s showed that for most people, orthodontic treatment did not prevent periodontal disease</a> or excessive cavities. In the meantime, the number of studies mounted that suggested orthodontic treatment did not have a significant impact on psychological health. </p> <p>Surprisingly, this did not lead to decline in orthodontic treatment. Indeed, the number of patients undergoing orthodontic treatment began to increase. There were a variety of reasons for this. </p> <p>During the 1970s, the number of Canadians covered by private and union dental plans exploded. When these plans included orthodontic treatment, it made it much less expensive. </p> <figure class="align-center "> <img alt="" src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/244422/original/file-20181107-74778-jrxiyj.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip"> <figcaption> <span class="caption">Colourful additions to braces attracted children.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Shutterstock</span></span> </figcaption> </figure> <p>New devices such as plastic braces, braces worn on the back of the teeth, and new products for affixing braces made treatment times shorter and the braces less noticeable. </p> <p>Bulky and disfiguring headgear was used less often. The introduction of coloured elastics and wires meant that some children were actually attracted to wearing braces. More adults than ever, especially women, began seeking out orthodontic treatment. </p> <p>By the 1980s, dentists were far less busy than they had been in previous eras where there was a real shortage of dentists in Canada. To drum up customers, many dentists added orthodontics to their practice and promoted it heavily. </p> <figure class="align-center "> <img alt="" src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/244420/original/file-20181107-74783-1ys6fzu.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip"> <figcaption> <span class="caption">The Canadian Association of Orthodontists ran advertisements.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Source</span></span> </figcaption> </figure> <p>Before-and-after photographs showed prospective patients what they could look like after orthodontic treatment. The Canadian Association of Orthodontists ran advertisements warning that crooked teeth could lead to a “serious health problem.” <a href="https://muse.jhu.edu/article/705540/summary">One parent complained in <em>The Toronto Star</em> in a 1995 article “Reality bites,”</a> that orthodontists threatened parents that their children would never smile if their teeth remained crooked. </p> <p>The explosion in orthodontics took place alongside a growing demand for cosmetic treatments of all kinds as celebrity culture promoted perfect bodies, perfect faces and perfect smiles. </p> <p>Today, straight, white teeth have become a social norm and people shell out huge sums for orthodontic treatment for themselves and their children. Orthodontics is no longer sold as a way of overcoming “inferiority complexes.” Instead, it is part of a larger culture of self-improvement that urges all of us to look as good as we can.</p><img src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/105637/count.gif" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /> <p class="fine-print"><em><span>Catherine Carstairs receives funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. She has also received funding from Associated Medical Services through the Nova Scotia Health Research Foundation.</span></em></p><p class="fine-print"><em><span>Melissa Micu received funding for this research from Associated Medical Services (AMS) Inc. as part of the Hannah Summer Studentship in 2016.</span></em></p> Why do Canadians have such straight white teeth? The story is in the marketing of orthodontics in Canada. Catherine Carstairs, Professor and Chair, Department of History, University of Guelph Melissa Micu, Master's Student (Public Policy and Public Administration) , Concordia University Licensed as Creative Commons – attribution, no derivatives. tag:theconversation.com,2011:article/104464 2018-11-08T22:25:55Z 2018-11-08T22:25:55Z <figure><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/244453/original/file-20181107-74766-sast6h.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=496&amp;fit=clip" /><figcaption><span class="caption">Getting enough physical activity can be challenging for women and girls, because they have to negotiate complex gender roles, stereotypes and cultural narratives about the body. </span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">(Shutterstock)</span></span></figcaption></figure><p>Supporting girls and women in their efforts to be physically active must become a global <a href="https://globalnews.ca/news/4428978/women-physical-activity-gender-gap/">public health priority</a>. Preliminary results from our research at Dalhousie University suggests that access to nature may be key to achieving this. </p> <p>A recent study in <a href="https://www.thelancet.com/journals/langlo/article/PIIS2214-109X(18)30357-7/fulltext#tbl2"><em>The Lancet Global Health</em></a> pooled global data from the past 15 years and showed persistent and worrying trends: Women continue to get insufficient physical activity, and the gap between activity levels of women and men is widening. </p> <p>Similar trends are seen in girls aged 12 to 17. Only <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29044440">two per cent meet the requirements of the Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines</a> — which include adequate sleep and at least 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity.</p> <p>Our own <a href="https://ijbnpa.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12966-015-0166-8">review of the evidence</a> also found that girls have complex relationships with physical activity, requiring an ongoing negotiation of gender roles and stereotypes. They have to navigate cultural narratives focused on the “body” in many parts of their lives every day. They are expected to be pretty but to appear natural, to be thin but not too skinny, to be fit but not too muscular. </p> <p>We are currently engaged in research to explore the health of adolescent girls and young women through a technique called <a href="https://doi.org/10.1177/109019819702400309">photovoice</a>, in which participants take photographs to represent their own experiences. </p> <h2>Flowers, trees, and water</h2> <p>In this study we asked seven research participants to take photos to explore their health, nutrition, and physical activity experiences and to bring them back to discuss in a group, and look for themes or trends.</p> <figure class="align-center "> <img alt="" src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/244605/original/file-20181108-74760-ah74mo.JPG?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip"> <figcaption> <span class="caption">A participant shows some of the photographs she submitted.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">(Kylee Nunn Photography)</span>, <span class="license">Author provided</span></span> </figcaption> </figure> <p>They found themes relating to challenging norms and stereotypes and to the importance of social support and confidence. They discussed their perceptions that “everything is gendered” and that there are activities girls are “supposed to do.” They talked about sometimes feeling excluded from sports dominated by boys, and expectations around what girls should wear while being active.</p> <p>They also discussed how they challenge those norms. The girls, for example, took photos engaging in non-traditional physical activities like aerial circus silks and climbing trees in skirts. They also stressed the importance of support from friends and family to feel safe in challenging norms. There was also a surprising finding: the emphasis they placed on being outside in nature. </p> <p>Although nature and the environment were not part of the intended research purpose, being outside emerged as important. Many of the girls and young women shared photos of natural elements, like flowers, trees and water.</p> <figure class="align-center "> <img alt="" src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/240475/original/file-20181013-109213-b05s0m.JPG?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip"> <figcaption> <span class="caption">A photo of a tree submitted by a research participant.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="license">Author provided</span></span> </figcaption> </figure> <p>They also took photos of themselves, their friends and families engaging in physical activity outside. This most often included general active outdoor play, but also, more specifically, activities like hiking and camping.</p> <p>We learned that nature provided important context for these girls and young women to feel comfortable, safe and confident to navigate the complex gender norms around physical activity. </p> <h2>Safe spaces outdoors</h2> <p>A recent review shows that, due to urbanization and parental fears, <a href="http://www.nhm.ac.uk/content/dam/nhmwww/about-us/visitor-research/Disconnect%20with%20nature%20Lit%20review.pdf">youth are less connected to nature than ever before</a> and are missing out on health benefits as a result. </p> <figure class="align-center "> <img alt="" src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/240476/original/file-20181013-109216-7nfrz6.JPG?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip"> <figcaption> <span class="caption">A photo of a flower submitted by a research participant.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="license">Author provided</span></span> </figcaption> </figure> <p>This trend is duplicated in popular culture, with <a href="https://doi.org/10.1177/1745691616662473">books, songs and films depicting nature less and less over time</a>. </p> <p>Similarly, a large-scale survey in the United States shows <a href="https://natureofamericans.org/">youth spend more time with technology than nature</a> but also indicates they value their time with nature and need more opportunity for that connection. </p> <p>With the United Nations’ <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/oct/08/global-warming-must-not-exceed-15c-warns-landmark-un-report">recent warning</a> that we have only about a decade to alter climate change without devastating consequences, engagement with nature has never been more urgent. This can be done through encouraging outdoor play, supporting active transportation and providing safe spaces for women and girls to participate.</p> <h2>Achieving gender equity</h2> <p>Interestingly, the <a href="https://doi.org/10.1080/2159676X.2012.718619">evidence indicates</a> that <a href="https://pdxscholar.library.pdx.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1527&amp;context=honorstheses">women face barriers</a> to experiencing nature. </p> <p>Gendered expectations, fear for their safety and feelings of objectification and vulnerability mean girls and women have to <a href="https://www.jstor.org/stable/4149423?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents">negotiate these feelings in order to participate in outdoor recreation</a>. </p> <figure class="align-center "> <img alt="" src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/240479/original/file-20181013-109236-sv9hv3.JPG?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip"> <figcaption> <span class="caption">A photo of a girl climbing a tree submitted by a research participant.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="license">Author provided</span></span> </figcaption> </figure> <p>Achieving gender equity is a key challenge for the 21st century, reinforced by the United Nations <a href="https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/?menu=1300">Sustainable Development Goals</a>, which also highlight the importance of nature, environments, sustainability and health. </p> <p>The benefits of physical activity to mental and physical health are extensive but are not being realized by half the population. Studies are starting to explore <a href="https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ1058844">gender and the outdoors</a>, while the <a href="https://www.rei.com/h/force-of-nature">importance of nature to women is gaining momentum</a>. </p> <p>But there’s more to do to determine how this finding can support gender equity. The importance of nature for health promotion is <a href="http://dx.doi.org/10.17269/cjph.106.5161">an emergent trend in research</a>, and the focus of the upcoming <a href="http://www.iuhpe2019.com/">International Union for Health Promotion and Education Conference</a>.</p> <p>Can nature be the key to promote physical activity among girls and women? More research is needed to know for sure, but it certainly shows promise.</p><img src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/104464/count.gif" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /> <p class="fine-print"><em><span>Rebecca Spencer receives funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Doctoral Research Award. </span></em></p><p class="fine-print"><em><span>Sara FL Kirk receives funding from the Canadian Institutes for Health Research, Heart and Stroke, the Lawson Foundation, the Max Bell Foundation and the Nova Scotia Health Research Foundation. She is a member of the Coalition for Healthy School Food, which is advocating for a national school food program. She is also a board member of Canada Bikes, a not-for-profit that promotes everyday cycling in Canada. </span></em></p> Women and adolescent girls say that being outdoors in nature offers opportunities to gain confidence in physical activity. Rebecca Spencer, Interdisciplinary PhD Candidate & Instructor, Health Promotion, Dalhousie University Sara FL Kirk, Professor of Health Promotion; Scientific Director of the Healthy Populations Institute, Dalhousie University Licensed as Creative Commons – attribution, no derivatives. tag:theconversation.com,2011:article/106169 2018-11-08T19:36:53Z 2018-11-08T19:36:53Z <figure><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/244256/original/file-20181107-74754-jj5mbh.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=496&amp;fit=clip" /><figcaption><span class="caption">An anti-conscription rally in Melbourne, 1916.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Heritage Council of Victoria</span></span></figcaption></figure><p>As we commemorate the centenary of the Armistice, it is appropriate that we pay tribute to the thousands of largely forgotten people who formed a significant social and political coalition at the time of the first world war: those who fought against conscription, and against the war, including a significant number of conscientious objectors.</p> <p>Military registration and training for all Australian men aged 18 to 60 <a href="https://global.oup.com/academic/product/the-new-conscientious-objection-9780195079555?cc=au&amp;lang=en&amp;">was compulsory from 1911</a>. But there was no provision in Australian law that required men to enlist for active service overseas. Signing up for such service was voluntary, and with the promise of a short war, there was no difficulty for recruitment officers finding their men.</p> <hr> <p> <em> <strong> Read more: <a href="http://theconversation.com/world-politics-explainer-the-great-war-wwi-100462">World politics explainer: The Great War (WWI)</a> </strong> </em> </p> <hr> <p>However, as news of the <a href="https://www.awm.gov.au/articles/encyclopedia/gallipoli">horrendous losses at Gallipoli</a> from April to December 1915 and the <a href="https://anzaccentenary.vic.gov.au/westernfront/history/">slaughter on the Western Front</a> from mid-1916 filtered back to Australia, enthusiasm for overseas duties began to wane.</p> <p>Australia was not meeting its recruitment target. Only about <a href="https://trove.nla.gov.au/work/9812578?q&amp;sort=holdings+desc&amp;_=1541560154467&amp;versionId=12034106">a third of eligible men</a> were volunteering.</p> <p>Labor Prime Minister Billy Hughes determined that the only way to increase enlistment numbers was to impose conscription. He decided to hold a <a href="http://www.naa.gov.au/collection/fact-sheets/fs161.aspx">plebiscite</a> (sometimes referred to as the “conscription referendum”) to carry out what he saw as his obligation to the Empire, and to do so with the consent of the Australian people.</p> <p>But there were <a href="https://billyhughes.moadoph.gov.au/conscription">many vociferous voices</a> from the trade union movement, the Labor Party and an active women’s coalition campaigning for a “no” vote. Religious adherents, too, found themselves well represented in the “no” campaign, with many Catholics, Quakers, <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/christianity/subdivisions/christadelphians_1.shtml">Christadelphians</a>, Adventists and Jehovah’s Witnesses in the forefront of the pacifist movement.</p> <figure class="align-right "> <img alt="" src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/244231/original/file-20181107-74754-12ab43y.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=237&amp;fit=clip"> <figcaption> <span class="caption">Archbishop Daniel Mannix.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">National Museum of Australia</span></span> </figcaption> </figure> <p><a href="http://www.nma.gov.au/exhibitions/the_home_front/stories/daniel_mannix">Archbishop Daniel Mannix</a> was a leader in the Catholic Church in Melbourne. He took a strong stand against conscription, adding that the war was “just an ordinary trade war” driven by trade jealousy. <a href="https://trove.nla.gov.au/work/19131099?q&amp;sort=holdings+desc&amp;_=1541560777283&amp;versionId=32066188">Conscription, he maintained</a>, would simply reinforce “class versus class” social injustices.</p> <p>Remember, too, that the British had, in April 1916, put down with force the <a href="https://theconversation.com/explainer-what-caused-irelands-easter-rising-57159">Easter Rising in Ireland</a>. Almost 2,000 Irish were sent to internment camps. Most of the leaders of the Rising were executed in May 1916. Mannix was Irish-born.</p> <p><a href="http://blogs.slq.qld.gov.au/ww1/2014/07/14/margaret-thorp/">Margaret Thorp</a>, a Quaker, was another strong voice in opposition to the war, and critical of the support for the war by the mainstream churches. A member of the Anti-Military Service League, she later joined others to inaugurate a branch of the Women’s Peace Army in Australia and, later, a branch of the Sisterhood of International Peace that supported the international No-Conscription Fellowship.</p> <p>On October 28, 1916, Prime Minister Hughes put the conscription ballot to the vote. <a href="http://www.naa.gov.au/collection/fact-sheets/fs161.aspx">It was defeated</a> by a margin of 3%.</p> <p>The following year, Britain sought a sixth Australian division for active service. Australia had to provide 7,000 men per month to meet this request. But voluntary recruitment continued to lag behind requirements. On December 20, 1917, Hughes put a second conscription ballot to the people. It, too, was defeated, this time by a larger margin (7%). The war continued to the Armistice with volunteers only.</p> <p>By the end of the war, <a href="https://www.awm.gov.au/articles/atwar/first-world-war">over 215,000</a> Australians had been killed, wounded or gassed. Only one out of every three Australian men who were sent abroad arrived home physically unscathed.</p> <figure class="align-center "> <img alt="" src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/244248/original/file-20181107-74772-7lri2j.gif?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip"> <figcaption> <span class="caption">An anti-conscription poster.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Parliament of Australia</span></span> </figcaption> </figure> <p>During the 20th century, Australian law developed a variety of positions on conscientious objection. Such status today relies on an applicant meeting the requirements of the <a href="https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/C2004C03463">Defence Act 1903</a> as amended in 1939. Conscientious objectors need not have deeply held religious beliefs. But they must be able to ground their objection in moral beliefs, and be able to articulate them.</p> <p>People who were not able to be officially recognised as conscientious objectors in Australia during the first world war were prosecuted when they failed to register. While historical records are impossible to collate accurately on this subject, some 27,749 prosecutions <a href="https://catalogue.nla.gov.au/Record/1490892">had been launched across the country</a> by June 30, 1915. Stories of the tragic social consequences for these men, and for conscientious objectors, are legion. Objectors particularly were often maligned as cowards and self-seekers. But the historical records illustrate that theirs was not an easy path. They did not lack courage. In many respects, the choices made by conscientious objectors required a greater determination and certainty of belief than was needed by the men who enlisted voluntarily.</p> <hr> <p> <em> <strong> Read more: <a href="http://theconversation.com/only-the-conscription-referendums-made-australias-great-war-experience-different-49876">Only the conscription referendums made Australia's Great War experience different</a> </strong> </em> </p> <hr> <p>There is a permanent memorial for conscientious objectors in <a href="http://www.for.org.uk/2018/08/10/co-stone-2/">Tavistock Square</a>, London, and one is planned for Edinburgh, Scotland. There is a tribute at the National World War I Museum and Memorial in Kansas City for the pacifists <a href="http://www.hutterites.org/history/world-war-1/">Joseph and Michael Hofer</a>, who died in Leavenworth Prison in 1918 while incarcerated for refusing military service.</p> <p>It is regrettable that Australia has no public memorial to our forebears who campaigned against compulsory military service, and the war itself, for reasons of conscience and faith. As we commemorate the centenary of the Armistice, there is no better time to remedy that oversight.</p><img src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/106169/count.gif" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /> <p class="fine-print"><em><span>Rick Sarre receives funding from the Criminology Research Council. He is affiliated with the Australian Labor Party. </span></em></p> It's time the Australians who voiced vociferous opposition to war in general and conscription in particular were commemorated as an important part of our history. Rick Sarre, Adjunct Professor of Law and Criminal Justice, University of South Australia Licensed as Creative Commons – attribution, no derivatives. tag:theconversation.com,2011:article/103232 2018-11-08T19:36:52Z 2018-11-08T19:36:52Z <figure><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/244276/original/file-20181107-74769-g5k94f.JPG?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=496&amp;fit=clip" /><figcaption><span class="caption">A crowd at Martin Place, Sydney, celebrates the news of the signing of the Armistice on November 11 1918.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Australian War Memorial</span></span></figcaption></figure><p>One hundred years ago – on November 11 1918, at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month – millions of men laid down their guns. </p> <p>This was Armistice Day, the end of the first world war. </p> <p><a href="https://encyclopedia.1914-1918-online.net/article/germany">Germany</a>, the last belligerent standing among the <a href="https://encyclopedia.1914-1918-online.net/article/the_military_collapse_of_the_central_powers">Central Powers</a>, had collapsed militarily, economically and politically.</p> <p>Armistice Day – later known as Remembrance Day – has since been commemorated every year. </p> <hr> <p> <em> <strong> Read more: <a href="http://theconversation.com/world-politics-explainer-the-great-war-wwi-100462">World politics explainer: The Great War (WWI)</a> </strong> </em> </p> <hr> <h2>Ending the war</h2> <p>On November 11 1918, aboard Marshall <a href="https://encyclopedia.1914-1918-online.net/article/foch_ferdinand">Ferdinand Foch’s</a> <a href="http://www.musee-armistice-14-18.fr/visiter-le-memorial/le-museum/le-wagon-de-larmistice/3160813/">train carriage</a>, a few <a href="https://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/plenipotentiary">plenipotentiaries</a> of Germany and the main Allied nations signed a short document that ordered a ceasefire, effective from 11am. In doing so, they put an end to the <a href="https://theconversation.com/world-politics-explainer-the-great-war-wwi-100462">global carnage</a> that had started in August 1914 and had killed more than 10 million combatants and 6 million civilians. </p> <figure class="align-right "> <img alt="" src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/244516/original/file-20181108-74778-yidvzm.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=237&amp;fit=clip"> <figcaption> <span class="caption">French Marshal Ferdinand Foch (second from the right), in Compiègne Forest, minutes after the signature of the Armistice.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Wikicommons</span></span> </figcaption> </figure> <p>Notably, though this document stopped combat, it did not formally end the war. Indeed, Germany had sought an armistice in order to negotiate a formal peace treaty. This peace was secured eight months later, on June 28 1919, at the <a href="https://encyclopedia.1914-1918-online.net/article/the_paris_peace_conference_and_its_consequences">Paris Peace Conference</a>.</p> <p>The Armistice also didn’t resolve localised conflicts resulting from the war. These raged on in parts of Eastern Europe and the Middle East through to the early 1920s. </p> <p>But for most nations involved in the first world war, the armistice of November 11 was the day the fighting finally stopped, which is why it has become a major commemorative event across the globe.</p> <h2>The first Armistice Day</h2> <p>On the first Armistice Day, November 11 1918, crowds cheered on the streets of Allied countries such as Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the US, France and Belgium. People rejoiced at the ending of a period of <a href="https://encyclopedia.1914-1918-online.net/article/controversy_total_war">total mobilisation</a> that had affected every aspect of their lives, inflicting unprecedented hardship on soldiers and civilians alike. </p> <p>But for those who had lost the war, the news of the armistice came as a shock. While some were relieved the conflict had ended, the sudden collapse of the German, Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman empires provided a breeding ground for <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KtfmonfZq8g">revolutionary movements</a> and further internal conflicts. For them, Armistice Day was a moment of anguish and bitterness.</p> <figure> <iframe width="440" height="260" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/S1QSNP9ibBs?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe> <figcaption><span class="caption">Cheering crowds on Armistice Day.</span></figcaption> </figure> <h2>The second Armistice Day (1919)</h2> <p>After its first iteration, Armistice Day became a more formal and sombre commemoration, and was often held at war memorials. People were encouraged to remember the dead with respect and solemnity. </p> <p>A dedicated time for silence became part of the ceremony and has been central to Remembrance Day commemorations ever since. In Britain, <a href="https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/115881021?searchTerm=armistice%20day%20silence%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20%20&amp;searchLimits=l-decade=191%7C%7C%7Cl-year=1919">King George V</a> requested a two-minute silence, which was observed from 1919 onward across the Commonwealth. In France, the <em>minute de silence</em> was instituted in 1922.</p> <p>Silence meant time for contemplation, reflection, introspection and, above all, respect. In multifaith empires where atheism was progressing, the gesture could conveniently replace a prayer.</p> <p>Remembrance Day was deemed a civic duty for many, and the veterans would often take a lead role in its commemoration.</p> <p>From then on, Armistice Day increasingly became known as Remembrance Day. The focus was no longer on the armistice and the end of the war: it became a day to remember, grieve and honour those who had died. </p> <figure class="align-center "> <img alt="" src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/237666/original/file-20180924-7728-fu3mn1.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip"> <figcaption> <span class="caption">Two-minute silence, Oxford Street, November 11 1919.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Gallica, BNF</span></span> </figcaption> </figure> <p>The notion of sacrifice became central to Remembrance Day, as those still alive tried to give meaning to, and cope with, the deaths of their loved ones. The language of memory honoured the deceased, acknowledging that they had not sacrificed themselves in vain but for institutions and values such as country, king, God, freedom and so on. However, as time passed, this language came to be increasingly contested. </p> <h2>Remembrance Day: the inter-wars and the second world war</h2> <p>Remembrance Day was also used to protest against war in general. Some mourners and veterans refused to attend official commemorations. In doing so, they showcased their anger at the state-sanctioned carnage that the first world war had been. In France and Belgium in the 1920s and 1930s, for instance, large pacifist movements used Remembrance Day and some <a href="https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monument_aux_morts_pacifiste">war memorials</a> to stress the futility of war and nationalism. </p> <p>Such Remembrance Day protests were of openly political nature, and historical contexts altered the meaning of these demonstrations. Across Nazi-occupied Europe, clandestine <a href="http://www.cheminsdememoire.gouv.fr/en/le-11-novembre-1940">Remembrance Day ceremonies</a> were used as a sign of protest against German occupation during the second world war, and to remind them they had been defeated in the previous war. </p> <h2>Remembrance Day now</h2> <p>Today, the commemoration of the November 11 armistice is marked in many countries across the globe (mostly those on the “winning” side of the war) under various names: Armistice Day, Remembrance Day, <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/nov/03/wearing-poppy-pledge-peace-sanitise-war-remembrance">Poppy</a> Day, <em>11 Novembre</em>, National Independence Day or Veterans Day. For some, the day is a <a href="https://www.officeholidays.com/countries/global/remembrance_day.php">public holiday</a>.</p> <p>Every state celebrating Remembrance Day grants different meanings to its commemoration. Speeches in France deplore the loss of lives and insist on the value of peace during official ceremonies. In Poland, however, the day marks the <a href="https://www.polska.pl/tourism/traditions-and-holidays/independence-day/">rebirth of the nation</a> and a time to celebrate. </p> <p>In the US, the commemoration is centred on the veterans of all wars, while in <a href="https://encyclopedia.1914-1918-online.net/article/commemoration_cult_of_the_fallen_australia">Australia</a> few people attend Remembrance Day. The crowds <a href="https://latrobe.rl.talis.com/items/C98D037F-1454-8FD8-EA3A-51E78EFCCBB6.html">prefer</a> attending <a href="https://www.afr.com/opinion/columnists/anzac-day-shows-how-much-the-politics-of-patriotism-have-changed-20170425-gvs5pn">Anzac Day</a> on April 25 – a more <a href="https://www.themonthly.com.au/issue/2012/december/1363672450/mark-mckenna/lest-we-inflate">patriotic</a> service and a public holiday. </p> <figure class="align-center "> <img alt="" src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/244518/original/file-20181108-74769-6f4n9q.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip"> <figcaption> <span class="caption">Langemark German military cemetery, Belgium.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Shutterstock</span></span> </figcaption> </figure> <p>As the first world war fades further away in time, one way to keep remembering those who died in this conflict has been to progressively include the commemoration of the dead of more recent conflicts in Remembrance Day ceremonies, as is the case in the <a href="https://www.va.gov/opa/vetsday/vetdayhistory.asp">US</a>, the UK and <a href="https://www.defense.gouv.fr/actualites/memoire-et-culture/11-novembre-anniversaire-de-l-armistice-de-1918-et-hommage-a-tous-les-morts-pour-la-france">France</a>. The commemoration therefore remains relevant to a larger population but also prevents the multiplication of special days for official state commemorations.</p> <p>Today, as in the past, protests continue to be a component of Remembrance Day. Recently, a man <a href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-12664346">was fined</a> £50 in the UK for burning a poppy on Remembrance Day to protest against current <a href="https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1363772/Muslim-extremist-burned-poppies-Armistice-Day-fined-just-50.html">deployment of British forces</a>. The commemoration has also been mobilised by different <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/nov/11/poppies-culture-wars">far-right movements</a> across Europe to advance their agendas. </p> <h2>A centenary of remembrance</h2> <p>A hundred years after the event, Remembrance Day and first world war memorials still provide a time and place to remember those who fought and <a href="https://encyclopedia.1914-1918-online.net/article/war_losses">fell</a> in the conflict. For the most senior citizens among us, this is their parents’ generation; a past they still live with. </p> <p>On November 11 2018, to mark the 100th anniversary of the end of one of the world’s deadliest conflicts, you may choose to attend a Remembrance Day service. You may choose not to, or not even notice that it is Remembrance Day.</p> <p>During the minute of silence, you may reflect on the meaning of war and its long-lasting impacts, its futility or its glory, think about a family member, or the weather. This degree of versatility partly explains the endurance of Remembrance Day. An official and public event, but also a personal gesture that everyone can embed with their own meaning.</p><img src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/103232/count.gif" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /> <p class="fine-print"><em><span>Romain Fathi does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.</span></em></p> This year marks 100 years since the fighting stopped in the first world war. The commemoration of the armistice, Remembrance Day, remains potent but is also changing with the times. Romain Fathi, Lecturer, History, Flinders University Licensed as Creative Commons – attribution, no derivatives. tag:theconversation.com,2011:article/106454 2018-11-08T19:35:34Z 2018-11-08T19:35:34Z <figure><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/244492/original/file-20181108-74775-1y5nbki.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=496&amp;fit=clip" /><figcaption><span class="caption">Will Dyson sketching close to the German lines on the Western Front, 29 May 1918.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">AWM E02439</span></span></figcaption></figure><p>War is often seen as a death knell for the arts, but during the first world war the Australian government mobilised some of the country’s most renowned expatriate artists to paint the conflict. Hired essentially as eyewitnesses to war, these men were stationed at the front and tasked with creating art on the battlefield.</p> <figure class="align-left zoomable"> <a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/244493/original/file-20181108-74766-qsy53t.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img alt="" src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/244493/original/file-20181108-74766-qsy53t.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=237&amp;fit=clip"></a> <figcaption> <span class="caption">Will Dyson, Coming Out on the Somme, 1916, charcoal, pencil, brush and wash on paper, 56 x 47.2 cm</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Australian War Memorial ART02276</span></span> </figcaption> </figure> <p>The idea of using art to interpret and commemorate the war was first raised by Will Dyson, an Australian expatriate cartoonist working in Britain, who went to the Western Front as Australia’s first official war artist in late 1916. Dyson drew candid studies of Australian soldiers. In images such as Coming Out on the Somme (1916) he deftly captures the glazed detachment and vacant stares of the men who had just returned from, as he described it, “gazing on strange and terrible lands”.</p> <p>Perhaps sensitive to the public at home, most Australian official artists avoided sketching the graphic violence of the war. But there were some exceptions. Will Longstaff’s sketchbook, for instance, contains an image of a dismembered leg, bone protruding from a mess of flesh and cloth. His composition shows the severed limb in the centre of the sketch with a grassy field of poppies in the background, an arrangement at odds with the human evidence of the impact of war. </p> <figure class="align-center zoomable"> <a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/244499/original/file-20181108-74763-1as5uud.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img alt="" src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/244499/original/file-20181108-74763-1as5uud.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip"></a> <figcaption> <span class="caption">Will Longstaff, Study of Dismembered Leg (detail), c. 1918.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">AWM ART19796.021</span></span> </figcaption> </figure> <p>By 11 November 1918, the <a href="https://www.awm.gov.au/articles/encyclopedia/war_artists/ww1">Australian art collection</a> consisted of an eclectic array of images of the battlefield. But it represented a very narrow view of the Australian war experience. Most official artists had been sent to France and Belgium. The eyewitness role of artists – a position they did not challenge – meant they painted only what they observed at the front. As a result, the collection was dominated by paintings of the soldiers and battlefields in Europe. Other theatres of war, such as the Middle East where only George Lambert had been stationed, were represented by much fewer images. </p> <figure class="align-center zoomable"> <a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/244491/original/file-20181108-74778-ezsf1k.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img alt="" src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/244491/original/file-20181108-74778-ezsf1k.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip"></a> <figcaption> <span class="caption">Official artist James Quinn working among the debris of the war on Mont St Quentin, France, 7 September 1918.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Australian War Memorial</span></span> </figcaption> </figure> <p>The focus on the Western Front meant the army was privileged over other services, such as the Navy and Flying Corps. The absence of the Navy was particularly criticised by members of the Australian press at the time, who complained that while Britain and Canada had employed their best artists to paint naval pictures, the Australian Government had done nothing.</p> <p>The Canadian and British art schemes also made concerted efforts to include the home front in their collections. And they employed women artists, albeit to paint women’s wartime labour, such as workers in factories. Additionally, the Canadian art scheme hired painters from a range of Allied countries, embracing diverse styles and interpretations of the conflict.</p> <p>The Australian collection was more nationalistic in tone, employing only Australian artists. While some of the nation’s most eminent artists of the day painted for it, lesser known artists, many of whom had served in the Australian Imperial Force, were also commissioned. </p> <figure class="align-left zoomable"> <a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/244510/original/file-20181108-74760-l3gh4b.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img alt="" src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/244510/original/file-20181108-74760-l3gh4b.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=237&amp;fit=clip"></a> <figcaption> <span class="caption">Ellis Silas, Roll Call, 1920, oil on canvas, 131.8 x 183.5 cm.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">AWM</span></span> </figcaption> </figure> <p>Often images that less skilfully portrayed the war were included because of their eyewitness value, such as works by Ellis Silas, who had served as a signaller on Gallipoli in 1915. </p> <p>The Australian collection also stood alone in its neglect of the war experience at home and of women artists. Missing from the collection were images of the preparations for conflict, the training camps, the embarkation of troops, women’s wartime efforts and experience, (including their roles as nurses and volunteers in the warzone and as paid or unofficial workers at home), and of the <a href="https://encyclopedia.1914-1918-online.net/article/social_conflict_and_control_protest_and_repression_australia">bitter political disputes</a> that divided Australia during the war. </p> <p>These lacunae in <a href="https://www.awm.gov.au/articles/encyclopedia/war_artists/artists">the collection</a> were addressed to some extent in the decades after the war. But even then, the focus remained largely on a battlefield narrative – more narrowly defining “war experience” than either the British or Canadian art. </p> <h2>Artistic liberties</h2> <p>George Lambert’s iconic painting of the Australians climbing the cliffs on Gallipoli at dawn on 25 April 1915 is a fascinating example of post-war mythologising. Despite travelling to the peninsula in early 1919 to study the battlefields and create as accurate a representation as possible, he took some artistic liberties with this canvas. </p> <p>Veterans complained that the soldiers should be depicted in the peaked cap of the early uniform they had actually worn in 1915. But Lambert painted all the men wearing the slouch hat, which had become synonymous with the Australian soldier, consolidating the painting’s distinctly Australian character.</p> <figure class="align-center zoomable"> <a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/244500/original/file-20181108-74757-24ybgj.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img alt="" src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/244500/original/file-20181108-74757-24ybgj.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip"></a> <figcaption> <span class="caption">George Lambert, Anzac, the Landing 1915, 1920–22, oil on canvas, 199.8 x 370.2 cm.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">AWM ART02873</span></span> </figcaption> </figure> <p>Other images also show an emerging national mythology. Dyson’s cartoons and sketches, many of which were a powerful indictment of the conduct of the war, represent ideas about an Australian type. </p> <p>He portrayed the humour associated with the larrikin soldier in images such as Small Talk (1920). Depicting two soldiers in conversation in a bomb crater, he captures their droll joking: “No Brig., I says send me back to the boys – the transport’s no good to me I never joined the war to be a mule’s batman!”</p> <figure class="align-center zoomable"> <a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/244508/original/file-20181108-74751-1f86py5.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img alt="" src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/244508/original/file-20181108-74751-1f86py5.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip"></a> <figcaption> <span class="caption">Small Talk, 1920, oil on board, 53.4 x 69 cm.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">AWM ART02430</span></span> </figcaption> </figure> <p>Arthur Streeton painted the battlefields where Australian soldiers fought. He saw in soldiering life a deeper and more meaningful example of the development of a particularly Australian masculinity: “It[̓s] extremely novel and exciting over here and it’s the only way in which to form any idea of Australian manhood.”</p> <figure class="align-center zoomable"> <a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/244494/original/file-20181108-74783-14pd40x.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img alt="" src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/244494/original/file-20181108-74783-14pd40x.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip"></a> <figcaption> <span class="caption">Arthur Streeton, The Somme Valley Near Corbie, 1919, oil on canvas, 153 x 245.5 cm</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">AWM ART03497</span></span> </figcaption> </figure> <p>Many official artists drew on the devastated landscape of the battlefield as an allegory for the destruction wrought by war. Taming the Australian bush, a trope popular with Australian audiences before the war, became survival on the battlefields of Europe and the Middle East. </p> <figure class="align-center zoomable"> <a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/244507/original/file-20181108-74769-1syf5sw.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img alt="" src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/244507/original/file-20181108-74769-1syf5sw.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip"></a> <figcaption> <span class="caption">Septimus Power, First Australian Artillery going into the 3rd Battle of Ypres, 1919, oil on canvas, 121.7 x 245 cm.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">AWM ART03330</span></span> </figcaption> </figure> <p>George Lambert was the only official artist stationed in the Middle East during the war. He interpreted this theatre in terms of his experience painting the Australian landscape. The light and colours of Australia permeated much of his wartime work, framing the experience of the soldiers and their environment in familiar imagery that made the conflict appear more immediate for audiences at home. </p> <figure class="align-center zoomable"> <a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/244496/original/file-20181108-74787-1qjtb3u.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img alt="" src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/244496/original/file-20181108-74787-1qjtb3u.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip"></a> <figcaption> <span class="caption">George Lambert, Magdhaba, March 1918, oil on canvas, 51.2 x 61.8 cm.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">AWM ART09844</span></span> </figcaption> </figure> <p>Australia did not employ any women as official painters during the war, but female artists created numerous images of their wartime experience, and their images show what the collection might have gained had they been commissioned. Australian born artist <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iso_Rae">Iso Rae</a>’s painting of the military camps in France was later acquired for the collection. </p> <figure class="align-center zoomable"> <a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/244498/original/file-20181108-74769-em6hp2.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img alt="" src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/244498/original/file-20181108-74769-em6hp2.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip"></a> <figcaption> <span class="caption">Iso Rae, Cinema Queue, 1916, France, pastel, gouache on grey paper, 47.8 x 60.6 cm.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">AWM ART19600</span></span> </figcaption> </figure> <p>Australia’s first world war art collection has been revised and reshaped across the last century and now represents a broader experience of the conflict from a more diverse range of artists. But the works created during and immediately after the war fed into a national mythology that privileged a narrative of the Australian soldier on the battlefield, coming at the expense of a more nuanced story of Australia in the war.</p> <p><em>The Australian war art collection is held at <a href="https://www.awm.gov.au/articles/encyclopedia/war_artists/artists">The Australian War Memorial</a>.</em></p><img src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/106454/count.gif" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /> <p class="fine-print"><em><span>Margaret Hutchison does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.</span></em></p> Australian authorities sent artists to the WW1 battlefields to interpret and commemorate war. But unlike similar schemes in Britain and Canada, ours neglected the war experience at home and the perspective of women artists. Margaret Hutchison, Lecturer in History, Australian Catholic University Licensed as Creative Commons – attribution, no derivatives. tag:theconversation.com,2011:article/105350 2018-11-08T19:34:27Z 2018-11-08T19:34:27Z <figure><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/244504/original/file-20181108-74760-1dkjswm.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=496&amp;fit=clip" /><figcaption><span class="caption">Few work environments offer greater isolation than Antarctica. </span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Shutterstock</span></span></figcaption></figure><p>In October a researcher at the remote Bellingshausen Station in Antarctica allegedly stabbed a colleague. Some reports attributed the incident to the victim <a href="https://nypost.com/2018/10/30/antarctica-scientist-stabbed-colleague-for-spoiling-book-endings-report/">giving away the endings of books</a> the attacker was reading.</p> <p><a href="https://www.sciencealert.com/antarctic-cabin-fever-is-real-and-was-blamed-for-a-stabbing">Other reports</a> identify the <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00224545.1984.9924512">cabin fever</a> effect as a possible contributing factor. During extended periods in isolation and confined conditions, such as at a station in Antarctica, people can become restlessness, bored and irritated.</p> <p>These effects, however, are not limited to the small number of scientists living in cabin-like environments in remote locations. Isolation can just as easily affect people on the move, such as the drivers of the <a href="http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/[email protected]/mf/9208.0/">3.5 million freight vehicles</a> registered in Australia. <a href="https://doi.org/10.1080/0164212X.2015.1093995">Studies</a> cite social isolation as a recurring theme and a cause of mental health problems and dysfunctional family relationships for truck drivers.</p> <p>Interestingly, knowledge workers are also increasingly prone to suffering from isolation. This is because the ability to work “anywhere, anytime” has led to the development of new organisational structures that have increased the effects of isolation by increasing the social distance within a distributed workforce.</p> <p>Depression, stress, lack of motivation and eventually burnout are all <a href="https://catalogue.nla.gov.au/Record/7089026">possible consequences of isolation</a>. Other effects include experiencing fears of missing out on crucial events or decisions being made by others elsewhere – colloquially known as <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/job.145">the feeling of out of sight, out of mind</a>.</p> <p>The impact of isolation in health has been compared to the reduction in lifespan similar to that <a href="https://hbr.org/cover-story/2017/09/work-and-the-loneliness-epidemic">caused by smoking 15 cigarettes a day</a>. If the sit-to-stand desk was the response to the “sitting is the new smoking” motto, co-working is the response to isolation.</p> <p>The growth of the gig economy brought concerns of increased likelihood of people working in isolation beyond that of teleworkers already discussed above. In this regard, the proliferation of co-working environments should not be surprising. To a large extent it’s due to their ability to provide a social environment for sole practitioners who would otherwise be working in isolation.</p> <h2>In pursuit of solitude</h2> <p>Isolation is an interpretation of one’s sense of aloneness. It is a feeling independent of the condition of being alone. While aloneness is the objective state of not having anyone around, isolation can be experienced in the middle of a crowd – if, for example, you have nothing in common with them, or do not share a common language.</p> <p>Isolation is the negative side of aloneness, which leads to loneliness.</p> <p>On the other hand, solitude is the positive manifestation of aloneness. An important factor in converting aloneness into solitude is that it is voluntary, instead of imposed. As such, artists, writers and scientists have described solitude as their most creative and productive state.</p> <p>The differences between loneliness and solitude can be subtle. <a href="http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1080/01650250444000153">One study</a> has identified that our understanding of these nuances develops with age.</p> <h2>Aloneness as a thinking tool</h2> <p>I have a particular interest in aloneness, both as an academic and architect. I specialise in the study of work and the environments that contain it. Specifically, I am interested in aloneness as a mechanism to increase the diversity of ideas.