Mass Starvation: The History and Future of Famine [EPUB]
13 April 2018, 22:46
2018 | EPUB | 1.65MB
The world almost conquered famine. Until the 1980s, this scourge killed ten million people every decade, but by early 2000s mass starvation had all but disappeared. Today, famines are resurgent, driven by war, blockade, hostility to humanitarian principles and a volatile global economy.
In Mass Starvation, world-renowned expert on humanitarian crisis and response Alex de Waal provides an authoritative history of modern famines: their causes, dimensions and why they ended. He analyses starvation as a crime, and breaks new ground in examining forced starvation as an instrument of genocide and war. Refuting the enduring but erroneous view that attributes famine to overpopulation and natural disaster, he shows how political decision or political failing is an essential element in every famine, while the spread of democracy and human rights, and the ending of wars, were major factors in the near-ending of this devastating phenomenon.
Hard-hitting and deeply informed, Mass Starvation explains why man-made famine and the political decisions that could end it for good must once again become a top priority for the international community.
Contesting Cyberspace in China: Online Expression and Authoritarian Resilience [EPUB]
13 April 2018, 22:41
2018 | EPUB | 3.39MB
The Internet was supposed to be an antidote to authoritarianism. It can enable citizens to express themselves freely and organize outside state control. Yet while online activity has helped challenge authoritarian rule in some cases, other regimes have endured: no movement comparable to the Arab Spring has arisen in China. In Contesting Cyberspace in China, Rongbin Han offers a powerful counterintuitive explanation for the survival of the world’s largest authoritarian regime in the digital age.
Han reveals the complex internal dynamics of online expression in China, showing how the state, service providers, and netizens negotiate the limits of discourse. He finds that state censorship has conditioned online expression, yet has failed to bring it under control. However, Han also finds that freer expression may work to the advantage of the regime because its critics are not the only ones empowered: the Internet has proved less threatening than expected due to the multiplicity of beliefs, identities, and values online. State-sponsored and spontaneous pro-government commenters have turned out to be a major presence on the Chinese internet, denigrating dissenters and barraging oppositional voices. Han explores the recruitment, training, and behavior of hired commenters, the “fifty-cent army,” as well as group identity formation among nationalistic Internet posters who see themselves as patriots defending China against online saboteurs.
Drawing on a rich set of data collected through interviews, participant observation, and long-term online ethnography, as well as official reports and state directives, Contesting Cyberspace in China interrogates our assumptions about authoritarian resilience and the democratizing power of the Internet.
Systems Thinking For Social Change [EPUB]
13 April 2018, 22:33
2015 | EPUB | 3.92MB
Donors, leaders of nonprofits, and public policy makers usually have the best of intentions to serve society and improve social conditions. But often their solutions fall far short of what they want to accomplish and what is truly needed. Moreover, the answers they propose and fund often produce the opposite of what they want over time. We end up with temporary shelters that increase homelessness, drug busts that increase drug-related crime, or food aid that increases starvation.
How do these unintended consequences come about and how can we avoid them? By applying conventional thinking to complex social problems, we often perpetuate the very problems we try so hard to solve, but it is possible to think differently, and get different results.
Systems Thinking for Social Change enables readers to contribute more effectively to society by helping them understand what systems thinking is and why it is so important in their work. It also gives concrete guidance on how to incorporate systems thinking in problem solving, decision making, and strategic planning without becoming a technical expert.
Systems thinking leader David Stroh walks readers through techniques he has used to help people improve their efforts to end homelessness, improve public health, strengthen education, design a system for early childhood development, protect child welfare, develop rural economies, facilitate the reentry of formerly incarcerated people into society, resolve identity-based conflicts, and more.
The result is a highly readable, effective guide to understanding systems and using that knowledge to get the results you want.