</p> <p>This might seem at odds with the thinking of times when the value of collaborative work in Australia has been estimated at <a href="https://www2.deloitte.com/au/en/pages/economics/articles/collaborative-economy-unlocking-power-of-workplace-crowd.html">A billion per year</a>. However, the message of “the more, the merrier” when it comes to collaboration is increasingly being qualified and the downside of <a href="https://hbr.org/2016/01/collaborative-overload">collaboration overload</a> discussed.</p> <p>Inspired by the development of diversity in species attributed to isolation (see iguanas at the Galapagos Islands), I walked alone from Melbourne to Sydney in the hope that I could incubate an idea for the <a href="https://www.sg2s.net/">duration of the 42-day journey</a>. I was incubating the idea of a new sense of purpose in a post-artificially intelligent world. </p> <p>I carried two backpacks weighting up to 20kg, depending on the amount of food and water I needed, or if my tent got wet. I camped, or stayed in pubs, Airbnbs and roadside motels from a bygone era.</p> <figure class="align-center zoomable"> <a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/244505/original/file-20181108-74778-1n7ngxr.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img alt="" src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/244505/original/file-20181108-74778-1n7ngxr.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip"></a> <figcaption> <span class="caption">Camping between Melbourne and Sydney.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Agustin Chevez</span>, <span class="license">Author provided</span></span> </figcaption> </figure> <p>Most people asked “why?” and <a href="https://www.sg2s.net/blog/type-2-happiness">what charity I was walking for</a> (I wasn’t). <a href="https://www.sg2s.net/blog/how-are-my-feet-and-what-did-i-learn">What I learned</a> is more complicated. But, yes, I did find that walking in solitude can be a great thinking tool. It is necessary, however, to be able to go past boredom – and that is not easy.</p> <p>I mostly enjoyed my solitude, but I did experience loneliness during my trek. Interestingly, the literature suggests that isolation can also lead to lack of “social barometers”, making it difficult for people to determine how they should behave in work settings. I experienced a version of this as soon as I shared my first meal back in “civilisation” and realised how much I had relaxed my eating etiquette.</p> <p>The nature of a specific job, like a scientist in Antarctica or a truck driver, might impose aloneness, or else it might be a side effect of mobile technologies or the emergence of the gig economy and other modern working styles. In such cases, the consequences of isolation must be managed.</p> <p>At the same time, however, we should create opportunities for solitude in work settings, by the design of the space or of our jobs. In doing so, we might increase the diversity of ideas and ultimately our chances to innovate.</p><img src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/105350/count.gif" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /> <p class="fine-print"><em><span>Dr. Agustin Chevez has received Government and Industry funding to undertake workplace research. Agustin is affiliated with HASSELL.</span></em></p> Isolation at work can be unhealthy. But it can also be a good thing – as this researcher found out when he walked solo from Melbourne to Sydney. Agustin Chevez, Adjunct Research Fellow, Centre For Design Innovation, Swinburne University of Technology Licensed as Creative Commons – attribution, no derivatives. tag:theconversation.com,2011:article/106160 2018-11-08T19:33:53Z 2018-11-08T19:33:53Z <figure><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/244512/original/file-20181108-74778-1gcepvk.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=496&amp;fit=clip" /><figcaption><span class="caption">A number of Australian nursing homes use Paro, a therapeutic robot that looks and sounds like a baby harp seal, to interact with residents with dementia.</span> <span class="attribution"><a class="source" href="https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/fukuoka-japanmay-12-2017-paro-therapeutic-651654577?src=d3Ffoy9p9ljQt1jWVTC4oA-1-0">Angela Ostafichuk/Shutterstock</a></span></figcaption></figure><p>If you have seen science fiction television series such as <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Humans_(TV_series)">Humans</a> or <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Westworld_(TV_series)">Westworld</a>, you might be imagining a near future where intelligent, humanoid robots play an important role in meeting the needs of people, including caring for children or older relatives. </p> <p>The reality is that current technologies in this sector are not yet very humanoid, but nonetheless, a range of robots are being used in our care services including <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-06-05/the-creepy-looking-robot-teaching-kids-social-skills/9832530">disability</a>, <a href="https://www.bbc.com/news/education-38770516">aged care</a>, <a href="https://theconversation.com/why-r2d2-could-be-your-childs-teacher-sooner-than-you-think-103284">education</a>, and <a href="https://theconversation.com/young-doctors-struggle-to-learn-robotic-surgery-so-they-are-practicing-in-the-shadows-89646">health</a>.</p> <p>Our <a href="https://www.anzsog.edu.au/resource-library/research/robots-and-the-delivery-of-care-services">new research</a>, published today by the Australia and New Zealand School of Government, finds that governments need to carefully plan for the inevitable expansion of these technologies to safeguard vulnerable people. </p> <h2>Care crisis and the rise of robots</h2> <p>Australia, like a number of other advanced liberal democracies, is anticipating a future with an <a href="https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports-statistics/population-groups/older-people/overview">older population</a>, with a more complex mix of chronic illness and disease. A number of care organisations already operate under <a href="https://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/health/clear-and-present-threat-price-caps-risk-ndis-revolt/news-story/c420ba268b367838c5b6d457bf3c6dfd">tight fiscal constraints</a> and <a href="https://probonoaustralia.com.au/news/2017/06/concerns-future-aged-care-workforce/">report challenges</a> recruiting enough qualified staff. </p> <hr> <p> <em> <strong> Read more: <a href="http://theconversation.com/robots-in-health-care-could-lead-to-a-doctorless-hospital-54316">Robots in health care could lead to a doctorless hospital</a> </strong> </em> </p> <hr> <p>In the future, fewer numbers in the working-age population and increased numbers of retirees will compound this problem. If we then add to this equation the fact <a href="https://www.ipsos.com/sites/default/files/ct/publication/documents/2017-11/great-expectations-are-service-expectations-really-rising-2017_0.pdf">consumer expectations are increasing</a>, it starts to look like future care services are facing a somewhat perfect storm.</p> <p>Robots are increasingly becoming a feature of our care services, capable of fulfilling a number of roles from manual tasks through to social interaction. Their wider use has been heralded as an important tool in dealing with our impending care crisis. Countries such as Japan see <a href="https://www.reuters.com/article/us-japan-ageing-robots-widerimage/aging-japan-robots-may-have-role-in-future-of-elder-care-idUSKBN1H33AB">robots playing a key role</a> in filling their workforce gaps in care services.</p> <p>A number of Australian residential aged care facilities are using Paro, a therapeutic robot that looks and sounds like a baby harp seal. Paro interacts by moving its head, heavily-lashed wide eyes and flippers, making sounds and responding to particular forms of touch on its furry coat. </p> <p>Paro has been <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28780395">used extensively</a> in aged care in the United States, Europe and parts of Asia, typically among people living with dementia. </p> <p>Nao is an interactive companion robot developed in a humanoid form but standing just 58cm tall in height. </p> <figure class="align-center "> <img alt="" src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/244513/original/file-20181108-74751-1nliym8.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip"> <figcaption> <span class="caption">Nao acts as a little friend.</span> <span class="attribution"><a class="source" href="https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/nao-robot-autonomous-programmable-humanoid-sofia-481288654?src=bgF64LjKQVftFWOcK6zlkw-1-8">By Veselin Borishev</a></span> </figcaption> </figure> <p>Nao has gone through a number of different iterations and has been used for a variety of different applications worldwide, including to help children engaged in <a href="https://theconversation.com/robots-can-help-young-patients-engage-in-rehab-54741">paediatric rehabilitation</a> and in <a href="https://www.theatlantic.com/photo/2018/10/robots-at-work-and-play/573274/">various educational and research institutes</a>. </p> <hr> <p> <em> <strong> Read more: <a href="http://theconversation.com/robots-can-help-young-patients-engage-in-rehab-54741">Robots can help young patients engage in rehab</a> </strong> </em> </p> <hr> <h2>The double-edged sword of technology</h2> <p><a href="https://www.roboticvision.org/robotics-roadmap/">Robots are capable</a> of enhancing productivity and improving quality and safety. But there is a potential for misuse or unintended consequences. </p> <p>Concerns have been expressed about the use of robots potentially <a href="https://www.brookings.edu/research/views-of-ai-robots-and-automation-based-on-internet-search-data/">reducing privacy</a>, exposing people to <a href="https://www.roboticsbusinessreview.com/unmanned/robots_vulnerable_to_hacking/">data hacking</a>, or even <a href="https://theconversation.com/asimovs-laws-wont-stop-robots-harming-humans-so-weve-developed-a-better-solution-80569">inflicting physical harm</a>. </p> <p>We also lack evidence about the potential long-term implications of <a href="http://gaips.inesc-id.pt/emote/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/Social-Robots-for-Long-Term-Interaction_-A-Survey.pdf">human-machine interactions</a>. </p> <hr> <p> <em> <strong> Read more: <a href="http://theconversation.com/we-need-robots-that-can-improvise-but-its-not-easy-to-teach-them-right-from-wrong-87014">We need robots that can improvise, but it's not easy to teach them right from wrong</a> </strong> </em> </p> <hr> <p><a href="https://www.anzsog.edu.au/resource-library/research/robots-and-the-delivery-of-care-services">Our research</a> explored the roles robots should and, even more critically, should <em>not</em> play in care delivery. We also investigated the role of government as a steward in shaping this framework through interviews with 35 policy, health care and academic experts from across Australia and New Zealand. </p> <p>We found that despite these technologies already being in use in aged care facilities, schools and hospitals, <a href="https://www.anzsog.edu.au/resource-library/research/robots-and-the-delivery-of-care-services">government</a> agencies don’t typically think strategically about their use and often aren’t aware of the risks and potential unintended consequences.</p> <p>This means the sector is largely being driven by the interests of technology suppliers. Providers in some cases are purchasing these technologies to differentiate them in the market, but are also not always engaging in critical analysis. </p> <p>Our study participants identified that robots were “leveraged” as something new and attractive to keep young people interested in learning, or as “a conversation starter” with prospective families exploring aged care providers.</p> <figure class="align-center "> <img alt="" src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/244515/original/file-20181108-74757-irprkz.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip"> <figcaption> <span class="caption">Robots can help draw in potential clients.</span> <span class="attribution"><a class="source" href="https://www.shutterstock.com/download/confirm/1099664006?src=v-rignI814RDPB2wSaZG_Q-1-15&amp;size=huge_jpg">PaO_STUDIO/Shutterstock</a></span> </figcaption> </figure> <p>But there are significant risks as the technologies become more developed. Drawing on research in other emerging technologies, our participants raised concerns about addiction and reliance on the robot. What would happen if the robot broke or became obsolete, and who would be responsible if a robot caused harm? </p> <p>As artificial intelligence develops, robots will develop different levels of capabilities for “knowing” the human they are caring for. This raises concerns about potential hacking and security issues. On the flip side, it raises questions of inequity if different levels of care available at different price points. </p> <p>Participants were also concerned about the unintended consequences of robot relationships on human relationships. Families may feel that the robot proxy is sufficient companionship, for instance, and leave their aged relative socially isolated. </p> <h2>What should governments do?</h2> <p>Government has an important role to play by regulating the rapidly developing market.</p> <p>We suggest a <a href="http://regnet.anu.edu.au/sites/default/files/publications/attachments/2015-05/ROP15_0.pdf">responsive regulatory approach</a>, which relies on the sector to self- and peer-regulate, and to escalate issues as they arise for subsequent regulation. Such engagement will require education, behaviour change, and a variety of regulatory measures that go beyond formal rules. </p> <hr> <p> <em> <strong> Read more: <a href="http://theconversation.com/asimovs-laws-wont-stop-robots-harming-humans-so-weve-developed-a-better-solution-80569">Asimov’s Laws won’t stop robots harming humans so we’ve developed a better solution</a> </strong> </em> </p> <hr> <p>Government has an important role in helping providers understand the different technologies available and their evidence base. Care providers often struggle to access good evidence about technologies and their effectiveness. As such, they’re largely being informed by the market, rather than high quality evidence. </p> <p>Many of the stakeholders we spoke to for our research also see a role for government in helping generate an evidence base that’s accessible to providers. This is particularly important where technologies may have been tested, but in a different national context. </p> <p>Many respondents called for establishment of industry standards to protect against data and privacy threats, and the loss of jobs.</p> <p>Finally, governments have a responsibility to ensure vulnerable people aren’t exploited or harmed by technologies. And they must also ensure robots don’t replace human care and lead to greater social isolation.</p><img src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/106160/count.gif" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /> <p class="fine-print"><em><span>Helen Dickinson receives funding from Australia and New Zealand School of Government, Australian Research Council and National Health and Medical Research Council </span></em></p><p class="fine-print"><em><span>Catherine Smith receives funding from Australia and New Zealand School of Government.</span></em></p> It's easy to get excited about the potential for robots to help care for the sick, injured and elderly, but we need the right regulations in place to deal with issues as they emerge. Helen Dickinson, Associate Professor, Public Service Research Group, UNSW Catherine Smith, Research fellow, University of Melbourne Licensed as Creative Commons – attribution, no derivatives. tag:theconversation.com,2011:article/106231 2018-11-08T19:33:52Z 2018-11-08T19:33:52Z <figure><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/244501/original/file-20181108-74787-97nmyz.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=496&amp;fit=clip" /><figcaption><span class="caption">Younger Australians struggle more with loneliness than older generations.</span> <span class="attribution"><a class="source" href="https://unsplash.com/photos/WY_J0_9sVFg">Toa Heftiba</a></span></figcaption></figure><p>One in four Australians are lonely, our new report has found, and it’s not just a problem among older Australians – it affects both genders and almost all age groups. </p> <p>The <a href="https://psychweek.org.au/loneliness-study/">Australian Loneliness Report</a>, released today by my colleagues and I at the <a href="https://www.psychology.org.au">Australian Psychological Society</a> and <a href="https://www.swinburne.edu.au">Swinburne University</a>, found one in two (50.5%) Australians feel lonely for at least one day in a week, while more than one in four (27.6%) feel lonely for three or more days.</p> <p>Our results come from a survey of 1,678 Australians from across the nation. We used a comprehensive measure of loneliness to assess how it relates to mental health and physical health outcomes. </p> <hr> <p> <em> <strong> Read more: <a href="http://theconversation.com/politics-with-michelle-grattan-andrew-giles-on-the-growing-issue-of-loneliness-106544">Politics with Michelle Grattan: Andrew Giles on the growing issue of loneliness</a> </strong> </em> </p> <hr> <p>We found nearly 55% of the population feel they lack companionship at least sometime. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Australians who are married or in a de facto relationship are the least lonely, compared to those who are single, separated or divorced.</p> <p>While Australians are reasonably connected to their friends and families, they don’t have the same relationships with their neighbours. Almost half of Australians (47%) reported not having neighbours to call on for help, which suggests many of us feel disengaged in our neighbourhoods.</p> <h2>Impact on mental and physical health</h2> <p>Lonely Australians, when compared with their less lonely counterparts, reported higher social anxiety and depression, poorer psychological health and quality of life, and fewer meaningful relationships and social interactions.</p> <p>Loneliness increases a person’s likelihood of experiencing depression by 15.2% and the likelihood of social anxiety increases by 13.1%. Those who are lonelier also report being more socially anxious during social interactions. </p> <p>This fits with previous research, including a <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27124713">study</a> of more than 1,000 Americans which found lonelier people reported more severe social anxiety, depression, and paranoia when followed up after three months. </p> <figure class="align-right "> <img alt="" src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/244509/original/file-20181108-74775-zhtep7.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=237&amp;fit=clip"> <figcaption> <span class="caption">Older Australians are less socially anxious than younger folks.</span> <span class="attribution"><a class="source" href="https://unsplash.com/photos/KioSWLPXFXM">Fabio Neo Amato</a></span> </figcaption> </figure> <p>Interestingly, Australians over 65 were less lonely, less socially anxious, and less depressed than younger Australians. </p> <p>This is consistent with previous studies that show older people fare better on particular <a href="https://www.psychiatrist.com/jcp/article/Pages/2016/v77n08/v77n0813.aspx">mental health and well-being</a> indicators. </p> <p>(Though it’s unclear whether this is the case for adults over 75, as few participants in our study were aged in the late 70s and over). </p> <p>Younger adults, on the other hand, reported significantly more social anxiety than older Australians.</p> <p>The evidence outlining the negative effects of loneliness on physical health is also growing. Past research has found loneliness <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=Loneliness+and+Social+Isolation+as+Risk+Factors+for+Mortality%3A+A+Meta-Analytic+Review">increases the likelihood of an earlier death by 26%</a> and has negative consequences on the <a href="http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/0022-3514.85.1.105">health of your heart</a>, <a href="http://pss.sagepub.com/content/13/4/384.full.pdf">your sleep</a>, and <a href="https://ac.els-cdn.com/S0306453003000866/1-s2.0-S0306453003000866-main.pdf?_tid=cdefeaff-e369-438e-912f-514b4eeb3048&amp;acdnat=1529311650_63a5438f3a90a9bd5dcdc77e901dd944">levels of inflammation</a>.</p> <hr> <p> <em> <strong> Read more: <a href="http://theconversation.com/loneliness-is-a-health-issue-and-needs-targeted-solutions-96262">Loneliness is a health issue, and needs targeted solutions</a> </strong> </em> </p> <hr> <p>Our study adds to this body of research, finding people with higher rates of loneliness are more likely to have more headaches, stomach problems, and physical pain. This is not surprising as <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5143485/#!po=8.62069">loneliness is associated with increased inflammatory responses</a>. </p> <h2>What can we do about it?</h2> <p>Researchers are just beginning to understand the detrimental effects of loneliness on our health, social lives and communities but many people – including service providers – are unaware. There are no guidelines or training for service providers. </p> <p>So, even caring and highly trained staff at emergency departments may trivialise the needs of lonely people presenting repeatedly and direct them to resources that aren’t right. </p> <p>Increasing awareness, formalised training, and policies are all steps in the right direction to reduce this poor care. </p> <p>For some people, simple solutions such as joining shared interest groups (such as book clubs) or shared experienced groups (such as bereavement or carers groups) may help alleviate their loneliness. </p> <p>But for others, there are more barriers to overcome, such as stigma, discrimination, and poverty. </p> <figure class="align-center "> <img alt="" src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/244502/original/file-20181108-74772-15fx4wp.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip"> <figcaption> <span class="caption">Shared interest groups can help some people feel less alone.</span> <span class="attribution"><a class="source" href="https://unsplash.com/photos/3ckWUnaCxzc">Danielle Cerullo</a></span> </figcaption> </figure> <p>Many community programs and social services focus on improving well-being and quality of life for lonely people. By tackling loneliness, they may also improve the health of Australians. But without rigorous evaluation of these health outcomes, it’s difficult to determine their impact.</p> <p>We know predictors of loneliness can include <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25910391">genetics</a>, <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2810252/?report=reader">brain functioning</a>, <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28320380">mental health</a>, <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20668659">physical health</a>, <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29468772">community</a>, <a href="http://faculty.wharton.upenn.edu/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/Work_Loneliness_Performance_Study.pdf">work</a>, and <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27357305">social</a> factors. And we know predictors can differ between groups – for example, young versus old. </p> <p>But we need to better measure and understand these different predictors and how they influence each other over time. Only with Australian data can we predict who is at risk and develop effective solutions. </p> <hr> <p> <em> <strong> Read more: <a href="http://theconversation.com/the-deadly-truth-about-loneliness-43785">The deadly truth about loneliness</a> </strong> </em> </p> <hr> <p>There are some things we can do in the meantime. </p> <p>We need a campaign to end loneliness for all Australians. Campaigns can raise awareness, reduce stigma, and empower not just the lonely person but also those around them. </p> <p>Loneliness campaigns have been successfully piloted in the <a href="https://www.campaigntoendloneliness.org">United Kingdom</a> and <a href="http://modensomhed.dk">Denmark</a>. These campaigns don’t just raise awareness of loneliness; they also empower lonely and un-lonely people to change their social behaviours. </p> <p>A great example of action arising from increased awareness comes from <a href="http://www.rcgp.org.uk/policy/rcgp-policy-areas/loneliness.aspx">the Royal College of General Practitioners</a>, which developed action plans to assist lonely patients presenting in primary care. The college encouraged GPs to tackle loneliness with more than just medicine; it prompted them to ask <em>what matters to the lonely person</em> rather than <em>what is the matter with the lonely person</em>.</p> <p>Australia lags behind other countries but loneliness is on the agenda. Multiple <a href="https://www.endloneliness.com.au">Australian organisations</a> have come together after identifying a need to generate Australian-specific data, increase advocacy, and develop an awareness campaign. But only significant, sustained government investment and bipartisan support will ensure this promising work results in better outcomes for lonely Australians.</p><img src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/106231/count.gif" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /> <p class="fine-print"><em><span>Michelle H Lim receives funding from Barbara Dicker Brain Sciences Foundation. </span></em></p> Half of Australians feel lonely for at least one day a week, while one in four feel lonely for three or more days. This can impact on sleep, heart health and levels of anxiety. Michelle H Lim, Senior Lecturer and Clinical Psychologist, Swinburne University of Technology Licensed as Creative Commons – attribution, no derivatives. tag:theconversation.com,2011:article/99753 2018-11-08T19:33:16Z 2018-11-08T19:33:16Z <figure><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/229234/original/file-20180725-194131-ytzn2t.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=496&amp;fit=clip" /><figcaption><span class="caption">FinTech is rapidly growing, both in Australia and internationally.</span> <span class="attribution"><a class="source" href="https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/fintech-investment-financial-internet-technology-concept-463804160?src=E-dGxlYsOOboRb22WSuo2Q-2-77">Shutterstock</a></span></figcaption></figure><p>Until recently, the idea of waiting a day or two for a bank transfer to reach your account was normal, however consumers are starting to demand immediate and seamless payment alternatives. With upcoming developments in the Australian financial services sector, we should start to see these demands met – if not by banks, then by FinTech firms aiming to transform the financial services industry.</p> <p>Twelve months after the government announced the introduction of a Consumer Data Right (<a href="https://www.accc.gov.au/focus-areas/consumer-data-right">CDR</a>) in Australia, Data61 has <a href="https://www.computerworld.com.au/article/649169/data61-releases-draft-open-banking-apis/">released a working draft</a> of the standards that will underpin it. </p> <p>The CDR will offer Australians control over the data held about them by service providers, and the right to share it with a third party provider – including competitors to the service that compiled it. The CDR will first be implemented in the financial services sector under the Open Banking framework from July 2019. </p> <p>ACCC Chairman Rod Sims <a href="https://www.accc.gov.au/media-release/accc-welcomes-consumer-data-right">expects</a> the framework to:</p> <blockquote> <p>…encourage competition between service providers, leading not only to better prices for customers but also more innovation of products and services.</p> </blockquote> <p>We’re already seeing new services emerge in this space, such as the ability to pay at checkouts via your mobile phone, but real disruption will take time to occur as FinTech firms are provided with access to consumer data to create products we haven’t yet heard of. </p> <hr> <p> <em> <strong> Read more: <a href="http://theconversation.com/what-we-can-do-once-the-banks-give-us-back-our-data-84282">What we can do once the banks give us back our data</a> </strong> </em> </p> <hr> <h2>FinTech in Australia is growing</h2> <p>FinTech is a term used to describe the use of technology in financial services. FinTech firms are often startup businesses that use new business models to disrupt existing financial systems. They create financial tools for everyday people, serious investors and the banks themselves.</p> <p>Their customer focus caters to the growing millennial and Gen Z population who have large digital appetites. The Australian startup <a href="http://zipmoneylimited.com.au/">Zip Money</a> offers a cloud-based digital platform that allows retailers to offer a “buy now, pay later” service to customers for their products. In 2016, the company acquired <a href="https://getpocketbook.com/">Pocketbook</a>, which syncs transaction data from bank accounts to help users track their spending and manage their money. </p> <p>Services like these aren’t a replacement for traditional banking. Rather, they use your banking data to create new services to deliver a better experience for users.</p> <p>FinTech is rapidly growing, both <a href="https://fintechaustralia.org.au/australias-fintech-industry-median-revenue-up-200-per-cent-from-2016-major-research-report-finds/">in Australia</a> and internationally. According to a <a href="https://fintechauscensus.ey.com/2018/Documents/EY%20FinTech%20Australia%20Census%202018.pdf">recent survey</a>, Australian FinTech companies have seen a 200% increase in median revenue since 2016. </p> <p>Open banking will lead to further innovation and growth in the industry. We may even see banks shifting into the backdrop as these businesses become the shopfronts of financial services, using customer data held by banks. </p> <h2>How Open Banking will work</h2> <p>The CDR is only useful to consumers if the data is available in a format that is machine readable. FinTechs in Australia are currently using a manual “screen scraping” approach to gaining access to data held by banks. </p> <p>For example, the Pocketbook app, with your permission, periodically pulls your bank transactions into the app to help you manage your finances. The technology is read-only, so you can’t use the app to actually process transactions.</p> <hr> <p> <em> <strong> Read more: <a href="http://theconversation.com/restructuring-alone-wont-clean-up-the-banks-act-99142">Restructuring alone won't clean up the banks' act</a> </strong> </em> </p> <hr> <p><a href="https://www.afr.com/technology/open-banking-standards-to-be-agreed-in-coming-months-20180619-h11kk3">Open banking</a> will force the four major banks to make data about their customer’s card, deposit and transaction accounts available to different services by 1 July 2019. Mortgage data will follow by 1 February 2020. But this data will only be made available to other services with the permission of customers, and that permission can be revoked at any time.</p> <p>Under this framework, FinTechs will be able to access customer banking data using APIs.</p> <h2>APIs will transform the industry</h2> <p>An Application Program Interface (<a href="https://medium.freecodecamp.org/what-is-an-api-in-english-please-b880a3214a82">API</a>) is like a universal power socket for the digital world, allowing multiple systems to work together and speak to each other. </p> <p>APIs will revolutionise the efficiency and speed at which payments are made by giving FinTechs easier and cleaner access to user accounts, with real-time updates and the ability to process transactions.</p> <p><a href="https://www.paypal.com/au/webapps/mpp/faster-and-safer-way-to-buy-and-sell2">PayPal</a>, for example, uses a <a href="https://gomedici.com/the-most-important-thing-in-fintech-advent-of-apis-and-banking-apis-are-real-too/">REST API</a>. REST APIs enable merchants and developers to create applications that manage payments, payment pre-approvals and refunds. </p> <p>Open Banking will allow businesses, such as Amazon or Whatsapp, to offer financial services and products directly through their platforms, rather than through banking sites. This already happens in China via the social networking platform <a href="https://pay.weixin.qq.com/index.php/public/wechatpay">WeChat</a>.</p> <h2>Consumer data standards</h2> <p>Sharing data, especially confidential financial data, does give rise to important security issues. Data61 has been appointed by the government to develop standards that will underpin Open Banking and the CDR, a <a href="https://consumerdatastandardsaustralia.github.io/standards/#introduction">draft</a> of which was recently released. </p> <p>The standards are guided by a series of outcome principles stipulating that APIs will be secure, use open standards, provide a good customer experience and provide a good developer experience. Technical principles include that APIs will be RESTful, simple, consistent and backwards compatible. Data61 is currently <a href="https://github.com/ConsumerDataStandardsAustralia/standards/issues">seeking feedback</a> on the draft rules. </p> <hr> <p> <em> <strong> Read more: <a href="http://theconversation.com/fintech-firms-freed-to-compete-with-banks-but-disruption-yet-to-come-56613">Fintech firms freed to compete with banks, but disruption yet to come</a> </strong> </em> </p> <hr> <p>It is no secret that millennials tend to trust the digital world <a href="https://newsroom.accenture.com/news/tech-giants-online-retailers-face-uphill-battle-pursuing-bank-market-share-in-australia-but-new-open-banking-rules-could-tilt-the-landscape-accenture-research-finds.htm">more than they trust their banks</a>. And, as a result of the <a href="https://financialservices.royalcommission.gov.au/Pages/default.aspx">banking inquiry</a>, Australian banks are having their cultures questioned and their <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/commentisfree/2018/mar/22/banking-inquiry-has-already-exposed-shocking-corruption-but-it-needs-more-time">unethical business practices</a> exposed. New waves of products offered by FinTechs are likely to spur banks to compete in a space where they have been slow to innovate.</p> <p>The introduction of open APIs will help Australia keep up with global trends in the growing digital economy. Whether that means we’ll soon be seeing an Australian version of WeChat’s comprehensive payment system remains to be seen.</p><img src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/99753/count.gif" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /> <p class="fine-print"><em><span>Grace Borsellino does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.</span></em></p> New waves of products offered by FinTech companies are likely to spur banks to compete in a space where they have been slow to innovate. Grace Borsellino, Lecturer in Corporate Law and Governance, Western Sydney University Licensed as Creative Commons – attribution, no derivatives. tag:theconversation.com,2011:article/106352 2018-11-08T19:32:42Z 2018-11-08T19:32:42Z <figure><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/244238/original/file-20181107-74763-hwv7ll.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;rect=528%2C0%2C2524%2C2041&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=496&amp;fit=clip" /><figcaption><span class="caption">We can make conscious decisions about how we live together in closer proximity that allow for both cultural diversity and a shared sense of community.</span> <span class="attribution"><a class="source" href="https://unsplash.com/photos/UHyrjKPsshk"> Ján Jakub Naništa/Unsplash</a></span></figcaption></figure><hr> <p><em>This is a podcast discussing topics raised in our series, <a href="https://theconversation.com/au/topics/australian-cities-in-the-asian-century-61652">Australian Cities in the Asian Century</a>. These articles draw on <a href="https://doi.org/10.1111/1745-5871.12311">research</a>, just published in a special issue of Geographical Research, into how Australian cities are being influenced by the rise of China and associated flows of people, ideas and capital between China and Australia.</em></p> <hr> <p>Migration and population growth are hot-button issues in Australian politics at the moment. State and federal election campaigns have and will focus on them for probably years to come, and it’s not just a local phenomenon: by 2030 it’s estimated 60% of the world’s population will live in cities. </p> <p>Most of the time discussions about the impacts are focused on external pressures – things like road congestion and infrastructure investment – but as more and more people are living in high-density housing, issues of cultural diversity and how we live together in such close proximity are just as important. </p> <p>How do we make sure we can live comfortably and respect each other? And how could policy change the sense of ownership we have over ever smaller personal spaces?</p> <p>Dallas Rogers speaks with Christina Ho and Edgar Liu about the changing ways we’re living in Australian cities, and how little attention has been given to what’s happening <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/1745-5871.12282">inside the apartment buildings</a> of our cities.</p> <p><strong>Music</strong></p> <ul> <li>Free Music Archive: <a href="http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Ketsa/5th_Cycle/Catching_Feathers">Ketsa - Catching Feathers</a></li> </ul><img src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/106352/count.gif" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /> <p class="fine-print"><em><span>Dallas Rogers recently received funding from The Henry Halloran Trust, Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI), Urban Growth NSW, Landcom, University of Sydney, Western Sydney University, and Community Broadcasting Association of Australia (CBAA).</span></em></p> Dallas Rogers speaks with Chris Ho and Edgar Liu about what's going on in apartment buildings as we move up, rather than out, and how we can look after ourselves and each other in culturally diverse, high-density living. Dallas Rogers, Program Director, Master of Urbanism, School of Architecture, Design and Planning, University of Sydney Licensed as Creative Commons – attribution, no derivatives. tag:theconversation.com,2011:article/102780 2018-11-08T19:31:42Z 2018-11-08T19:31:42Z <figure><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/244486/original/file-20181108-74763-1at15kw.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=496&amp;fit=clip" /><figcaption><span class="caption">Mother and children in Tanna, Vanuatu. Australia&#39;s investment in the Pacific care sector would bring a broad range of positive outcomes.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Shutterstock</span></span></figcaption></figure><p>Australia’s declaration of renewed interest in its Pacific Island neighbours, <a href="https://theconversation.com/morrison-to-unveil-broad-suite-of-measures-to-boost-australias-influence-in-the-pacific-106557">announced by Scott Morrison yesterday</a>, needs to be expressed in more ways than building consulates, training military or funding grand infrastructure projects in telecommunications, transport and water. </p> <p>Just as much priority should be given to investing in child care and elder care.</p> <p>Why? Because just four months ago the Australian government introduced the Pacific Labour Scheme as a cornerstone of its foreign policy agenda to build stronger economic partnerships with Pacific nations.</p> <p>The scheme currently allows 2,000 workers from Kiribati, Nauru, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu and Vanuatu to work temporarily in Australia. That number may grow. It builds on the Seasonal Worker Programme, introduced in 2012, that allows in roughly the same number to work in agriculture and some areas of hospitality.</p> <hr> <p><iframe id="kf2cT" class="tc-infographic-datawrapper" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/kf2cT/5/" height="400px" width="100%" style="border: none" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <hr> <p>It is meant to be win-win. On the one hand, it helps meet demand for workers in rural and regional Australia. On the other, it provides jobs, skills and income for Pacific island workers. Theoretically it can promote economic development in workers’ home countries and deepen friendships between those nations and Australia. </p> <p>But only if we heed the bitter lessons from other parts of the world about the high human cost of temporary labour migration schemes done badly.</p> <p>Though organisations such as the World Bank and many academics advocate the benefits of labour mobility, careful attention should be paid to the families and communities temporary workers leave behind. </p> <h2>Caring for those left behind</h2> <p>The schemes that led to the Pacific Labour Scheme were primarily focused on providing jobs for seasonal farm workers. </p> <p>This new scheme is meant to promote gender equality in Australia’s development program by also meeting demand for workers in non-seasonal, highly feminised sectors – such as aged, disability and child care, hospitality and tourism. It is open to workers aged between 21 and 45. </p> <p>It is therefore likely that many of the migrant workers will be mothers and primary caregivers to young children.</p> <p>Although there is no single model of good parenting, and many migrant workers find ways to maintain ties with their children, parental absence can affect the physical and emotional care for children, disrupt education and even contribute to familial breakdown.</p> <p>There is extensive international evidence of the social and emotional implications for children who remain at home when their parents migrate for work. </p> <p>The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, ratified by Australia in 1990, commits governments to consider the best interests of children directly or indirectly affected by government policies and actions. </p> <p>The International Labour Organisation’s <a href="https://www.ilo.org/global/topics/decent-work/lang--en/index.htm">Decent Work Agenda</a> makes specific recommendations for member countries, such as Australia, about workers’ familial rights. It argues the potential social costs of fractured families and communities from labour migration “are without a doubt at least as significant as those related to the more measurable economic costs. The effects are almost never gender-neutral.”</p> <hr> <hr> <h2>A policy blank slate</h2> <p>Australia has no significant history of temporary or “guest” worker programs. This means it effectively has a policy “blank slate”. We can learn from the well-documented pitfalls of programs elsewhere and develop a temporary labour migration program that is global best practice.</p> <hr> <p> <em> <strong> Read more: <a href="http://theconversation.com/why-yet-another-visa-for-farm-work-makes-no-sense-103228">Why yet another visa for farm work makes no sense</a> </strong> </em> </p> <hr> <p>The optimal policy solution is to permit families to accompany temporary workers. This would be consistent with Australia’s other labour migration visas. </p> <p>Where separation does occur, the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child obliges governments to design workplace policies that limit the impact of family separation. These could include travel allowances for annual and emergency visits, carers leave and workplace support for regular communication with children and family.</p> <h2>Developing home communities</h2> <p>Temporary labour migration schemes should contribute to the development of migrant workers and their home countries.</p> <p>The Australian government touts the Pacific Labour Scheme as a means to transfer skills to Pacific Island countries. But there is also potential for both “brain drain” and “care drain”. </p> <p>Australia can address this by investing in child and elder care in Pacific countries. </p> <p>Support for local care sectors would give relief to alternative caregivers (grandmothers, aunts, older siblings) when parents are away. It would mean jobs for returning migrants. It would be the basis for transferring skills to other workers. It would make more local workers ready to work in Australia. </p> <p>If Australia wants to be a good neighbour it should seize this opportunity to develop a sustainable temporary labour migration scheme.</p> <p>Putting Pacific Islander workers, their children, families and communities first will show Scott Morrison is serious about opening “a new chapter in relations with our Pacific family”.</p> <p><em>This piece draws on research published in <a href="https://www.sprc.unsw.edu.au/media/SPRCFile/PLS_Policy_Brief_FINAL_June_2018.pdf">The Pacific Labour Scheme and Transnational Family Life: Policy Brief</a>, by Elizabeth Hill, Matt Withers and Rasika Jayasuriya.</em></p><img src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/102780/count.gif" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /> <p class="fine-print"><em><span>Elizabeth Hill receives funding from Australia Research Council DP160100175, Markets, Migration and the Work of Care in Australia and Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Partnership Grant No. 895-2012-1021, Gender, Migration and the Work of Care.</span></em></p> To be a good neighbour Australia should invest in a sustainable temporary labour migration scheme for Pacific nations. Elizabeth Hill, Senior Lecturer, University of Sydney Licensed as Creative Commons – attribution, no derivatives. tag:theconversation.com,2011:article/106150 2018-11-08T19:31:41Z 2018-11-08T19:31:41Z <figure><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/244477/original/file-20181108-74778-oeahjq.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=496&amp;fit=clip" /><figcaption><span class="caption">Officially, our inflation rate is lower than at any time since the 1950s, but we&#39;ve reasons for doubting it.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Shutterstock</span></span></figcaption></figure><p>Officially, Australia’s rate of inflation <a href="http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/[email protected]/mf/6401.0">is 1.9%</a>.</p> <p>It’s the lowest it has been on a sustained basis <a href="https://www.datawrapper.de/_/xMn5P/">since the 1950s and early 1960s</a>.</p> <p>But try to tell that to anyone and they will laugh at you, or worse.</p> <p>The Bureau of Statistics is careful to say that the consumer price index <a href="http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/[email protected]/Lookup/6467.0Explanatory%20Notes1Sep%202018">isn’t a measure of living costs</a>. </p> <p>It creates that slightly differently, producing a collection of <a href="http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/[email protected]/mf/6467.0">less-reported indexes</a> that were updated this week. </p> <p>On these measures, over the past year living costs have climbed 2% for households headed by an employee, 2.2% for households headed by Australians on most types of benefits, 2.3% for households headed by age pensioners, and also 2.3% for households headed by self-funded retirees.</p> <p>The main difference between the consumer price index and the living cost indexes is that “living costs” include interest paid on mortgages whereas “consumer prices” do not.</p> <p>Regardless, most of us would be pretty certain that even on these measures, what’s reported is too low.</p> <h2>We’re irrational</h2> <p>In part, this is because we are not rational. As Nobel Laureate <a href="https://faculty.chicagobooth.edu/richard.thaler/research/pdf/mental%20accounting%20and%20consumer%20choice.pdf">Richard Thaler has pointed out</a>, we often engage in “mental accounting”. </p> <p>In general this means we notice losses more than gains. In this context, it means we focus more on the things that have gone up in price than on those that have gone down or remained unchanged.</p> <p>Also, our mental basket of goods is generally not the same as the basket of goods the bureau measures, even though it should be.</p> <h2>It’s not our basket</h2> <p>Four times a year in multiple locations throughout each capital city the bureau attempts to collect information about the prices of the thousands of goods (and some services) that make the “basket” it thinks represent they typical household’s purchases.</p> <p>The basket is divided into about 100 subgroups; things such as bread, milk, eggs, fruit, men’s footwear, women’s footwear, men’s clothes, women’s clothes, restaurant meals, electricity and so on.</p> <p>Because it can’t price everything, it zeros in on a few <a href="http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/[email protected]/mf/6403.0.55.001/">representative items</a> within each category.</p> <p>For meat and fish the ABS includes beef sausages (1kg) and pink salmon (210g can). For processed fruit and vegetables it includes sliced pineapple (450g can) and frozen peas (500g pkt). </p> <p>If you buy something different, the exact changes in the prices you pay won’t be fed into either the consumer price index or your living cost index, but the indexes are likely to move in line with your living costs in any case.</p> <h2>Things get left out</h2> <p>Many things are missing from the index, among them recreational drugs, gambling and prostitution.</p> <p>Being bean counters, rather than priests, the bureau says it excludes these sorts of items on <a href="http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/[email protected]/Latestproducts/6461.0Main%20Features52017?opendocument&amp;tabname=Summary&amp;prodno=6461.0">practical rather than moral grounds</a>. </p> <blockquote> <p>Gambling is excluded as it is difficult to establish the service or utility that households derive from gambling, and thus to determine an appropriate price measure. Recreational drugs and prostitution are both excluded as it is very difficult and indeed dangerous to obtain estimates of prices and expenditures, or to measure quality change.</p> </blockquote> <p>Other things are excluded because their prices are deemed to be too volatile. The price of bank deposits and loans was <a href="http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/[email protected]/Latestproducts/519273BD961F38E2CA2577EE000D7692">removed from the main index</a> a few years back.</p> <h2>And goods keep getting better</h2> <p>Where our views about prices are most likely to differ from the bureau’s is where goods get better.</p> <p>The bureau factors quality improvements into the measures prices it reports. If, for instance, your next mobile phone costs as much as your last one but includes extra features such as more memory or an improved camera, the ABS will report that it has fallen in price.</p> <hr> <p> <em> <strong> Read more: <a href="http://theconversation.com/moores-law-is-50-years-old-but-will-it-continue-44511">Moore's Law is 50 years old but will it continue?</a> </strong> </em> </p> <hr> <p>This sort of adjustment for quality makes sense when adjusting down the price of a can of baked beans because it has been replaced by one slightly bigger, but is a grey area when it comes to improved features. </p> <p>If the speed of the chip on your next laptop doubles, does that really mean the laptop is twice as good as the old one and should be said to have halved in price? Or should its price be recorded as having fallen by a lesser amount, or not at all seeing as the price hasn’t changed and it remains a standard laptop?</p> <p>Often older models with lesser features are often no longer available. It’s impossible to buy a cheaper replacement. </p> <h2>The CPI is infrequent</h2> <p>The Reserve Bank is worried about <a href="https://www.rba.gov.au/publications/submissions/prices/16th-series-review-of-cpi/">the frequency of the index</a>. It comes out only once a quarter, and up to a month after the quarter has finished. </p> <p>Every developed country other than Australia and New Zealand releases its index <a href="https://www.smh.com.au/business/rba-casts-doubt-on-cpi-figure-20100317-qfrg.html">monthly</a>.</p> <p>Given that the bank considers changing interest rates once every month, and given that the consumer price index is one of the two key measures it uses to guide its decisions (the other is the unemployment rate), a quarterly index leaves it somewhat in the dark and (when things are changing fast) potentially dangerously misled.</p> <p>The bureau <a href="http://www.ausstats.abs.gov.au/Ausstats/subscriber.nsf/0/CA1092C90BF15BCDCA2581CD000C44AD/%24File/6470055001_2017.pdf">responds</a> that it is prepared to release its index monthly, if it is paid to do it.</p> <blockquote> <p>The ABS is persuaded there would be a significant benefit from more timely and responsive economic management if a CPI of equivalent quality to the current quarterly index were available monthly. Additional funding will be required to meet the costs involved in compiling a monthly index.</p> </blockquote> <p>It’s just what we need – bureaucratic blackmail.</p> <h2>But it’s improving</h2> <p>On the positive side, new technologies have allowed more accurate price collection to make the index more precise. A key innovation is the rise of so-called “scanner data”, tracking expenditures at checkouts based on the prices people actually pay.</p> <p>Scanner data has been used since 2014 and is now responsible for about one quarter of the prices reported. Field officers compile much of the rest using <a href="http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/[email protected]/Latestproducts/6461.0Main%20Features82017">hand-held devices to type in prices they read off supermarket shelves</a>.</p> <p>The move to scanner data was spearheaded by the work of my UNSW School of Economics colleague <a href="https://theconversation.com/vital-signs-weak-inflation-means-interest-rates-arent-rising-anytime-soon-90924">Professor Kevin Fox</a>.</p> <hr> <p> <em> <strong> Read more: <a href="http://theconversation.com/a-cashless-society-and-the-five-forms-of-mobile-payment-that-will-get-us-there-26779">A cashless society and the five forms of mobile payment that will get us there</a> </strong> </em> </p> <hr> <p>There is a prospect of it becoming more widespread as more and more purchases are made with debit and credit cards and with point-of-sale software on devices such as tablets at coffee shops.</p> <h2>And important</h2> <p>Whether or not we like what it says, the consumer price index is important and lies behind much of what we do.</p> <p>A whole range of government payments and duties are indexed to it – these change when the consumer price index changes. Benefits such as Newstart and family payments are indexed as are excise duties such as those on petrol and beer.</p> <p>Even the private sector relies on the consumer price index to adjust payments under contracts such as rental agreements or construction charges.</p> <hr> <p> <em> <strong> Read more: <a href="http://theconversation.com/joe-hockeys-user-pays-plan-for-the-abs-doesnt-add-up-32790">Joe Hockey's user pays plan for the ABS doesn't add up</a> </strong> </em> </p> <hr> <p>Collecting it is an enormous and painstaking exercise.</p> <p>Governments of both stripes would do well to remember that when next they think of cutting the bureau’s budget.</p><img src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/106150/count.gif" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /> <p class="fine-print"><em><span>Richard Holden does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.</span></em></p> Hardly anyone believes that prices are really increasing by only 1.9% per year. The fault lies with us, and also the way the Bureau of Statistics adjusts prices for 'quality'. Richard Holden, Professor of Economics and PLuS Alliance Fellow, UNSW Licensed as Creative Commons – attribution, no derivatives. tag:theconversation.com,2011:article/106668 2018-11-08T19:29:24Z 2018-11-08T19:29:24Z <figure><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/244646/original/file-20181108-74763-1d8mxo.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=496&amp;fit=clip" /><figcaption><span class="caption">Malcolm Turnbull used his appearance on Q&amp;A to hold his political executioners to account.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">AAP</span></span></figcaption></figure><p>Malcolm Turnbull has delivered a hefty blow to the struggling Morrison government by refocusing attention on the one question it has desperately tried to smother.</p> <p>That is: why was he sacked?</p> <p>When he appeared on Thursday’s Q&amp;A special, Turnbull was on a dual mission. His neat blue jacket told the story. There would be no reversion to the pre-prime ministerial free-wheeler dressed in leather.</p> <p>He was there to hold his executioners to account, to ensure they have no escape, from him or from the public. And he was primed to defend his record, to write the history of his three years in office as a story of accomplishment and success. He wants to be defined by what he did, rather than by how badly things ended.</p> <p>Essentially he presented himself simultaneously as the victim and the victor.</p> <p>The opening question was predictable but central: “Why aren’t you still prime minister?”</p> <p>Turnbull’s reply was rehearsed and targeted personally as well as generally.</p> <p>This was “the question I can’t answer,” he said. “The only people that can answer that are the people that engineered the coup - people like Peter Dutton and Tony Abbott and Greg Hunt and Mathias Cormann - the people who voted for the spill.</p> <p>"So, there are 45 of them…. They have to answer that question.”</p> <p>He rammed home the message. People had to be “adults and be accountable”. Members of parliament “have to stand up and be prepared to say why they do things”.</p> <p>So those who chose “to blow up the government, to bring my prime ministership to an end … they need to really explain why they did it. And none of them have.”</p> <hr> <p> <em> <strong> Read more: <a href="http://theconversation.com/grattan-on-friday-now-malcolm-turnbull-is-the-sniper-at-the-window-106193">Grattan on Friday: Now Malcolm Turnbull is the sniper at the window</a> </strong> </em> </p> <hr> <p>So much for Scott Morrison arguing the public have gone beyond the “Muppet show”, or defence industry minister Steve Ciobo claiming Australians didn’t care about what had happened.</p> <p>Labor has kept pressing on the “why” question, even when commentators doubted the tactic, and now Turnbull has given the opposition a load of fresh ammunition.</p> <p>This makes it harder for ministers to shrug off Labor’s harking back to the coup. To do so drags them into criticism of Turnbull, which is counterproductive.</p> <p>Once again Bill Shorten is the beneficiary of his opponents’ self-destruction.</p> <p>Turnbull saw a “fair prospect” of the issue resonating in next year’s election campaign because “Australians are entitled to know the answer”.</p> <p>In wishing Morrison “all the best in the election”, Turnbull emphasised that he personally was out of parliament and he’d had little to say since he’d left - he’d wanted to give his successor “clear air”.</p> <p>But there’s an ambivalence in Turnbull’s behaviour towards Morrison. When his own leadership was doomed he helped Morrison beat Dutton. But his intervention is now hurting his successor.</p> <p>Of course Turnbull’s assertion he’s “out of politics” is disingenuous, or at least premature. What could be more political than Thursday night’s performance?</p> <p>Apart from injecting new vigor into the issue of his sacking, his critique of the Liberal party’s move to the right was powerful and damaging, encapsulated in his observation about Liberal-minded voters installing like-minded crossbenchers.</p> <p>He pointed to Mayo, Indi and Wentworth, seats previously solid Liberal. “They are now occupied by three Independents who are all women, who are all small-l liberals, and all of whom, in one way or another, have been involved in the Liberal Party in the past,” he said.</p> <p>By electing these independents the voters were saying “we are concerned that the Liberal Party is not speaking for small-l liberal values”, he said.</p> <p>This brings to mind the speculation about a possible high-profile independent emerging in Warringah who could give Tony Abbott a run for his money.</p> <p>There was much else in the Turnbull hour that was challenging for the government, including his belief the Liberals would have held Wentworth but for the campaign’s “messy” final week, and his criticism of the “blokey” culture of parliament.</p> <p>Turnbull talked up an extensive legacy for himself, highlighting the achievement of same-sex marriage (though some would give the praise to certain pesky backbenchers). Typically, he wouldn’t cede ground over standing back from the battle in his old seat.</p> <p>As always with Turnbull, Thursday’s appearance will polarise Liberals, making it uncertain whether it will help or harm his reputation. Enemies will see it as being all about Malcolm. His comments will start another round of divisive debate in the ranks.</p> <p>But his arguments were potent reminders of the stupidity of what happened in August and the present poor state and situation of the Liberal party.</p> <p>Morrison this week had to deal with an early manifestation of the hung parliament he now must manage.</p> <p>Crossbencher Bob Katter saw the opportunity to make some gains for his north Queensland electorate of Kennedy during Morrison’s tour of the state, so the maverick MP suggested he might consider supporting the referral of Liberal MP Chris Crewther to the High Court over a possible section 44 problem.</p> <p>By Thursday Morrison had met Katter, and extracted a pledge of “ongoing support of the government”. Katter had extracted dollops of money for water projects.</p> <p>Their respective performances this week emphasised the chalk-and-cheese contrast between the former and current prime ministers, a difference being accentuated by Morrison as he seeks to portray himself as a man of the people.</p> <hr> <p> <em> <strong> Read more: <a href="http://theconversation.com/view-from-the-hill-katter-waves-section-44-stick-in-a-notice-north-queensland-moment-106348">View from The Hill: Katter waves Section 44 stick in a 'notice North Queensland' moment</a> </strong> </em> </p> <hr> <p>Turnbull was critical of the hard right wing media; Morrison in the past few days has done an interview with Alan Jones and a Sky people’s forum in Townsville hosted by Paul Murray.</p> <p>Turnbull might have had a penchant for trams and trains with selfies but not the faux bus tour with cheesy videos.</p> <p>But as Turnbull said of the man who’s inherited the fallout of the August “madness”: “He has dealt himself a very tough hand of cards, and now he has to play them … he has to get on with it.”</p> <p>With Morrison it is not so matter of getting on with it – he’s hyperactive – but of precisely what it is that he’s getting on with.</p><img src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/106668/count.gif" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /> <p class="fine-print"><em><span>Michelle Grattan does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.</span></em></p> Malcolm Turnbull has delivered a hefty blow to the struggling Morrison government by refocusing attention on the one question it has desperately tried to smother. That is: why was he sacked? When he appeared… Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra Licensed as Creative Commons – attribution, no derivatives. tag:theconversation.com,2011:article/105930 2018-11-08T19:12:30Z 2018-11-08T19:12:30Z <p>Women and people of color made substantial gains in the 2018 midterm elections toward diversifying the House and the Senate. </p> <p>For the past three and a half decades, my co-author, G. William Domhoff, and I have been monitoring diversity in what sociologist C. Wright Mills called “the power elite” – those in the most influential positions in the corporate, political and military spheres. </p> <p>We’ve found that, since the 1950s, <a href="https://rowman.com/ISBN/9781538103371/Diversity-in-the-Power-Elite-Ironies-and-Unfulfilled-Promises-Third-Edition">corporations, political bodies and the military have diversified</a>, but at a glacial pace and in different ways. Women, for example, made it into the corporate and political elites well before they were allowed to join the military elite.</p> <p>The elections for the 116th Congress led to meaningful increases in diversity, especially among women, Latinos and African-Americans. The media have made a great deal of the gains in diversity – for example, this election saw the first two Native American women elected to Congress, as well as the first two Muslim women. </p> <p>Let’s put these examples into the context of historical changes in diversity in Congress.</p> <h2>Women in Congress</h2> <p>In 1956, the year Mills’s classic book, “The Power Elite,” was published, there were <a href="https://rowman.com/ISBN/9781538103371/Diversity-in-the-Power-Elite-Ironies-and-Unfulfilled-Promises-Third-Edition">17 women in the House</a>. Margaret Chase Smith, a Republican from Maine, was the only woman in the Senate. </p> <p>By the year 2000, the number in the House had increased, slowly but surely, to 58, and the number in the Senate was up to nine. </p> <p>The single biggest jump came as a result of the 1992 election, when the 102nd Congress went from 6.7 to 10.8 percent women in the House, and from 2 to 7 percent in the Senate. That’s why 1992 is often referred to as “<a href="https://history.house.gov/Exhibitions-and-Publications/WIC/Historical-Essays/Assembling-Amplifying-Ascending/Women-Decade/">the Year of the Woman</a>.” </p> <p>Since the year 2000, the number of women in the House and the Senate has increased steadily. This year’s election for the 116th Congress continued the trend. It provided the second-biggest bounce ever in the House, from 89 to at least 98. (As I write this, <a href="https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/elections/how-did-women-candidates-do-2018-midterms-n932801">10 races</a> are still too close to call.) That’s a jump from 20.5 to 23.0 percent – not quite as big a jump as in 1992, but close. </p> <p>In the Senate, the number increased by one or two, depending on <a href="https://www.wsj.com/articles/mississippi-senate-race-heads-to-a-runoff-1541586600">a run-off election that will take place in Mississippi</a>.</p> <p><iframe id="hluiK" class="tc-infographic-datawrapper" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/hluiK/2/" height="400px" width="100%" style="border: none" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <h2>What about people of color?</h2> <p>African-Americans, Latinos and Asian-Americans have been much more likely to be elected to the House than the Senate. Election to the Senate requires an appeal to voters throughout the state, not just in the district in which one lives, and that makes it more challenging because the districts are often more distinctive ethnically.</p> <p><iframe id="kTjeg" class="tc-infographic-datawrapper" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/kTjeg/2/" height="400px" width="100%" style="border: none" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p>All three groups were at their peak in the Senate in the 115th Congress, with four Latinos, three African-Americans and three Asian-Americans. The only change that might result from this election is if Mike Espy, an African-American, wins that run-off election in Mississippi. </p> <p>In the House, Africans-Americans made up 10.7 percent of the Representatives, Latinos made up 9.4 percent and Asians made up 3 percent. As a result of this election, the percentages of African-Americans and Latinos will increase slightly, while the percentage of Asian-Americans will stay about the same. </p> <p><iframe id="k8kHn" class="tc-infographic-datawrapper" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/k8kHn/7/" height="400px" width="100%" style="border: none" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p>It’s worth keeping in mind that African-Americans make up about 13 percent of the total population. Latinos make up about 16 percent of the total population, and Asian-Americans make up slightly less than 6 percent. All three groups, therefore, have been historically underrepresented in Congress, but they are better represented in the House than the Senate.</p> <p><iframe id="OkMXn" class="tc-infographic-datawrapper" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/OkMXn/4/" height="400px" width="100%" style="border: none" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p>The drop in the number of white men in the Senate and the House has been steady and dramatic. The decline in white male representation has been gradual but considerable – from 95 percent in both the House and the Senate in the 90th Congress to 60 percent of the House and 71 percent of the Senate. White men make up only about 38 percent of the larger population, so even with their losses over time, they are still very much overrepresented.</p> <p>Republicans in Congress continue to be, for the most part, a party of white men. About 41 percent of the Democrats but 88 percent of the Republicans in the House are white men. In the Senate, they make up about 63 percent of the Democrats but 82 percent of the Republicans.</p> <p>There is a bit more diversity than I have indicated, as some of those white men are Jewish or openly LGBT, <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2018/11/06/politics/sharice-davids-and-deb-haaland-native-american-women/index.html">two of the newly elected women are Native Americans</a> and <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2018/11/06/politics/first-muslim-women-congress/index.html">two are Muslims</a>. Again, however, almost all of this added diversity was in the Democratic, not the Republican, party.</p><img src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/105930/count.gif" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /> <p class="fine-print"><em><span>Richie Zweigenhaft does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.</span></em></p> In the next Congress, white men will make up 60 percent of the House and 71 percent of the Senate – a historic low. Richie Zweigenhaft, Professor of Psychology, Guilford College Licensed as Creative Commons – attribution, no derivatives. tag:theconversation.com,2011:article/99966 2018-11-08T18:30:34Z 2018-11-08T18:30:34Z <figure><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/243995/original/file-20181105-74760-kqu38h.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=496&amp;fit=clip" /><figcaption><span class="caption">A member of Veterans for Peace marches during the annual Veterans Day parade in New York, Nov. 11, 2017. </span> <span class="attribution"><a class="source" href="http://www.apimages.com/metadata/Index/Veterans-Day-New-York/e26e728cee9b430c87c0d822c4e5d142/6/0">AP/Andres Kudacki</a></span></figcaption></figure><p>If President Donald Trump had his way, the nation would be celebrating the centennial of the World War I armistice on Nov. 11 with <a href="https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/planning-trump-s-military-parade-finally-getting-underway-n887431">a massive military parade in Washington, D.C.</a> </p> <p>But that won’t be happening. When the Pentagon announced the president’s decision to cancel the parade, they blamed local politicians for <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/17/us/politics/trump-military-parade.html">driving up the cost of the proposed event</a>. </p> <p>There may have been other reasons.</p> <p>Veterans were especially outspoken in their opposition. Retired generals and admirals feared such a demonstration would embarrass the U.S., placing the nation in the company of <a href="http://time.com/5137317/donald-trump-military-parade-officers/">small-time authoritarian regimes</a> that regularly parade their tanks and missiles as demonstrations of their military might. And some veterans’ organizations opposed the parade because they saw it as a celebration of militarism and war. </p> <p>Veterans of past wars, as I document in my book <a href="https://www.rutgersuniversitypress.org/guys-like-me/9781978802810">“Guys Like Me: Five Wars, Five Veterans for Peace”</a> have long been at the forefront of peace advocacy in the United States. </p> <figure class="align-center zoomable"> <a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/243996/original/file-20181105-74751-11ddsge.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img alt="" src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/243996/original/file-20181105-74751-11ddsge.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip"></a> <figcaption> <span class="caption">Trump was inspired to have a U.S. military parade after watching this French one in 2017.</span> <span class="attribution"><a class="source" href="http://www.apimages.com/metadata/Index/Trump-US-France/35424f89195b4bcbb002a6d4df627ecd/14/0">AP/Carolyn Kaster</a></span> </figcaption> </figure> <h2>Politicians’ betrayal?</h2> <p>Over the past year, the advocacy group Veterans for Peace joined a coalition of 187 organizations that sought to <a href="https://www.veteransforpeace.org/files/6315/3444/0593/Sign_on_Statement_Against_Military_Parade.pdf">“Stop the Military Parade; Reclaim Armistice Day</a>.” There is a deep history to veterans’ peace advocacy.</p> <p>As a young boy, I got my first hint of veterans’ aversion to war from my grandfather, a World War I Army veteran. Just the mention of Veterans Day could trigger a burst of anger that “the damned politicians” had betrayed veterans of “The Great War.”</p> <p>In 1954 Armistice Day was renamed as Veterans Day. In previous years, citizens in the U.S. and around the world celebrated the <a href="https://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/world-war-i-ends">11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918</a> not simply as the moment that war ended, but also as the dawning of a lasting peace. </p> <p>“They told us it was ‘The War to End All Wars,’” my grandfather said to me. “And we believed that.”</p> <figure class="align-center zoomable"> <a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/244000/original/file-20181105-74766-1ni450c.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img alt="" src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/244000/original/file-20181105-74766-1ni450c.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip"></a> <figcaption> <span class="caption">The New York Tribune on Nov. 11, 1918.</span> <span class="attribution"><a class="source" href="https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83030214/1918-11-11/ed-1/seq-1/#words=over+end+surrendered+Over+war+ENDED+War+armistice+SURRENDERED+End+surrender+WAR+Armistice">Library of Congress</a></span> </figcaption> </figure> <h2>Veterans for peace</h2> <p>What my grandfather spoke about so forcefully was not an idle dream. In fact, a mass movement for peace had pressed the U.S. government, in 1928, to sign the <a href="https://history.state.gov/milestones/1921-1936/kellogg">Kellogg-Briand Pact</a>, an international <a href="http://avalon.law.yale.edu/20th_century/kbpact.asp">“Treaty for the Renunciation of War,”</a> sponsored by the United States and France and subsequently <a href="http://www.simonandschuster.com/books/The-Internationalists/Oona-A-Hathaway/9781501109867">signed by most of the nations of the world</a>. </p> <p><a href="https://history.state.gov/milestones/1921-1936/kellogg">A State Department historian described the agreement</a> this way: “In the final version of the pact, they agreed upon two clauses: the first outlawed war as an instrument of national policy and the second called upon signatories to settle their disputes by peaceful means.” </p> <p>The pact did not end war, of course. Within a decade, another global war would erupt. But at the time, the pact articulated the sentiments of ordinary citizens, including World War I veterans and organizations like the <a href="https://www.vfw.org/">Veterans of Foreign Wars</a>, who during the late 1930s <a href="http://etd.fcla.edu/UF/UFE0006061/ortiz_s.pdf#page=201">opposed U.S. entry into the deepening European conflicts</a>. </p> <p><a href="https://www.va.gov/opa/vetsday/vetdayhistory.asp">In 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the law</a> changing the name of the holiday to Veterans Day, to include veterans of World War II and Korea. </p> <figure class="align-center "> <img alt="" src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/244003/original/file-20181105-74754-1jq7qe8.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip"> <figcaption> <span class="caption">Eisenhower on June 1, 1954, signing the legislation that changed Armistice Day to Veterans Day.</span> <span class="attribution"><a class="source" href="https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:72-901-1_HR7786_Veterans_Day_June_1_1954.jpg#/media/File:72-901-1_HR7786_Veterans_Day_June_1_1954.jpg">Wikipedia</a></span> </figcaption> </figure> <p>For my grandfather, the name change symbolically punctuated the repudiation of the dream of lasting peace. Hope evaporated, replaced with the ugly reality that politicians would continue to find reasons to send American boys – “guys like me,” as he put it – to fight and die in wars.</p> <p>World War I, like subsequent wars, incubated a generation of veterans committed to preventing such future horrors for their sons. </p> <p>From working-class army combat veterans like my grandfather to retired generals like <a href="https://fas.org/man/smedley.htm">Smedley Butler</a> – who wrote and delivered public speeches arguing that “war is a racket,” benefiting only the economic <a href="https://www.amazon.com/War-Racket-Antiwar-Americas-Decorated/dp/0922915865">interests of ruling-class industrialists</a> – World War I veterans spoke out to prevent future wars. And veterans of subsequent wars continue speaking out today.</p> <p>There have been six U.S. presidents since my grandfather’s death in early 1981 – Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump – and each <a href="https://fas.org/sgp/crs/natsec/R42738.pdf">committed U.S. military forces to overt or covert wars</a> around the world. </p> <p>Most of these wars, large or small, have been met with opposition from veterans’ peace groups. In the 1960s and early 1970s, Vietnam Veterans Against the War was a <a href="https://nyupress.org/books/9780814751473/">powerful force in the popular opposition to the American war in Vietnam</a>. And <a href="https://www.veteransforpeace.org/">Veterans for Peace</a>, along with <a href="https://aboutfaceveterans.org">About Face: Veterans Against the War</a> remain outspoken against America’s militarism and participation in wars in the Middle East and elsewhere.</p> <p>Were he alive today, I believe my grandfather would surely express indignation that American leaders continue to send the young to fight and die in wars throughout the world. </p> <p>Still, I like to imagine my grandfather smiling had he lived to witness some of the activities that will take place this Nov. 11: Veterans for Peace joins other peace organizations in Washington, D.C. and in cities around the U.S. and the world, marching behind banners that read <a href="https://www.veteransforpeace.org/our-work/armistice-day">“Observe Armistice Day, Wage Peace</a>!”</p><img src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/99966/count.gif" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /> <p class="fine-print"><em><span>Michael Messner does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.</span></em></p> Veterans of past wars have long been at the forefront of peace advocacy in the United States. Michael Messner, Professor of Sociology and Gender Studies, University of Southern California – Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences Licensed as Creative Commons – attribution, no derivatives. tag:theconversation.com,2011:article/106401 2018-11-08T18:15:47Z 2018-11-08T18:15:47Z <figure><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/244395/original/file-20181107-74757-jhn3qg.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=496&amp;fit=clip" /><figcaption><span class="caption">World War I soldiers in a trench. Trenches led to monotony, malnutrition and shellshock.</span> <span class="attribution"><a class="source" href="https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/bandaged-british-world-war-1-soldiers-248207848?src=xCPRF5iHZ1Y6-Js7tL3jCA-1-1">Everett Historical/Shutterstock.com</a></span></figcaption></figure><p>It is common these days to hear physicians, nurses and other health professionals refer to their daily work as “life in the trenches.” The phrase usually contrasts the experiences of patient-facing professionals with those of administrators and others who labor “behind the lines.” (In many medical practices and hospitals, non-clinical staff <a href="https://www.aafp.org/fpm/2002/0900/p45.html">outnumber</a> health professionals by 5 to 1 or more.) </p> <p><a href="https://www.worldwar1centennial.org/">Nov. 11</a> marks the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, the first large-scale military conflict in which trench warfare – combat between opposing troops hunkered down in ditches – played a major role, making this an opportune time to explore the similarities between the lives of contemporary health professionals and those once literally in the trenches.</p> <p>Historically speaking, the <a href="http://www.oxfordbibliographies.com/view/document/obo-9780199791279/obo-9780199791279-0111.xml">introduction of trench warfare</a> can be traced to advances in military armaments, especially small arms and artillery. Such weapons proved effective against exposed enemies, such as troops advancing in formation, but they offered limited advantage against an enemy out of the line of sight or sheltered by large amounts of earth. In other words, firepower leapt forward, while mobility advanced relatively little, an imbalance that <a href="https://encyclopedia.1914-1918-online.net/article/military_developments_of_world_war_i">led later</a> to the development of tanks and air power. </p> <p>The height of trench warfare was reached on the Western front in France, where well-protected troops were <a href="https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/legends-what-actually-lived-no-mans-land-between-world-war-i-trenches-180952513/">separated by</a> “no man’s land,” resulting in long stalemates for which trench warfare became a byword.</p> <p>For soldiers, life in the trenches <a href="https://www.iwm.org.uk/history/voices-of-the-first-world-war-trench-life">tended to be</a> highly monotonous. Both sides were so deeply entrenched that most attempts to advance were doomed to failure. Soldiers devoted most of their time to constructing and repairing the trenches, cleaning their weapons, transferring food and supplies, and attempting to mitigate rats, lice and ailments such as cholera and trench foot. By contrast, they spent very little time engaged in combat, a role that was soon largely reserved for elite units. Simply put, soldiers in trench warfare endured many miseries, but almost none stemmed from their defining purpose – fighting.</p> <p>As a practicing physician, I believe that many contemporary health professionals can relate to this experience. Though trained to focus on direct patient care, many find that they spend a remarkably high proportion of their time on activities that draw them away from patients – activities such as filling out electronic forms, wrangling with coding and billing requirements, and demonstrating compliance with rules and regulations. One study <a href="https://www.nursingtimes.net/Journals/2013/08/09/h/h/q/140813-How-much-time-do-nurses-spend-on-patient-care.pdf">showed</a> that nurses spend less than a third of their time actually caring for patients. This gives rise to a number of professional afflictions – among them depersonalization, inefficacy, and loss of purpose, which take their own toll on “battle readiness.”</p> <h2>Flooding, heat and terror</h2> <figure class="align-center "> <img alt="" src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/244436/original/file-20181107-74787-q6op3g.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip"> <figcaption> <span class="caption">U.S. soldiers in a trench in France during World War I.</span> <span class="attribution"><a class="source" href="https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/france-circa-1900-yanks-front-line-80219995?src=hUGvEMe7E4nX-xmznJllpQ-1-14">Susan Law Cain/Shutterstock.com</a></span> </figcaption> </figure> <p>During WWI, <a href="https://www.warmuseum.ca/firstworldwar/history/life-at-the-front/trench-conditions/rats-lice-and-exhaustion/">conditions in the trenches</a> were typically terrible. For example, soldiers remained entrenched in all seasons and weather conditions. In heavy rains, the trenches flooded. In winter, a flooded trench would often freeze. Under the hot sun, by contrast, heatstroke and dehydration became the principal threats. Furniture was scarce, and many soldiers slept on the damp earth. The typical trench diet offered little in the way of wholesome nutrition or relief from the monotony. In the case of <a href="https://www.bl.uk/world-war-one/themes/life-as-a-soldier">British soldiers</a>, it often consisted of tea, biscuits and tinned beef – a regimen that, over prolonged periods of time, resulted in malnutrition.</p> <p>Something analogous is afoot in contemporary health care. Health care is being transformed in ways that seem to take little heed of the individual health professional. New health information systems not only reallocate precious time from patients to information systems but actually increase the total amount of time health professionals must devote to completing the paperwork associated with each clinical encounter, typically <a href="https://catalyst.nejm.org/date-night-ehr/">amounting to</a> an hour or two of physician “pajama time” at home each night. Many health professionals feel overfed on information but undernourished when it comes to the human contact that provides genuine fulfillment in patient care.</p> <p>The monotony of life in WWI’s trenches was <a href="http://webs.bcp.org/sites/vcleary/ModernWorldHistoryTextbook/wwi/section_4/trenchwarfare.html">punctuated</a> by moments of sheer terror. For example, snipers could fire at any moment, and artillery attacks could produce instantaneous panic. It was during WWI that the condition of “shell shock” was <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/worldwars/wwone/shellshock_01.shtml">first identified</a>, and it was thought to be the result of sustained exposure to the deafening roar of such bombardments. We now know that witnessing the often unthinkable aftermath of such attacks, such as the dismembered bodies of comrades, played a role as well. With time, the stalemate of trench warfare led to the <a href="https://encyclopedia.1914-1918-online.net/article/gas_warfare">development</a> of new modes of assault, such as poison gas attacks, against which the trenches offered no defense.</p> <p>Although most health care professionals’ lives aren’t threatened in the same way as soldiers are, the parallels with contemporary health care are striking. Health professionals have <a href="https://www.hfma.org/Leadership/E-Bulletins/2017/April/How_Consolidation_Is_Reshaping_Health_Care/">weathered</a> a number of dramatic changes in the environment of health care, including the introduction of new health information systems, changes in the way health care is organized and financed, and waves of consolidation, increasing the size – and bureaucratization – of health care organizations. When viewed from the perspective of health professionals attempting to care for patients one by one, the rapidity and magnitude of such changes can quickly <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/13/opinion/roy-moore-conservative-evangelicals.html">induce</a> a siege mentality, in which they feel they can do little more than hunker down and wait for the next assault, hoping it does not bury them.</p> <p>Firsthand descriptions of life in the trenches are harrowing. After five months at the site of one of the bloodiest battles in the war, the Somme, one soldier <a href="https://www.bl.uk/world-war-one/articles/sensuous-life-in-the-trenches">wrote</a> that “everything visible or audible or tangible to the sense … is ugly beyond imagination.” Future British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan <a href="https://spartacus-educational.com/PRmacmillan.htm">wrote</a>, “In those miles of country lurk (like moles and rats, it seems) thousands, even hundreds of thousands of men, planning against each other perpetually some new device of death.” Another solider <a href="https://www.bl.uk/world-war-one/articles/sensuous-life-in-the-trenches">wrote</a> of his surroundings, “The mud there wasn’t liquid, it wasn’t porridge, it was a curious kind of sucking mud … a real monster that sucked at you.”</p> <h2>A focus on survival and not relationships</h2> <figure class="align-center "> <img alt="" src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/244435/original/file-20181107-74751-1lhgh2l.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip"> <figcaption> <span class="caption">Doctors, nurses and others who provide care in hospitals often work at fast paces and under many demands.</span> <span class="attribution"><a class="source" href="https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/doctor-nurse-running-passageway-hospital-82103017?src=RLc8FQ65y5x2E_0rDcV4iQ-1-12">Tyler Olson/Shutterstock.com</a></span> </figcaption> </figure> <p>Likewise, life in the trenches of contemporary health care can overload the senses and cast a dark shadow on even the most essential features of daily life. The increasing pace and bureaucratization of the daily work of health professionals mean that interpersonal relationships tend to <a href="https://www.studergroup.com/resources/articles-and-industry-updates/insights/february-2016/physician-burnout-and-the-loss-of-collegial-relati">play a smaller and smaller role</a>. Data and forms displace personal knowledge, and the “no man’s land” between health professionals and patients grows progressively wider. It is not uncommon to hear doctors and nurses talk about how their work is sucking the life out of them, rather than building a sense of purpose and fulfillment.</p> <p>To turn the tide that is making the work of contemporary health professionals increasingly resemble life in the trenches, we need to learn some important lessons from WWI. First, we need to let history speak, recognizing that in difficult times, considerations of human dignity and compassion should always trump technical needs. Second, unintended and even unforeseeable consequences can inflict great suffering, which needs to be recognized and responded to promptly. Finally, both warfare and health care are ultimately more about human beings than technologies. If we stay focused on good relationships, a great deal of loss and heartache can be averted.</p><img src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/106401/count.gif" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /> <p class="fine-print"><em><span>Richard Gunderman does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.</span></em></p> For many health professionals, daily practice increasingly resembles trench warfare, which took a grave toll on WWI's soldiers. Richard Gunderman, Chancellor's Professor of Medicine, Liberal Arts, and Philanthropy, Indiana University Licensed as Creative Commons – attribution, no derivatives. tag:theconversation.com,2011:article/105587 2018-11-08T18:05:29Z 2018-11-08T18:05:29Z <figure><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/243907/original/file-20181105-83641-k751ei.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;rect=1%2C11%2C797%2C543&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=496&amp;fit=clip" /><figcaption><span class="caption">A display of acrobatics by German internees at the prisoner of war camp at Newbury Racecourse in Berkshire in October 1914.</span> <span class="attribution"><a class="source" href="https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/c6/German_Prisoners_of_War_in_Britain_during_the_First_World_War_Q53357.jpg">Imperial War Museum/Wikimedia</a></span></figcaption></figure><p>The first lines of Wilfred Owen’s poem ‘<a href="https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/57258/insensibility">Insensibility</a>’ (1893 – 1918) bear testament to the chilling impact of the First World War on those who participated in it:</p> <blockquote> <p>Happy are men who yet before they are killed<br> Can let their veins run cold.<br> Whom no compassion fleers<br> Or makes their feet<br> Sore on the alleys cobbled with their brothers.</p> </blockquote> <p>The sacrifice of more than 16 million lives on the altar of an unfeeling war machine and the traumatisation of millions more, which Owen, writer <a href="https://www.cairn.info/revue-d-histoire-moderne-et-contemporaine-2001-4-page-160.htm">Jean Norton Cru</a> and other like-minded eyewitnesses so evocatively captured, have become the point of reference for the modern remembrance of 1914-18. It is easy enough to understand why the horrors of the trenches, the introduction of ever more efficient methods of killing and atrocities like the Armenian genocide have left such an indelible impression on the collective imagination.</p> <p>And yet societies’ adaptation to what the Dublin historian John Horne has termed the <a href="https://zeithistorische-forschungen.de/3-2004/id%3D4534">“totalitarian tendencies”</a> of the Great War cannot be reduced to the corrosive effects of trauma alone. Rather than rendering combatants “insensible”, as Owen believed, the long duration of the war actually owed a great deal to citizens’ emotional mobilisation for higher ideals. While the choice of belligerent nations to frame their struggle in terms of a <a href="https://books.google.co.uk/books/about/The_Great_War_and_Medieval_Memory.html?id=pgY_V8I9WyIC&amp;redir_esc=y">“last crusade”</a> might be dismissed as a propagandistic tool to shame the enemy, the rhetoric of chivalry counteracted the inhumanity of the conflict in sometimes surprising ways.</p> <h2>Captivity and honour</h2> <p>Consider the 8 million soldiers who ended up in captivity during the course of the war. The capture of so many troops presented armies with serious challenges. <a href="http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0968344507083992?journalCode=wiha">Protocols of surrender</a> were ill-defined and facilities for housing the men limited. Although prisoners consequently experienced <a href="https://www.cambridge.org/core/books/violence-against-prisoners-of-war-in-the-first-world-war/4DECCAF83694C8DE3B47CA6920BD97DC">abuse on a massive scale</a>, the hopes of one German pre-war legal scholar, Paul Wünnenberg, that captives should regain their freedom as long as they gave their word of honour to henceforth accept only non-combat duties were realised in a selective fashion.</p> <p>For instance, in September 1914 the French war ministry issued <a href="https://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/006028796">special instructions</a> that allowed captured officers to keep their sword and to rent comfortable private accommodations in picturesque towns, where they could walk about if they consented in writing to abstain from escape attempts.</p> <p>Avoiding the cost and inconvenience of having to employ guards, the British and German authorities early in the war likewise opted to release captured civilians and merchant crews once they had promised not to serve against the captor state. In at least <a href="http://www.spiegel.de/einestages/britischer-kriegsgefangener-robert-campbell-hafturlaub-vom-kaiser-hoechstpersoenlich-a-951254.html">one case</a>, a British officer even gained temporary release from captivity to visit his dying mother after pledging his personal honour to return, which he did.</p> <p>To be sure, even though international humanitarian law in the shape of the <a href="https://ihl-databases.icrc.org/ihl/INTRO/150?OpenDocument">Hague Conventions</a> (1899/1907) endorsed parole agreements, belligerents largely abandoned the custom in the first year of the war. In itself this development was perhaps not surprising, for parole agreements imposed a moral obligation on prisoners to eschew escape, which deprived governments of their service. Furthermore, the option to enter into contracts with the enemy injected a democratic element into warfare by empowering the individual soldier to decide for himself when to quit the fight.</p> <h2>Parole agreements</h2> <p>More remarkable was the return of parole agreements in modified form during the second half of the Great War. The proliferation of “barbed wire disease” among long-term prisoners led to a series of bilateral treaties between Britain, France and Germany that provided for the internment of sick captives in neutral Switzerland as well as the Netherlands. These agreements entitled internees to visit local towns in return for their word of honour not to escape. The option to take short walks outside the camp walls also became available to officers who remained behind in Germany and agreed to sign so-called parole cards.</p> <figure class="align-center "> <img alt="" src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/243920/original/file-20181105-12015-2nyeh5.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip"> <figcaption> <span class="caption">Parole card, 1918.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Council of the National Army Museum</span></span> </figcaption> </figure> <p>The resurrection of parole as part of wider endeavours to improve captivity remind us that the cataclysm of the First World War was more than just a race to the bottom. Though too uncoordinated in the final resort to stem the systemic violence unleashed by the conflict’s <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/04/books/review/Sebag-Montefiore-t.html">“dynamic of destruction”</a>, these philanthropic impulses held important lessons for the subsequent course of humanitarian thought and practice (as evidenced, for instance, by the new <a href="https://ihl-databases.icrc.org/ihl/INTRO/305">Geneva Convention of 1929</a>).</p> <p>The “sentiment d’honneur” was integral to this learning process because it constituted the primary guarantee for soldiers’ good conduct, as the Belgian international lawyer Gustave Rolin-Jacquemyns <a href="https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-01856134/document">had pointed out</a> as early as 1871. Many years later a German peer commented on the <a href="https://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt6k61390625/f161.image.r=Du%20manque%20de%20parole%20des%20prisonniers%20de%20guerreHenri%20HarburgerDu%20manque%20de%20parole%20des%20prisonniers%20de%20guerre">reciprocal nature of honour</a>:</p> <blockquote> <p>“Even in war and between hostile armies, there needs to exist something like loyalty and good faith. In the absence of this principle no pause, cease-fire or capitulation are possible.”</p> </blockquote> <p>As the centenary of Armistice Day approaches, we would do well to commemorate this lesson.</p><img src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/105587/count.gif" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /> <p class="fine-print"><em><span>Jasper Heinzen received funding from EURIAS, Institut d&#39;études avancées de Paris and British Academy.</span></em></p> During First World War, the rhetoric of chivalry counteracted the inhumanity of the conflict in sometimes surprising ways. Jasper Heinzen, Maitre de conferences en histoire de l'Europe moderne, Université de York, Fellow 2018 - IEA de Paris, Institut d'études avancées de Paris (IEA) – RFIEA Licensed as Creative Commons – attribution, no derivatives. tag:theconversation.com,2011:article/106641 2018-11-08T16:41:41Z 2018-11-08T16:41:41Z <figure><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/244581/original/file-20181108-74766-d06xdt.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=496&amp;fit=clip" /><figcaption><span class="caption">Commonwealth war cemetery at Ypres, Belgium.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">chrisdorney via Shutterstock</span></span></figcaption></figure><p>It would become known as the Great War, or the “war to end all wars”. Four years of bitter conflict from August 1914 to November 1918 which spread to involve more than 80% of the world, causing 37m casualties, military and civilian, and 16m deaths.</p> <p>For the past four years, we’ve been examining the major issues and events of World War I: from its outbreak in the summer of 1914, through its major battles, such as the Somme in 1916, to its conclusion on November 11, 1918. We’ve asked a large array of academic experts to comment on everything from the geopolitics, tactics and technology to the war’s legacy. Here are some of the things we have learned:</p> <h2>What happens in the Balkans…</h2> <figure class="align-center "> <img alt="" src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/244568/original/file-20181108-74760-osj5y9.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip"> <figcaption> <span class="caption">Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie just before the assassination.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Wikimedia Commons</span></span> </figcaption> </figure> <p>All the schoolbooks tell us that it was a young Bosnian serb, Gavril Princip, who <a href="https://theconversation.com/franz-ferdinand-assasination-how-a-hit-on-one-man-plunged-the-world-into-war-28530">assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand</a> to start the clock ticking towards conflict. But most of the great powers, particularly Germany and Austria-Hungary, had been <a href="https://theconversation.com/was-europe-really-ready-for-world-war-i-30284">planning for a war</a> in Europe for some time and Princip’s bullet gave them the chance they were looking for. </p> <p>But if the politicians were gung-ho (aren’t they always?) ordinary folk weren’t so bullish. It took a <a href="https://theconversation.com/press-baron-and-propagandist-who-led-charge-into-world-war-i-29855">concerted campaign of jingoism</a> to get the drums beating on the Home Front. </p> <h2>Mud and blood: the trenches</h2> <figure class="align-center "> <img alt="" src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/244570/original/file-20181108-74763-5gfl3r.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip"> <figcaption> <span class="caption">Luxury accommodation, Western Front-style.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">nationallibrarynz_commons</span></span> </figcaption> </figure> <p>The enduring picture of World War I is of muddy trenches, barbed wire and bomb craters. Lice, trench foot and myriad other diseases (flu, malaria, typhoid) took a heavy toll on troops on both sides. And the poor diet was also <a href="https://theconversation.com/biscuit-for-breakfast-trench-warfare-was-hard-on-soldiers-teeth-64457">hard on their teeth</a>. Nor was this confined to the ranks: the British military commander, General Douglas Haig, developed such excruciating toothache at the Battle of Aisne in the summer of 1914 that a dentist had to be sent for from Paris. </p> <p>Boredom was also a problem for many soldiers awaiting the next big push. Troops had various ways of relieving this, including <a href="https://theconversation.com/gallows-humour-from-the-trenches-of-world-war-i-17900">their own satirical newspaper</a>, The Wipers Times.</p> <p>Battles could often last for months and achieve little. Perhaps the most famous, certainly for the British, was <a href="https://theconversation.com/why-the-battle-of-the-somme-marks-a-turning-point-of-world-war-i-60741">the Somme</a> – which lasted 141 days and cost 300,000 lives on both sides. The battle changed the way the British approached the war – from then on, production of tanks and aircraft in particular soared as Allied tacticians sought to break the trench-based deadlock.</p> <h2>War at sea and in the air</h2> <figure class="align-center "> <img alt="" src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/244590/original/file-20181108-74772-1vwgcnz.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip"> <figcaption> <span class="caption">A Sopwith Pup fighter, 1916.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">thirtyfootscrew</span></span> </figcaption> </figure> <p>It was “total war” which, for the first time, was waged on land, sea and in the air. It has been estimated that 14,000 Allied pilots lost their lives – more than half of them in training – but then the first manned powered flight had taken place just 11 years before the war broke out. Surprisingly, however, aerial combat has <a href="https://theconversation.com/world-war-i-shaped-a-century-of-air-combat-and-it-still-influences-modern-missions-30168">remained fairly constant since</a>. </p> <p>But what of the war at sea? <a href="https://theconversation.com/jutland-why-world-war-is-only-sea-battle-was-so-crucial-to-britains-victory-59415">After the Battle of Jutland</a>, which pitched the British Grand Fleet against Imperial Germany’s High Seas Fleet, Britannia largely ruled the waves. Winston Churchill subsequently said that the British sea commander, Admiral Sir John Jellicoe, was the only man on either side “who could have lost the war in an afternoon”. Happily for the British, he didn’t.</p> <h2>Women at war</h2> <figure class="align-center "> <img alt="" src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/244587/original/file-20181108-74757-fego0i.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip"> <figcaption> <span class="caption">Driving ambulances in Belgium.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">www.gwpda.org/photos</span></span> </figcaption> </figure> <p>Women also played an enormous and vital role: whether on the home front growing and cooking the food or working in the factories that powered Britain’s industrial effort, or as nurses, serving in dangerous conditions. <a href="https://theconversation.com/women-volunteers-first-to-the-war-zone-in-1914-30442">Women volunteers</a> were at the front within weeks of the conflict beginning and served with bravery and distinction. It’s generally thought that the social changes wrought by the Great War saw <a href="https://theconversation.com/british-women-would-have-waited-far-longer-for-the-vote-without-world-war-i-29860">women get the vote</a> in Britain far earlier than they otherwise might have.</p> <h2>1918: peace at last</h2> <figure class="align-center "> <img alt="" src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/244589/original/file-20181108-74775-5jyy5h.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip"> <figcaption> <span class="caption">The delegations signing the Treaty of Versailles in the Hall of Mirrors.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">US National Archives</span></span> </figcaption> </figure> <p>Sunday November 11, 2018 will be a chance for the world to reflect. To start with, to call it the “war to end all wars” proved tragically optimistic: within a single generation the world was plunged back into an even more destructive conflict, the <a href="https://theconversation.com/world-war-i-is-it-right-to-blame-the-treaty-of-versailles-for-the-rise-of-hitler-106373">seeds of which were sown</a> in the harsh peace treaty imposed on Germany and her allies at Versailles.</p> <h2>The legacy</h2> <p>Asked in the mid-1930s to reflect on the medical advances made during World War I, an unnamed Austrian medic <a href="https://theconversation.com/world-war-i-the-birth-of-plastic-surgery-and-modern-anaesthesia-106191">said</a>: </p> <blockquote> <p>Nobody won the last war but the medical services. The increase in knowledge was the sole determinable gain for mankind in a devastating catastrophe.</p> </blockquote> <p>But it’s never too late to learn. Anyone who still believes that war is the solution to anything should read the words of the most famous war poet of them all, <a href="https://theconversation.com/wilfred-owen-100-years-on-poet-gave-voice-to-a-generation-of-doomed-youth-106014">Wilfred Owen</a> – whose life was cut short and whose talent was extinguished at the desperately young age of 25, just seven days before the guns fell silent:</p> <blockquote> <p>My subject is War, and the pity of War. The Poetry is in the pity. Yet these elegies are to this generation in no sense consolatory. They may be to the next. All a poet can do today is warn.</p> </blockquote> <h2>While you are here…</h2> <p>Please <a href="https://theconversation.com/anthill-31-world-war-i-remembered-podcast-106498">listen to our podcast</a>, in which we talk to academic experts about how the Armistice came about, three of the great World War I poets, and what life was like for the brave conscientious objectors who refused to take up arms.</p><img src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/106641/count.gif" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /> 100 years after the end of World War I, some of its brutal lessons. Jonathan Este, Associate Editor, Arts + Culture Editor Licensed as Creative Commons – attribution, no derivatives. tag:theconversation.com,2011:article/86864 2018-11-08T16:30:13Z 2018-11-08T16:30:13Z <figure><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/243902/original/file-20181105-83629-1xlf5ol.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;rect=0%2C0%2C847%2C660&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=496&amp;fit=clip" /><figcaption><span class="caption">Female workers at HM munitions factory in Queensferry, north Wales, c.1915.</span> <span class="attribution"><a class="source" href="https://www.peoplescollection.wales/items/31016">Flintshire Record Office/People&#39;s Collection Wales</a></span></figcaption></figure><p>It is often said that without World War I and its aftermath, the women of Britain would have waited even longer <a href="https://theconversation.com/british-women-would-have-waited-far-longer-for-the-vote-without-world-war-i-29860">for the rights</a> they have today. When men were drafted to fight, women filled the roles they left behind, as well as signing up for new jobs in munitions factories and the Women’s Land Army. </p> <p>Those who had not previously recognised women’s worth and value pre-war finally began to realise that the country could not run without them. Take former prime minister Herbert Asquith for example, who was a significant obstacle to women’s enfranchisement before the war. In April 1917, when the war was still raging on, <a href="http://hansard.millbanksystems.com/commons/1917/mar/28/mr-speakers-services">he told the House of Commons</a>:</p> <blockquote> <p>My opposition to woman suffrage has always been based, and based solely, on considerations of public expediency. I think that some years ago I ventured to use the expression, “Let the women work out their own salvation”. Well, sir, they have worked it out during this war. How could we have carried on the war without them?</p> </blockquote> <p>The real extent of women’s contribution to the war effort was illustrated in a 1919 War Cabinet report, which found increases in women’s employment in almost every sector during the war. The only exception was domestic service, suggesting that a change in female work patterns had occurred – although in 1919 it was still the second highest employment choice for women, as it had been at the start of the war.</p> <iframe id="datawrapper-chart-BmSCf" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/BmSCf/1/" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" allowtransparency="true" style="width: 0; min-width: 100% !important;" height="530" width="100%"></iframe> <p>Broadly speaking, these national work patterns were reflected in Wales during the war years too. However, look post-1918 and it becomes apparent that the supposed positive effect the war had on getting women into work did not continue there.</p> <h2>Women at work</h2> <p>During the war, Welsh women took up jobs vacated by enlisted men as well as new roles in industry, including munitions production, to meet new demands. This was hazardous work, and women who undertook it often posed for photographs wearing borrowed military uniforms as if to reinforce their status. When accidents occurred, they were given military style funerals.</p> <figure class="align-right zoomable"> <a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/243882/original/file-20181105-12015-vrwh57.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img alt="" src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/243882/original/file-20181105-12015-vrwh57.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=237&amp;fit=clip"></a> <figcaption> <span class="caption">Welsh munitions worker Edith May Jacquet and friend.</span> <span class="attribution"><a class="source" href="https://www.peoplescollection.wales/items/26052">Welsh Voices Project &amp; Ivor Williams/People's Collection Wales</a></span> </figcaption> </figure> <p>The work by Welsh women at factories like the Nobel TNT plant in Carmarthenshire, south west Wales were crucial to the war effort. A sign suspended over the main entrance there warned “Blondes need not apply” – a humorous reference to the serious effects of handling the hazardous chemicals which could turn blonde hair green. 300 tons of crystallised TNT and 200 tons of cordite paste were produced at this factory alone every week. Between July 1915 and May 1917, 1.14m shells of various sizes were filled there. And defective ammunition was also processed, with up to 50 tons of amatol recycled weekly. </p> <p>After the war, most of these female workers <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/guides/z9bf9j6">had to give up their jobs</a>. Some were no longer needed, others gave way to men coming home from war as Britain returned to normality. Letters of recommendation issued to those released from their wartime jobs often <a href="https://www.peoplescollection.wales/items/26053">referred to supervisory positions</a>, indicative of the expansion of women’s roles.</p> <p>However, it was far from business as usual for women in Wales, or Britain for that matter. Many roles <a href="http://www.striking-women.org/module/women-and-work/inter-war-years-1918-1939">were closed to women</a> after the war and others often included a marriage bar. UK-wide census records indicate that a longer term view of women’s employment shows an overall decline despite the dramatic rise during the war itself.</p> <iframe id="datawrapper-chart-g07bX" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/g07bX/2/" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" allowtransparency="true" style="width: 0; min-width: 100% !important;" height="374" width="100%"></iframe> <p>Between 1911 and 1921, paid employment of women declined across Britain, but by 1931 the trend had begun to reverse. For women in Wales the situation was far worse, however. Employment of women in Wales fell more sharply than in Britain as a whole and continued to fall for another decade (to 1931), even when things improved elsewhere. By 1951, there had been a modest recovery in the Welsh employment levels, but female employment in Wales was still far behind the rest of the country. </p> <p>The Welsh statistics can partly be explained by a decline in industry (that the war had temporarily reversed) and also increased mechanisation in agriculture. With post-war employment opportunities limited, many women migrated from Wales – itself devastating for local communities – to seek work. They went to the home counties where they were in particular demand as domestic servants in the big houses. Welsh women were regarded as honest (probably a consequence of the chapel tradition) and were also relatively cheaper to employ. To cater to this demand, the ministry of labour set up “home training centres”, mostly in the valley towns of south Wales. By 1931 at least 10,000 young women had left Wales to work in domestic service in London alone.</p> <p>It can’t be denied that the war did bring about significant changes for women across Britain. However, for the women of Wales, the wartime gains in employment were merely on loan, and it would take decades for them to be recovered.</p> <hr> <p><em><strong>Listen to The Anthill podcast on remembering World War I <a href="https://theconversation.com/anthill-31-world-war-i-remembered-podcast-106498">here</a>, or subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.</strong></em></p> <hr><img src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/86864/count.gif" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /> <p class="fine-print"><em><span>Gerard Oram is a member of the Labour Party</span></em></p> Wartime employment gains were merely on loan for women in Wales. Gerard Oram, Director of Programmes for War and Society, Swansea University Licensed as Creative Commons – attribution, no derivatives. tag:theconversation.com,2011:article/106385 2018-11-08T15:20:28Z 2018-11-08T15:20:28Z <p>A week after the UK’s chancellor of the exchequer promised an extra £20.5 billion for the NHS, the health secretary, Matt Hancock, called for more spending on <a href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-46093750">preventative health</a>. He is clear that the current spending pattern – a whopping £97 billion on treatment versus just £8 billion on prevention – must change. Moving money from treatment to prevention might be a political gamble for Hancock, but it could pay off if he carefully selects his investment portfolio.</p> <p>Most long-term conditions and many non-communicable diseases, such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, chronic lung disease, diabetes and dementia, have no cure but must be managed. Almost <a href="http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/+/http:/www.dh.gov.uk/en/Healthcare/Longtermconditions/tenthingsyouneedtoknow/index.htm">one in three</a> people in England have a long-term condition. The NHS spends over <a href="http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/+/http:/www.dh.gov.uk/en/Healthcare/Longtermconditions/tenthingsyouneedtoknow/index.htm">two-thirds of its budget</a> treating these conditions, many of which can be prevented by changes in lifestyle. So a quick gain for Hancock would be to focus on preventative measures that are targeted at helping people change their unhealthy lifestyles.</p> <h2>Supporting the public</h2> <p>Evidence couldn’t be clearer on the health benefits of lifestyle changes, such as <a href="https://tobaccocontrol.bmj.com/content/27/1/58">quitting smoking</a>. Nevertheless, some argue that changing lifestyles, such as walking or cycling more, eating more fruit and vegetables, giving up cigarettes or consuming fewer sugary and alcoholic drinks, is the sole responsibility of the individual and not a matter for the <a href="https://www.bmj.com/content/355/bmj.i6341">state</a>. But lifestyle changes, such as losing weight or quitting smoking, can be very difficult without support.</p> <p>Breastfeeding is another area that could do with support. Breastfeeding <a href="https://www.unicef.org.uk/babyfriendly/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2012/11/Preventing_disease_saving_resources_policy_doc.pdf">protects</a> babies from gut and respiratory diseases and women from breast cancer. Yet the UK has the lowest <a href="https://www.unicef.org.uk/babyfriendly/about/breastfeeding-in-the-uk/">breastfeeding rates</a> among developed countries. The reason is simple: new mothers find it very hard to continue breastfeeding when they don’t receive support.</p> <p>Evidence shows that if people are provided with the right support, they can make healthy lifestyle choices or changes. So the state has a responsibility to provide support that incentivises people to take preventative measures.</p> <figure class="align-center "> <img alt="" src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/244531/original/file-20181108-74766-14uq0v5.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip"> <figcaption> <span class="caption">With the right support, people can give up unhealthy habits.</span> <span class="attribution"><a class="source" href="https://www.shutterstock.com/download/confirm/361935386?src=KFbRkOSxw_FNBLkKOU_Avg-1-1&amp;size=medium_jpg">Marc Bruxelle/Shutterstock</a></span> </figcaption> </figure> <h2>Prevention portfolio</h2> <p>Over the years, Public Health England (PHE) has worked hard to put together an <a href="https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/health-economics-evidence-resource">evidence-based list of what works in prevention</a> and the amount of money it saves. For example, PHE found that every £1 spent on preventing teenage pregnancy would save £11 in abortion, antenatal and maternity costs. </p> <p>A similar scale of payback comes from every £1 invested in cycling infrastructure. And alcohol care teams, which provide support to people who end up in hospital as a result of alcohol abuse, generate a net return of 86p for every £1 spent. In Australia, a media campaign to prevent alcohol misuse gave a payback of AUS for every AUS spent. And for child mental health, counselling services could generate seven times as much in benefits as it costs to run the service.</p> <p>The rich and strong evidence that public health measures work and provide value for money, is on Hancock’s side. On average, every £1 spent on public health would <a href="https://jech.bmj.com/content/71/8/827">generate a return of £14</a>, plus the original investment back. Most of this payback comes from long-term health gains, but sizeable cash savings to the NHS are also likely. </p> <p>We now know that supporting new mothers in breastfeeding their infant <a href="https://www.unicef.org.uk/babyfriendly/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2012/11/Preventing_disease_saving_resources_policy_doc.pdf">could save the NHS up to £40m</a> as a result of fewer GP consultations and hospital admissions. Given this, Hancock’s priority should be twofold.</p> <p>First, he should reverse cuts to those services that we know have worked in England. According to the King’s Fund, a health think-tank, cuts to public health spending is <a href="https://www.kingsfund.org.uk/blog/2015/08/cuts-public-health-spending-falsest-false-economies">“the falsest of false economies”</a>. The short-term NHS cost savings due to cuts would not be able to offset the long-term treatment costs due to an inevitable rise in disease. Hancock’s announcement is a clear step towards fixing this false economy that began shortly after the <a href="https://academic.oup.com/eurpub/article/25/6/908/2467583">2008 financial crisis</a> and continues today.</p> <p>Second, the priority should be to look at areas where the government could get more payback from public spending than it currently does. An example is improving the reach of smoking cessation interventions from GPs. Currently, just two in ten smokers use this service. Likewise, <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/add.14093">introducing new, effective but cheaper aids</a> to help smokers quit, such as <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/healthreport/cytisine-could-it-help-smokers-quit/9831834">cytisine</a> (a smoking cessation drug) provide <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/add.14093">better payback</a> than the current practice used in stop-smoking services in England. Most of these changes, if implemented at the same time, would require more spending now, but the <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/add.14093">payback</a> will be much greater.</p><img src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/106385/count.gif" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /> <p class="fine-print"><em><span>Subhash Pokhrel receives funding from research funders including Research Councils, European Commission and Charities. </span></em></p> The evidence that health prevention programmes work and are cost effective is strong. Subhash Pokhrel, Head, Department of Clinical Sciences, Brunel University London Licensed as Creative Commons – attribution, no derivatives. tag:theconversation.com,2011:article/106004 2018-11-08T15:07:38Z 2018-11-08T15:07:38Z <figure><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/244398/original/file-20181107-74754-55e2f9.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=496&amp;fit=clip" /><figcaption><span class="caption"> </span> <span class="attribution"><a class="source" href="https://www.vam.ac.uk/dundee">V&amp;A Dundee</a></span></figcaption></figure><p>Glowing from enthusiastic reviews and well-deserved plaudits since the spectacular Kengo Kuma building was unveiled in September 2018, the <a href="https://www.vam.ac.uk/dundee/">V&amp;A Dundee</a> – the first V&amp;A outside of London – has much longer standing connections with the city than many people realise.</p> <p>Billed as Scotland’s first design museum, the building houses a permanent new <a href="https://www.vam.ac.uk/dundee/exhibitions/scottish-design-galleries">Scottish Design Gallery</a> and space for circulating exhibitions. Discovering this hidden history helps reflect on this new V&amp;A, the stories it tells and the stories it chooses to leave out – chiefly, why a gallery dedicated to telling the story of Scottish design, focuses only on the past 600 years. </p> <figure class="align-left "> <img alt="" src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/244386/original/file-20181107-74766-s6wmcw.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=237&amp;fit=clip"> <figcaption> <span class="caption">The book references 5,000 years of Scottish design, but the V&amp;A does not.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Thames &amp; Hudson</span></span> </figcaption> </figure> <p>Published to coincide with the opening of the new V&amp;A, <a href="https://www.waterstones.com/book/the-story-of-scottish-design/philip-long/joanna-norman/9780500480335">The Story of Scottish Design</a> acknowledges more than 5,000 years of Scottish design history. The gallery includes accomplished objects whose design consciously references Scotland’s earlier heritage, such as a <a href="http://www.groamhouse.org.uk/index.asp?pageid=36914">George Bain</a> carpet, an <a href="http://www.alexander-ritchie.co.uk/history.htm">Alexander Ritchie</a> firescreen, and metalwork designed by <a href="https://www.dundee.ac.uk/museum/exhibitions/fineart/duncan/">John Duncan</a> – all showcasing the two Celtic revivals of the <a href="https://arthist.net/archive/11724/view=pdf">late 19th century</a> and post-war period <a href="http://www.groamhouse.org.uk/index.asp?pageid=36914">after 1945</a>.</p> <p>In <a href="https://www.vam.ac.uk/shop/a-living-room-for-the-city-155805.html">A Living Room for the City</a> (as Kuma described the new museum), <a href="https://www.vam.ac.uk/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIsp7V5p603gIV6LDtCh0pGQi8EAAYASAAEgLwH_D_BwE">V&amp;A London</a> director Tristram Hunt notes an important historical connection to Queen Victoria and Prince Albert – after whom the V&amp;A is named – thanks to her love of Scotland. In 1844 the royal couple made a visit to Dundee during one of their early trips to the Highlands. And it is in the 19th century that the reasons can be found as to why the museum has decided not to provide the full history of Scottish design.</p> <p>The strengths of the V&amp;A’s own Scottish collection, which have shaped today’s Scottish Design Gallery, lie in the period from the 15th century to present. This reflects the ethos of the 19th-century V&amp;A. However, my <a href="https://academic.oup.com/jhc/article-abstract/27/1/73/694312?redirectedFrom=fulltext">research</a> shows that Dundee and the V&amp;A have a history that goes back to the late 1880s – which did embrace earlier Scottish design from the 8th century onwards. To understand why this material might not be present in V&amp;A Dundee, we need to look at the history of <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1179/1461957115Y.0000000011">creating and circulating replica artefacts</a>, and what has happened to them since.</p> <h2>V&amp;A beginnings</h2> <p>The V&amp;A was originally established to improve the design of popular manufactured goods, by providing suitable models for artists and others needing technical training. Native prehistoric design was not a part of that preferred 19th century design repertoire, but <a href="http://www.medievalists.net/2015/09/who-were-the-celts-the-british-museum-offers-answers-with-new-exhibition/">post-Roman Christian Celtic art</a> styles burst on to the scene in <a href="https://www.nms.ac.uk/grammarofornament">Owen Jones’s influential Grammar of Ornament</a> (1856), an illustrated book of world designs intended to improve the repertoire of craftspeople.</p> <p>The South Kensington Museum, as it was then known, acquired just two examples of Scottish early Christian art, still on display in the V&amp;A – a decorated Pictish cross slab from <a href="https://canmore.org.uk/site/15280/nigg">Nigg</a> and the Anglo-Saxon <a href="https://canmore.org.uk/site/66586/ruthwell-cross">Ruthwell Cross</a>. These were plaster casts, for replicas that could be circulated among international museums were the in thing 150 years ago.</p> <p>Antiquarians made efforts to interest curators in acquiring more casts of early and later medieval Scots sculptures, but were rebuffed. As <a href="https://www.era.lib.ed.ac.uk/handle/1842/25962">Gerard Baldwin Brown</a>, Professor of Fine Art at Edinburgh University <a href="https://academic.oup.com/jhc/article-abstract/27/1/73/694312?redirectedFrom=fulltext">noted</a> in 1902, the V&amp;A was “not a place where national self-love is flattered”.</p> <h2>Out in the provinces</h2> <p>While the V&amp;A did not invest much in earlier Scottish material for itself, it supported Scottish museums in copying Celtic sculptures that might inspire local artists to improve the design of gravestones, for instance.</p> <figure class="align-right "> <img alt="" src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/244473/original/file-20181108-74778-1y4keig.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=237&amp;fit=clip"> <figcaption> <span class="caption">Nigg Pictish cross slab.</span> <span class="attribution"><a class="source" href="https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/60/Nigg_Pictish_cross_slab_-_Flickr_-_S._Rae_%285%29.jpg">S Rae/Wikimedia</a>, <a class="license" href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/">CC BY-SA</a></span> </figcaption> </figure> <p>At the turn of the century, in other parts of Scotland, Dublin, Cardiff and the Isle of Man, there was a strong interest in acquiring collections of <a href="https://dspace.stir.ac.uk/bitstream/1893/23640/1/Foster%202015%20-%20Celtic%20collections%20imperial%20connections%20-%20History%20Scotland%2015-2.pdf">Celtic crosses</a>. Serious scholarship on these monuments was just <a href="https://www.scottishheritagehub.com/content/232-scholarship-1990s">maturing</a> and the regionally distinctive sculpture spoke to an awakening sense of national identities.</p> <p>The V&amp;A supported the creation of such collections as part of the package of loans, grants and advice to provincial museums delivered by its circulation department to newly founded operations in Glasgow, Dundee, Paisley and Aberdeen (in Edinburgh the Royal Scottish Museum originated as a branch of the V&amp;A).</p> <h2>The V&amp;A in Dundee then and now</h2> <p>As the 19th century ended and the 20th century began, Dundee’s curator <a href="https://www.wikiart.org/en/james-archer/john-maclauchlan-chief-librarian-of-dundee-free-library-1893">John Maclauchlan</a> was highly appreciative of the V&amp;A’s support. Between 1894 and 1917 V&amp;A staff visited and advised on annual loan collection displays, educating teachers about new exhibitions, and giving lantern-slide lectures to the public. The Albert Institute (now <a href="https://www.mcmanus.co.uk/">The McManus</a>) had begun acquiring plaster casts of sculptures and other types of reproductions, including the <a href="https://www.britannica.com/topic/Elgin-Marbles">Elgin Marbles</a>. In 1904, Dundee acquired casts of some of the finest Celtic crosses in Scotland.</p> <figure class="align-center "> <img alt="" src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/244479/original/file-20181108-74760-drutmv.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip"> <figcaption> <span class="caption">The new Scottish Design Gallery at the V&amp;A Dundee.</span> <span class="attribution"><a class="source" href="https://www.vam.ac.uk/dundee?gclid=EAIaIQobChMI2O_E49LD3gIVYSjTCh3amwLrEAAYASAAEgJ7NfD_BwE">V&amp;A Dundee</a></span> </figcaption> </figure> <p>Visitors to Dundee’s new V&amp;A will hopefully get a chance to visit the McManus Gallery whose earlier history is bound up with the V&amp;A in London. While a plaster cast, particularly a Scottish Celtic subject, might today have spoken for that earlier relationship, none of Dundee’s V&amp;A-assisted collection now survives (although equivalent collections do in Glasgow’s <a href="https://www.glasgowlife.org.uk/museums/venues/kelvingrove-art-gallery-and-museum">Kelvingrove</a> and <a href="http://www.aagm.co.uk/">Aberdeen Art Gallery</a>. </p> <p>The evolution of the collection in London has framed the chronological breadth of V&amp;A Dundee’s Scottish Design Gallery. The point is not to criticise, but to promote awareness and debate. V&amp;A Dundee should have a profound impact for generations on how people living in Scotland and international visitors alike perceive the pedigree and value of Scotland’s extended design history. How the institution realises its aims depends upon both vision and accidents of its history.</p><img src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/106004/count.gif" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /> <p class="fine-print"><em><span>Sally Foster has received/is receiving funding from the Royal Society of Edinburgh, Historic Environment Scotland and AHRC for various research projects. </span></em></p> Thanks to the 19th-century obsession with plaster casts of artefacts, Dundee began a relationship with London's V&A long ago. Sally Foster, Lecturer in Heritage and Conservation, History and Politics, University of Stirling Licensed as Creative Commons – attribution, no derivatives. tag:theconversation.com,2011:article/105245 2018-11-08T14:31:14Z 2018-11-08T14:31:14Z <figure><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/243941/original/file-20181105-83629-3t22xw.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=496&amp;fit=clip" /><figcaption><span class="caption">shutterstock</span> <span class="attribution"><a class="source" href="https://www.shutterstock.com/download/confirm/1072775438?src=N8U1Pu5uFjGwcNMrQayAJQ-1-34&amp;size=medium_jpg">Hyejin Kang/Shutterstock.com</a></span></figcaption></figure><p>Social mobility is seen as an essential societal goal – one that occupies most democratic governments. But moving up and down the social ladder can be very stressful, and it is well documented that long-lasting or repeated stress is bad for your health. Until now, though, no one has tried to quantify the health impact of social mobility. In our <a href="https://doi.org/10.1136/jech-2017-210171">latest study</a> we set out to redress this knowledge gap. But, before we get to that, a bit of background.</p> <p>It was a Russian-born sociologist, Pitirim Sorokin, who first wrote about the stress of social mobility. Sorokin lived a life full of mobility. Born to a peasant mother and a manual-worker father, he ended up founding Harvard’s sociology department. He was a professor there until his death in 1968. In his eventful life, he had also been a farmhand, artisan, factory worker, clerk, teacher, choir conductor, revolutionary, political prisoner, journalist, student, newspaper editor and secretary to the Russian prime minister. </p> <figure class="align-right "> <img alt="" src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/244324/original/file-20181107-74754-eeqyau.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=237&amp;fit=clip"> <figcaption> <span class="caption">Pitirim Sorokin, social climber extraordinaire.</span> <span class="attribution"><a class="source" href="https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5807825">неизв/Wikimedia Commons</a></span> </figcaption> </figure> <p>In 1927, Sorokin claimed that mobility made the “nervous systems crumble under the burden of great strains required”. He had no systematic data to substantiate this claim, but we assume he based it on his own not inconsiderable experience. Today <a href="https://www.socialsciencespace.com/2018/09/diane-reay-on-education-and-class/">academics</a> and <a href="http://behavioralscientist.org/challenges-working-class-students-dont-end-commencement/">other high flyers</a> still talk about feelings of “class dissociation”, to use Sorkin’s phrase.</p> <h2>Tripartite problem</h2> <p>One problem with finding out whether social mobility is a stressful experience is that it is such a complex thing. It’s made up of three parts: the social class of your parents (your origin), your social class now (the destination), and the trajectory of movement between the two. </p> <p>It is already known that those in higher classes often live less stressful lives than those at the bottom. For our <a href="https://doi.org/10.1136/jech-2017-210171">study</a>, published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, we wanted to know whether social mobility has an effect over and above origin class and destination class. </p> <p>A second part of the puzzle was how to measure the consequences of social mobility. Many previous studies used subjective or self-rated measures of well-being. One common criticism of these approaches is that people may adjust their expectations to their new class position – so-called “adaptive preferences”. To overcome this, we used more objective data from a <a href="https://www.understandingsociety.ac.uk/">long-term study</a> of thousands of British people whose health was assessed by nurses and who had a blood sample taken. </p> <p>Based on this information, we calculated their “<a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allostatic_load">allostatic load</a>”, which is a measure of wear and tear on the body resulting from chronic stress. This summary measure includes indicators such as blood pressure, waist circumference, cholesterol and inflammatory markers. A heavy allostatic load puts a person at increased risk of a range of health problems, from type 2 diabetes to heart disease.</p> <h2>Allostatic load</h2> <figure class="align-center "> <img alt="" src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/243962/original/file-20181105-83641-dis4jd.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip"> <figcaption> <span class="caption"></span> <span class="attribution"><span class="license">Author provided</span></span> </figcaption> </figure> <p>The results of our analysis showed that both origin and destination class matter. In fact, it seems that they each exert around the same level of influence. This means that your social class during childhood has a long reach and you cannot escape the health consequences of your social origins, even after climbing the social ladder all the way to the top. </p> <p>For those starting at the bottom and climbing to the top, their allostatic load will be of an average level, but far above the level of people who started out in a higher class and remained there. The worst outcomes are among those for whom both origin and destination are the working class, while those falling down the ladder from higher origins will be somewhat protected by their origin.</p> <p>We also found that social mobility by itself has no impact on your health. There is no systematic effect of mobility on allostatic load in one direction or another. Your current class matters, and your class during childhood matters, but mobility itself does not cause the wear and tear that is bad for your health. </p> <p>Equal opportunity is an ideal that many believe in, and governments promise to facilitate social mobility for their citizens. But social mobility does not only entail climbing the economic ladder, for some, it also means falling down. Our study showed that being on top is better for your health than being at the bottom, yet neither falling down nor moving up causes long-lasting or repeated stress.</p><img src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/105245/count.gif" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /> <p class="fine-print"><em><span>The authors do not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and have disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.</span></em></p> Moving up and down the social ladder has long been thought to be stressful, but a new study shows that it has no impact on general health. Lindsay Richards, Lecturer in Sociology, University of Oxford Patrick Präg, University of Oxford Licensed as Creative Commons – attribution, no derivatives. tag:theconversation.com,2011:article/105613 2018-11-08T14:28:47Z 2018-11-08T14:28:47Z <figure><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/243885/original/file-20181105-12015-1sbk4co.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=496&amp;fit=clip" /><figcaption><span class="caption"> </span> <span class="attribution"><a class="source" href="https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/red-poppy-flowers-june-rhinelandpalatinate-germany-383740150?src=T7I-_ThuMSifL5-h2TNg7g-1-14">Nailia Schwarz/Shutterstock.com</a></span></figcaption></figure><p>People often experience trauma during war. Over time, this can develop into a condition we now recognise as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Sufferers can experience severe anxiety, flashbacks, nightmares, insomnia and anger, amongst other symptoms. </p> <p>It has a long history. Cases of PTSD have been identified from descriptions <a href="https://www.history.com/topics/inventions/history-of-ptsd-and-shell-shock">in ancient Greek history</a> of people experiencing persistent nightmares. Other symptoms, such as feeling anxious and constantly on edge, were described as “<a href="http://operationcompassionatecare.org/historical-names-for-ptsd/">soldier’s heart</a>” during the American Civil War. But this history took a sharp turn a hundred years ago, during World War I, when the prevalence of what was then known as “shell-shock” meant that a formal treatment for psychological trauma was needed.</p> <figure class="align-center "> <img alt="" src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/242598/original/file-20181028-7062-t1rk1v.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip"> <figcaption> <span class="caption">The Battle of the Somme.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Wikimedia Commons</span></span> </figcaption> </figure> <p>Psychological trauma experienced during the war had an unprecedented toll on veterans, many of whom suffered symptoms for the <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shell_shock#Commission_of_enquiry">rest of their lives</a>. These ranged from distressing memories that veterans found difficult to forget, to extreme episodes of <a href="http://ww1centenary.oucs.ox.ac.uk/body-and-mind/shell-shock-on-film/">catatonia and terror</a> when reminded of their trauma. The sheer scale of veterans experiencing such symptoms after World War I led to the definition of “<a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Combat_stress_reaction">combat stress reaction</a>”, informing our modern concept of PTSD. </p> <p>The public perception of PTSD is still rooted in this past, and some of the problems discovered during World War I regarding psychological trauma have not yet been answered. Though much has changed, many principles and challenges of PTSD treatment were first identified during World War I. If we are to learn lessons from the war and better acknowledge the sacrifices of those who served, we must also acknowledge the impact of psychological trauma, both then and now.</p> <h2>Shell-shock</h2> <p>Soldiers described the effects of trauma as “shell-shock” because they believed them to be caused by exposure to artillery bombardments. As early as 1915, army hospitals became inundated with soldiers requiring treatment for “wounded minds”, tremors, blurred vision and fits, taking the military establishment <a href="https://spartacus-educational.com/FWWmental.htm">entirely by surprise</a>. An army psychiatrist, Charles Myers, subsequently published observations <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S014067360052916X?via%3Dihub">in the Lancet</a>, coining the term shell-shock. Approximately <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/worldwars/wwone/shellshock_01.shtml">80,000 British soldiers</a> were treated for shell-shock over the course of the war. Despite its prevalence, experiencing shell-shock was often attributed to moral failings and weaknesses, with some soldiers even being accused of <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/british/britain_wwone/shot_at_dawn_01.shtml">cowardice</a>. </p> <figure class="align-center "> <img alt="" src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/242599/original/file-20181028-7065-k5c4rt.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip"> <figcaption> <span class="caption">An Australian soldier displaying signs of shell-shock (bottom left)</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Wikimedia Commons</span></span> </figcaption> </figure> <p>But the concept of shell-shock had its limitations. Despite coining the term, <a href="https://www.apa.org/monitor/2012/06/shell-shocked.aspx">Charles Myers</a> noted that shell-shock implied that one had to be directly exposed to combat, even though many suffering from the condition had been exposed to non-combat related trauma (such as the threat of injury and death). Cognitive and behavioural symptoms of trauma, such as nightmares, hyper-vigilance and avoiding triggering situations, were also overlooked compared to physical symptoms. </p> <p>Today, it is these cognitive and behavioural symptoms that <a href="https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/post-traumatic-stress-disorder-ptsd/symptoms/">define PTSD</a>. The physical symptoms that defined shell-shock are often consequences of these nonphysical symptoms.</p> <h2>Treating shell-shock</h2> <p>Treatments were harsh. As depicted in Pat Barker’s novel <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regeneration_%28novel%29">Regeneration</a>, shell-shock patients could receive courses of electroshock therapy and physical conditioning, with the aim of alleviating physical symptoms quickly. </p> <p>Not only were such treatments brutal, they were typically ineffective, with <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/insideout/extra/series-1/shell_shocked.shtml">80% of those treated</a> unable to serve again. They were very commonly used to treat physical symptoms such as fits and tremors, as shown in the video below. While the man in the video is shown walking again, it is unknown if psychological symptoms were <a href="https://www.britishpathe.com/gallery/shell-shock-victims/1">alleviated</a>. </p> <figure> <iframe width="440" height="260" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/S7Jll9_EiyA?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe> <figcaption><span class="caption">(Video, Shellshock patient in treatment- War Archives from British Pathé: GRAPHIC)</span></figcaption> </figure> <p>Due to the ineffectiveness of prescribed treatments, many soldiers who had witnessed trauma or experienced shell-shock attempted to <a href="https://www.kcl.ac.uk/kcmhr/publications/assetfiles/alcoholsmoking/Jones2011-Alcoholuseandmisusewithinthemilitary.pdf">self-medicate their symptoms</a>. Alcohol and drug use were common methods to treat immediate symptoms, much like Captain Stanhope’s use of alcohol to cope with the onset of anxiety in the novel <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Journey%27s_End">Journey’s End</a>. While prevalent, self-medication undoubtedly <a href="https://counselorssoapbox.com/2012/12/26/drinking-a-little-alcohol-can-make-ptsd-worse/">exacerbated untreated cognitive symptoms</a>, such as flashbacks and nightmares, as is commonly found with PTSD today.</p> <p>But some shell-shock treatments were highly effective: those that focused on the cognitive and behavioural symptoms now associated with PTSD. One army physician, <a href="https://www.kcl.ac.uk/kcmhr/publications/assetfiles/historical/Jones2011-warneuroses.pdf">Arthur Hurst</a>, went to great lengths to encourage shell-shock patients to reconstruct their traumatic experiences, using films and simulations to help confront their traumatic memories. These “talking cures”, which emphasised the cognitive and behavioural symptoms of trauma, had a much <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/insideout/extra/series-1/shell_shocked.shtml">better success rate</a>. Although used rarely during the war, many modern PTSD treatments can trace their development to these talking therapies, moving away from only treating physical symptoms and <a href="https://www.talkspace.com/blog/2017/06/the-history-of-ptsd/">targeting psychological issues</a>, such as distress caused by traumatic memories. </p> <h2>Trauma and PTSD today</h2> <p>Though the concept of shell-shock shares many features with PTSD, ideas of what constitutes trauma and treatments have since changed dramatically. The focus towards treating underlying cognitive and behavioural symptoms has shown a great reduction in the <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4138705/">physical consequences of trauma</a> observed during World War I. Service personnel are routinely screened for symptoms of trauma before and after deployment; identifying issues early reduces the risk of developing PTSD, whereas shell-shock treatment focused on treating symptoms once they became severe.</p> <p>Nevertheless, many of the same challenges observed a century ago are equally relevant today. The stigma attached to mental illness still obstructs people from receiving treatment, causing many to <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/oct/18/collateral-damage-ex-soldiers-living-with-ptsd">self-medicate with alcohol</a> to ease their symptoms instead. Such challenges are not unique to veterans either; <a href="https://healthydebate.ca/2016/12/topic/syrian-refugees-ptsd">refugees</a> and <a href="https://www.brit.co/what-ptsd-looks-like-for-sexual-assault-survivors/">sexual assault survivors</a> are also deeply affected by trauma, but often face barriers to receiving proper treatment, exacerbating their PTSD.</p> <p>Overall, we have a better understanding of what trauma is because of World War I. Although modern treatments for PTSD are more effective than those for shell-shock, issues such as social stigma and alcohol misuse remain. These are lessons from World War I we are still learning. We must not forget the challenges facing service personnel exposed to trauma, both today and a century ago.</p><img src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/105613/count.gif" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /> <p class="fine-print"><em><span>Benjamin Russell Butterworth does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.</span></em></p> To some extent, shell-shock still shapes our understanding of PTSD today. Benjamin Russell Butterworth, PhD Researcher, Glasgow Caledonian University Licensed as Creative Commons – attribution, no derivatives. tag:theconversation.com,2011:article/106322 2018-11-08T13:37:03Z 2018-11-08T13:37:03Z <figure><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/243921/original/file-20181105-83635-4pguwr.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=496&amp;fit=clip" /><figcaption><span class="caption">The active Erta Ale volcano in the northern Afar region of Ethiopia.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Mikhail Cheremkin/Shutterstock</span></span></figcaption></figure><p>More than 100 <a href="http://volcano.si.edu">young volcanoes</a> – that have had activity within about 10,000 years – dot the landscape of the East African Rift – an area that runs for more than 3000 kilometres from Djibouti and Eritrea, down through Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda to the Democratic Republic of Congo and Tanzania. </p> <p>This is the place where the African continent is slowly <a href="https://theconversation.com/africa-is-splitting-in-two-here-is-why-94056">breaking apart</a> at a speed slower than the rate at which human fingernails grow. Steep escarpments and East Africa’s deep lakes – like Lake Tanganyika – are the result of this slow spread. It would however still take <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IVnkfvqwDcM">millions of years</a> before the split occurs. </p> <p>This process of continental breakup is strongly associated with volcanoes because, as the land splits, <a href="http://ethiopianrift.igg.cnr.it/rift%20valley%20history.htm">molten rock</a> rises into the Earth’s crust. Some of this magma makes it to the surface and forms volcanoes. </p> <p>Most of East Africa’s volcanoes are currently dormant. But they could erupt in the future. About 25% of Africa’s volcanoes had eruptions <a href="http://volcano.si.edu/">in the last 100 years</a>; therefore it’s very likely that we will encounter new eruptions in the next few decades. </p> <p>Sometimes there’s very little warning before an eruption, as was the case when <a href="http://volcano.si.edu/volcano.cfm?vn=221101">Nabro</a>, a volcano near the Eritrean-Ethiopian border, suddenly <a href="https://www.geog.cam.ac.uk/research/projects/nabro/">erupted</a> about seven years ago. There was no ground-based volcano monitoring at the time in Eritrea and the eruption was first observed from space by international scientists. The eruption <a href="http://www.irinnews.org/q-and/2011/07/06/thousands-need-aid-after-volcano-eruption">killed</a> seven people and left 12,000 people homeless. It also disrupted regional air traffic for several days. </p> <p>To be better prepared for future eruptions there’s a need to understand and monitor poorly known volcanoes, even in remote places. </p> <p>This is <a href="https://www.researchgate.net/project/RiftVolc-The-Past-Present-and-Future-of-Volcanism-in-the-Main-Ethiopian-Rift">what we do</a>. We are part of RiftVolc, a collaboration between scientists from the UK and Ethiopia, focused on understanding volcanism in the main Ethiopian rift, a stretch of 300km covering about 15% of East Africa’s volcanoes. We examine past eruptions, the sources and processes leading to <a href="https://theconversation.com/how-to-turn-a-volcano-into-a-power-station-with-a-little-help-from-satellites-86566">unrest in volcanoes</a> and the potential impact of future eruptions. </p> <h2>Tracking hazards</h2> <p>One way to assess future hazards from long-dormant volcanoes – those with limited or no historical eruptions – is to reconstruct their history using geological records, like rocks and sediment. The landscape around the volcanoes is covered in volcanic rocks that are the result of explosive eruptions that happened over the last 10,000 years. Volcanic ash deposits from these eruptions are also found within <a href="https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2018GC007686">sediments</a> in nearby lakes. </p> <p>This sediment tells us about what has happened in the past – for instance if volcanoes erupted on average every 10, 100 or 1000 years – but also about the style of activity; whether it was lava flows or big explosions. This gives us a good idea of what can happen in the future. Exploration of other volcanoes in the world show that, though every volcano is unique, the general patterns and style of activity tend to <a href="http://volcano.si.edu/faq/index.cfm?question=eruptionforecast">repeat themselves</a>. This means that with a better understanding of a volcano’s history we can inform policy makers and monitoring agencies responsible for disaster management. </p> <p>The sequence of volcanic deposits shows that some volcanoes in central Ethiopia, like <a href="http://volcano.si.edu/volcano.cfm?vn=221290">Corbetti</a> and <a href="http://volcano.si.edu/volcano.cfm?vn=221270">Aluto</a>, are characterised by between one and four explosive eruptions per millennium. That is up to one every 250 years. </p> <p>A new eruption from either of these volcanoes would cover several hundreds or even thousands of square kilometres, a size on the order of a thousand football fields, in a blanket of <a href="https://volcanoes.usgs.gov/vhp/tephra.html">volcanic ash</a> and severely disrupt the local infrastructure and economy, possibly also aviation. </p> <p>Most volcanoes further north in the <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0377027317303670?via%3Dihub">Main Ethiopian Rift</a> seem to have been less active in the last few thousand years, and have mostly had minor explosive eruptions and lava flows. Even such eruptions could however be destructive for local infrastructure. </p> <p>The geology tells us how damaging a volcano could be and informs what strategies are needed for monitoring and mitigating risk. We can’t prevent eruptions, but by better understanding the ones that happened in the past, we can be better prepared for future ones.</p> <h2>Volcanic benefits</h2> <p>Another benefit of tracking volcanoes is that some findings can be useful for completely different reasons.</p> <p>For example, all over the Main Ethiopian Rift we <a href="https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1029/2011GC003662">find places</a> where hot volcanic gases and fluids are emitted. In some places, such <a href="https://theconversation.com/how-to-turn-a-volcano-into-a-power-station-with-a-little-help-from-satellites-86566">steam vents</a> can be used to create thriving resort economies through the creation of spas. </p> <p>Volcanic fluids can also turn rocks to clay – serving as an excellent source material for <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaolinite">ceramics</a>.</p> <p>And finally the high concentration of active volcanoes in the Rift area provides an advantage in generating <a href="http://www.thinkgeoenergy.com/new-study-estimates-10000-mw-geothermal-potential-in-ethiopia/">geothermal energy</a> – the use of water and steam, drilled from depth, to drive geothermal power generators creating electricity. Significant investment in geothermal energy development on multiple dormant volcanoes, with a total estimated potential of 10,000 MW, is <a href="https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-02-05/ethiopian-geothermal-is-private-equity-s-next-4-billion-bet">expected</a> to turn Ethiopia into a regional renewable energy powerhouse. </p> <p>In the short term, the socio-economic benefits associated with the volcanoes far outweigh the risks. But it remains critical to incorporate appropriate strategies towards risk reduction so that the natural resources offered by volcanoes can contribute to a sustainable future.</p><img src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/106322/count.gif" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /> <p class="fine-print"><em><span>Karen Fontijn received funding from the UK&#39;s Natural Environment Research Council. </span></em></p><p class="fine-print"><em><span>Gezahegn Yirgu does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.</span></em></p> To be better prepared for future eruptions there's a need to understand and monitor poorly known volcanoes, even in remote places. Karen Fontijn, Assistant Professor - Mineralogy/Volcanology, Université Libre de Bruxelles Gezahegn Yirgu, Professor, Addis Ababa University Licensed as Creative Commons – attribution, no derivatives. tag:theconversation.com,2011:article/106261 2018-11-08T13:36:26Z 2018-11-08T13:36:26Z <figure><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/244071/original/file-20181106-74754-phyo6h.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=496&amp;fit=clip" /><figcaption><span class="caption">Reliable water supply is essential for South Africa&#39;s development.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Shutterstock</span></span></figcaption></figure><p>South Africa is often referred to as the <a href="http://www.wwf.org.za/?21562/Waste2Wealth-The-fluid-story-of-your-water">30th driest country</a> in the world, a claim that’s based on its <a href="http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&amp;pid=S1816-79502012000300008">average annual rainfall</a> of 500mm compared to the world average of 860mm. National rainfall averages have a purpose. They do, however, have limited value where regional and local rainfall distribution varies considerably and when water security is threatened by recurring droughts, or when water use is poorly regulated and managed. Average rainfall data is meaningless when water demand exceeds supply. </p> <p>This is true in South Africa. Since 2013 nearly every region in South Africa has experienced some form of drought and water shortages resulting in water <a href="http://www.csag.uct.ac.za/2018/07/23/drought-when-and-where/">restrictions</a> in urban areas and in the agriculture sector. </p> <p>Currently, the metro cities of <a href="http://www.capetown.gov.za/Family%20and%20home/residential-utility-services/residential-water-and-sanitation-services/Residential-water-restrictions-explained">Cape Town</a> and <a href="https://www.enca.com/news/its-getting-hot-out-there-water-restrictions-remain-joburg">Johannesburg</a> have restrictions in place. Cape Town requires its agricultural sector to reduce water use by 60% and its citizens by 45%. Likewise, whole provinces, such as the <a href="http://www.agriec.co.za/blog/posts/strict-water-restrictions-for-eastern-cape-remain-in-effect-in-western-cape">Eastern Cape</a>, large municipalities and numerous smaller towns have various levels of water restrictions in place and in some cases receive only intermittent supplies.</p> <p>A reliable supply of water at an acceptable quantity and quality that’s not harmful to human health, livelihoods, development and the environment is essential for the future development of South Africa. Yet erratic rainfall and increasing water demand is increasing levels of water stress. </p> <p>In 2013 a water stress <a href="https://www.wri.org/blog/2015/08/ranking-world-s-most-water-stressed-countries-2040">survey</a> placed South Africa in 65th position out of 180 countries, but by 2040 the water stress index is likely to rise to anything between 40% and 80%.</p> <p>Crisis proofing South Africa’s water security is imperative, but it’s not clear how this can be attained. There’s no universal agreement on how water security is measured. Typically measurements include water availability, water risk and hazards, water use, access and equity in water, and the effect and frequency of floods and droughts. What’s often missing are ways of measuring adaptation and environmental sustainability that are likely to improve the chances of becoming water secure.</p> <h2>Hard challenges</h2> <p>South Africa can’t change the climate systems that influence weather variability and conditions. But it can do a lot to adapt to changing the future where parts of the country will get drier, warmer and the intervals between droughts will be shorter.</p> <p>South Africa is a water stressed country. Indices show regions of high water demand, particularly in the south-western and eastern parts, and also in north. These regions are likely to become increasingly water stressed because of an over use of surface water followed by drought that will effect social and economic development. </p> <figure class="align-center "> <img alt="" src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/243854/original/file-20181105-83638-l9aee5.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip"> <figcaption> <span class="caption">South Africa’s water stress index relative to global scores.</span> <span class="attribution"><a class="source" href="http://waterriskfilter.panda.org/en/Explore/CountryProfiles#overview/69">World Wide Fund Water Risk Filter</a></span> </figcaption> </figure> <p>By 2035 water demand is expected to exceed supply by 10%. If planned water schemes aren’t carried out the <a href="https://issafrica.s3.amazonaws.com/site/uploads/sar13-2.pdf">Institute for Security Studies</a> estimates that this gap could increase to 21%.</p> <p>South Africa has a number of specific challenges that make it difficult for achieving water security. These include:</p> <ul> <li><p>The geographic position of a country that influences climate and weather systems.</p></li> <li><p>Rapid population growth and increasing water demand.</p></li> <li><p>Limited investment in water infrastructure and projects.</p></li> <li><p>Corruption and mismanagement of water resources resulting in public mistrust and lack of confidence in leadership of state departments.</p></li> <li><p>Fragile social and institutional capacity which threatens effective governance.</p></li> </ul> <h2>Action required</h2> <p>South Africa needs to do three things as a matter of urgency: </p> <p>Close the gap on water supply and demand. This is primarily a function of the National Department of Water and Sanitation. Currently, however, the new Minister for Water and Sanitation, Mr Gugile Nkwinti, <a href="https://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/water-dept-is-in-shambles-admits-nkwinti-after-taking-over-from-mokonyane-20180502">has his hands full</a> in fixing the department and attracting experienced personnel to senior vacant posts and new appointees to the National Water Advisory Committee. </p> <p>Draft an integrated water security strategy that includes components that are measurable to enable progress to be tracked and government to be held accountable. The strategy already exists in a plethora of national policies, regulations and development plans, but the transition to a water secure country must be measurable and capable of improving water-related decisions and plans.</p> <p>Improve water quality infrastructure. This includes water treatment plants and drainage systems that pollute freshwater systems and storage dams. It’s understandable that the supply of water has taken centre stage, but the general neglect of surface water quality is an issue that can’t be ignored any longer. <a href="http://www.wrc.org.za/Lists/Knowledge%20Hub%20Items/Attachments/12294/ISS_A%20delicate%20balance.pdf">Only a third</a> of South Africa’s rivers are in a good condition while the cost of restoring degraded river systems is increasingly prohibitive.</p> <p>South Africa’s developmental agenda will be well served by ensuring a reliable and secure water management system. Water security helps to reduce poverty, advances education, supports productivity and increases living standards. Most of all an improved quality of life, especially for the poor and most vulnerable, will result from <a href="https://www.gwp.org/en/About/why/the-water-challenge/">good water governance</a>.</p> <p>No country or city can afford to be without a reliable source of water. A no regrets strategy takes a precautionary approach that avoids a water crisis from escalating into failure.</p><img src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/106261/count.gif" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /> <p class="fine-print"><em><span>Kevin Winter does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.</span></em></p> South Africa is a water stressed country but crisis point can be avoided. Kevin Winter, Senior Lecturer in Environmental & Geographical Science, University of Cape Town Licensed as Creative Commons – attribution, no derivatives. tag:theconversation.com,2011:article/105697 2018-11-08T13:36:09Z 2018-11-08T13:36:09Z <figure><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/243667/original/file-20181102-83632-1eg4s21.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=496&amp;fit=clip" /><figcaption><span class="caption">Carmel Building in Diagonal Street, Johannesburg.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Museum Africa (left) Yeshiel Panchia (right)</span></span></figcaption></figure><p>Johannesburg was always a much photographed place from its earliest days. It was a city that grew up with photographers and their cameras. As a town of migrants and immigrants, people wanted to send postcards and photographic souvenirs back home.</p> <p>Some proof is in a new book, <a href="https://www.penguinrandomhouse.co.za/book/johannesburg-then-and-now/9781775846178">Johannesburg Then and Now</a>, by <a href="https://johannesburg1912.wordpress.com/author/marclatilla/">history blogger</a>, Marc Latilla. It is a series of photographic juxtapositions of early photographs of the city – dating from the 1880s to the 1940s – with contemporary images of the same street scene or building by photographer Yeshiel Panchia. </p> <p>The book is descriptive rather than analytical, with the emphasis on Johannesburg buildings, places and streets and not its people. Latilla’s love and passion for his city comes through in his descriptions. </p> <h2>Young city</h2> <p>At a mere 132 years Johannesburg is a young city compared with cities of the world. London and Rome go back over 2000 years.</p> <p>It started as a mining camp with a gold bonanza once George Harrison had <a href="http://www.theheritageportal.co.za/article-categories/mining-history">found gold</a> on the Main Reef in 1886. The new mining settlement was named Johannesburg – the origins of the name and who precisely was the “Johannes” of Johannesburg is still in dispute. The camp grew over time to a city. Today it is a metropolis that dominates the province of Gauteng, both as the provincial capital and the financial heartland of South Africa.</p> <p>Johannesburg is a fractured city, divided in all sorts of ways. Geographically it’s split by the mines of the Witwatersrand - one can still see their remains south of the city while the north has a very different landscape. </p> <p>Another divide was created by the railway which cut the town in half with the most affluent suburbs to the north and the less affluent to the south. </p> <p>The city’s economic divide was also evident in the architectural styles of the residential areas which reflected status: from the working class, to the lower and upper middle class, and then at the very top end the grand estates on the northern ridges for the Randlords and newly enriched capitalist class. </p> <p>The town was also divided by race from its earliest days. While there was always economic integration, segregated residential areas for different racial groups were the norm. The township of Soweto was <a href="http://www.sahistory.org.za/places/soweto">created</a> in the 1930s when the white government started separating black people from white people.</p> <p>This policy of racial and class separation was perpetuated further when <a href="https://www.sahistory.org.za/article/history-apartheid-south-africa">apartheid</a> became official policy in 1948. It also led to forced removals of black people to townships outside the “white” city.</p> <h2>Growing in circles</h2> <p>Johannesburg has always grown in concentric circles. Municipal boundaries were periodically extended, mapped and basic services of water, sewerage, lighting, tramways financed by an increasing number of ratepayers brought into the net to support the city. Soweto, once the internationally recognised site of the 1976 youth uprising, is now part of the city, but so is the glitzy new glass and concrete post-modern city of Sandton.</p> <p>The Johannesburg that has been captured in this book though is the old Johannesburg; what was called the Central Business District and its surrounding suburbs. This is Johannesburg from 1886 to a date more or less 50 years later when the city celebrated its jubilee with the Great Empire exhibition at Milner Park in 1936.</p> <p>I should declare an interest – I was first asked by Penguin Books if they could use an image of an old early title deed that I had written about and then to give the book a preliminary early opinion. As historian I found myself drawn in to assist in some fact checking and comments to help the author. Of course the selection of photographs and his commentary remain his entirely.</p> <p>The old photographs were taken by countless unknown and mainly anonymous photographers. They are remarkable in their own right. It was so much more difficult to take and make a photograph in 1900 than in our digital age. Those old photos in black and white are works of art as much as are the perfect colour and light reflected images of today. The sources of the old photographs are primarily from collections held by the University of the Witwatersrand, Museum Africa and the Transnet Heritage library. The early photographs are tend to be undated, so that the “then” can be any time from circa 1890 to the 1930s and even later, while the now photographs are all in colour and clearly belong to the last few years. </p> <h2>Superb find</h2> <p>My favourite photo is the old aerial view of the Harrow Road redevelopment when the first Johannesburg freeway was engineered (Harrow has since been renamed after a famous Johannesburger, the liberation struggle stalwart <a href="https://www.sahistory.org.za/people/joe-slovo">Joe Slovo</a>). The photo allows us to see precisely how Harrow Road was widened and changed direction in the fifties. This single photo is a superb find.</p> <p>A book such as this makes a contribution to heritage because it captures, assembles and documents the old and now the new. Where old photographs have been found recording what a particular building looked like and the building is still there, such photographic documentation strengthens the heritage preservation case. </p> <p>However, none of the grit, crime, grime, litter or lack of maintenance we battle against today is visible in the modern photographs. This is the Johannesburg we don’t see: the crisis of homelessness and densification of dwellings. Who, for example, would know in the photo of Plein Street park that it is actually now a dormitory area for dozens of homeless people without jobs? Is it the city or history or harsh economic realities that has failed them? Of course one can argue that modernization and urbanization always left victims and the city of gold did not bring fabled wealth to all . </p> <p>Johannesburg Then and Now is a fascinating book. It’s important for cities to preserve their pasts , because “Roots” matter as much as “shoots”. This book can perhaps start a discussion about what ought to be appreciated and “saved”. The book will remind city planners to include heritage in their planning for a 21st century city. </p> <p><em>Johannnesburg Then and Now is published by Penguin.</em></p><img src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/105697/count.gif" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /> <p class="fine-print"><em><span>Kathy Munro is affiliated with Johannesburg Heritage Foundation vice chair and member of trustees and management committees </span></em></p> Johannesburg Then and Now is an important book about what ought to be appreciated and "saved". Kathy Munro, Honorary professor in the School of Architecture and Planning, University of the Witwatersrand Licensed as Creative Commons – attribution, no derivatives. tag:theconversation.com,2011:article/106561 2018-11-08T13:09:28Z 2018-11-08T13:09:28Z <figure><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/244366/original/file-20181107-74757-1nzaxpf.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=496&amp;fit=clip" /><figcaption><span class="caption"> </span> <span class="attribution"><a class="source" href="https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/ancient-egyptian-pyramid-against-blue-sky-7867366">Shutterstock</a></span></figcaption></figure><p>What began as an expedition to record the inscriptions of ancient Egyptian quarry workers produced a remarkable discovery about the Great Pyramid at Giza. My colleagues and I in the Anglo-French <a href="https://www.liverpool.ac.uk/archaeology-classics-and-egyptology/blog/2018/hatnub/">joint archaeological mission</a> to the ancient quarry site of Hatnub recently revealed the existence of a well-preserved haulage ramp dating to the time of the Great Pyramid, roughly 4,500 years ago.</p> <p>We think this could significantly change the theories about how the workers who built the monument were able to transport such large blocks of stone to great heights. It could even provide evidence that pulleys were invented hundreds of years earlier than previously documented.</p> <p>The rock-cut ramp is flanked by two flights of rock-cut stairs, into which are cut post holes that would originally have held wooden posts, now long perished. The pattern of post holes is well enough preserved that we can begin to reconstruct a pulley system that would have been used to lift large blocks of alabaster out of the open-cast quarry.</p> <figure class="align-center "> <img alt="" src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/244358/original/file-20181107-74751-cvb5yv.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip"> <figcaption> <span class="caption">The ancient ramp.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Roland Enmarch</span>, <span class="license">Author provided</span></span> </figcaption> </figure> <p>While some quarrymen would have been stationed above the blocks, hauling them upwards directly, others would have stood below the blocks, pulling downwards. Their ropes would have been lashed round the post holes and attached to the alabaster blocks, so that both groups were exerting force to pull the blocks up out of the quarry.</p> <p>This stone haulage system makes efficient use of the limited available space on the ramp, and it is reasonable to speculate that this same pulley technology would also have been used in the construction of the Great Pyramid. While pulley systems are well known from Greek civilisation in the <a href="https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/journal-of-hellenic-studies/article/lifting-in-early-greek-architecture/83AECC23A4CFF572B9B01B204832F222">first millennium BC</a>, the evidence from Hatnub pushes their use much further back in time, as it pre-dates the Greek evidence by some 2,000 years.</p> <figure class="align-right "> <img alt="" src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/244360/original/file-20181107-74766-1gsk6l0.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=237&amp;fit=clip"> <figcaption> <span class="caption">Steep incline.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Roland Enmarch</span>, <span class="license">Author provided</span></span> </figcaption> </figure> <p>The Hatnub haulage ramp is also <a href="https://www.jstor.org/stable/27801624?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents">much steeper</a> than most previous reconstructions of Egyptian haulage ramps. This is significant because one of the long-standing <a href="https://vdocuments.mx/on-pyramid-building-ii.html">objections to the theory</a> that the Great Pyramid was build using a single large ramp was the enormous volume of such a ramp (which would have had a greater volume than the Great Pyramid itself). With a much steeper gradient, the length and volume of such a haulage ramp would be much smaller, suggesting that this old theory needs to be re-evaluated more seriously.</p> <p>Many <a href="https://www.jstor.org/stable/25148110">other theories</a> have previously been proposed for how the Great Pyramid was constructed. For example, a ramp might have coiled around the sides of the pyramid. There are also many suggestions <a href="http://plaza.ufl.edu/pailos/R_Hussey%20MA%20Thesis%202005.pdf">involving levers</a> and similar mechanisms. (And, of course, there are always those lacking in imagination who cannot accept a human explanation, and instead groundlessly <a href="https://www.express.co.uk/news/weird/940347/Time-travel-speed-of-light-prof-aliens-built-pyramids-UFO/amp">evoke aliens</a> or Atlanteans). The merit of our recent discoveries is that they give us solid archaeological evidence we can use to test previous theories. </p> <h2>Ancient graffiti</h2> <p>These discoveries have emerged from the work of the University of Liverpool’s joint expedition with the French Institute for Oriental Archaeology in Cairo to Hatnub, which is some 20km from the Nile in the eastern desert of Middle Egypt. This quarry was the most prestigious ancient source of Egyptian alabaster, the milky white banded translucent stone that was used by the Egyptians to make vessels, statues, and architectural items. </p> <p>Our original aim was purely to record the <a href="https://www.ees.ac.uk/hatnub">surviving inscriptions left by quarrymen</a> 4,500 to 4,000 years ago. I began my career studying Egyptian poetry, but it turns out quarrymen could on occasion get quite poetic when writing their graffiti in the quarry. And so I now study these texts, written in a cursive version of the Egyptian script known as hieratic.</p> <p>We have so far identified more than 100 <a href="https://livrepository.liverpool.ac.uk/3003807/1/ICE%20XI%20Gourdon%20and%20Enmarch%20contribution.pdf">previously unrecorded texts</a>, offering a wealth of information about the organisation and logistics of the expeditions that came to the quarry to extract alabaster. They mention royal patronage, the hundreds (and, on occasion, thousands) of expedition personnel, the numbers of blocks mined, and the time taken to ferry them to their ultimate destinations.</p> <figure class="align-center "> <img alt="" src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/244348/original/file-20181107-74763-q2ko6y.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip"> <figcaption> <span class="caption">Stone inscriptions.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Roland Enmarch</span>, <span class="license">Author provided</span></span> </figcaption> </figure> <p>Some of the inscriptions take a more long-term point of view, and seek to convince future visitors to the quarry that their predecessors were good people, and deserve to be treated with respect (and offerings) after their death. In the 21st century, we are accustomed to talk of “posting” to “walls”. But at Hatnub we have an actual Bronze Age wall whose texts speak across the years, and create a solidarity among those who came to work in the quarry, generation after generation.</p> <p>More recently we have expanded our work (and our team) to record the wider archaeological features of the extremely well-preserved Bronze Age industrial landscape around the quarry. We are collecting and analysing the stone tools that litter the site, offering insights into the process of extracting blocks from the bedrock. Through experimental archaeology we are learning just how rapidly alabaster needed to be worked before it dried and hardened after extraction.</p> <p>We are also studying the ancient road connecting the quarry to the Nile Valley, which is flanked by hundreds of simple dry-stone shelters used by workmen for accommodation and stoneworking. We have simple dry-stone religious cairns and other structures of possible ritual function. The recent clearance of debris from the haulage ramp leading out of the quarry has been part of our study of this wider context. </p> <p>Our ultimate goal is to study all aspects of stone extraction and transport at Hatnub, integrating the rich textual and archaeological evidence to provide a more holistic understanding of quarrying in ancient Egypt. Few sites offer the range and diversity of evidence that survives at Hatnub. We have many years of work ahead of us; the potential for further exciting discoveries is huge.</p><img src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/106561/count.gif" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /> <p class="fine-print"><em><span>Dr. Roland Enmarch is a Senior Lecturer in Egyptology at the University of Liverpool. His work at Hatnub has been funded by the University of Liverpool, the British Academy, and the Egypt Exploration Society. He wishes to thank the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities for their support and permission to undertake this work. </span></em></p> Ancient quarry workers left messages carved on walls like a 4,500-year-old form of social media. Roland Enmarch, Senior Lecturer in Egyptology, University of Liverpool Licensed as Creative Commons – attribution, no derivatives. tag:theconversation.com,2011:article/106013 2018-11-08T12:42:16Z 2018-11-08T12:42:16Z <p>Today, <a href="https://www.nottingham.ac.uk/about/campuses/suttonboningtoncampus.aspx">Sutton Bonington campus</a>, part of the University of Nottingham, houses the schools of bioscience and veterinary medicine. But a century ago, during World War I, it was home to a prisoner of war (PoW) camp for German military personnel captured by the British on the Western front. And it was the site of <a href="http://blogs.nottingham.ac.uk/manuscripts/2015/08/24/putting-the-camp-into-campus/">a great escape</a>, when Germans managed to flee the camp on September 25, 1917. </p> <p>At the outbreak of war in 1914 the government took over buildings and sites around the country to convert into PoW camps. Sutton Bonington was a group of buildings completed in 1915 for the Midland Dairy Institute, an agricultural college, but it was taken over by the War Office before the institute’s staff and students could move in. Barbed wire fencing and some additional huts were added to the site and around 600 German military officers moved in.</p> <p>German officers who were made prisoners of war, by contrast with ordinary soldiers and sailors, were not allowed to work. Many became extremely bored, and sought to relieve the tedium by playing sports such as football and tennis, putting on concerts and plays, and planning how to escape. The preferred escape option was to tunnel under the barbed wire, and to disappear into the countryside beyond.</p> <hr> <p> <em> <strong> Read more: <a href="http://theconversation.com/german-prisoners-held-comedy-nights-in-british-war-camps-we-recreated-one-98192">German prisoners held comedy nights in British war camps – we recreated one</a> </strong> </em> </p> <hr> <p>Two attempts to tunnel out at Sutton Bonington failed, but the third succeeded, and at 1.30am on September 25, 1917, 22 men slipped, slithered and pulled their way along a tunnel, which was less than a metre high. They emerged into a field of turnips, and were hidden from the guards in the sentry posts by a ridge running through a nearby field. It helped their cause that the moon had set before they started, that the search lights were out because of concerns about Zeppelin raids, and that it was not raining.</p> <p>In terms of simple numbers, no other breakout was as successful. Usually only two or three men were involved with a tunnel project. The 22 from Sutton Bonington made it the largest breakout in Britain of World War I. </p> <h2>Best laid plans</h2> <p>The men planned to split into groups of four, preferably with an English speaker in each one, and to head for different ports along the east coast. They had maps and a compass with them, as well as food supplies which had arrived in the camp from Germany the previous day. The absconders hoped to stow away on board a vessel passing through the English channel, and return to Germany, re-join their regiment and re-engage with the war.</p> <p>The breakout was discovered at 4.30am when a policeman patrolling the village of Plumtree came upon Herman Genest walking alone but wearing a German officer’s uniform. He arrested him, took him to the nearest police station, and from there saw him returned to the camp at Sutton Bonington. Genest had been free for approximately three hours. </p> <p>His arrest led to a roll call at Sutton Bonington which confirmed that 22 men were missing. All police, special constables, and other groups concerned with law and order in the area were ordered from their beds to find the Germans.</p> <hr> <p><em><strong>Listen to The Anthill podcast on remembering World War I <a href="https://theconversation.com/anthill-31-world-war-i-remembered-podcast-106498">here</a>, or subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.</strong></em></p> <hr> <p>Within hours they were reeled in. My own research into the episode has uncovered that three of the German men, claiming to be seeking work in one of Nottingham’s munitions factories, were arrested at Trent Bridge. Two more, including the leader Otto Thelan, were arrested at Tollerton at 11am, and two others later in the day. Also arrested that day was Karl von Müller, a German naval hero from the early days of the war, who was found by children when he was blackberrying at Tollerton. </p> <p>The rest were picked up over the ensuing days with the last four German officers captured at Brimington Woods, near Chesterfield. A police sergeant found them on September, 30, “and immediately upon being challenged they admitted their identity”, according to a report a few days later in the Derby Daily Telegraph.</p> <h2>Getting out was unlikely</h2> <p>The experiences of these men were typical of other German prisoners who tried to escape during World War I. They were expected to wear their uniforms in camp, but this made them conspicuous if they managed to escape. They had to walk because catching trains was too problematic, and they normally travelled at night and hid in barns and hay stacks during the day. They carried food, but could struggle to find enough liquid, and if they reached the coast there was no guarantee of a passage across the Channel. </p> <p>Escape was a romantic ideal rather than a rational expectation. Gunter Pluschow, who escaped from another PoW camp at Donington Hall, in Leicestershire, was <a href="https://www.telegraph.co.uk/history/britain-at-war/8317792/Story-of-sole-German-PoW-to-escape-captivity-in-Britain-disclosed-after-94-years.html">the only German</a> to make it home in World War I, largely because he managed to adopt a disguise and stow away on board a cargo ship at Harwich. </p> <p>The Sutton Bonington camp was used for PoWs until February 1919 when those remaining were moved to Oswestry in Shropshire. The site was then cleared and cleaned, including the removal of the huts and barbed wire, and returned to the Midland Dairy Institute, which formally opened in October 1919. In 1946 the institute joined the University of Nottingham as the faculty of agriculture.</p><img src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/106013/count.gif" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /> <p class="fine-print"><em><span>John Beckett receives funding from the Arts and Humanities Research Council. </span></em></p> In September 1917, 22 German World War I prisoners held at a camp just outside Nottingham, managed to escape. John Beckett, Professor of English Regional History, University of Nottingham Licensed as Creative Commons – attribution, no derivatives. tag:theconversation.com,2011:article/106284 2018-11-08T12:36:39Z 2018-11-08T12:36:39Z <figure><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/243916/original/file-20181105-83635-19mni87.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=496&amp;fit=clip" /><figcaption><span class="caption">South Sudan&#39;s Riek Machar after peace talks with South Sudan President Salva Kiir in July 2018.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">EPA-EFE/Stringer</span></span></figcaption></figure><p>South Sudan’s opposition leader Riek Machar has returned to the country’s capital Juba <a href="https://www.reuters.com/article/us-southsudan-peaceconference/south-sudan-rebel-leader-machar-arrives-in-capital-first-time-since-2016-idUSKCN1N50LI?feedType=RSS&amp;">after more than two years in exile</a>. Machar was the country’s Vice President between July 2011 and July 2013. In this time, he sought leadership of the ruling party, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) which was headed by Salva Kiir. The power struggle between the two men <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/dec/23/south-sudan-state-that-fell-apart-in-a-week">turned violent in December 2013</a>. Machar fled and formed an armed rebellion. In August 2015, the government and Machar’s opposition <a href="https://igad.int/index.php?option=com_content&amp;view=article&amp;id=1193:agreement-on-the-resolution-of-the-conflict-in-the-republic-of-south-sudan&amp;catid=1:latest-news&amp;Itemid=125">reached an agreement</a> under which Machar once again became Vice President. This prompted his return in 2016. But months later fighting broke out again and he had to flee once more. Two years later Machar has once again made the journey to Juba. The Conversation Africa spoke to conflict resolution researcher Peter Run on what this means for the country’s governance and its long-suffering population. </p> <hr> <p><strong>How significant is Machar’s return for South Sudan’s peace process?</strong></p> <p>Very significant, for two main reasons. </p> <p>First, Machar’s decision to return sends a message to his supporters and the general public that he has faith in the revised peace agreement. He even arrived in Juba without his own military escort. The courage to take a step that makes him vulnerable gives the appearance that he has faith in the peace process. And appearances matter a great deal at the implementation stage of any peace agreement.</p> <p>Second, Machar’s presence in the country will open up the possibility for his opposition and the government to communicate, in the first instance, with each other, as well as people who have borne the brunt of the conflict that’s induced <a href="https://reliefweb.int/disaster/ce-2015-000183-ssd">famine</a> and caused thousands of people to flee areas affected by the <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/26/world/africa/south-sudan-civil-war-deaths.html">fighting</a>. </p> <p>Machar’s return is likely to solidify the permanent ceasefire that was signed as part of the peace agreement. Throughout the negotiations, successive <a href="https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/06/south-sudan-ceasefire-violated-hours-effect-180630110701463.html">ceasefires</a> have been violated by both sides. An effective ceasefire will increase access to conflict-affected areas and general security in most of the country. This in turn will make conditions safe for humanitarian aid to be delivered.</p> <p>Machar was <a href="http://www.theeastafrican.co.ke/news/ea/Riek-Machar-in-Juba-a-sign-of-peace/4552908-4835572-ynbmnqz/index.html">received</a> by President Salva Kiir. The two, along with the leaders of neighbouring countries, then celebrated the peace deal with the citizens of Juba. The agreement makes Machar a First Vice President. There will be four other vice presidential posts. The agreement also stipulates elaborate power sharing arrangements that satisfy both the government and the opposition. </p> <p>Peace in the country would break years of continual conflict. Since the <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/dec/23/south-sudan-state-that-fell-apart-in-a-week">outbreak of war in 2013</a>, trade route with Uganda, which links the country to the Kenyan port of Mombasa, was jeopardised. Food imports from Uganda were momentarily affected. Inflation soared and famine began to lurk. </p> <p>In addition, the conflict plunged the country into a <a href="https://www.worldbank.org/en/country/southsudan/overview">deep economic pit</a>. Fighting halted oil production, which is the country’s main source of income. It also stopped the development of infrastructure projects making it difficult for food and medicine to reach areas that are in need.</p> <p><strong>So what has changed in South Sudan since the most recent agreement?</strong></p> <p>Targeted sanctions from the US have been bemoaned by South Sudanese elites. US sanctions against firms and individuals have contributed to the economic troubles of South Sudan and look set to make things much worse if war continues. Peace is the best way out of economic crisis.</p> <p>The government has also reached a state of internal paranoia about more rebellion. Earlier this year, former army chief of staff, Paul Malong was <a href="http://www.theeastafrican.co.ke/news/South-Sudan-ex-army-chief-Malong-under-close-watch/2558-4182896-tphgv1/index.html">accused of plotting rebellion</a>. More recently, activist Peter Biar Ajak was <a href="https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/peace-efforts-south-sudan-arrests-activist-peter-biar-ajak-180814133528096.html">arrested</a>, allegedly for planning to meet with rebels. Whatever the truth, these preemptive detentions don’t look good. They inspire international criticism about human rights abuses. </p> <p>Calls for South Sudan to respect human rights have increased, especially from countries that are sponsoring the peace agreement.</p> <p><strong>What has yet to change?</strong></p> <p>Many observers have concluded that the main cause of the conflict is rivalry between Kiir and Machar which is often said to be ethnicised or tribalised. </p> <p>This view of the conflict has informed the way the peace agreement has been framed on successive occasions. But the problem is bigger and broader. The nature of the country’s institutional structures has been integral to the evolution of the ongoing conflict.</p> <p>Under the transitional constitution, the presidency is invested with unchecked powers. The president can appoint and sack almost any public official at both federal and state levels. This concentration of power has devalued other key leadership positions and was one of the main reasons that caused the SPLM to split.</p> <p>Machar’s participation in a transitional government of national unity is likely to facilitate an integration of opposition forces into the national army and reduce the risk of violating the permanent ceasefire. </p> <p>The changes to institutional arrangements envisaged under the peace agreement might help in the short term. But in the long run the changes might spell trouble. An executive government that grows in size – as the South Sudanese government is due to do after the peace agreement comes into force – without delivering any social services is a government that feeds on its population. These kinds of governments are often unresponsive to public sentiments. That, on its own, is a recipe for instability.</p><img src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/106284/count.gif" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /> <p class="fine-print"><em><span>Peter Run does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.</span></em></p> The return of South Sudan's opposition leader is likely to solidify the permanent ceasefire. Peter Run, PhD Candidate and Tutor, The University of Queensland Licensed as Creative Commons – attribution, no derivatives. tag:theconversation.com,2011:article/106188 2018-11-08T12:36:37Z 2018-11-08T12:36:37Z <figure><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/244060/original/file-20181106-74787-1rz607t.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=496&amp;fit=clip" /><figcaption><span class="caption">South Sudan can be stabilised, but great effort is needed from numerous players. </span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Shutterstock</span></span></figcaption></figure><p>South Sudan is <a href="http://fundforpeace.org/fsi/2018/04/24/fragile-states-index-2018-annual-report/">arguably the most fragile state in the world</a>. Lacking an institutional legacy <a href="https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-14092375">at its creation in 2011</a>, political, security, economic, and social indicators have all deteriorated amid civil conflict. As state legitimacy has eroded, the number of armed factions and tribal militias has increased rapidly, now exceeding 40 such groups.</p> <p>One consequence of the prolonged conflict is that South Sudan – <a href="http://worldpopulationreview.com/countries/south-sudan-population/">a nation of over 13 million people</a> – is now one of the main sources of refugees in the world. </p> <p>There are nearly <a href="https://reliefweb.int/report/south-sudan/south-sudan-situation-responding-needs-displaced-south-sudanese-and-refugees">2.5 million people seeking shelter in neighbouring countries and another 1.85 million internally displaced</a>. Nearly <a href="https://reliefweb.int/report/south-sudan/nearly-two-thirds-population-south-sudan-risk-rising-hunger">7 million people</a> (60% of the pre-crisis population) face famine and severe food insecurity. </p> <p>The economy has almost collapsed with <a href="http://pubdocs.worldbank.org/en/713731492188171377/mpo-ssd.pdf">annual inflation</a> fluctuating between 100% to 150%. Conflicts within and between communities have led to social fracturing and the erosion of social cohesion. The retreat into ethnic cocoons, which threatens national unity, is fuelled by conflict. But it’s also reinforced by the ruling elites failure to embrace diversity and to disperse power and resources from the centre.</p> <p>To reorient the country toward peace and unity, new life must be injected into the <a href="https://igad.int/index.php?option=com_content&amp;view=article&amp;id=1193:agreement-on-the-resolution-of-the-conflict-in-the-republic-of-south-sudan&amp;catid=1:latest-news&amp;Itemid=125">Agreement on the Resolution of Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan</a> signed in 2015. The signing of the revitalised peace agreement in September 2018 provides renewed hope for putting South Sudan on a trajectory of peace although <a href="https://igad.int/programs/115-south-sudan-office/1950-signed-revitalized-agreement-on-the-resolution-of-the-conflict-in-south-sudan">serious concerns remain</a> about its sustainability. This should be coupled with the completion of the deployment of the regional protection force. </p> <h2>Instability</h2> <p>South Sudan faces numerous and serious challenges contributing to instability. The most serious is the continuing insurgency in which no single party to the conflict can impose its will militarily. </p> <p>In the middle of this is a man made famine caused by the conflict and the collapse of food and economic production. The result is mass displacement within and outside South Sudan’s borders. Another consequence of conflict is human rights violations, including <a href="https://af.reuters.com/article/topNews/idAFKCN1G717L-OZATP">war crimes</a> and crimes against humanity. </p> <p>The disintegration of security institutions has rendered the state unable to protect lives and property. What’s worse is that it has itself become a key source of violence and instability. The erosion of the government’s presence in rural areas and its retreat to Juba, the capital city, has prompted some to argue that South Sudan has been reduced to a city-state. </p> <p>This retreat has created large ungoverned spaces in which insurgents, militia, and what remains of the military clash repeatedly. In the process, civilians have been preyed on and victimised at will primarily on an ethnic basis.</p> <p>Yet, this “national conflict” overlays a <a href="https://www.unenvironment.org/news-and-stories/press-release/resource-competition-and-climate-change-hampering-south-sudan-peace">cornucopia of preexisting conflicts</a>. These include conflicts over resources, including land, pasture, water, and cattle. Moreover, the <a href="http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/85696/1/Pendle_Dead%20just%20to%20drink%20from_2017.pdf">culture of violent revenge</a> has replaced the traditional compensation system and often results in children becoming legitimate targets of revenge.</p> <p>This devastating account of the challenges that confront stabilisation and peace efforts paint an undoubtedly bleak and dreary picture of what the future holds for the people of South Sudan. The bad news is that it could get worse if the recently signed peace agreement suffers the same fate of the 2015 peace agreement.</p> <h2>What getting worse looks like</h2> <p>There’s a real danger that South Sudan could revert to a stateless entity if the current peace agreement fails again. There would follow a period of massive death from famine and conflict. The vast ungoverned space would also pose a regional security vacuum. </p> <p>The country could disintegrate into permanent anarchy characterised by:</p> <ul> <li><p>Degeneration of the status quo into chaos, anarchy, lawlessness, or ochlocracy or mob rule. This would be accompanied by the continued fragmentation of political and ethnic groups. Survival would be entirely dependent on strength of arms. Weaker communities would be forced to flee or be eliminated.</p></li> <li><p>Inability to pay the salaries of state functionaries, judges, and other bodies of arbitration resulting in a total shutdown of government.</p></li> <li><p>Prospect of regional powers intervening militarily in favour of one or several factions increasing the intensity, scope, and longevity of violence. This would render war intractable.</p></li> <li><p>Disintegration of economic conditions making trade, capital transfers, and infrastructural maintenance unviable. As a result, militia and other security personnel would increase their extortionist activities.</p></li> </ul> <h2>The alternative</h2> <p>There are potential solutions. South Sudanese society could be stabilised. But this would require great effort on the part of numerous players.</p> <p>First, the guns need to be silenced. The 2018 revitalised peace agreement provides a framework and minimum conditions for this to happen. This agreement is a win for the government with opposition weakened, fractured and with strong sense of insecurity. But success rests on the emergence of a new breed of leaders to transform this agreement into an opportunity for creating space for civicness in place of violence. </p> <p>The deployment of the <a href="https://news.un.org/en/story/2017/08/562962-south-sudan-deployment-un-mandated-regional-protection-force-begins">4,000-strong Regional Protection Force</a> would be an integral part of this effort. The size of this force may need to be enlarged. This temporary outsourcing of security services can create an environment enabling other aspects of the stabilisation to proceed.</p> <p>Stabilisation efforts will also require strategic direction from the top. If the new power-sharing agreement under the joint leadership of Salva Kiir and Riek Machar fails again to facilitate transition to democracy, then the government would lose its legitimacy. Therefore, the installation of a broad-based, public-spirited political authority would be critical to foster stability and lay the groundwork for a democratic transition. </p> <p>Various options can be considered. These include:</p> <ul> <li><p>an <a href="https://www.cfr.org/report/ending-south-sudans-civil-war">international transitional administration</a>, </p></li> <li><p>an <a href="http://bostonreview.net/world/mahmood-mamdani-south-sudan-failed-transition">African Union-led transitional administration</a>, or</p></li> <li><p>a <a href="http://www.gurtong.net/ECM/Editorial/tabid/124/ctl/ArticleView/mid/519/articleId/19984/In-South-Sudan-Genocide-Looms.aspx">caretaker transitional administration</a> led by South Sudanese technocrats. </p></li> </ul> <p>These arrangements should be accompanied by a negotiated <a href="https://www.cfr.org/report/ending-south-sudans-civil-war">exit strategy</a> for the current political leaders. </p> <p>In view of capacity gaps and lack of trust in sections of the South Sudanese political class, a hybrid arrangement may be the preferred route. It would be composed of untainted South Sudanese technocrats and African Union-United Nations managing South Sudan through to a viable democratic transition.</p> <p>South Sudan could draw on the experiences of Liberia and Burundi in efforts to redesign and transform security sector institutions. In Liberia, <a href="https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/liberia/2016-06-16/why-un-cant-leave-liberia">foreign security forces</a> were invited to manage the security sector while local institutions were built up. In Burundi, <a href="https://africacenter.org/publication/lessons-from-burundis-security-sector-reform-process/">ethnic-based quotas</a> were enforced in the security forces.</p> <h2>Conclusions</h2> <p>With the prevalence of a strong sense of insecurity in South Sudan, the transition to democracy is more likely to be achieved through building institutional checks and balances. Strengthening professionalism, particularly in security sector, is also vital. Taking these steps could create a more conducive security environment for nurturing civicness in governance and stabilising South Sudan through rule of law. It would also require parallel efforts focusing on saving lives and restoring livelihoods. </p> <p>Hand in hand with prioritising professionalism in security sector there should be efforts aimed at forging new social contract to restore confidence in public institutions and nurture social cohesion.</p><img src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/106188/count.gif" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /> <p class="fine-print"><em><span>Luka Kuol received funding from Windle Trust in UK as education grant for my PhD, resident fellowship grant from Harvard Kennedy School, and master degree scholarship from Belgium government. I am affiliated with Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) as a global fellow, University of Juba as associate professor and Kush Inc. a not-for-profit group or NGO.</span></em></p> South Sudan faces numerous and serious challenges contributing to instability. But there are potential solutions. Luka Kuol, Professor of Practice for Security Studies , Africa Center for Strategic Studies Licensed as Creative Commons – attribution, no derivatives. tag:theconversation.com,2011:article/106577 2018-11-08T12:08:54Z 2018-11-08T12:08:54Z <figure><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/244449/original/file-20181107-74757-1iz4a7k.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=496&amp;fit=clip" /><figcaption><span class="caption">The village of New Quay, Ceredigion, claims to be a model for Thomas&#39;s fictional Llareggub.</span> <span class="attribution"><a class="source" href="https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/new-quay-wales-bw-1180419169?src=L1-76QGdStpocf6ALU6GgA-1-3">Mark Robert Paton/Shutterstock</a></span></figcaption></figure><p>In the 65 years since his early death in New York, Dylan Thomas’s position in the cultural hall of fame has become firmly established. The favoured poet of rock stars and actors, he inspired Bob Dylan’s choice of stage name and his image appeared on the cover of The Beatles’ album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. </p> <figure class="align-right "> <img alt="" src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/244447/original/file-20181107-74778-uftx2w.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=237&amp;fit=clip"> <figcaption> <span class="caption">Welsh poet Dylan Thomas.</span> <span class="attribution"><a class="source" href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Dylan_Thomas_photo.jpg">Wikimedia</a></span> </figcaption> </figure> <p>Despite this approval, the legacy of Thomas’s writing has endured an uneven fate and the darker, more shocking of his works remain unknown to many – despite them directly influencing some of his most popular pieces. </p> <p>Only a handful of Thomas’s creations are now readily familiar to the general public. <a href="https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/fern-hill">Fern Hill</a>, a pastoral poem of apparent childhood innocence from the later part of Thomas’s career, is an anthology favourite, beloved by many, including <a href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/entertainment-arts-24378320/prince-charles-reads-fern-hill-by-dylan-thomas">Prince Charles</a>. <a href="http://www.thepoetryexchange.co.uk/uncategorized/and-death-shall-have-no-dominion-by-dylan-thomas/">And Death Shall Have No Dominion</a> and <a href="https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/do-not-go-gentle-good-night">Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night</a> are regular choices for funeral services, and have featured in Hollywood movies, recited by <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lSOS8eSrvQY">George Clooney</a> (in 2002’s Solaris) and <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9JBdi8X9Pno">Michael Caine</a> (in 2014’s Interstellar). If you add the “play for voices” <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/books/2012/dec/24/darkness-under-milk-wood-dylan-thomas">Under Milk Wood</a> to the mix, then you have the literary black holes of Thomas’s career, threatening to overpower all his other work by their immense gravitational pull. </p> <h2>The beginnings of Llareggub</h2> <p>The amusing, poetic, and immensely popular Under Milk Wood is set in the village of Llareggub. The work has never been out of print since first publication in 1954 and it has been filmed at least four times. It would be difficult to estimate how often it has been performed on stage across the world, but think of a very big number and then double it. </p> <p>Less well-known, and even less well-read, is Thomas’s early gothic-grotesque fiction, in which Llareggub first appears. This original Llareggub is not a lightly comedic world populated with characters like Organ Morgan or Ocky Milkman, but a dark, evil place where witches practice dangerous magic and preachers commit incest. It is first named in the short story The Burning Baby, published in the surrealist journal Contemporary Poetry and Prose in 1936. </p> <p>Thomas took his inspiration from the bizarre true story of <a href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-south-east-wales-14624281">William Price</a>, a physician and druid who named his son Iesu Grist (Welsh for “Jesus Christ”). In 1884, Price was arrested in Glamorgan for attempting to cremate Iesu on the top of a hill, the child having died of natural causes at only five months old. Thomas transforms Price into the Reverend Rhys Rhys, who fathers a son and a daughter with a witch. As Rhys goes to meet his daughter for an incestuous encounter, he is spotted by his son. Aware of what is about to happen, the son remembers his own experience of the “terrors of the flesh” with a “sowfaced woman of Llareggub”. The result of Rhys’s taboo act is the death of his daughter in childbirth, which is swiftly followed by the demise of his (grand)child. The story ends with the baby’s cremation on a hill-top.</p> <h2>‘I am a writer of poems and stories’</h2> <p>Although Thomas is most famous as a poet, he saw himself equally as a writer of fiction. He declared his early poetry and stories were “<a href="https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=h26uCwAAQBAJ&amp;lpg=PR1&amp;pg=PA166#v=onepage&amp;q&amp;f=false">two sides of an unresolved argument</a>”, and was desperate to see his avant-garde stories turned into a book. The Burning Baby was so central to this group of work that it was selected as the title for a collection of his short stories, to be published by Europa Press in 1938. The other tales selected were similarly radical, which led the printing press to refuse the work in case a prosecution for obscenity followed. This came as quite a blow to Thomas, who <a href="https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=LXjhAwAAQBAJ&amp;lpg=PT497&amp;dq=these%20stories%20are%20more%20than%20free%20fantasy%3B%20they%20do%20mean%20a%20lot%20and%20are%20full%20of%20work%20dylan%20thomas&amp;pg=PT497#v=onepage&amp;q&amp;f=false">wrote to a friend</a> that “these stories are more than free fantasy; they do mean a lot and are full of work”. Some of the more acceptable stories, with a certain amount of revision, were included in <a href="https://www.discoverdylanthomas.com/works/discover-dylan-thomas-map-of-love">The Map of Love</a>, Thomas’s collection of prose and poetry published in 1939. </p> <p>It was not until 1971 that the early Llareggub resurfaced, when the “obscene” stories from the 1930s, including The Holy Six and The Horse’s Ha, finally appeared <a href="https://books.google.co.uk/books/about/Early_prose_writings.html?id=tpQIAQAAIAAJ">in book form</a>. In The Holy Six, the village is missing its rector. He is the guest/hostage of the diabolical Mr and Mrs Owen, as she prepares to give birth to some kind of anti-Christ child. </p> <p>Although not set in Llareggub, the book’s editor Walford Davies astutely identified The Horse’s Ha as a precursor to Under Milk Wood too. In this outlandish tale, an apocalyptic plague comes to the village of Cathmarw (Welsh for “dead cat”). Thomas’s description of the residents’ dreams early on in the story anticipates those that are dreamt by characters in the more famous Llareggub. The similarities between the two villages’ characters are intriguing as well, such as The Horse’s Ha butcher and Butcher Beynon in Under Milk Wood, who both walk the streets in their bloodied aprons. </p> <p>While these challenging stories will never displace Thomas’s greatest hits in the hearts of the public, they deserve to be read for their lyrical, hallucinatory qualities, and for the depth they give to the appreciation of Thomas’s work as a whole.</p><img src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/106577/count.gif" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /> <p class="fine-print"><em><span>Adrian Osbourne receives funding from Swansea University for his PhD studies</span></em></p> Dylan Thomas's early short stories were shocking, obscene, and a sign of things to come Adrian Osbourne, PhD Researcher, Swansea University Licensed as Creative Commons – attribution, no derivatives. tag:theconversation.com,2011:article/106487 2018-11-08T11:49:21Z 2018-11-08T11:49:21Z <figure><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/244145/original/file-20181106-74787-1n0dk78.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=496&amp;fit=clip" /><figcaption><span class="caption">Pakistani religious groups protest against a Supreme Court decision that acquitted Asia Bibi, who was accused of blasphemy, in Islamabad, Pakistan.</span> <span class="attribution"><a class="source" href="http://www.apimages.com/metadata/Index/Pakistan-Blasphemy/d2392ec56fe24adfb0aa2a72e7df1b82/12/0">AP Photo/B.K. Bangash</a></span></figcaption></figure><p>The citizens of Ireland voted recently, in a nationwide referendum, <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/oct/27/ireland-votes-to-oust-blasphemy-ban-from-constitution">to remove a clause</a> from their constitution that had made blasphemy a criminal offense. </p> <p>Ireland’s now-defunct Defamation Act of 2009 prohibited the <a href="http://www.irishstatutebook.ie/eli/2009/act/31/section/36/enacted/en/html#sec36">“publication or utterance of blasphemous matter.”</a> Just last year, in fact, Irish police <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/culture/2017/may/07/stephen-fry-investigated-by-irish-police-for-alleged-blasphemy">opened a brief investigation</a> into whether comedian Stephen Fry had broken the law when he described God as “capricious, mean-minded, stupid” and “an utter maniac” during a televised interview. The case was closed, however, as the police said they had been <a href="http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/stephen-fry-blasphemy-ireland-probe-investigation-dropped-police-gardai-not-enough-outrage-a7725116.html">“unable to find a substantial number of outraged people.”</a> </p> <p>The overturning of Ireland’s blasphemy law stands in stark contrast to <a href="https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-11-06/pakistan-blasphemy-lawyer-flees-to-the-netherlands/10468072">recent news</a> out of Pakistan – where the release from prison of Asia Bibi, a <a href="https://theconversation.com/what-pope-francis-choice-of-a-pakistani-cardinal-means-for-christians-of-the-country-97604">Christian</a> woman, accused of blasphemy, <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/video/2018/oct/31/asia-bibi-protests-erupt-in-pakistan-after-blasphemy-conviction-overturned-video">has led to widespread protests</a>. In Indonesia, too, many people <a href="https://www.hrw.org/news/2018/10/25/human-cost-indonesias-blasphemy-law">have been jailed</a> for <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/apr/20/ousted-jakarta-governor-basuki-tjahaja-purnama-jail-blasphemy-indonesia">speaking irreverently against Islam</a>. </p> <p>Despite its recent defeat, Ireland’s 2009 blasphemy law is an important reminder that laws against blasphemy have hardly been unique to the Muslim world – even in the 21st century. </p> <h2>Understanding the Muslim world</h2> <p>As of 2014, according to the Pew Research Center, nearly <a href="http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2016/07/29/which-countries-still-outlaw-apostasy-and-blasphemy/">one-fifth of European countries</a> and a third of countries in the Americas, <a href="https://web.archive.org/web/20150717041904/http:/laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts/C-46/page-155.html#h-89">notably Canada</a>, have laws against blasphemy.</p> <p>In my research for <a href="https://global.oup.com/academic/product/blasphemous-modernism-9780190627560?cc=us&amp;lang=en&amp;">a literary study of blasphemy</a>, I found that these laws may differ in many respects from their more well-known counterparts in Muslim nations, but they also share some common features with them.</p> <p>In particular, they’re all united in regarding blasphemy as a form of “injury” – even as they disagree about what, exactly, blasphemy injures.</p> <p>In the Muslim world, such injured parties are often a lot easier to find. Cultural anthropologist <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/28/us/saba-mahmood-dead.html">Saba Mahmood</a> said that many devout Muslims <a href="http://fordhampress.com/index.php/is-critique-secuar-paperback.html">perceive blasphemy</a> as an almost physical injury: an intolerable offense that hurts both God himself and the whole community of the faithful.</p> <p>For Mahmood that perception was brought powerfully home in 2005, when a Danish newspaper published cartoons depicting the prophet Muhammad. Interviewing a number of Muslims at the time, Mahmood was “struck,” <a href="http://fordhampress.com/index.php/is-critique-secuar-paperback.html">she wrote</a>, “by the sense of personal loss” they conveyed. People she interviewed were very clear on this point:</p> <blockquote> <p>“The idea that we should just get over this hurt makes me so mad.”</p> <p>“I would have felt less wounded if the object of ridicule were my own parents.”</p> </blockquote> <p>The intensity of this “hurt,” “wounding” and “ridicule” helps to explain how blasphemy can remain a <a href="http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/2017/02/pakistan-shrine-murder-blasphemy-170206103344830.html">capital offense</a> in a theocratic state like Pakistan. The punishment is tailored to the enormity of the perceived crime.</p> <h2>Blasphemy and Christians</h2> <p>That may sound like a foreign concept to secular ears. The reality, though, is that most Western blasphemy laws are rooted in a similar logic of religious offense. </p> <p>As historians like <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2006/09/01/obituaries/01levy.html">Leonard Levy</a> and <a href="https://www.brookes.ac.uk/hpc/staff-and-students/academic-staff/?uid=p0070929&amp;op=full">David Nash</a> have <a href="https://www.uncpress.org/book/9780807845158/blasphemy/">documented</a>, <a href="https://global.oup.com/academic/product/blasphemy-in-the-christian-world-9780199255160?cc=us&amp;lang=en&amp;">these laws</a> – dating, mostly, from the 1200s to the early 1800s – were designed to protect Christian beliefs and practices from the sort of “hurt” and “ridicule” that animates Islamic blasphemy laws today. But as the West became increasingly secular, religious injury gradually lost much of its power to provoke. By the mid-20th century, most Western blasphemy laws had become virtually dead letters.</p> <p>That’s certainly true of the U.S., where such laws remain <a href="http://www.bu.edu/ilj/files/2014/05/Aswad-US-and-Blaspemy.pdf">“on the books” in six states</a> but haven’t been invoked <a href="https://www.uncpress.org/book/9780807845158/blasphemy/">since at least the early 1970s</a>. They’re now widely held to be <a href="http://www.bu.edu/ilj/files/2014/05/Aswad-US-and-Blaspemy.pdf">nullified by the First Amendment.</a></p> <p>Yet looking beyond the American context, one will find that blasphemy laws are hardly obsolete throughout the West. Instead, they’re acquiring new uses for the 21st century.</p> <h2>Religious offense in a secular world</h2> <p>Consider the case of a Danish man who was <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/23/world/europe/denmark-quran-burning.html">charged with blasphemy</a>, in February 2017, for burning a Quran and for posting a video of the act online.</p> <p>In the past, Denmark’s blasphemy law had only ever been enforced to punish anti-Christian expression. (It was <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/23/world/europe/denmark-quran-burning.html">last used in 1946</a>.) Today it serves to highlight an ongoing trend: In an increasingly pluralist, multicultural West, blasphemy laws find fresh purpose in policing intolerance between religious communities. </p> <p>In other words, the real question for the 21st century has not been whether blasphemy counts as a crime. Instead it’s been about who, or what – God or the state, religion or pluralism – is the injured party. Instead of preventing injury to God, these laws now seek to prevent injury to the social fabric of avowedly secular states. </p> <p>That’s true not only of the West’s centuries-old blasphemy laws but also of more recent ones. Ireland’s Defamation Act, for instance, <a href="http://www.irishstatutebook.ie/eli/2009/act/31/section/36/enacted/en/html#sec36">targeted any person</a> who “utters matter that is grossly abusive or insulting in relation to matters held sacred by any religion, thereby causing outrage among a substantial number of the adherents of that religion.”</p> <p>With its emphasis on the “outrage” blasphemy may cause among “any religion,” the measure was clearly aimed less at protecting the sacred than at preventing intolerance among diverse religious groups.</p> <figure class="align-center "> <img alt="" src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/167387/original/file-20170501-17307-tfg2vf.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip"> <figcaption> <span class="caption">Illustrations of prophecy: particularly the evening and morning visions of Daniel, and the apocalyptical visions of John (1840).</span> <span class="attribution"><a class="source" href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/14577102519">Internet Archive Book Images. Image from page 371.</a></span> </figcaption> </figure> <p>The law itself caused outrage of a different sort, however. Advocacy organizations, such as <a href="http://atheist.ie/">Atheist Ireland</a>, mounted fierce opposition to the law and to the example it set internationally. In late 2009, for instance, Pakistan <a href="http://atheist.ie/2016/01/irish-blasphemy-laws-are-five-years-old-today/">borrowed the exact language</a> of the Irish law in its own proposed statement on blasphemy to the United Nations’ Human Rights Council. </p> <p>Thus, Atheist Ireland <a href="http://atheist.ie/campaigns/blasphemy-law/">warned</a> on its website that “Islamic States can now point to a modern pluralist Western State passing a new blasphemy law in the 21st century.” </p> <h2>Blasphemy in modernity</h2> <p>That warning resonates with the common Western view of blasphemy as an antiquated concept, a medieval throwback with no relevance to “modern,” “developed” societies. Atheist Ireland’s chairperson, Michael Nugent, drew on this tradition when he <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/oct/27/ireland-votes-to-oust-blasphemy-ban-from-constitution">touted the significance</a> of the recent referendum victory: </p> <blockquote> <p>“It means that we’ve got rid of a medieval crime from our constitution that should never have been there.” </p> </blockquote> <p>As Columbia University professor <a href="http://english.columbia.edu/people/profile/412">Gauri Viswanathan</a> puts it, <a href="http://press.princeton.edu/titles/6250.html">blasphemy is often used</a> “to separate cultures of modernity from those of premodernity.” Starting from the assumption that blasphemy can exist only in a backward society, critics point to blasphemy as evidence of the backwardness of entire religious cultures.</p> <p>I would argue, however, that this eurocentric view is growing increasingly difficult to sustain. If anything, blasphemy has in recent years enjoyed a resurgence in many corners of the supposedly secular West – including <a href="https://www.voanews.com/a/blasphemy-laws-reign-many-muslim-countries/3844962.html">prosecutions</a> in Austria, Finland, Germany, Greece, Switzerland and Turkey. Perhaps the fate of Ireland’s Defamation Act forecasts a broader reversal of that trend. </p> <p><em>This piece incorporates elements of an <a href="https://theconversation.com/blasphemy-isnt-just-a-problem-in-the-muslim-world-75026">earlier article published</a> on May 1, 2017.</em></p><img src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/106487/count.gif" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /> <p class="fine-print"><em><span>Steve Pinkerton does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.</span></em></p> There has been outrage over the release of a Christian woman accused of blasphemy in Pakistan. An expert explains how blasphemy laws are hardly obsolete throughout the West. Steve Pinkerton, Lecturer in English, Case Western Reserve University Licensed as Creative Commons – attribution, no derivatives. tag:theconversation.com,2011:article/106138 2018-11-08T11:48:02Z 2018-11-08T11:48:02Z <figure><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/243350/original/file-20181031-122150-ccipsn.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=496&amp;fit=clip" /><figcaption><span class="caption">Public Service Loan Forgiveness can be difficult to get if you don&#39;t know the rules.</span> <span class="attribution"><a class="source" href="https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/loan-forgiveness-debt-filling-application-concept-483319924?src=dffCb1tn9FWQSDr2Aiff5A-2-67">Rawpixel.com/www.shutterstock.com</a></span></figcaption></figure><p>The first group of borrowers who tried to get Public Service Loan Forgiveness – a <a href="https://www.congress.gov/bill/110th-congress/house-bill/2669/text">George W. Bush-era program</a> meant to provide relief to those who went into socially valuable but poorly paid public service jobs, such as teachers and social workers – mostly ran into a brick wall.</p> <p>Of the 28,000 public servants who applied for <a href="https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/about/data-center/student/loan-forgiveness/pslf-data">Public Service Loan Forgiveness</a> earlier this year, <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/27/business/student-loan-forgiveness.html">only 96 were approved</a>. Many were denied in large part due to government contractors being <a href="https://www.npr.org/2018/10/17/653853227/the-student-loan-whistleblower">less than helpful</a> when it came to telling borrowers about Public Service Loan Forgiveness. Some of these borrowers will end up getting part of their loans forgiven, but will have to make more payments than they expected.</p> <p>With Democrats having regained control of the U.S. House of Representatives in the November 2018 midterm elections, the Department of Education will likely face <a href="https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2018/11/07/democratic-house-will-trigger-tougher-oversight-devos?utm_source=Inside+Higher+Ed&amp;utm_campaign=337cf125c6-DNU_WO20181105_NEW_COPY_01&amp;utm_medium=email&amp;utm_term=0_1fcbc04421-337cf125c6-197753861&amp;mc_cid=337cf125c6&amp;mc_eid=dfc936a128">greater pressure</a> for providing better information to borrowers, as it was <a href="https://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-18-547">told to do</a> recently by the Government Accountability Office.</p> <p>The Public Service Loan Forgiveness program forgives loans for students who made 10 years of loan payments while they worked in public service jobs. Without this loan forgiveness plan, many of these borrowers would have been paying off their student loans for 20 to 25 years. </p> <p>Borrowers must follow a <a href="https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/repay-loans/forgiveness-cancellation/public-service">complex set of rules</a> in order to be eligible for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program. As a professor who <a href="https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=qrYZ8cwAAAAJ&amp;hl=en&amp;oi=ao">studies federal financial aid policies</a>, I explain these rules below so that up to <a href="https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/about/data-center/student/loan-forgiveness/pslf-data">1 million borrowers</a> who have expressed interest in the program can have a better shot at receiving forgiveness.</p> <h2>What counts as public service?</h2> <p>In general, working for a government agency – such as teaching in a public school or a nonprofit organization that is not partisan in nature – <a href="https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/repay-loans/forgiveness-cancellation/public-service#qualifying-employment">counts as public service for the purposes of the program</a>. For some types of jobs, this means that borrowers need to choose their employers carefully. Teaching at a for-profit school, even if the job is similar to teaching at a public school, would not qualify someone for Public Service Loan Forgiveness. Borrowers must also work at least 30 hours per week in order to qualify.</p> <h2>What types of loans and payment plans qualify?</h2> <p>Only Federal Direct Loans <a href="https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/repay-loans/forgiveness-cancellation/public-service#eligible-loans">automatically qualify for Public Service Loan Forgiveness</a>. Borrowers with other types of federal loans must consolidate their loans into a Direct Consolidation Loan before any payments count toward Public Service Loan Forgiveness. The failure to consolidate is perhaps the most common reason why borrowers who applied for forgiveness have been rejected, although Congress <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/17/your-money/public-service-loan-forgiveness.html">did provide US0 million</a> to help some borrowers who were in an ineligible loan program qualify for Public Service Loan Forgiveness.</p> <p>In order to receive Public Service Loan Forgiveness, borrowers must also be enrolled in an income-driven repayment plan, which ties payments to a percentage of a borrower’s income. The default repayment option is not income-driven and consists of 10 years of fixed monthly payments, but these fixed payments are much higher than income-driven payments. The bottom line is it’s not enough to just make 10 years of payments. You have to make those payments through an income-driven repayment plan to get Public Service Loan Forgiveness.</p> <p>Parent PLUS Loans and Direct Consolidation Loans have <a href="https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/repay-loans/forgiveness-cancellation/public-service/questions">fewer repayment plan options</a> than Direct Loans made to students, so borrowers must enroll in an approved income-driven repayment plan for that type of loan. Borrowers must make 120 months of payments, which do not need to be consecutive, while enrolled in the correct payment plan to receive forgiveness.</p> <h2>How can borrowers track their progress?</h2> <p>First of all, keep every piece of information possible regarding your student loan. Pay stubs, correspondence with student loan servicers and contact information for prior employers can all help support a borrower’s case for qualifying for Public Service Loan Forgiveness. Unfortunately, <a href="https://www.npr.org/2018/10/18/658447443/i-am-heartbroken-your-letters-about-public-service-loan-forgiveness">borrowers have had a hard time</a> getting accurate information from loan servicers and the Department of Education about how to qualify for Public Service Loan Forgiveness.</p> <p>The U.S. Government Accountability Office <a href="https://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-18-547">told the Department of Education</a> earlier this year to improve its communication with servicers and borrowers, so this process should – at least in theory – get better going forward.</p> <p>Borrowers should also fill out the Department of Education’s <a href="https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/sites/default/files/public-service-employment-certification-form.pdf">Employment Certification Form</a> each year, as the Department of Education will respond with information on the number of payments made that will qualify toward Public Service Loan Forgiveness. This form should also be filed with the Department of Education each time a borrower starts a new job to make sure that position also qualifies for loan forgiveness.</p> <h2>Can new borrowers still access Public Service Loan Forgiveness?</h2> <p>Yes. Although congressional Republicans <a href="https://edworkforce.house.gov/prosper/">proposed eliminating Public Service Loan Forgiveness for new borrowers</a>, the changes have not been approved by Congress. Current borrowers would not be affected under any of the current policy proposals. However, it would be a good idea for borrowers to fill out an Employment Certification Form as soon as possible just in case Congress changes its mind.</p> <h2>Are there other affordable payment options available?</h2> <p>Yes. The federal government <a href="https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/repay-loans/understand/plans/income-driven">offers a number of income-driven repayment options</a> that limit monthly payments to between 10 and 20 percent of “discretionary income.” The federal government determines “discretionary income” as anything you earn that is above 150 percent of the <a href="https://aspe.hhs.gov/poverty-guidelines">poverty line</a>, which would translate to an annual salary of about ,000 for a single adult. So if you earn ,000 a year, your monthly payments would be limited to somewhere between 0 and 00 per year, or about and 6 per month.</p> <p>These plans are not as generous as Public Service Loan Forgiveness because payments must be made for between 20 and 25 years – instead of 10 years under Public Service Loan Forgiveness. Also, any forgiven balance under income-driven repayment options is subject to income taxes, whereas balances forgiven through Public Service Loan Forgiveness are not taxed.</p><img src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/106138/count.gif" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /> <p class="fine-print"><em><span>Robert Kelchen does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.</span></em></p> A higher education professor explains the complex rules behind Public Service Loan Forgiveness, a program meant to provide debt relief to student loan borrowers who went into public service jobs. Robert Kelchen, Assistant Professor of Higher Education, Seton Hall University Licensed as Creative Commons – attribution, no derivatives. tag:theconversation.com,2011:article/87430 2018-11-08T11:47:42Z 2018-11-08T11:47:42Z <figure><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/216152/original/file-20180424-57604-11ljmz8.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=496&amp;fit=clip" /><figcaption><span class="caption">People with diabetes must monitor their glucose levels throughout the day, but doing so is a challenge. </span> <span class="attribution"><a class="source" href="https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/closeup-young-man-using-lancelet-on-144658325?src=1fkZCiImKJB88agEk94CYQ-1-26">sirtavelalot/Shutterstock.com</a></span></figcaption></figure><p>Diabetes is the seventh-leading cause of death in the U.S., with about <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/data/statistics/statistics-report.html">30.3 million adults</a> having the disease. <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/data/statistics/statistics-report.html">One in 4 adults</a> does not even know he or she has diabetes. </p> <p>In addition, <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/data/statistics/statistics-report.html">84.1 million adults</a> have prediabetes – a condition with elevated blood sugar levels – and 90 percent of them do not know they have it. The toll therefore is only likely to worsen. </p> <p>To avoid the life-threatening complications that arise from diabetes, it is extremely important for those with diabetes to <a href="http://www.diabetes.org/newsroom/press-releases/2017/american-diabetes-association-issues-scientific-statement-on-improving-cgm.html">keep their blood glucose levels</a> within a safe range. That has long been a difficult challenge, however, because it has been hard to reliably monitor glucose levels. </p> <p>I am a chemist, chemical and computer engineer who has developed and conducted research on a possible monitoring system that is self-powered. <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-017-01665-9">These glucose biosensors</a> convert the biochemical energy stored in blood glucose – in other words, from a person’s own body – to electrical power to run the device.</p> <h2>All about sugar metabolism</h2> <p><a href="http://www.diabetes.org/newsroom/press-releases/2017/american-diabetes-association-issues-scientific-statement-on-improving-cgm.html">Diabetes</a> affects how the body breaks down the food we eat into sugar. This sugar, or glucose, is released into our bloodstream. In response, the pancreas produces a hormone called insulin that enables the body’s cells to take sugar from the blood to use as energy. </p> <p>If you have diabetes, your body either doesn’t make enough insulin, as in Type 1 diabetes, or it can’t use the insulin it makes as well as it should to maintain healthy blood sugar metabolism. The latter is called Type 2 diabetes. When there isn’t enough insulin, or cells stop responding to insulin, too much sugar stays in your bloodstream. This can lead to serious complications.</p> <p>Keeping <a href="http://www.diabetesforecast.org/2015/mar-apr/meters-does-your-device-measure-up.html">sugar in the blood at a safe level</a> is a key strategy for managing diabetes and preventing progression of the disease. Studies have shown that people on intensive control programs who maintained their blood glucose levels close to normal have <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8366922">fewer complications </a> than people who routinely maintained higher blood sugar levels. About <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/statistics/preventive/fx_glucose.htm">63.6 percent of adults</a> perform daily self-monitoring of blood glucose.</p> <p>Maintaining blood glucose levels is a lot harder than it sounds, however. It requires that people pay a lot of attention to the amount of carbohydrates they consume and that they <a href="http://www.diabetesforecast.org/2015/mar-apr/meters-does-your-device-measure-up.html">test blood sugar by finger pricks</a> throughout the day. Many must also calculate insulin doses and inject themselves with insulin.</p> <p>Achieving the glucose control target is very difficult because of fluctuations from diet. Most people are unable to maintain tight <a href="http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/treatment-and-care/blood-glucose-control/tight-diabetes-control.html">control of their blood glucose</a>. </p> <p>And, the disease can progress even if a person is following doctor recommendations to maintain more normal blood glucose. In an effort to keep the levels of blood sugar low, some with diabetes unwittingly place themselves at increased risk for extremely low levels of blood glucose, or hypoglycemia, a life-threatening condition. This fluctuation from high to low levels becomes a barrier for people with diabetes, as they become discouraged. Studies have suggested that <a href="https://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1007/s001250051418.pdf">some people choose to stop maintaining</a> tight blood glucose control as a result. This further results in <a href="http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/complications/mental-health/diabetes-distress.html">inadequate blood glucose monitoring</a> and unhealthy choices. </p> <p>This situation is worsened because blood sampling is <a href="http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/treatment-and-care/blood-glucose-control/checking-your-blood-glucose.html">relatively infrequent</a> throughout the day – as few as four times – compared to the countless changes in blood glucose that occur throughout the day. Also, <a href="http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/treatment-and-care/blood-glucose-control/checking-your-blood-glucose.html">glucose levels</a> depend upon the medication program as well as individual circumstances. Blood sampling provides only a discrete blood glucose record, when a continuous blood glucose record provides the best information.</p> <h2>Devices can help, but they are not perfect</h2> <figure class="align-center "> <img alt="" src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/216557/original/file-20180426-175041-jg8kzn.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip"> <figcaption> <span class="caption">Glucose monitoring systems help many people with diabetes, but they are not yet widely used.</span> <span class="attribution"><a class="source" href="https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/male-diabetic-checking-blood-sugar-levels-208017532?src=1fkZCiImKJB88agEk94CYQ-1-10">Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock.com</a></span> </figcaption> </figure> <p><a href="http://www.diabetesresearchclinicalpractice.com/article/S0168-8227(06)00196-3/abstract">Studies have shown</a> that the use of devices that can continuously monitor glucose levels could be an answer. These continuous glucose monitoring systems take repeated measurements, typically every five minutes, of blood sugar and the biological fluid that surrounds cells. This enables close monitoring and timely correction of problematic blood glucose levels. Therefore, these systems <a href="http://www.diabetes.org/living-with-diabetes/treatment-and-care/blood-glucose-control/tight-diabetes-control.html">can reduce the risk</a> of diabetes-related complications.</p> <p>Those with diabetes can wear one of these monitors in several areas of their body, such as around the stomach, and the back of the arms and legs. But, so far, only a relatively <a href="https://doi.org/10.2337/cd17-0053">small number of people</a> are wearing them because these devices are not perfect. People still need to test for glucose levels four times a day using a finger prick test. In addition, the devices’ response time is slow, and they are often inaccurate. And, people typically must wear the monitoring device and reinsert it under the skin every seven days. In addition, in randomized trials, continuous monitoring has not been connected with <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22258980">improved quality of life</a>.</p> <p>Also, a recent clinical trial found that the continuous monitors were not able to detect hypoglycemia in order to decrease incidence of the few severe hypoglycemia events that occurred in patients with <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28118453">Type 1 diabetes</a>. </p> <h2>A future free of finger pricks?</h2> <figure class="align-center "> <img alt="" src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/216555/original/file-20180426-175069-17y68d8.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip"> <figcaption> <span class="caption">Many people with diabetes must prick their fingers several times a day to check their blood sugar levels.</span> <span class="attribution"><a class="source" href="https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/medicine-diabetes-glycemia-health-care-people-321934868?src=Z5cClptXUB9gX5UXdUxVsw-2-1">Syda Productions/Shutterstock.com</a></span> </figcaption> </figure> <p>One of the solutions could be fully self-powered implantable devices with no skin-attached components that are less obtrusive and that ease user burden. These self-powered continuous glucose monitoring systems are the next generation of glucose monitors that may reduce the hurdles to continuous glucose monitor use and adherence. They track blood sugar levels and deliver insulin if a person needs it. </p> <p>In our laboratory, we are developing a self-powered, implantable 4-millimeter by 4-millimeter device. It generates electrical power by converting the chemical energy stored in a person’s blood sugar and works similarly to a battery. It uses proteins attached to two wires that selectively consume glucose and oxygen in our blood to generate electrons that flows through the system. The flow of electrons results in current generation. The product of the current generated and the voltage difference between the two wires results in the production of electrical power. This electrical power is directly proportional to blood sugar concentration. And hence, it can be used to rapidly sense blood sugar with the added benefit of responding to abnormality in blood sugar levels. </p> <p>The important thing about our platform is it does not require batteries. The electrical power generated can be used to power an implantable insulin pump, thereby allowing us to simultaneously generate power to monitor glucose and deliver insulin to target sites in the body to improve patient health outcomes. </p> <p>The question is whether this idea of the “closed loop artificial pancreas” can be transformed into reality. The most important challenge is the engineering design required for the artificial pancreas to move the device from bench to clinic and into the body, whereby patients would benefit from a fully automated artificial pancreas that requires no user intervention.</p> <p>I’m optimistic that there may come a day when such a device can fully automate blood glucose control, provide continuous glucose monitoring and therapeutic delivery without any intervention from the patient. This will improve diabetes management and enable the creation of a world where human power could sustain human life.</p><img src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/87430/count.gif" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /> <p class="fine-print"><em><span>Gymama Slaughter receives funding from National Science Foundation.</span></em></p> A key part of preventing secondary medical problems from diabetes involves glucose monitoring. For National Diabetes Month, a researcher describes her work on a self-powered monitor. Gymama Slaughter, Executive Director, Frank Reidy Research Center for Bioelectrics, Old Dominion University Licensed as Creative Commons – attribution, no derivatives. tag:theconversation.com,2011:article/105906 2018-11-08T11:45:36Z 2018-11-08T11:45:36Z <figure><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/244539/original/file-20181108-74760-frb72l.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=496&amp;fit=clip" /><figcaption><span class="caption"> </span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Thomas Cristofoletti, Ruom | Copyright Royal Holloway University of London</span></span></figcaption></figure><p>Modern slavery is a <a href="https://theconversation.com/slavery-was-never-abolished-it-affects-millions-and-you-may-be-funding-it-105153">prominent term of late</a>. Thus far, efforts to deal with it have tended to focus on criminality <a href="https://www.antislaverycommissioner.co.uk/media/1190/a-typology-of-modern-slavery-offences.pdf">and the explicit imprisonment of people involved</a>. Yet tackling modern slavery in a meaningful sense isn’t merely a question of identifying culprits and freeing victims. To do so is merely to treat the symptoms of the issue. </p> <p>The conditions that shock us about modern slavery – the forced labour, the toiling children, the captivity – are not acts perpetrated by distant strangers in far off lands, but component parts of a system from which we in the West greatly benefit.</p> <p>Take Cambodia for instance. The recent <a href="https://www.projectbloodbricks.org/project/">Blood Bricks research project</a>, from which colleagues and I recently organised an exhibition of photographs, exposes debt-bonded labour in the brick making industry. These striking visual accounts of daily life in production show adults and children alike compelled to work in horrific conditions. But they also highlight modern slavery as a fundamentally structural issue, deeply enmeshed in systems of global commerce and growth. </p> <figure class="align-center "> <img alt="" src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/244540/original/file-20181108-74778-10zk3uj.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip"> <figcaption> <span class="caption">Blood bricks supply Phnom Penh’s construction industry.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Thomas Cristofoletti, Ruom | Copyright Royal Holloway University of London</span></span> </figcaption> </figure> <p>Despite their immediate impact, though, the reaction to these and other images tends in the longer run to be to compartmentalise; to place them in the box marked “out there”, too far from our everyday experience to relate to. After all, it isn’t long since Cambodia’s capital city Phnom Penh was a ghost town, forcibly evacuated by the Khmer Rouge of its two million inhabitants and left as an eerie wasteland: empty, silent and rapidly returning to nature.</p> <p>Yet today this is a city on the up. The once sleepy French colonial capital is in the midst of an internationally-funded building boom. Condominiums and office blocks are springing up like rice stalks: 30,000 building projects have been registered since 2000, and some 16,000 condo units <a href="https://content.knightfrank.com/research/1471/documents/en/cambodia-real-estate-highlights-h2-2017-5331.pdf.">will be added in 2018</a></p> <p>This much-celebrated urban turnaround is <a href="https://www.adb.org/sites/default/files/publication/30140/economics-wp331-cambodia-rapid-growth.pdf">rooted firmly in international investment</a> to which the UK is a significant contributor. British companies have a stake in many of these buildings and <a href="https://www.projectbloodbricks.org/publications/">help to construct many more</a>. Plus, the UK imports more than US billion worth of goods from Cambodia each year, making it Cambodia’s <a href="https://www.phnompenhpost.com/business/uk-maintain-cambodias-duty-free-access">largest European trade partner</a>. British consumers, like those in many other Western nations, therefore benefit from cheaply made goods made in countries to which they pay little attention.</p> <figure class="align-center "> <img alt="" src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/243497/original/file-20181101-83651-q874kq.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip"> <figcaption> <span class="caption">Phnom Penh: a city on the rise.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Thomas Cristofoletti, Ruom | Copyright Royal Holloway University of London</span>, <span class="license">Author provided</span></span> </figcaption> </figure> <h2>A vicious cycle</h2> <p>Scrutiny of such trading relationships has long been buried beneath good news stories of Cambodia’s urban growth. Yet the long shadows of Cambodia’s edifices of wealth and progress conceal a deeper darkness. They are built from bricks moulded by the country’s poorest inhabitants, bonded into labour in the kilns that fire the nation’s growth. This is a job that nobody chooses, but which chooses its participants through structural conditions. </p> <p>Those who enter the brick industry were the poorest farmers in some of the poorest regions in Cambodia. Their families have always had little of anything. In recent years their struggles have been rendered unsustainable by the twin forces of market and environment, which intensify vulnerability via a vicious cycle of risk, borrowing and debt.</p> <figure class="align-center "> <img alt="" src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/243498/original/file-20181101-83629-9ubbbs.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip"> <figcaption> <span class="caption">Veasna, a smallholder farmer in a village with high migration to brick kilns, sprays pesticide over his field.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Thomas Cristofoletti, Ruom | Copyright Royal Holloway University of London</span>, <span class="license">Author provided</span></span> </figcaption> </figure> <p>First of all, the unfettered advent of microfinance has resulted in a transition to farming on credit, leaving smallholders with huge debts in advance of their harvest, hoping a successful crop will clear them. </p> <p>Then, climate change lies in wait to tip the odds against them. While, in years past, the gamble made by smallholders may have paid off more times than not, today they are at the mercy of a further axis of misfortune. Cambodia’s changing rainfall patterns have ravaged smallholder agriculture in recent years, as the predictable rhythm of early and late season rains has given way to an <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2212094714000632">onslaught of floods and droughts</a>. Almost every year is now a story of coping rather than doing; of managing in whatever way possible the task of farming in an environment no longer suited to the age-old methods.</p> <p>Farmers try everything, from irrigation to new techniques to piling debt upon debt. Yet regardless of their struggles, the odds are stacked against smallholders and every year the army of landless – stripped of their ancestral plots by debt – grows larger. The result is a rootless, desperate and indebted workforce, highly vulnerable to exploitation, either in the brick kilns or elsewhere.</p> <figure class="align-center "> <img alt="" src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/243501/original/file-20181101-83657-fyswwa.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip"> <figcaption> <span class="caption">The odds are stacked against this workforce.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Thomas Cristofoletti, Ruom | Copyright Royal Holloway University of London</span>, <span class="license">Author provided</span></span> </figcaption> </figure> <p>And herein lies the problem. Modern slavery in the form of child labour and debt bondage is endemic in the Cambodian brick-making industry. It is not a question of a few kilns, but every kiln. Almost every brick on which the nation’s construction boom rests is fired in kilns where children labour and adults languish for years in bondage.</p> <p>Yet this is an issue that can’t be resolved at its endpoint alone. What has allowed debt bondage to become so prevalent and normalised is the way in which Cambodia’s poorest have been made to bear the burden of their changing climate without provision for their well-being, or protections against the vagaries of the market.</p> <p>Not only is the West overwhelmingly responsible for the emissions <a href="https://ourworldindata.org/co2-and-other-greenhouse-gas-emissions">driving changes to the global climate</a>, it is also increasingly the beneficiary of its impacts. As long as we allow ourselves to profit from international supply chains, while reneging responsibility for those who work in them, we shall remain complicit in the practices that purport to shock us around the world.</p><img src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/105906/count.gif" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /> <p class="fine-print"><em><span>As co-investigator of the Blood Bricks project, Laurie Parsons receives funding from the ESRC-DFID Development Frontiers Research Fund (grant number ES/R00238X/1).</span></em></p> The long shadows of Cambodia’s edifices of wealth and progress conceal a deeper darkness. Laurie Parsons, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Royal Holloway Licensed as Creative Commons – attribution, no derivatives. tag:theconversation.com,2011:article/105925 2018-11-08T11:42:54Z 2018-11-08T11:42:54Z <figure><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/242918/original/file-20181030-76390-1i4jept.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=496&amp;fit=clip" /><figcaption><span class="caption">A self-driving car heads into the woods.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Matthew Doude</span>, <a class="license" href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/4.0/">CC BY-ND</a></span></figcaption></figure><p>Autonomous vehicles can follow the general rules of American roads, recognizing traffic signals and lane markings, noticing crosswalks and other regular features of the streets. But they work only on well-marked roads that are carefully scanned and mapped in advance.</p> <p>Many paved roads, though, have faded paint, signs obscured behind trees and unusual intersections. In addition, <a href="https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/policyinformation/statistics/2016/hm12.cfm">1.4 million miles of U.S. roads</a> – one-third of the country’s public roadways – are unpaved, with no on-road signals like lane markings or stop-here lines. That doesn’t include miles of private roads, unpaved driveways or off-road trails.</p> <p>What’s a rule-following autonomous car to do when the rules are unclear or nonexistent? And what are its passengers to do when they discover their vehicle can’t get them where they’re going?</p> <h2>Accounting for the obscure</h2> <p>Most challenges in developing advanced technologies involve handling <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edge_case">infrequent or uncommon situations</a>, or events that require performance beyond a system’s normal capabilities. That’s definitely <a href="https://www.jstor.org/stable/26167741">true for autonomous vehicles</a>. Some on-road examples might be navigating construction zones, encountering a horse and buggy, or seeing graffiti that looks like a stop sign. Off-road, the possibilities include the full variety of the natural world, such as trees down over the road, flooding and large puddles – or even animals blocking the way.</p> <p>At Mississippi State University’s <a href="http://www.cavs.msstate.edu/">Center for Advanced Vehicular Systems</a>, we have taken up the challenge of training algorithms to respond to circumstances that almost never happen, are difficult to predict and are complex to create. We seek to put autonomous cars in the hardest possible scenario: driving in an area the car has no prior knowledge of, with no reliable infrastructure like road paint and traffic signs, and in an unknown environment where it’s just as likely to see a cactus as a polar bear.</p> <p>Our work combines virtual technology and the real world. We create advanced simulations of lifelike outdoor scenes, which we use to train <a href="https://theconversation.com/artificial-intelligence-will-make-you-smarter-101296">artificial intelligence algorithms</a> to take a camera feed and classify what it sees, labeling trees, sky, open paths and potential obstacles. Then we transfer those algorithms to a purpose-built all-wheel-drive test vehicle and send it out on our dedicated off-road test track, where we can see how our algorithms work and collect more data to feed into our simulations. </p> <h2>Starting virtual</h2> <p>We have <a href="https://doi.org/10.3390/electronics7090154">developed a simulator</a> that can create a wide range of realistic outdoor scenes for vehicles to navigate through. The system generates a range of landscapes of different climates, like forests and deserts, and can show how plants, shrubs and trees grow over time. It can also simulate weather changes, sunlight and moonlight, and the accurate locations of 9,000 stars. </p> <p>The system also simulates the readings of sensors commonly used in autonomous vehicles, such as <a href="https://doi.org/10.1109/ICSENS.2009.5398491">lidar and cameras</a>. Those virtual sensors collect data that feeds into <a href="https://www.cv-foundation.org/openaccess/content_iccv_2015/html/Noh_Learning_Deconvolution_Network_ICCV_2015_paper.html">neural networks</a> as valuable training data.</p> <figure class="align-center zoomable"> <a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/242922/original/file-20181030-76411-xdyjlr.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img alt="" src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/242922/original/file-20181030-76411-xdyjlr.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip"></a> <figcaption> <span class="caption">Simulated desert, meadow and forest environments generated by the Mississippi State University Autonomous Vehicle Simulator.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Chris Goodin, Mississippi State University</span>, <span class="license">Author provided</span></span> </figcaption> </figure> <h2>Building a test track</h2> <p>Simulations are only as good as their portrayals of the real world. Mississippi State University has purchased 50 acres of land on which we are developing a test track for off-road autonomous vehicles. The property is excellent for off-road testing, with unusually steep grades for our area of Mississippi – up to 60 percent inclines – and a very diverse population of plants. </p> <p>We have selected certain natural features of this land that we expect will be particularly challenging for self-driving vehicles, and replicated them exactly in our simulator. That allows us to directly compare results from the simulation and real-life attempts to navigate the actual land. Eventually, we’ll create similar real and virtual pairings of other types of landscapes to improve our vehicle’s capabilities.</p> <figure class="align-center zoomable"> <a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/242923/original/file-20181030-76396-o57h6s.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img alt="" src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/242923/original/file-20181030-76396-o57h6s.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip"></a> <figcaption> <span class="caption">A road washout, as seen in real life, left, and in simulation.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Chris Goodin, Mississippi State University</span>, <span class="license">Author provided</span></span> </figcaption> </figure> <h2>Collecting more data</h2> <p>We have also <a href="https://www.msstate.edu/newsroom/article/2018/10/msu-debuts-halo-project-supercar-las-vegas/">built a test vehicle</a>, called the Halo Project, which has an electric motor and sensors and computers that can navigate various off-road environments. The Halo Project car has additional sensors to collect detailed data about its actual surroundings, which can help us build virtual environments to run new tests in.</p> <figure class="align-center zoomable"> <a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/242924/original/file-20181030-76408-1nvma8m.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img alt="" src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/242924/original/file-20181030-76408-1nvma8m.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip"></a> <figcaption> <span class="caption">The Halo Project car can collect data about driving and navigating in rugged terrain.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Beth Newman Wynn, Mississippi State University</span>, <span class="license">Author provided</span></span> </figcaption> </figure> <p>Two of its lidar sensors, for example, are <a href="https://doi.org/10.1109/DISA.2018.8490620">mounted at intersecting angles</a> on the front of the car so their beams sweep across the approaching ground. Together, they can provide information on how rough or smooth the surface is, as well as capturing readings from grass and other plants and items on the ground.</p> <figure class="align-center zoomable"> <a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/242926/original/file-20181030-76413-1w1gfur.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img alt="" src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/242926/original/file-20181030-76413-1w1gfur.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip"></a> <figcaption> <span class="caption">Lidar beams intersect, scanning the ground in front of the vehicle.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Chris Goodin, Mississippi State University</span>, <span class="license">Author provided</span></span> </figcaption> </figure> <p>We’ve seen some exciting early results from our research. For example, we have shown promising preliminary results that machine learning algorithms trained on simulated environments can be useful in the real world. As with most autonomous vehicle research, there is still a <a href="https://www.facebook.com/CAVSmsstate/">long way to go</a>, but our hope is that the technologies we’re developing for extreme cases will also help make autonomous vehicles more functional on today’s roads.</p><img src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/105925/count.gif" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /> <p class="fine-print"><em><span>Matthew Doude receives funding from Mississippi State University, the Mississippi State University Foundation, the US Department of Energy, the US Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC), and the US Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC).</span></em></p><p class="fine-print"><em><span>Christopher Goodin receives funding from the US Army Engineer Tank Automotive Research, Development Engineering Center (TARDEC) and Mississippi State University.</span></em></p><p class="fine-print"><em><span>Daniel Carruth receives funding from the US Army Engineer Research and Development Center, US Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center, Mississippi Department of Transportation, and Mississippi State University. Dr. Carruth is a member of SAE International. </span></em></p> One-third of roads in the U.S. are unpaved; plenty more have faded or obscured road markings. Today's self-driving vehicles can't go on them, and will need new algorithms to handle those conditions. Matthew Doude, Associate Director, Center for Advanced Vehicular Systems; Ph.D. Student in Industrial and Systems Engineering, Mississippi State University Christopher Goodin, Assistant Research Professor, Center for Advanced Vehicular Systems, Mississippi State University Daniel Carruth, Assistant Research Professor and Associate Director for Human Factors and Advanced Vehicle System, Center for Advanced Vehicular Systems, Mississippi State University Licensed as Creative Commons – attribution, no derivatives. tag:theconversation.com,2011:article/106199 2018-11-08T11:42:41Z 2018-11-08T11:42:41Z <p>The 2018 midterm elections represented the first electoral referendum of the #MeToo era. </p> <p>More than <a href="http://cawp.rutgers.edu/potential-candidate-summary-2018">500 women</a> ran in primaries for federal office, a pipeline that ultimately led to a <a href="https://www.npr.org/2018/11/07/665019211/a-record-number-of-women-will-serve-in-congress-with-potentially-more-to-come">record</a> number of women set to take office.</p> <p>Even so, it also reveals how far women are from achieving parity in politics – they are projected to hold <a href="https://www.npr.org/2018/11/07/665019211/a-record-number-of-women-will-serve-in-congress-with-potentially-more-to-come">barely more than a fifth of seats</a> in the House and Senate. For comparison, that’s <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2018/05/11/middleeast/iraq-elections-gender-quota/index.html">less than in Iraq</a>, where the post-Saddam Hussein <a href="https://sites.hks.harvard.edu/fs/pnorris/Acrobat/Kellerman%20c06%20proofs.pdf">Constitution sets a 25 percent minimum</a> for female representation in the national assembly.</p> <p>In a way, it reflects the ways in which the #MeToo movement, for its many achievements, has thus far stalled at the federal level. After a <a href="https://www.refinery29.com/en-us/2018/10/212801/me-too-movement-history-timeline-year-weinstein">year of headlines</a> involving sexual misconduct in a variety of industries, Congress has not passed a single piece of legislation on harassment.</p> <p>With Democrats poised to take over the House but not the Senate, the question is now whether Congress will finally roll up its sleeves to tackle the root causes of the #MeToo crisis.</p> <h2>Crisis management</h2> <p>In many ways, the #MeToo crisis is similar to the financial collapse of 2008. </p> <p>That crisis was a <a href="https://www.stlouisfed.org/financial-crisis">slow-moving train wreck</a>, the accumulation of years of <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/film/2011/feb/17/inside-job-financial-crisis-bankers-verdicts">morally bankrupt conduct</a> that companies were willing to overlook in favor of what appeared to be larger business concerns. </p> <p>As I argued in a recent <a href="https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3170764">law review</a> article, the #MeToo crisis resulted from a similar slow buildup – companies failed to adequately respond to workplace harassment, permitting harassers to continue to rise up the ranks, while victims saw their careers sidelined.</p> <p>But in both cases, it was about more than just bad people making bad choices and covering their tracks. Business decisions, like board games, are constrained by the rules of the game. If players figure out a way to <a href="https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3016624">“hack” the rules</a> or decide there is more to be gained by breaking them, their behavior probably won’t change without changing the rules. </p> <p>Just as brokers peddling subprime loans were enabled by bad business practices and regulatory gaps, employer indifference to harassment was <a href="https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2518520">made possible</a> by <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/29/opinion/harassment-employees-laws-.html?module=inline">out-of-date</a> harassment laws that gave companies a <a href="https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2857238">free pass</a>. </p> <p>The #MeToo crisis also raises concerns about how companies handle discrimination complaints and whistleblowers – since internal processes for doing so are often the same as for harassment.</p> <h2>Diverging paths</h2> <p>In some ways, though, the #MeToo crisis succeeded where the response to the financial crisis fell short. </p> <p>Consumers who lost their homes to foreclosure never saw much in the way of justice – though <a href="https://money.cnn.com/2016/04/28/news/companies/bankers-prison/index.html">a few</a> bankers <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/04/magazine/only-one-top-banker-jail-financial-crisis.html">went to jail</a>, the biggest fish did not. #MeToo, by contrast, brought the chickens home to roost for <a href="https://www.ajc.com/news/world/from-weinstein-lauer-timeline-2017-sexual-harassment-scandals/qBKJmUSZRJqgOzeB9yN2JK/">countless men</a> with a track record of harassment. </p> <p>On the other hand, the financial crisis produced more political scrutiny into the systemic factors that caused the problem. Congress held <a href="https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CHRG-110hhrg55764/html/CHRG-110hhrg55764.htm">numerous hearings</a> on its root causes. Lawmakers also created a <a href="https://fcic.law.stanford.edu/about/history">commission</a>. These efforts culminated in the <a href="https://corpgov.law.harvard.edu/2010/07/07/summary-of-dodd-frank-financial-regulation-legislation/">Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act</a> and the creation of the <a href="https://www.consumerfinance.gov">Consumer Financial Protection Bureau</a>.</p> <p>By contrast, the #MeToo movement has produced no federal legislation and not even a hearing – unless you count the <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/national/wp/2018/09/27/kavanaugh-hearing-transcript/">Brett Kavanaugh confirmation</a>. Current <a href="https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/6406/text">legislative</a> <a href="https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/6406/text">proposals</a> are mostly focused on whether employers can keep harassment secret. </p> <p>It’s fair to regulate the cover-up. But eventually, we’ll need to tackle the crime.</p> <h2>Time for CSI Congress?</h2> <p><a href="https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2018/11/trump-subpoena/575086/">Political commentators</a> have noted that Democratic control over the House will mean more oversight of the executive branch – and in particular, investigation of ethics violations and the president’s own conduct and financial dealings.</p> <p>But committees can also hold hearings to <a href="https://www.congress.gov/congressional-hearings/about">gather information</a> from experts and inform legislation. As hard as it may be to imagine after the explosive Kavanaugh hearings, they need not be bitterly partisan. </p> <p>Here, Congress could take a cue from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which reconvened its task force on workplace harassment over the summer. I testified at the <a href="https://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/task_force/harassment/6-11-18.cfm">meeting</a> and was struck by the good faith efforts of all stakeholders – including businesses, a union representative and lawyers from both sides – to examine the issues in depth and assess different legislative proposals. </p> <p>The task force itself also represents an admirable model of bipartisan cooperation, co-led by <a href="https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/legal-and-compliance/employment-law/pages/lipnic-eeoc-acting-chair.aspx">Acting Chair Victoria Lipnic</a>, a Republican, and <a href="https://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/feldblum.cfm">Chai Feldblum</a>, an appointee of President Barack Obama. </p> <p>In separate press conferences after the election, both President Donald Trump and potential soon-to-be-speaker Nancy Pelosi expressed <a href="https://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2018/11/07/watch_live_president_trump_responds_to_2018_midterms.html">some hope</a> that they could <a href="https://www.cbsnews.com/news/nancy-pelosi-holds-news-conference-after-democrats-take-the-house-today-11-07-2018-live-updates/">work together</a> on certain issues – though #MeToo does not seem to be among them. </p> <p>Nevertheless, it’s worth at least trying to extract #MeToo from the culture wars and treat it like a serious policy issue. As odd as it sounds, we should treat it more like a financial crisis.</p><img src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/106199/count.gif" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /> <p class="fine-print"><em><span>Elizabeth C. Tippett does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.</span></em></p> After a year of headlines and ousted CEOs, Congress has yet to pass a single piece of legislation on sexual harassment – let alone hold a hearing. That will change come January. Elizabeth C. Tippett, Associate Professor, School of Law, University of Oregon Licensed as Creative Commons – attribution, no derivatives. tag:theconversation.com,2011:article/106505 2018-11-08T11:42:04Z 2018-11-08T11:42:04Z <figure><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/244454/original/file-20181107-74772-1lupvle.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=496&amp;fit=clip" /><figcaption><span class="caption">Nine months after Parkland, students like David Hogg have joined the youth voter wave.</span> <span class="attribution"><a class="source" href="http://www.apimages.com/metadata/Index/Election-2018-Parkland-Voters/d9284b7a5b094ea9a49a79f62638f123/1/0">AP Photo/John Raoux</a></span></figcaption></figure><p>Voter turnout among 18 to 29-year-olds in the 2018 midterm elections was <a href="https://civicyouth.org/young-people-dramatically-increase-their-turnout-31-percent-shape-2018-midterm-elections/">31 percent</a>, according to a preliminary estimate by <a href="https://civicyouth.org/about-circle/">The Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement</a> at Tufts University.</p> <p>That’s the highest youth turnout my colleagues and I have observed since we started collecting data in 1994. It’s also <a href="https://civicyouth.org/quick-facts/2018-election-center/">a major increase</a> from turnout in the 2014 midterms, which was 21 percent.</p> <p><iframe id="LkoUY" class="tc-infographic-datawrapper" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/LkoUY/3/" height="400px" width="100%" style="border: none" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p>Young people showed decisive support for liberal candidates and ideas. About 67 percent of young people supported Democratic House candidates, compared to just 32 percent for Republican candidates. This 35-point gap is even larger than their preference toward Democrats in 2008, when President Barack Obama was first elected. </p> <p><iframe id="Enq9U" class="tc-infographic-datawrapper" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/Enq9U/1/" height="400px" width="100%" style="border: none" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p>This preference no doubt helped some Democratic candidates in states such as Wisconsin, Montana and Nevada. </p> <p>For example, Senator Jon Tester of Montana won his reelection by a narrow margin of less than 6,000 votes. Young Montanans, by favoring him by 67 percent to 28 percent, gave him a relative vote advantage of over 25,000 votes. If young Montanans voted like older Montanans did on Tuesday, Montana would have a Republican Senator today. </p> <p>In many ways, this election cycle showed how different groups can create diverse paths to political engagement. It shows in the numbers, and importantly, in young people’s faces. Young people should be feeling powerful and hopeful that they can in fact exercise their votes to affect American politics. </p> <p>Going back 40 years, young voters have a reputation of <a href="https://civicyouth.org/quick-facts/youth-voting">not showing up to the polls</a>, especially in midterm elections. So how do we explain this year’s enthusiasm?</p> <p>This fall, my colleagues and I conducted two large-scale national surveys of 2,087 Americans ages 18 to 24 to document and understand what Gen Zs are thinking, feeling and doing when it comes to politics. </p> <p>Here’s what we found.</p> <h2>All signs pointed to wave of young people</h2> <p>The proportion of young people who joined protests and marches tripled since the fall of 2016, from <a href="http://civicyouth.org/circle-poll-so-much-for-slacktivism-as-youth-translate-online-engagement-to-offline-political-action/">5 percent to 15 percent</a>. Participation was especially high among young people who are <a href="https://civicyouth.org/circle-poll-youth-engagement-in-the-2018-election">registered as Democrats</a>. </p> <p>We also found that young people were <a href="https://civicyouth.org/circle-poll-youth-engagement-in-the-2018-election/">paying attention to politics</a> more than they had in 2016. In 2016, about 26 percent of young people said they were paying at least some attention to the November elections. This fall, the proportion of youth who reported that they were paying attention to the midterm races rose to 46 percent. </p> <p>It’s clear that more young people were actively engaged in politics this year than 2016. </p> <p>Why? </p> <h2>Cynicism and worry aren’t obstacles</h2> <p>To learn more about what might was motivating Generation Z to vote, we asked survey participants to rate their level of agreement with three statements. </p> <p>“I worry that older generations haven’t thought about young people’s future.” </p> <p>“I’m more cynical about politics than I was 2 years ago.” </p> <p>“The outcomes of the 2018 elections will make a significant impact to everyday issues involving the government in my community, such as schools and police.”</p> <p>In this year’s survey, we found that young people who felt cynical were far more likely to say they would vote. Other research has found that cynicism about politics can <a href="http://www.calstatela.edu/sites/default/files/users/u2276/opdycke_segura_vasquez_essay5.pdf">suppress or drive electoral engagement</a> depending on the contexts.</p> <p>Among young people who said “yes” to all three of those questions, more than half – 52 percent – said they were extremely likely to vote. Among young people who said “no” to all three of those questions, only 22 percent were extremely likely to vote.</p> <p>Our poll results suggest political involvement in this generation is far above the levels we usually see among youth, especially in midterm election cycles. </p> <p>In fact, almost 3 out of 4 youth – 72 percent – said they believe that dramatic change could occur in this country if people banded together. </p> <p>This year’s voting surge by young people did not happen overnight. Nor was it driven by a single issue like gun violence, though <a href="http://www.tampabay.com/florida-politics/buzz/2018/10/12/march-for-our-lives-to-embark-on-12-day-national-tour-ahead-of-election-day/">Parkland no doubt played</a> a very important role by activating many young people and voter engagement groups. </p> <p>Our research shows that Gen Z is aware of the challenges ahead and they are hopeful and actively involving themselves and friends in politics. Beyond almost any doubt, young people have gotten involved and felt ready to make a change in American politics – and so they did.</p> <p><em>This is an updated version of an article originally published on Oct. 19, 2018.</em></p><img src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/106505/count.gif" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /> <p class="fine-print"><em><span>Kei Kawashima-Ginsberg receives non-partisan research funding from Ford Foundation, Democracy Fund, and McCormick Foundation she is affiliated with Democracy Fund, TurboVote Challenge, Nonprofit VOTE and Generation Citizen. She is not paid by any of these organizations. </span></em></p> A survey shows the newest generation on the voting block is extremely cynical, and that drove record numbers of them out to vote. Kei Kawashima-Ginsberg, Director, Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement in the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Civic Life, Tufts University Licensed as Creative Commons – attribution, no derivatives. tag:theconversation.com,2011:article/106456 2018-11-08T10:57:27Z 2018-11-08T10:57:27Z <figure><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/244335/original/file-20181107-74769-siu6ia.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=496&amp;fit=clip" /><figcaption><span class="caption">Pearing back. </span> <span class="attribution"><a class="source" href="https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/wafers-blueberry-souffle-form-sofa-pear-1090136375?src=-8U2rruU226GdGSNo3n_0Q-3-57">13Smile</a></span></figcaption></figure><p>The longest living humans on Earth <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15489066">report</a> engaging in daily physical activity as the secret of their longevity. For those who don’t live such long lives, we know that spending too much time being inactive is a major cause of early death. Incredibly, <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22818936">it kills</a> more people in the world than tobacco smoking each year. </p> <p>Physical inactivity is now <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22818941">sometimes</a> referred to as a “pandemic” – a word normally used to describe diseases such as the plague, which can wipe out a large proportion of a population. At present, few of us are sufficiently active on a daily basis, though the world is slowly waking up to the problem. </p> <p>The World Health Organisation (WHO) <a href="https://www.who.int/nmh/events/ncd_action_plan/en/">has set</a> a target of reducing the proportion of inactive individuals by 10% by 2025. Yet according to data <a href="https://www.thelancet.com/journals/langlo/article/PIIS2214-109X(18)30357-7/fulltext">recently published</a> by the WHO in the Lancet Global Health Journal, we are far from likely to achieve this target. Roughly one third of the world population is still not engaging in enough daily physical activity to remain healthy. </p> <figure class="align-center zoomable"> <a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/244337/original/file-20181107-74787-11xmq7x.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img alt="" src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/244337/original/file-20181107-74787-11xmq7x.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip"></a> <figcaption> <span class="caption">Hup!</span> <span class="attribution"><a class="source" href="https://www.shutterstock.com/image-illustration/invisible-sad-fat-man-standing-create-1157367085?src=6qMPQMuAiYfPqYJmvRE0-A-1-83">radFX</a></span> </figcaption> </figure> <p>The situation seems worse in rich countries, where twice as many people reported being inactive compared to those in low or middle-income countries (with the exception of Latin America and the Caribbean, where people are also too inactive). In rich countries, the proportion of people who are inactive is also increasing over time. In most other areas of the world, it remains stable. </p> <p>The authors of the Lancet Global Health article called on affected governments to act urgently to address this problem, by prioritising policies that increase the amount of physical activity that people are doing each day. They referred to increasing cycling and walking infrastructure; improving road safety; and making it easier to take exercise in public spaces, parks and in the workplace. Yet before anyone starts implementing these ideas, there are a couple of major caveats that need taken into account. </p> <h2>Inactivity up close</h2> <p>At face value, the idea that physical inactivity is mainly a “first world” problem makes perfect sense. As countries become richer, people have more spending power and better access to technology. They therefore have less need to be active – whether at work, doing household chores or moving from A to B. Yet this overlooks certain realities about inactivity. In the “first world”, for instance, poorer people <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26385563">are more</a> at risk from physical inactivity and <a href="http://www.annclinlabsci.org/content/42/3/320.full">associated diseases</a> such as heart problems, diabetes and certain cancers. </p> <p>One <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0264275117312271">recent study</a> looked at physical activity in 24 European countries among 51,820 participants. It found that when economic development (GDP per capita) increased in a region, there were also increases in physical activity – but only among higher-educated adults. </p> <p>So even in Europe, one of the <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/inequality/datablog/2017/apr/26/inequality-index-where-are-the-worlds-most-unequal-countries">least unequal</a> parts of the world, there are social inequalities in physical activity which are actually increased by economic growth. We suspect that the increasing inactivity in wealthier countries <a href="https://www.thelancet.com/journals/langlo/article/PIIS2214-109X(18)30357-7/fulltext">reported by</a> the WHO is related to the fact that the gap between rich and poor in these countries <a href="https://wir2018.wid.world">is growing</a> steadily wider. </p> <figure class="align-right zoomable"> <a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/244336/original/file-20181107-74766-166ejkv.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img alt="" src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/244336/original/file-20181107-74766-166ejkv.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=237&amp;fit=clip"></a> <figcaption> <span class="caption">Girl down.</span> <span class="attribution"><a class="source" href="https://www.shutterstock.com/image-vector/tired-exhausted-sleepy-woman-bed-covering-1005621067?src=YyTI-rq-F5j0QuY0Otd7vA-1-14">Pewara Nicropithak</a></span> </figcaption> </figure> <p>Neither is wealth the only predictor of physical inactivity. Gender is also very relevant in this context, with women tending to be more inactive than men across the globe. Last year, a <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/nature23018">Nature article</a> suggested that gender inequality might even be driving the rising global obesity numbers. </p> <p>It’s not well understood why some groups of people are more inactive than others. It is possible to come up with a tentative answer based on the things that people most often report as being barriers to physical activity: money, time, culture and peer pressure. </p> <p>At any rate, policies which are blind to these inequalities risk exacerbating them. The problem with the recommendations in the Lancet Global Health paper is who benefits from them. In practice, we <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0169204616300846">know that</a> policies to encourage people to be more active tend to improve resources in wealthier areas. There’s a big risk of helping the wrong groups of people – further widening <a href="http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/78335/9789241505178_eng.pdf;jsessionid=04979F67390AC75ACC6998B3314D7FD3?sequence=1">the gap</a> in health equality in the process. </p> <p>Instead, we should be developing policies against inactivity that specifically target those most in need. The question of what this should look like is something that needs more consideration. But as a starting point, policies like improving access to green spaces and adding new cycling and walking infrastructure need to be aimed at those who need them most. </p> <p>It’s good news that the world’s inactivity problem is at last on the agenda. But unless we get the prescription right, we could be increasing health inequalities and shoring up an even bigger problem for generations to come.</p><img src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/106456/count.gif" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /> <p class="fine-print"><em><span>Sebastien Chastin receives funding from the Medical Research Council, Chief Scientist Office and the DataLab.</span></em></p><p class="fine-print"><em><span>Bart De Clercq receives funding from the Government of Flanders. </span></em></p><p class="fine-print"><em><span>Jelle Van Cauwenberg receives funding from the Research Foundation Flanders (FWO).</span></em></p> Recent findings say that sitting around is a 'first world' problem. In reality, it's a bit more complicated than that. Sebastien Chastin, Reader, Behaviour Dynamics, Glasgow Caledonian University Bart De Clercq, Economist, Ghent University Jelle Van Cauwenberg, Doctoral Researcher, Public Health, Ghent University Licensed as Creative Commons – attribution, no derivatives. tag:theconversation.com,2011:article/103633 2018-11-08T10:50:51Z 2018-11-08T10:50:51Z <figure><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/244310/original/file-20181107-74783-1b8ixhf.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=496&amp;fit=clip" /><figcaption><span class="caption">German citizens in Magdeburg the morning after Kristallnacht.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">German Federal Archive</span>, <a class="license" href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/4.0/">CC BY-ND</a></span></figcaption></figure><p>On the evening of November 9 1938 a Nazi pogrom raged across German and Austrian cities. Nazis branded the atrocity with a poetic term: <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/1988/11/09/us/the-road-to-extermination-kristallnacht-lessons-pondered-by-historians.html">Kristallnacht</a> or “Crystal Night”. In that branding, fiction took hold. In English it translates as “The Night of Broken Glass” but that also tames the horror. Yes, broken glass from Jewish shopfront windows littered the streets, but also hundreds of synagogues and Jewish businesses were burned to the ground while Jews were beaten, imprisoned and killed. </p> <p>Eight decades later, novelists are still trying to make sense of the pogrom – which was was designed to give the Nazi Party’s antisemitic agenda the legitimacy of public support.</p> <figure class="align-left zoomable"> <a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/244334/original/file-20181107-74760-id7ege.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img alt="" src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/244334/original/file-20181107-74760-id7ege.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=237&amp;fit=clip"></a> <figcaption> <span class="caption">Herschel Grynszpan just after his arrest on November 7 1938.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Bundesarchiv Bild</span></span> </figcaption> </figure> <p>Kristallnacht marked a new epoch. Earlier pogroms, such as in Russia, were popular riots – now, for the first time, an industrial nation turned the forces of the state against an ethnic group within its own borders. To get away with this, a state needs to control the narrative. In this instance, propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels was the key player. When a young Polish Jew named <a href="http://www.holocaustresearchproject.org/holoprelude/grynszpan.html">Herschel Grynszpan</a> entered the German Embassy in Paris and shot a German official, Goebbels saw the possibilities. He used news of the event to trigger Kristallnacht.</p> <h2>Fear and disbelief</h2> <p>The state that attacks its citizens also turns on its writers and free-thinkers – people who can construct a counter-narrative. The future Nobel Prize-winner Elias Canetti and his wife, the writer Veza, were such people. “We shall remember this November”, a Jewish character reflects in Veza Canetti’s novel <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/veza-canetti-the-tortoises/a-44559543">The Tortoises</a>, “when we are all being punished because a child went wrong and was led astray”. </p> <p>In the wake of Kristallnacht, the Canettis fled Vienna for Paris and by January 1939 had settled in exile in London, where, in a feverish three months, Veza wrote her novel (unpublished until this century). It provides a window on how intellectuals fought to understand the unimaginable as it unfolded. “The temples are burning!” says one character. “Can you believe that’s possible?” asks another. So why don’t they go and see for themselves? “People haven’t the heart. They feel like criminals. They believe the temple will strike them down if they watch and don’t do anything about it.” </p> <p><a href="https://www.publishersweekly.com/978-1-59643-119-5">Emil and Karl</a>, the first published novel to feature the pogrom, came out in New York in February 1940. <a href="http://www.oxfordbibliographies.com/view/document/obo-9780199840731/obo-9780199840731-0172.xml">Yankev Glatshteyn</a>, a Polish Jew and immigrant to the US, wrote it in Yiddish to alert American Jewish youngsters to the perils facing their European kindred. It features two friends, one a Jewish boy and the other the son of socialists. Forced to scrub streets clean with their hands after Kristallnacht, both boys learn they must flee their country if they are to stay alive.</p> <figure class="align-right zoomable"> <a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/244350/original/file-20181107-74757-14c77ww.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img alt="" src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/244350/original/file-20181107-74757-14c77ww.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=237&amp;fit=clip"></a> <figcaption> <span class="caption">Novelist Christa Wolf was 27 when she witnessed Kristallnacht.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Amazon</span></span> </figcaption> </figure> <p><a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/02/arts/christa-wolf-dies-at-82-wrote-of-the-germanys.html">Christa Wolf</a>, who forged life as a writer in what became East Germany, fed her memories of the night into Nelly, a character in her 1976 novel A Model Childhood. Nelly knew nothing of Jews, but in that pogrom she witnessed a burning synagogue. “It wouldn’t have taken much for Nelly to have succumbed to an improper emotion: compassion,” Wolf reflected. “But healthy German common sense built a barrier against it: fear.” These asides of bitter irony note the chilling reality of the time: those who showed sympathy for the plight of the Jews risked sharing their plight.</p> <h2>Still burning</h2> <p>So to the 21st century. With events such as Kristallnacht locked away in history, what use are we novelists? Novels unlock history. Governments maintain their hold on narratives that justify abuses of power – but novelists can invert that narrative order to reveal neglected viewpoints.</p> <p>In 2009, Laurent Binet novelised the life and death of Reinhard Heydrich (a man known as “Hitler’s Brain” – the German acronym which gives the book its title: <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/books/2012/may/16/hhhh-laurent-binet-review">HHhH</a>. Under orders from Goebbels, Heydrich set the November pogrom in motion. Binet maintains clinical control of the story, anchoring it to archived fact. Heydrich is shown measuring Kristallnacht’s efficiency, including the cost of all the broken glass.</p> <figure class="align-center "> <img alt="" src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/244332/original/file-20181107-74760-31g7ow.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip"> <figcaption> <span class="caption">The interior of Fasanenstrasse Synagogue, Berlin, which was burned on Kristallnacht.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Center for Jewish History, New York</span></span> </figcaption> </figure> <p>In Michele Zackheim’s <a href="https://www.theparisreview.org/blog/2014/03/28/facts-first-an-interview-with-michelle-zackheim/">Last Train to Paris </a> (2013) an American Jewish female journalist is dispatched into Nazi-controlled Berlin. Highlighted here is not the broken glass, but the fires. </p> <blockquote> <p>[With] no wind, clouds of smoke were perched on top of each burning building. In between the buildings, perversely, as if Mother Nature were laughing at our idiocy, we could see the stars.</p> </blockquote> <p>Those fires also burn a synagogue in a remote Austrian town in <a href="https://www.jilliancantor.com/">The Lost Letter</a>, the 2017 novel by Jillian Cantor – a novelist who focuses on 20th-century history. Cantor’s novel follows Zackheim’s in looking back over decades, seeking emotional engagement with distant tragedy.</p> <h2>All the toys in the world</h2> <p>Günter Grass was ten on Kristallnacht, the same age as Oskar in his novel <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/books/booksblog/2009/oct/07/the-tin-drum-gunter-grass">The Tin Drum</a> (1952). The Jewish toyshop that supplied Oskar’s drum was burned down that night and the shop owner killed himself – “he took along with him all the toys in the world”. A character akin to Grass appears in John Boyne’s 2018 novel <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/books/2018/aug/05/ladder-to-sky-john-boyne-review">A Ladder to the Sky</a>. In his teens <a href="http://www.spiegel.de/international/nobel-prize-author-guenter-grass-i-was-a-member-of-the-ss-a-431353.html">Grass joined the Waffen-SS</a> – a fact he kept secret until old age. </p> <figure class="align-center "> <img alt="" src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/244347/original/file-20181107-74787-ap5dtl.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip"> <figcaption> <span class="caption">A column of Jews being deported ‘for their own safety’, in November 1938, following the Kristallnacht pogrom.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Federal Archives</span>, <a class="license" href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/4.0/">CC BY-ND</a></span> </figcaption> </figure> <p>In Boyne’s book, the central character, a writer, took actions after Kristallnacht that destroyed a Jewish family. Like Grass he contained the story for decades. Of course, the true storyteller must share and not conceal stories. Wolf showed us how fear was a barrier against compassion. Boyne makes us face the consequences of overcoming such fear.</p> <p>Once people would have said Kristallnacht was unimaginable in a modern context. But they were wrong – <a href="https://www.politico.eu/article/the-roma-peoples-hungarian-hell/">do Roma feel safe</a> from the actions of the Hungarian State today? How safe are the Rohingya in Myanmar, Mexicans in the US, the Windrush generation in the UK? </p> <p>Through fiction we can enter history, encounter suffering and exercise compassion. We close our book, awakened. Fiction sharpens memory for when history repeats itself.</p><img src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/103633/count.gif" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /> <p class="fine-print"><em><span>Martin Goodman&#39;s new novel J SS Bach, which tackles the themes of the Holocaust and Music and stems from the historical events of 1938, comes out from Wrecking Ball Press in March 2019. </span></em></p> Eight decades on, the thought of the state encouraging people to attack groups of citizens is hard to believe. Here are some books that might help. Martin Goodman, Professor of Creative Writing, University of Hull Licensed as Creative Commons – attribution, no derivatives. tag:theconversation.com,2011:article/106558 2018-11-08T10:37:00Z 2018-11-08T10:37:00Z <figure><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/244524/original/file-20181108-74772-5karpy.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=496&amp;fit=clip" /><figcaption><span class="caption">Former South African Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas gave damning evidence at the State capture commission. </span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Sunday Times/Alan Skuy</span></span></figcaption></figure><p>South Africans might be forgiven for expecting two key commissions of inquiry currently underway to change the country. Some of these expectations, however, are unrealistic, as a look at the commissions’ functions and powers show. </p> <p>Some expectations might be met, but only if the commissions achieve public buy-in and generate enough pressure for change. </p> <p>Whether they can do that depends not only on their powers but also on how they are run.</p> <p>The probe into tax administration and governance at the <a href="http://www.thepresidency.gov.za/press-statements/president-ramaphosa-establishes-commission-inquiry-tax-administration-and">South African Revenue Service</a> – headed by Judge R Nugent – and has already led to the axing of Tom Moyane as head of the tax collection agency. The other inquiry – headed by Deputy Chief Justice Zondo – is looking into allegations that the South African state has been <a href="https://www.sastatecapture.org.za/">captured</a> by private business interests allied to former President Jacob Zuma. It’s expected to run for two years.</p> <p>Unrealistic expectations about what commissions can achieve comes from the fact that they’re often confused with courts of law. This isn’t surprising given that they seem to function like courts. For example, they’re often chaired by judges, affected parties are often represented by lawyers and witnesses take oaths to tell the truth. </p> <p>But they aren’t courts. And it’s important to understand the difference between the two when it comes to their functions, powers, and procedures.</p> <h2>The differences</h2> <p>A court judgment is binding and has direct legal effect on the parties involved. The court will determine that the accused goes to prison, for example, or that the defendant pays damages. The only way affected parties can escape the court order is by getting it overturned on appeal or review by a higher court. </p> <p>Commissions of inquiry, on the other hand, make non-binding recommendations to the person who set them up. (In the case of these two commissions, that’s President Cyril Ramaphosa.) Technically, all commissions do is offer the person who set them up advice. And they’re required to stick to the issues on which advice was requested. These are set out in the terms of reference which establish what questions the commission must answer, who will head it up and what its powers are. </p> <p>Commissions of inquiry are completely different from courts when it comes to procedures too. </p> <p>South Africans courts are adversarial. The judge sits as an outside observer while the two teams before her attempt to establish their version of events. Commissions of inquiry, on the other hand, are inquisitorial. This makes the commission the driver of the investigation itself. It seeks out the facts rather than waiting for two opposing parties to choose and present their evidence. In an inquisitorial process, the witnesses and their lawyers are <a href="https://www.politicsweb.co.za/documents/moyane-vs-sars-inquiry-judge-nugents-ruling">merely assisting</a> the commission’s investigation.</p> <p>An important consequence of the inquisitorial process is that a commission is not bound by the same rules of evidence as in a court. Thus evidence will never be “inadmissible”, as the commission enjoys discretion to consider all evidence that it finds relevant to its inquiry. </p> <h2>Why the confusion</h2> <p>With these important distinctions in mind, why have some commissions become “judicialised” and lawyer-driven? Why was the first day of the Zondo Commission taken <a href="https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/opinionista/2018-08-21-zondo-turns-the-first-day-of-state-capture-inquiry-into-a-massive-yawn-fest/">up with technicalities</a>? Why have postponements been built into the process so that “implicated parties” can study the allegations made against them?</p> <p>It’s not just to stave off the threat of a court challenge to any findings. Such a threat is, in fact, not much of a threat at all. Commissions of inquiry will not be subject to the (higher) standards of so-called “administrative” review unless their findings have a direct effect on the persons who might want to challenge them. But the direct effect would arise only when the president acts on the findings. </p> <p>The president wouldn’t be subject to administrative review in many of these cases either. Instead, the president and the commission will be subject to review for “rationality”. A rationality review asks only whether there is a rational connection between the conduct challenged before the court and a legitimate governmental objective. </p> <p>But commissions have another, equally crucial function – to educate the public and ensuring its buy-in for important processes of change and renewal.</p> <figure class="align-right "> <img alt="" src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/244356/original/file-20181107-74769-14otren.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=237&amp;fit=clip"> <figcaption> <span class="caption">Tom Moyane has been fired as South Africa’s tax boss.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Sunday Times/Masi Losi</span></span> </figcaption> </figure> <p>South Africans are already incensed at the loss of public funds to corruption, the devastation of public institutions at the hands of those who sought to profit by it, the damage this has caused to the country’s economy and the suffering it has inflicted on the poorest in society. </p> <p>But all South Africans have to be on board with the solution to the problem. This sort of buy-in is possible only if the facts are widely known, the relevant law is clear, and the commission investigating the problem is accessible to the public and is seen as legitimate.</p> <p>A commission can achieve this by having open hearings, broadcast publicly, public access (such as a <a href="https://www.sastatecapture.org.za/">website</a> and an enquiry desk) and a strong, independent commissioner. </p> <p>This is where the judicial procedure comes in. Although it can render the body <a href="http://rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/views-expressed/2014/10/national-inquiry-mmiw-yes-do-it-right">less accessible</a>, it does have the strong advantage of satisfying people’s innate sense of natural justice.</p> <p>And the decisions of the commissions will only have legitimacy in the eyes of the public if they are seen to <a href="https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2018-11-02-with-moyanes-dismissal-ramaphosas-slo-mo-revolution-claims-a-crucial-scalp/">treat people fairly</a>. That is one of the reasons why implicated people need enough time to respond to the allegations against them.</p> <h2>The value of the commissions</h2> <p>The Nugent Commission is due to report soon while the Zondo Commission may take two years. </p> <p>The long delay between the advent of a crisis and a commission’s report is often used as an argument that they’re being used to put matters <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2004/feb/03/law.politics">“on hold”</a>. </p> <p>However, commissions of inquiry don’t remove an issue from the public eye if they’re run openly and transparently. Instead, they draw the public in to the issue, educating and inviting engagement. The most important work of the Zondo and Nugent Commissions might be done before their formal function – the submission of their reports – is completed.</p><img src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/106558/count.gif" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /> <p class="fine-print"><em><span>Cathleen Powell does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.</span></em></p> Unrealistic expectations about what commissions can achieve comes from the fact that they're often confused with courts of law. Cathleen Powell, Associate Professor in Public Law, University of Cape Town Licensed as Creative Commons – attribution, no derivatives. tag:theconversation.com,2011:article/104356 2018-11-08T10:17:52Z 2018-11-08T10:17:52Z <figure><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/244307/original/file-20181107-74783-17v4lab.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=496&amp;fit=clip" /><figcaption><span class="caption">Cash tray.</span> <span class="attribution"><a class="source" href="https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/cigarette-british-pound-coins-ashtray-1070797088?src=b2IkyybXxLIEsSoLo6jZSg-1-0">Shutterstock</a></span></figcaption></figure><p>It is thought about <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/fast_facts/index.htm">two in three smokers</a> want to kick their deadly habit, and with good reason – the same proportion of them <a href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-31600118">are believed to die prematurely</a> because of smoking. Around the world, the habit <a href="http://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/tobacco">kills more than 6m</a> people a year. </p> <p>Yet quitting is notoriously difficult. Smoking tobacco is an <a href="https://www.nhs.uk/common-health-questions/lifestyle/why-is-smoking-addictive/">addictive habit</a> that the UK Royal College of Physicians <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/uk/2000/feb/08/smoking1">has likened</a> to heroin and cocaine addiction.</p> <p>But this doesn’t mean there is nothing we can do. The <a href="https://tobaccocontrol.bmj.com/content/20/3/235">evidence suggests</a> that increases in tobacco taxation are the most effective means of reducing tobacco use. These taxes, <a href="https://www.who.int/tobacco/mpower/raise_taxes/en/">recommended by the World Health Organization</a> and the <a href="https://www.worldbank.org/en/topic/tobacco">World Bank</a>, increase the price of tobacco products in shops, reducing their affordability – a situation which encourages smokers to quit, and deters others from starting in the first place. </p> <p>Taxation is particularly important because <a href="https://tobaccocontrol.bmj.com/content/23/e2/e89">lower income smokers are less likely to respond</a> to many other anti-tobacco campaigns and regulations intended to encourage quitting. Yet such smokers, including many young people, are the most sensitive to price increases. </p> <p>If addiction alone wasn’t enough, an added challenge for kicking the habit is that tobacco companies simply don’t want smokers to quit. They don’t want to lose their customers and the substantial profits they provide. </p> <p>It is therefore unsurprising that the tobacco industry has a <a href="http://www.who.int/tobacco/publications/industry/who_inquiry/en/">well-documented history</a> of undermining regulations that seek to control the use and sale of tobacco for the benefit of public health. For instance, the largest tobacco companies have continued to <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/mar/09/how-children-around-the-world-are-exposed-to-cigarette-advertising">market cigarettes to children across the globe </a> despite claiming not to do so, and often in places where <a href="https://www.takeapart.org/tiny-targets/">advertising is banned</a>. In the UK, where tobacco advertising is banned, Philip Morris International has effectively circumvented the ban with its <a href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-45932048">recently launched “stop smoking” campaign</a> which actually still promotes its tobacco products. </p> <h2>Paying a heavy price</h2> <p>While many of these tactics are obvious, some are harder to detect. Our <a href="https://doi.org/10.1136/tobaccocontrol-2017-053891">latest research</a> exposes another – how the tobacco industry’s pricing tactics in the UK minimise the intended public health impact of tobacco tax increases. </p> <p>Tobacco companies offer a range of cheaper products to help keep people smoking (and entice new consumers to start) while also offering a suite of higher priced brands to really cash in on those unable or unwilling to quit. </p> <p>When tobacco taxes are increased, they play with their pricing to undermine the impacts of the tax increases on smoking. They absorb the tax increases, particularly on the cheapest brands, delaying and staggering the intended tobacco price rises. In this way, price increases are applied gradually to their portfolio of brands to ensure smokers never face a sudden quit-inducing price jump when the government increases taxes.</p> <p>Further tactics adopted by the industry include <a href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-42864685">shrinkflation</a> – cutting the number of cigarettes in a pack to disguise price rises and prevent the cost of a packet of tobacco being tipped over certain psychological levels. </p> <p>Reducing the number of cigarettes in a pack from 20 to 19, 18 or even 17, while keeping the price stable means the higher cost per cigarette isn’t immediately obvious to most smokers – and the producer can make greater profits. </p> <p>The industry also used price marked packaging to limit the ability of retailers to increase their small mark-up on tobacco sales as a further way of keeping tobacco cheap. Sales of ten-cigarette packs increased and very small packs of loose tobacco (10g or less) were introduced. These small packets appeal to the most price sensitive smokers as they cost less to buy. </p> <p>Such tactics and small packs <a href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-39984887">have recently been banned in the UK</a> with the <a href="https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/packaging-of-tobacco-products">introduction of standardised packaging</a> (where tobacco has to be sold in a standardised format with drab packaging) but are still available elsewhere. The <a href="http://www.cityam.com/260508/budget-2017-new-cigarette-tax-based-pack-price-735">UK has also introduced</a> a new minimum excise tax which puts the average price at <a href="https://www.ons.gov.uk/economy/inflationandpriceindices/timeseries/czmp">over £10 for a packet of 20 cigarettes</a>) stopping the sale of ultra cheap mainstream tobacco products.</p> <figure> <iframe width="440" height="260" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/S5YMvW4Scbc?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe> </figure> <p>Ultimately the tobacco industry wouldn’t be manipulating price if it wasn’t so effective in ensuring young people take up smoking and in preventing existing smokers from quitting. So what more can we do?</p> <h2>Stubbing it out</h2> <p>Further restricting industry use of pricing tactics would be a good option. Companies could be limited in the number of brands and brands variants they sell to cut down on the range of prices on offer, and in the number of times they can change prices in order to remove their ability to smooth prices and directly undermine the public health benefits of tax increases. </p> <p>There is even a <a href="https://researchportal.bath.ac.uk/en/publications/the-case-for-ofsmoke-how-tobacco-price-regulation-is-needed-to-pr">case for directly regulating</a> tobacco prices in the same way that prices for public utility services, <a href="https://www.ofwat.gov.uk/">such as water</a> and electricity are often determined by independent government agencies. Public utilities are important services, which is why the government looks to protect the public from company pricing choices – but then tobacco is a very addictive and deadly product where price matters too.</p> <p>Meanwhile, Bloomberg Philanthropies <a href="https://www.bath.ac.uk/announcements/major-funding-announcement-puts-bath-tcrg-at-centre-of-new-20-million-global-industry-watchdog/">recently announced</a> a USm investment to create <a href="https://www.bloomberg.org/program/public-health/stoptobacco/">STOP</a> (Stopping Tobacco Organisations and Products) – a global tobacco industry watchdog to help expose more of these practices. The <a href="http://www.bath.ac.uk/health/research/tobacco-control/">Tobacco Control Research Group</a> at the University of Bath is one of three partners funded to lead this initiative. </p> <p>The public can cannot afford to let the industry operate under the radar when the product they make kills two out of three long-term users. This new partnership will serve as a necessary watchdog to expose their deadly tactics.</p><img src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/104356/count.gif" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /> <p class="fine-print"><em><span>J. Robert Branston receives funding from the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), Cancer Research UK, and Bloomberg Philanthropies.</span></em></p><p class="fine-print"><em><span>Anna Gilmore receives funding via the Tobacco Control Research Group from Bloomberg Philanthropies, Cancer Research UK and the National Institute of Health Research. The TCRG is part of the UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies (UKCTAS), a UK Centre for Public Health Excellence funded by the UK Clinical Research Collaboration, and the Tobacco Control Capacity Programme funded by Research Councils UK as part of the Global Challenges Research Fund.</span></em></p><p class="fine-print"><em><span>Rosemary Hiscock receives funding from Cancer Research UK and the National Institute for Health Research. She has previously received funding from the US National Institute for Health, EU FP7 and Horizon 2020, ESRC, UKCTCS and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. She is a member of and volunteers for the Liberal Democrat Party. </span></em></p> Economic tactics play a big part in a habit that's hard to break. J. Robert Branston, Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor) in Business Economics, University of Bath Anna Gilmore, Professor of Public Health/Director, Tobacco Control Research Group, University of Bath Rosemary Hiscock, Research Associate, University of Bath Licensed as Creative Commons – attribution, no derivatives. tag:theconversation.com,2011:article/106549 2018-11-08T10:05:36Z 2018-11-08T10:05:36Z <p>The UK’s withdrawal from the European Union has been a difficult process to navigate from the start. With time running out to secure a Brexit deal, the British immigration minister, Caroline Nokes, caused confusion in early November, when she appeared not to know the UK government’s plans for EU citizens in the event of a no-deal Brexit. </p> <p>Nokes was <a href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/uk-politics-46034742/yvette-cooper-is-confused-by-caroline-nokes-position-on-eu-migrants-after-brexit?intlink_from_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.bbc.co.uk%2Fnews%2Ftopics%2Fcp841kx3edyt%2Fcaroline-nokes&amp;link_location=live-reporting-map">asked by</a> Yvette Cooper, chair of the home affairs select committee, how employers were to distinguish between EU citizens who had just arrived, and EU citizens who had been in the UK for years in the event of a no-deal. Nokes replied that there was an expectation on employers to carry out <a href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-46035919">right-to-work checks rigorously</a>. Yet, this would allow employers to determine who was an EU citizen, and also therefore discriminate against them more easily. </p> <p>Nokes’s answer directly <a href="https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/brexit-immigration-no-deal-rights-eu-citizens-employers-home-office-caroline-nokes-a8611966.html">contradicted statements</a> issued by the Home Office to EU citizens’ rights campaign groups, which guaranteed that such checks would not be necessary. The confusion caused <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/nov/01/home-office-caroline-nokes-eu-checks-immigration-brexit-employers-right-to-work">panic among EU citizens living in the UK</a>. </p> <p>Sajid Javid, the home secretary, had to quickly <a href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-46070709">issue a statement reassuring EU citizens</a> that what Nokes said was, in fact, wrong. Instead, there would be a <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/nov/01/home-office-caroline-nokes-eu-checks-immigration-brexit-employers-right-to-work">“transition period”</a> before the right-to-work checks were required. Yet it’s not clear whether this is the <a href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-43456502">same transition period</a>, due to end in December 2020, that the EU and UK set out as part of the Brexit negotiations.</p> <p>So what do we really know about what a no-deal Brexit would mean for EU citizens?</p> <h2>Hinged on the withdrawal agreement</h2> <p>In March 2018, the EU and UK jointly published a <a href="https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/691366/20180319_DRAFT_WITHDRAWAL_AGREEMENT.pdf">draft withdrawal agreement</a>. The section on citizens’ rights, which was entirely agreed by both sides, suggested that a number of residency rights for EU citizens and their families, whether EU citizens or not, would be protected and continue <a href="https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=celex%3A32004L0038">in the same way</a> as they currently exist under EU law. This reciprocally covers EU citizens living in the UK and British citizens in the EU.</p> <p>However, a <a href="https://ec.europa.eu/commission/sites/beta-political/files/joint_report.pdf">joint report on the progress of negotiations</a> published in December 2017 had included a key caveat: “Nothing is agreed until everything is agreed”. This means that if no deal is reached between the EU and UK, the draft withdrawal agreement would not apply and anything previously agreed in it would not be binding.</p> <p>In this case, both EU citizens in the UK and British citizens in the EU would be left in a precarious position. In fact, <a href="http://www.senat.fr/leg/pjl18-009.html">a draft law</a> currently going through the French parliament would potentially allow visas to be imposed on British citizens visiting France if the UK exits without a deal. </p> <h2>Settled status</h2> <p>In July 2018, the Home Office published its <a href="https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/718237/EU_Settlement_Scheme_SOI_June_2018.pdf">guidance on a new EU citizen settlement scheme</a>, which all EU citizens in the UK will need to apply for to secure their right to stay in the UK after Brexit. It was advertised as a straightforward online process with <a href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-44553225">three “simple” steps</a> that applicants must satisfy in order to qualify. </p> <p>In September 2018, the pilot scheme was rolled out and an <a href="https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/752872/181031_PB1_Report_Final.pdf">initial report on the first stage</a> of testing declared it a success. However, this was contradicted by the fact that the Home Office itself admitted that the app created to manage the settlement applications <a href="https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2018/04/24/app-eu-citizens-get-uk-residency-brexit-wont-work-apple-phones/">will not work on Apple phones</a>. </p> <p>The system doesn’t rely on there being a deal reached, so it is possible that in the event of a no-deal, the UK government may still decide to continue with it. Still, there are outstanding issues <a href="https://theconversation.com/eu-citizens-what-settled-status-after-brexit-really-means-a-legal-expert-explains-97810">with the EU settlement scheme</a>, separate from those posed by a no-deal scenario, and some have expressed concern that it <a href="https://theconversation.com/the-eu-citizens-at-risk-of-failing-to-secure-settled-status-after-brexit-94947">will be difficult</a> for vulnerable EU citizens to apply. </p> <p>In September, the Prime Minister Theresa May <a href="https://rightsinfo.org/no-deal-rights/">guaranteed</a> that the rights of EU citizens in the UK will be protected in the event of a no-deal scenario. </p> <p>But will the EU settlement scheme be abandoned in such a scenario? If so, then those who are not able to claim permanent residency by living in the UK for five years consecutively before March 29 2019 could potentially find themselves at risk of deportation. This raises a whole host of <a href="https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2958113">human rights issues</a>, mostly related to interferences to private and family life.</p> <h2>Ending free movement</h2> <p>The biggest remaining question is when exactly free movement of EU citizens to the UK will end if no specific Brexit deal is reached. Under the terms of the transition period agreed with the EU, it would end after December 2020, meaning any EU citizen arriving to live in the UK until then would be guaranteed the right to stay. But when asked in parliament on November 5 what would happen in the event of a no-deal the government was <a href="https://goo.gl/UtbCcQ">unable to answer</a> whether free movement would immediately cease on March 30 2019.</p> <p>Though this important question has been asked many times since <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2018/oct/31/eu-prepares-for-a-no-deal-brexit-amid-lack-of-progress-on-talks">no-deal became more likely</a>, the closer March 29 2019 draws, the more urgently an answer is needed. </p> <p>Deal or no-deal, the UK government needs to clarify its position on EU citizens’ rights after Brexit as mistakes like those made by Nokes do nothing to reassure those affected, who need to make decisions about their futures.</p><img src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/106549/count.gif" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /> <p class="fine-print"><em><span>Adrienne Yong has consulted for The3Million campaign group. She receives funding from the City Pump Priming Scheme for a project entitled &#39;The Brexit effect on the private and family lives of EU citizens in the UK&#39;.</span></em></p> There is still a lot of uncertainty surrounding EU citizens' rights in the event of a no-deal Brexit. Adrienne Yong, Lecturer at The City Law School, City, University of London Licensed as Creative Commons – attribution, no derivatives. tag:theconversation.com,2011:article/106499 2018-11-08T09:27:39Z 2018-11-08T09:27:39Z <figure><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/244314/original/file-20181107-74751-1b46jhr.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=496&amp;fit=clip" /><figcaption><span class="caption"> </span> <span class="attribution"><a class="source" href="https://www.shutterstock.com/download/success?u=http%3A%2F%2Fdownload.shutterstock.com%2Fgatekeeper%2FW3siZSI6MTU0MTYxNzU4NiwiYyI6Il9waG90b19zZXNzaW9uX2lkIiwiZGMiOiJpZGxfMTE2MDk3NTkxNyIsImsiOiJwaG90by8xMTYwOTc1OTE3L21lZGl1bS5qcGciLCJtIjoxLCJkIjoic2h1dHRlcnN0b2NrLW1lZGlhIn0sIi9aVTBzTnVBNXBWRk1NZ0dNcHZ1ZmE1b1EyZyJd%2Fshutterstock_1160975917.jpg&amp;pi=33421636&amp;m=1160975917&amp;src=G3uMNhsP9xY18cosp3mzhg-1-0">Shutterstock</a></span></figcaption></figure><p>As China and the US <a href="https://edition.cnn.com/2018/11/07/asia/us-china-democrats-midterms-intl/index.html">continue their trade war</a>, what will be the outcome for Africa?</p> <p>This trade war should not be seen in isolation, and the new year will bring a changed world. <a href="https://theconversation.com/central-asia-is-the-new-economic-battleground-for-the-us-china-and-russia-98263">China and Russia will cooperate</a> as the new Silk Road begins to join Asia and Europe with a transport and communications corridor Marco Polo could not even imagine.</p> <p>Russia, Turkey and Iran – once unlikely partners in the Syrian conflict – will form a new Middle East axis to rival that of the US, Israel and Saudi Arabia, with none of the latent instabilities of the latter with its Zionist and Islamic ingredients.</p> <p>And the US, under Donald Trump, is likely to continue to view Africa – in all but name – as that collection of <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/jan/12/unkind-divisive-elitist-international-outcry-over-trumps-shithole-countries-remark">“shit hole”</a> countries derided by the American president at his undiplomatic, offensive and unthinking worst.</p> <p>After two years without one, the US will have a permanent assistant secretary of state for Africa – the highest State Department official with an Africa portfolio. <a href="https://foreignpolicy.com/2018/03/07/trump-eyes-veteran-retired-diplomat-for-africa-envoy-role-as-tillerson-tours-africa-diplomacy-state-department-tibor-nagy/">Tibor Nagy</a> also comes with a sound reputation as a seasoned diplomat. But will he have any clout on Capitol Hill? And can any official be effective in a State Department that Trump and the former US secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, have slashed and burned?</p> <h2>May’s dancing and used clothes</h2> <p>If the US doesn’t care much for Africa, neither really does the UK. Theresa May’s <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2018/aug/30/theresa-may-busts-out-dance-moves-africa-trip-guides-scouts-nairobi">dismal efforts at dancing</a> on her Africa tour summed up a clumsy view of what the continent needs.</p> <figure> <iframe width="440" height="260" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/hXLPjPdbwGE?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe> </figure> <p>The UK posture is summed up by the position of minister of state for Africa – now held by <a href="https://www.gov.uk/government/people/harriett-baldwin">Harriet Baldwin</a> – with responsibilities in two departments: the Foreign Office and International Development. These are two very different departments and the joint position is both a money-saving device – two ministers for the price of one – and also a confusion of policy as to how the UK should approach Africa. Indeed, perhaps the beleaguered minister’s main responsibility is the search for new UK trading partners in the wake of Brexit.</p> <p>The US approach to Africa, meanwhile, was summed up in measures launched between May and September 2018: basically, the suspension by the US of trade benefits to Rwanda because of Rwanda’s refusal to import <a href="https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-44252655">used clothes from the US</a>. In continental terms, the sums are tiny, but the principle enunciated by Rwandan president, <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2017/dec/29/vintage-clothing-ban-rwanda-sparks-trade-dispute-with-us-united-states-secondhand-garments">Paul Kagame</a>, was stark.</p> <p>If the volume of used clothes continues or increases, there can be no development of a Rwandan textile industry. In effect, the US is dumping textiles on Rwanda in much the same way as it once dumped grain so cheaply that African farmers could not even begin to compete and agriculture could not develop. For Trump, in his trade wars not just with China but with the world, blue collar manufacturing in his heartland is more important than good relations with anyone.</p> <figure class="align-center "> <img alt="" src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/244317/original/file-20181107-74775-17kmtlh.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip"> <figcaption> <span class="caption">Used clothes: why the US fell out with Rwanda.</span> <span class="attribution"><a class="source" href="https://www.shutterstock.com/download/success?u=http%3A%2F%2Fdownload.shutterstock.com%2Fgatekeeper%2FW3siZSI6MTU0MTYxNzU4NiwiYyI6Il9waG90b19zZXNzaW9uX2lkIiwiZGMiOiJpZGxfMTE2MDk3NTkxNyIsImsiOiJwaG90by8xMTYwOTc1OTE3L21lZGl1bS5qcGciLCJtIjoxLCJkIjoic2h1dHRlcnN0b2NrLW1lZGlhIn0sIi9aVTBzTnVBNXBWRk1NZ0dNcHZ1ZmE1b1EyZyJd%2Fshutterstock_1160975917.jpg&amp;pi=33421636&amp;m=1160975917&amp;src=G3uMNhsP9xY18cosp3mzhg-1-0">Shutterstock</a></span> </figcaption> </figure> <p>For a populist president this is dangerous but perhaps understandable. But who has drawn first blood in this US-China standoff? Chinese economic growth has slowed – but only to <a href="https://www.ft.com/content/fec681c8-d33c-11e8-a9f2-7574db66bcd5">6.5% a year</a>, a growth figure for which most other countries would die. The value of the Chinese yuan against the dollar seems destined to fall, but Chinese reserves, divided almost equally between foreign and domestic reserves, of about US- trillion, are more than enough to weather the storms to come. Added to what the Chinese did during the US financial crisis of 2007 to 2010 – buying up huge quantities of US toxic debt – China has far more leverage on the US economy than the US has on China’s.</p> <h2>China and Africa</h2> <p>For Africa, it means business with China remains a reality. This relationship has, however, taken on two key new characteristics of late. The first is that China expects its loans to be repaid. Indeed, there is no doubt that a new fiscal propriety is now expected by the Chinese.</p> <p>The second, very closely connected development – and one which curiously seems not to have been noticed or taken seriously by African leaders – is that increasingly Chinese liquidity is made available not on a state-to-state basis but on a Chinese bank to African state basis.</p> <p>They may be Chinese state banks – but a bank is a bank, and a bank needs to ensure its loans are repaid and its lending to assets ratio is robust. <a href="https://theconversation.com/us-sparks-new-development-race-with-china-but-can-it-win-105203">The use of banks</a> reflects a global Chinese turn to the creation of international and regional banks and funds, most noticeable in Asia-Pacific. The Chinese capitalise these regional funds to the tune of about US billion a time. But this means the beginning of a new Chinese global financial infrastructure that seems deliberately designed to rival the IMF and the World Bank. It’s not just a trade war but a war over who will control the world’s financial flows in the long term.</p> <p>For Africa, the choice is between growth with borrowed liquidity and growth without – the latter being very difficult. Investment doesn’t come out of nothing, so wise spending of borrowed liquidity is key. It cannot be just for standby budgetary support without product and without exportable value – which is why the <a href="https://theconversation.com/zimbabwe-troubled-nation-now-faces-tough-foreign-policy-choices-104279">Chinese turned down Zimbabwe’s</a> desperate pleas for exactly that.</p> <h2>An uncertain future</h2> <p>The future will embroil Africa even more in the trade wars to come. What Africa needs to do is to industrialise – to add manufacturing to its raw materials. The long awaited <a href="https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-07-06/billionaire-dangote-readies-refinery-for-2020-talks-with-vitol">oil refinery in Nigeria</a> is the perfect example. How a significant oil-producing country could spend so many years exporting crude and then reimporting it as a refined product beggars description. The revenue streams would have always been greater if it had been exported refined. </p> <p>Trouble is, African industry will create jobs in Africa but take away blue collar jobs elsewhere. And the West won’t like that. </p> <p>But what about China? African governments must navigate the attractions of the quick fix via Chinese loans, and seek the development of long term industrial capacity. Or will the next decade be another of missed opportunities – with trade wars steamrollering an Africa whose response will be to plunge again deeper and deeper into debt?</p><img src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/106499/count.gif" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /> <p class="fine-print"><em><span>Stephen Chan does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.</span></em></p> Times are changing – will the 2020s be Africa's decade? Stephen Chan, Professor of World Politics, SOAS, University of London Licensed as Creative Commons – attribution, no derivatives. tag:theconversation.com,2011:article/106272 2018-11-08T08:35:20Z 2018-11-08T08:35:20Z <figure><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/244232/original/file-20181107-74775-z1l60j.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=496&amp;fit=clip" /><figcaption><span class="caption">Medical students at the NIAS in Surabaya, 1930s. </span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Author&#39;s collection. </span></span></figcaption></figure><p>Historians of medicine investigate discoveries within medicine and their effects on everyday life, the organisation of medical care and the medical profession. </p> <p>During the past three decades, they have investigated the practice of medicine in the former European colonies. They have characterised colonial medicine as a tool of empire. </p> <p>For example, in the area ruled by the Dutch East Indies company, now Indonesia, Dutch physicians primarily cared for soldiers and colonial administrators. </p> <p>After the turn of the 20th century, they implemented health programs for indentured labourers on plantations. Healthy workers were more productive and could bring more profit. The colonial administration funded medical education – founding medical colleges in Batavia, now Jakarta, and Surabaya – because of their essential role in the colonial economy. </p> <p>As a historian of science I have been researching the history of medicine in the Dutch East Indies. And here I found links between medicine and decolonisation. </p> <figure class="align-right zoomable"> <a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/244230/original/file-20181107-74772-1kolwv2.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img alt="" src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/244230/original/file-20181107-74772-1kolwv2.jpeg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=237&amp;fit=clip"></a> <figcaption> <span class="caption">Merawat Bangsa: Sejarah Pergerakan Para Dokter Indonesia (Penerbit KOMPAS, 2018).</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Penerbit KOMPAS</span></span> </figcaption> </figure> <p>I published my research in a book, <a href="https://www.cambridge.org/core/books/nurturing-indonesia/8C16BB6264BD4156A540844EADBE2B5C">Nurturing Indonesia: Medicine and Decolonisation in the Dutch East Indies</a>. The Indonesian translation, <em>Merawat Bangsa: Sejarah Pergerakan Pada Dokter Indonesia</em>, will be launched on Monday at the National Library Jakarta. </p> <p>In the Dutch East Indies, medical students mobilised Indonesia’s youth to take part in political causes. They stimulated them to examine the conditions in the colonies. They also encouraged them to imagine how they could improve the lives of the indigenous inhabitants of the archipelago. </p> <h2>A beautiful endeavour</h2> <p>On May 20 1908, Sutomo and several other medical students at the Batavia Medical College (STOVIA), together with retired physician Wahidin Sudirohusodo, founded an association, named <em>Budi Utomo</em> (Beautiful Endeavour). This association advocated increased educational opportunities for young Javanese men and women. </p> <p>The founders of <em>Budi Utomo</em> were convinced modern science, technology and medicine could transform the lives of all Javanese. They believed education provided the key to a better world. Many students in Java were attracted to <em>Budi Utomo’s</em> ideals and became members. </p> <p>Indonesia commemorates <em>Budi Utomo’s</em> founding on May 20 every year as National Awakening Day. The building of the Batavia Medical College now houses the Museum of National Awakening (<em>Museum Kebangkitan Nasional</em>). </p> <figure class="align-center zoomable"> <a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/244233/original/file-20181107-74751-106iwrx.JPG?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img alt="" src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/244233/original/file-20181107-74751-106iwrx.JPG?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip"></a> <figcaption> <span class="caption">The Museum of National Awakening, Jakarta, in the former STOVIA building.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Photo by author.</span></span> </figcaption> </figure> <p>Indonesian President Joko Widodo started his 2014 presidential campaign at this museum, promising that a new national awakening would follow once he was elected. </p> <p>Several commentators say <em>Budi Utomo</em> was the first of many nationalist organisations in the Dutch East Indies and all the others followed in its wake. Ki Hadjar Dewantara and Wurjaningrat made this claim in<br> <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=File:20_Mei_Pelopor_17_Agustus.pdf&amp;page=12">a book</a> published by Indonesia’s Ministry of Information in 1950. This might be an exaggeration. Nevertheless, the founding of <em>Budi Utomo</em> indicates that Indonesian physicians and medical students were deeply interested in social and political issues after the turn of the 20th century. </p> <p>Indonesia’s medical students mobilised great numbers of students across the archipelago. They organised associations like Young Java, Young Sumatra, Young Minahasa in Sulawesi and Young Ambon in the Mollucas. These youth associations united to become Young Indonesia on October 28 1928, creating a national identity. </p> <p>Indonesian physicians were active in Indonesia’s nationalist movement. They were involved in associations and political parties. They also became authors and activists. </p> <p>From 1918 to 1942, for example, at least one physician was a member of the colonial parliament or <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volksraad_(Dutch_East_Indies)"><em>Volksraad</em></a>. At some points, there were three. Sutomo and Tjipto Mangunkusumo are the best-known examples of these physician-politicians. </p> <p>Both journalist Tirto Adi Suryo and Taman Siswa schools founder Ki Hadjar Dewantara (when he was still called R.M. Suwardi Suryaningrat) studied at the Batavia Medical College. </p> <h2>Very critical of colonialism</h2> <p>Indonesia’s physicians and medical students were motivated to participate in various social, cultural and political organisations because of their medical training. </p> <p>After discoveries about bacteria in the 1870s and parasites in the 1890s, new insights into the causes and transmission of disease held the promise that illness could be cured, lives saved and suffering alleviated. Indonesian physicians and medical students were motivated by a profound belief in the capacities of modern medical science. </p> <p>Through their education they also became associated with the cosmopolitan medical profession. Despite their training and medical skills, they faced discrimination in their professional work compared to their European-educated colleagues. </p> <p>Many became fiercely critical of the colonial administration and joined the Indonesian nationalist movement. Several came to advocate independence.</p> <p>Within the world of science and medicine, individuals are judged by educational attainment, abilities, skills and accomplishments. Race, ethnicity and one’s status as a colonial subject were, in principle, irrelevant. </p> <p>Because of their association with the cosmopolitan medical profession, Indonesian physicians were able to build connections beyond the boundaries of the Dutch East Indies. By reading the medical literature and conducting medical experiments, they participated in the international world of science. </p> <p>Some came to criticise the colonial administration for its limited commitment to health and medicine compared to other colonial powers. Others established hospitals and clinics or started to provide public health education. Several physicians joined city councils advocating the provision of sewers and fresh drinking water, which were known to reduce disease and promote health. </p> <p>When Indonesian physicians took up positions within the colonial health service, they quickly realised that the medical degrees from the colonial medical colleges in Batavia and Surabaya (the NIAS) were considered inferior to those granted by medial schools affiliated with European universities. Indonesian physicians often occupied the least desirable positions within the health service and received salaries much lower than that of their European colleagues. </p> <p>This caused quite a bit of resentment. Many became involved in politics when they recognised that their inferior professional status was related to the distinction between racial and ethnic groups in colonial society. </p> <p>The first generation of politically engaged Indonesian physicians wanted to improve conditions within the colonies while maintaining its fundamental structure. Many representatives of the second generation, however, came to advocate independence. </p> <p>These Indonesian physicians, who comprised the professional group closest to the Dutch in training, education and skills, embraced independence as the only way to improve the fate of the population. </p> <p>After independence, most of them became state employees and focused exclusively on the development of medical schools and a health infrastructure. Consequently, their political involvement receded. The political engagement of physicians during the colonial era, however, can still serve as an inspiring example for Indonesian physicians today.</p><img src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/106272/count.gif" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /> <p class="fine-print"><em><span>Hans Pols received funding from the Australian Research Council to conduct research on the history of medicine in the Dutch East Indies and Indonesia. </span></em></p> Indonesia’s physicians were active in the nationalist movement. They were involved in associations and political parties. They also became authors and activists. Hans Pols, Associate Professor, History and Philosophy of Science, University of Sydney Licensed as Creative Commons – attribution, no derivatives. tag:theconversation.com,2011:article/106489 2018-11-08T07:17:34Z 2018-11-08T07:17:34Z <figure><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/244280/original/file-20181107-74760-16nfmsn.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=496&amp;fit=clip" /><figcaption><span class="caption"> </span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">olavs via Shutterstock</span></span></figcaption></figure><p>The annual argument over the politics of the red poppy is well and truly underway. LBC host James O’Brien <a href="https://www.lbc.co.uk/radio/presenters/james-obrien/supporters-of-far-right-no-right-to-wear-poppies/">recently declared</a> that supporters of the far-right have no business wearing the national symbol of remembrance, because they had effectively “switched sides” and become one with the very forces against which Britain battled during the 20th century. </p> <p>From a very different stance, Manchester United footballer <a href="https://edition.cnn.com/2018/11/05/football/nemanja-matic-manchester-united-poppy-serbia-spt-intl/index.html">Nemanja Matic</a> has movingly explained why he won’t wear the poppy during this weekend’s derby match against City (it reminds him of the NATO bombing of the former Yugoslavia when he was growing up there in the 1990s). And elsewhere, pundits and the public are debating – <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/article/41942346/remembrance-poppy-controversies-and-how-to-wear-it">as they do every year</a> – the fine details of poppy etiquette: who should wear it, who can’t wear it, and for how long prior to Remembrance Sunday should it be worn.</p> <figure> <iframe width="440" height="260" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/qlugxFTDVvY?wmode=transparent&amp;start=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe> </figure> <p>Understanding the origins of the poppy certainly helps. It started in the immediate aftermath of World War I, when an American woman – <a href="http://www.greatwar.co.uk/people/moina-belle-michael.htm">Moina Michael</a> – persuaded the newly formed American Legion to adopt the poppy as its symbol of remembrance. She had been inspired by the famous poem of Canadian soldier John McCrae, <a href="http://www.greatwar.co.uk/poems/john-mccrae-in-flanders-fields.htm">In Flanders Fields</a>:</p> <blockquote> <p>In Flanders fields the poppies blow / Between the crosses, row on row…</p> </blockquote> <p>As historian <a href="https://www.bloomsbury.com/uk/the-silence-of-memory-9781859730010/">Adrian Gregory has explained</a>, her idea was for the artificial poppies to be manufactured in France “by women, for the benefit of children”. </p> <p>In 1921, the British Legion was invited to participate and in 1922 – in order to provide employment for disabled veterans – manufacturing of the poppy shifted from France to Britain and the beneficiaries of the sales were now ex-servicemen in need. The poppy appeal became firmly joined to the charitable fund for ex-servicemen established by the former commander-in-chief of the British forces, Earl Haig. </p> <p>So in many respects, the origins of the poppy appeal are praiseworthy. Yet “praiseworthy” is not the same as “non-political” – and the origins of the poppy appeal in Britain clearly lie with an organisation (the British Legion) and an individual (Earl Haig) who were committed to remembering the Great War in a certain way – as something horrific, yet necessary; terrible, yet worthy. </p> <p>As such, the origins of the poppy are linked to some of the other symbols of remembrance produced by “official” culture in the post-1918 period: <a href="https://www.iwm.org.uk/history/what-is-the-cenotaph">the Cenotaph</a>, the <a href="https://www.westminster-abbey.org/abbey-commemorations/commemorations/unknown-warrior/">grave of the Unknown Warrior</a> and the cemeteries established overseas by the Imperial War Graves Commission (now the <a href="https://www.cwgc.org/">Commonwealth War Graves Commission</a>). The sincere (and well meant) statements of the British Legion notwithstanding, there has always been a political side to the poppy.</p> <h2>Poppies for peace</h2> <p>It is this detail that led some to question the red poppy back in the 1930s. In 1933, as governments in Western Europe began to rearm and remilitarise, the <a href="https://www.archive.coop/collections/coop-womens-guild">Co-operative Women’s Guild</a> started selling white poppies as a symbol of peace. In 1936, the white poppy was then adopted by the <a href="http://archive.ppu.org.uk/whitepoppy/white_cwg.html">Peace Pledge Union (PPU)</a> which still sells it today. </p> <figure class="align-left "> <img alt="" src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/244293/original/file-20181107-74772-gd1kfd.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=237&amp;fit=clip"> <figcaption> <span class="caption">By the 1930s, white poppies became popular as a statement against increasing militarisation in Europe.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Peace Pledge Union</span></span> </figcaption> </figure> <p>For the PPU, conscious of the rising tensions of the 1930s, the red poppy had lost touch with its origins as a symbol of solemn remembrance. Instead, the PPU feared that the poppy had become compromised by resurgent nationalism. So they offered the white poppy in response – to wear it was to identify oneself as a pacifist willing to contest the increasingly disturbing political developments of the years before the outbreak of World War II.</p> <p>Bearing this long history in mind, what are the key issues as people discuss and decide whether or not to wear the red poppy this Armistice Day, the centennial of the war’s end?</p> <p>First, to buy and wear the red poppy is to associate oneself with almost a century of war remembrance, activity which has always been (and remains) “political”. No society can remember its wars and mourn its dead without ascribing to the violence and victims a meaning. The symbols a society duly produces – including the red poppy – carry an implicit “politics”. </p> <p>Understood in these terms, the fact that some choose on principle not to wear the red poppy is entirely reasonable. To do so is not to insult the dead, but to question the purpose for which it is often said they died. I am profoundly sympathetic to such a sentiment and will quite happily defend the right of people not to wear the British Legion’s poppy (or indeed the right to wear the white poppy in its stead). </p> <p>For those who declare that such acts are unacceptable, I would simply say that if – as countries such as Britain reasonably claim – the wars of the 20th century were fought to defend certain rights and liberties, then part of this was surely the right to dissent, the right to disagree, the right to follow the dictates of one’s conscience.</p> <p>But it is also for this very reason that I will wear the red poppy this Sunday. Not as a mindless expression of nationalist chauvinism, nor in order to simply make acceptable the carnage and catastrophe of 20th-century war. Rather, like so many others, I will wear the British Legion’s poppy as a means to remember those who, on behalf of this nation, have gone to war and not returned. </p> <figure class="align-center "> <img alt="" src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/244281/original/file-20181107-74775-7pho89.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip"> <figcaption> <span class="caption">All poppies are an act of remembrance.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Bas Meelker via Shutterstock</span></span> </figcaption> </figure> <p>I will wear it to remember all those – soldier and civilian, men and women, adults and children – who have been killed, maimed, traumatised by conflict. And I will wear it because to do so is precisely to engage in a political act while at the same time humbly acknowledging the absolute right of others to do differently, according to their conscience and their politics. </p> <p>Dissent and respectful disagreement are surely the hallmark of a healthy democracy and so, regardless of what you choose to do this Armistice, regardless of whether or not you choose to wear the red poppy, we must all be prepared to accept – and respect – that others might think and act differently.</p> <hr> <p><em>More <a href="https://theconversation.com/uk/topics/armistice-61797?utm_source=TCUK&amp;utm_medium=linkback&amp;utm_campaign=TCUKengagement&amp;utm_content=Armistice">Armistice</a> articles, written by academic experts:</em></p> <ul> <li><p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/world-war-i-the-birth-of-plastic-surgery-and-modern-anaesthesia-106191?utm_source=TCUK&amp;utm_medium=linkback&amp;utm_campaign=TCUKengagement&amp;utm_content=%20Armistice">World War I: the birth of plastic surgery and modern anaesthesia </a></em></p></li> <li><p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/they-shall-not-grow-old-world-war-i-film-a-masterpiece-of-skill-and-artistry-just-dont-call-it-a-documentary-105229?utm_source=TCUK&amp;utm_medium=linkback&amp;utm_campaign=TCUKengagement&amp;utm_content=%20Armistice">They Shall Not Grow Old: World War I film a masterpiece of skill and artistry – just don’t call it a documentary </a></em></p></li> <li><p><em><a href="https://theconversation.com/wilfred-owen-100-years-on-poet-gave-voice-to-a-generation-of-doomed-youth-106014?utm_source=TCUK&amp;utm_medium=linkback&amp;utm_campaign=TCUKengagement&amp;utm_content=%20Armistice">Wilfred Owen 100 years on: poet gave voice to a generation of doomed youth </a></em></p></li> </ul> <p><em>For more evidence-based articles by academics, subscribe to our <a href="https://confirmsubscription.com/h/r/6F561B763B91E4C7?utm_source=TCUK&amp;utm_medium=linkback&amp;utm_campaign=TCUKengagement&amp;utm_content=%20Armistice">newsletter</a>.</em></p><img src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/106489/count.gif" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /> <p class="fine-print"><em><span>Sam Edwards has previously received funding from the ESRC, the US-UK Fulbright Commission, and the US Army Military History Institute.</span></em></p> Red or white, it doesn't matter what colour your poppy is if you respect the sacrifice it represents. Sam Edwards, Senior Lecturer in History, Manchester Metropolitan University Licensed as Creative Commons – attribution, no derivatives. tag:theconversation.com,2011:article/105861 2018-11-08T03:27:13Z 2018-11-08T03:27:13Z <figure><img src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/244517/original/file-20181108-74772-cuqpk2.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;rect=62%2C8%2C5928%2C3979&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=496&amp;fit=clip" /><figcaption><span class="caption">Globalised fishing can leave workers vulnerable to exploitation.</span> <span class="attribution"><span class="source">Shutterstock.com</span></span></figcaption></figure><p>How would you feel if you knew that slavery had helped provide the fish on your plate? Our <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-018-07118-9">new research</a> reveals that imported seafood raises the risk of Australians consuming fish caught or processed by workers under slave labour conditions by more than eight times, and identifies some of the warning signs to look out for on a global basis.</p> <p>Our results are consistent with <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2015/07/24/world/the-outlaw-ocean.html">increasingly widespread reports</a> of modern slavery in the oceans, as highlighted by the recent <a href="https://www.globalslaveryindex.org/">Global Slavery Index</a>. </p> <p><a href="https://ejfoundation.org/news-media/2018/ending-slavery-at-sea">Recent cases</a> record the abuse of Indonesian, Cambodian, and Myanmar nationals subjected to forced labour on vessels from countries including <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/law/2010/sep/30/modern-day-slavery-fishing-europe">South Korea</a>, <a href="https://thediplomat.com/2018/05/the-dirty-secret-of-taiwans-fishing-industry/">Taiwan</a>, and <a href="https://www.smh.com.au/world/asia/people-enslaved-beaten-killed-by-rogues-in-thai-fishing-industry-20180124-p4yytc.html">Thailand</a>, in waters as far afield as <a href="https://www.maritime-executive.com/article/new-zealand-moves-to-compensate-slave-like-fishermen">New Zealand</a>, <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/law/2010/sep/30/modern-day-slavery-fishing-europe">Western Africa</a>, <a href="https://apnews.com/39ae05f117c64a929f0f8fab091c4ee1">Hawaii</a> and the <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/may/18/we-thought-slavery-had-gone-away-african-men-exploited-on-irish-boats">UK</a>. </p> <hr> <p> <em> <strong> Read more: <a href="http://theconversation.com/how-to-reduce-slavery-in-seafood-supply-chains-100512">How to reduce slavery in seafood supply chains</a> </strong> </em> </p> <hr> <p>Forced labour in fisheries is tied to the ongoing depletion of our oceans. Fish catches <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/ncomms10244">peaked in 1996</a> and have since declined. Compared with 1950, fishing fleets now travel <a href="http://advances.sciencemag.org/content/4/8/eaar3279">twice the distance</a> to catch a third of the fish. As remaining fish are harder and more expensive to catch, and with rising fuel costs, unscrupulous operators reduce costs by exploiting labour. </p> <p>The use of refrigerated motherships (“reefers”) allows distant-water vessels to refuel and <a href="http://globalfishingwatch.org/fisheries/rendezvous-at-sea-what-is-transshipping/">tranship</a> catch at sea. Enslaved fishers thus might not see land for years, with the inability to oversee labour practices in offshore conditions providing fertile ground for labour abuses.</p> <p>A globalised seafood industry with opaque supply chains makes it hard for consumers to avoid slave-caught seafood. The <a href="https://theconversation.com/how-to-reduce-slavery-in-seafood-supply-chains-100512">lack of “net-to-table” traceability</a> compounds the challenge of assessing how prevalent slave-caught seafood might be in our grocery stores and restaurants.</p> <figure class="align-center zoomable"> <a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/243735/original/file-20181103-83629-jki627.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img alt="" src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/243735/original/file-20181103-83629-jki627.jpg?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip"></a> <figcaption> <span class="caption">Steps in the seafood supply chain.</span> </figcaption> </figure> <p>Our study, published in <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-018-07118-9">Nature Communications</a>, used data on prevalence of modern slavery from the Global Slavery Index alongside fisheries catch data from the <a href="http://www.seaaroundus.org">Sea Around Us</a> to determine a set of risk factors that are associated with modern slavery in fisheries. We thus move from anecdotal reports to a global risk assessment. </p> <p>We found that major fish producing countries with evidence of modern slavery share these characteristics:</p> <ul> <li><p>high levels of vessel and fuel subsidies provided by national governments, indicating overcapacity and poor profitability</p></li> <li><p>poor catch reporting, indicating lack of governance</p></li> <li><p>dependence on fishing far from home ports and in other countries’ waters, beyond the reach of domestic enforcement</p></li> <li><p>low catch value, which puts pressure on labour costs.</p></li> </ul> <h2>Slave-caught seafood affects us all</h2> <p>Seafood is the world’s most <a href="https://www.foodprocessing-technology.com/features/featurethe-10-most-traded-food-and-beverage-commodities-4181217/">highly traded</a> food commodity. To estimate how seafood involving forced labour might reach consumers in ostensibly slavery-free countries, we looked at <a href="http://www.cepii.fr/CEPII/en/bdd_modele/presentation.asp?id=1">trade flows</a> of seafood between countries. </p> <p>We found that imported seafood in US, European and Australian markets raised the risk of consuming slave-caught or processed seafood more than eight times. Increased vigilance over the provenance of seafood entering these markets is thus urgently required.</p> <figure class="align-center zoomable"> <a href="https://images.theconversation.com/files/243836/original/file-20181105-83644-11l3hvq.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=1000&amp;fit=clip"><img alt="" src="https://images.theconversation.com/files/243836/original/file-20181105-83644-11l3hvq.png?ixlib=rb-1.1.0&amp;q=45&amp;auto=format&amp;w=754&amp;fit=clip"></a> <figcaption> <span class="caption">Prevalence of slave-caught seafood based on domestic fisheries (left) vs combined domestic-caught and imported seafood (right).</span> </figcaption> </figure> <p>Some people would argue that we can avoid forced labour in overseas fisheries by increasing fishing in Australia, but this logic is flawed.</p> <p>Australia has already lost <a href="https://theconversation.com/australian-commercial-fish-populations-drop-by-a-third-over-ten-years-97689">30% of its large fish</a> in the past decade. The <a href="http://www.agriculture.gov.au/abares/research-topics/fisheries/fishery-status">annual assessment</a> of 95 Commonwealth-managed stocks finds that roughly 20% are of concern because they are overfished or have uncertain status.</p> <p>Expanding Australian fisheries is unlikely to reduce our reliance on imported seafood, given that higher overseas prices encourage Australian fishers to <a href="http://www.agriculture.gov.au/fisheries/aus-seafood-trade">export</a> their product rather than sell it into the domestic market, as is the case with rock lobster and tuna.</p> <p>Most importantly, modern slavery in the fishing sector is a global scourge that will not be resolved by simply reducing foreign seafood imports. It needs Australian leadership in diplomatic and trading relationships.</p> <h2>Eliminating slavery from your plate</h2> <p>We suggest the following ways in which Australia can contribute to eliminating modern slavery from fisheries:</p> <ul> <li><p>Support the federal government’s <a href="https://theconversation.com/modern-slavery-bill-a-step-in-the-right-direction-now-businesses-must-comply-99135">Modern Slavery Act</a>, including the appointment of an independent commissioner to advise seafood companies on minimising risk of forced labour in their products. Australia’s regional leadership will help other countries shape their own slavery legislation.</p></li> <li><p>Help seafood importers, processors and retailers target forced labour through initiatives such as the <a href="https://solutionsforseafood.org/">Seafood Business for Ocean Stewardship</a>, which help and incentivise businesses to improve their supply chains and to evaluate <a href="http://www.seafoodslaveryrisk.org/">risk</a>.</p></li> <li><p>Ensure our trading partners have fair labour laws that regulate hiring, payment and treatment of fishing crews. <a href="https://www.euractiv.com/section/agriculture-food/news/thailand-confident-to-ban-illegal-fishing-forced-labor-by-end-of-year-says-ambassador/">Thailand</a> in particular has responded strongly to labour issues in its fisheries after being sanctioned by the European Union.</p></li> <li><p>Support international efforts to eliminate <a href="https://www.euractiv.com/section/agriculture-food/news/wto-relaunches-negotiations-on-fisheries-subsidies/">harmful subsidies</a> and reallocate these resources to rebuilding fisheries through well-enforced management, including <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/srep08481">fishing-free zones</a> such as marine parks.</p></li> <li><p>Choose carefully using <a href="http://changeyourtuna.org.au/">consumer seafood guides</a> that report on social justice along with environmental sustainability. </p></li> </ul> <p>Very few people would intentionally buy seafood caught by slaves. But the lack of monitoring, transparency and sustainability in fisheries management keeps consumers in the dark and fishing crews vulnerable. </p> <p>Overfishing damages our environment. Slavery causes immeasurable suffering. We can’t tolerate encouraging that by what we put on our plate. Ask your local seafood supplier: “where did this fish come from?” Ask your representative politicians too.</p><img src="https://counter.theconversation.com/content/105861/count.gif" alt="The Conversation" width="1" height="1" /> <p class="fine-print"><em><span>Andrew Forrest is a Director of the Minderoo Foundation, which provides philanthropic support to initiatives in education, research, Indigenous affairs, disaster response and the arts.</span></em></p><p class="fine-print"><em><span>Dirk Zeller is a member of the Sea Around Us research initiative which receives funding from the Oak Foundation, the Marisla Foundation, the Paul M. Angell Family Foundation, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the MAVA Foundation, and Oceana. None of the funders have input in or influence on the material presented here. He is an unpaid advisor on the Scientific Advisory Board of Secure Fisheries, a program of One Earth Future, a privately funded and independent operating foundation. </span></em></p><p class="fine-print"><em><span>David Tickler and Jessica Meeuwig do not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and have disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.</span></em></p> A lack of sustainability, profitability and transparency in the global fishing industry is exacerbating the problem of slave-like working conditions for crew. Here are the warning signs to look out for. Jessica Meeuwig, Professor & Director, Marine Futures Lab, University of Western Australia Andrew Forrest, PhD Candidate, University of Western Australia David Tickler, PhD Candidate in Marine Ecology, University of Western Australia Dirk Zeller, Professor & Director, Sea Around Us - Indian Ocean, University of Western Australia Licensed as Creative Commons – attribution, no derivatives.

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