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inkwell.vue.235 : Sajjad Khan and Farooq Khan, "New Civilisation"
permalink #51 of 281: Sajjad Khan (sajjadkhan) Mon 17 Jan 05 09:31
    
>Sajjad, in the hard copy of _New Civilization_ that I have, I found
>the editorial, written by Abdullah Robin and yourself, to be
>interesting and thought-provoking.  Would you mind posting the text
>of it here, for the benefit of our readers?

Happy to (see below)

Editorial

A conflict between Islam and the west is threatening to engulf the
world in a cycle of violence; the walls between peoples are being
raised and fortified, yet the world is shrinking with the growing pace
of communication, transport and trade. While the old barriers of
distance and ignorance were once enough to keep people apart and
prevent comfortable national certainties from being challenged, the new
barriers of ideological stubbornness enable us not to see the humanity
of perceived enemies we think we know so much about.

What is presented in this first edition of “New Civilisation” magazine
is a unique attempt to break down these unreasonable barriers that are
the tragic irony of modernity post 9/11. The magazine you are reading
stands completely alone in this respect. Nevertheless, what is
noticeable about all the articles in this first edition is that the
contributors are all writing from the same perspective; they do not sit
on the fence in the name of moderation and dialogue between Islam and
the west. Rather, they have a view; the product of extensive thought,
upon which they present criticisms of current assumptions. They are
Muslims, who have, hitherto, been engaged in renewing Islamic political
thought within their own Muslim communities.

This, however, is not a sufficient basis for building a
post-globalised world in which two political visions interact.
Something is lacking. The problem is not that the contributors to this
first edition are opinionated: if they were not, what would there be to
discuss? The problem is that the contributors are all from only one
side of the fence, and a world in which people break down artificial
barriers cannot take shape without hearing the opposing views. It is
for this very reason that New Civilisation was established.

New Civilisation, therefore, is offering a wide platform for those who
have understood the increasing polarisation of the world we live in
and want an opportunity to contribute and debate. Consider this an open
invitation to present an opposing view in its best light. Consider the
articles in this first edition as a challenge; a gauntlet if you will,
but the floor is open to all. We believe the future need not be a
choice between fanaticisms, of whichever orientation, on the one hand
and flattering compromise in the name of peace and moderation on the
other. There may be little in common between the views of radically
different political schools, but who would deny the power of the human
intellect to serve as an anchor point?

We want to hear from all our readers and we want all our readers to
hear the full spectrum of political views about how this world should
best function. The inclusion of western secular thinking and Islamic
thinking on the same platform is greatly anticipated for the next
edition and will be a landmark achievement. Read, enjoy, disagree and
then write; the door is open, not to a utopian dream in which we all
think alike, but to a future in which political diversity can be
examined and old dogmas put to the test. Exactly what the conclusion of
this process will be remains to be determined; whatever it is, if
intellectual honesty is the benchmark then nobody should have reason to
fear.

Abdullah Robin and Sajjad Khan
  
inkwell.vue.235 : Sajjad Khan and Farooq Khan, "New Civilisation"
permalink #52 of 281: Farooq Khan (farooq) Mon 17 Jan 05 09:52
    
>Marx considered the option of massively redistributing wealth (rather
than the means of production) on a regular basis,  and concluded that
the only way to make it permanent would be permanent violence.  Was he
wrong about this?<

Excellent question. Yes I think he was wrong about this because his
analysis of history and theory of the modes of production was
incorrect. Without going too much in to the philosophical errors, the
clearest proof that his thinking was flawed is the fact that the
'natural law' of evolution in society has not led to socialism in the
advanced industrialised countries, aside from the fact that the Soviet
Union has collapsed and China adopts free market policies. This
thinking was shaped as you know by dialectic materiaism, hence any type
of conflict is good irrespective of the human cost. This mindset is
alien to Islam. Further we can see that the Velvet revolution and
subsequent demise of communism was not achieved through violent
revolution!

>How would you do it?<

I will try and do justice to your question briefly. The way in which
we would distribute wealth in essence is by:

1) The basis for economic thinking would first have to change from the
capitalist view of the economic problem to the Islamic view. The
capitalists view the economic problem as supply and demand while Islam
view the economic problem as the distribution of wealth.

This also means that we would priortise in solving people's needs
because Islamic economic thinking makes a distinction in human needs,
between the basic and luxurious needs. The priority of Islamic economic
thinking is to first ensure that the basic needs of all people have
been satisfied. This is one Islamic evidence which stipulates the
priorotisation:

"The son of Adam has no better right than that he would have a house
wherein he may live and a piece of cloth whereby he may cover his
nakedness and a piece of bread and some water" (Hadith)

2) We would give people the right to own land to cultivate according
to the following legal evidence. 

"Whoever cultivated a dead land it becomes his" (Hadith)

However if the land was not worked on for more than three years then
they would lose onwership of that land according to the following
evidence:

"The one who circles a land has no right in it after three years"
(Narration by Umar the second caliph)

Practically this means that economic activity is pushed and people can
cultivate land without unnecessary red tape. Whilst also preventing
people to own vast amounts of land which are not being used - who
prevent productivity of that land and maintain their economic power
over people through such injustice.

3) Utilities which society depends upon to survive such as oil, gas or
water would be public property. Private ownership is prohibited in
Islam according to the following evidence:

"Three things are not prevented from the people; the water, pastures
and the fire" (Hadith)

4) The government would legislate and enforce the distribution of
wealth in society. That is to say excess wealth would have to be
invested into the economy. This based upon the following evidence:

"Lest it circulates solely among the wealthy amongst you" (TMQ
Al-Hashr: 7)

The Islamic economic system would be applied in its totality so all
the solutions regarding public and private ownership, trade, would be
applied. The implementation of the economic system would create an
environment in which people circulate their wealth through the purchase
of commodities and services - to investing in new business. Taxation
would also be completely different under the Islamic system, which is
also a huge topic.
  
inkwell.vue.235 : Sajjad Khan and Farooq Khan, "New Civilisation"
permalink #53 of 281: Dennis Wilen (the-voidmstr) Mon 17 Jan 05 10:09
    
>>
This based upon the following evidence:

"Lest it circulates solely among the wealthy amongst you" (TMQ
Al-Hashr: 7)
<<

Evidence?  Evidence of what?  

A statement from al-Kitab is not evidence of anything.
  
inkwell.vue.235 : Sajjad Khan and Farooq Khan, "New Civilisation"
permalink #54 of 281: Gerry Feeney (gerry) Mon 17 Jan 05 11:44
    
> The capitalists view the economic problem as supply and 
> demand while Islam view the economic problem as the 
> distribution of wealth.

I think that's a false dichotomy.  Supply & demand is not a problem,
but rather an expression of what are deemed to be natural and
quantifyable market forces that are always at work under ALL economic
systems.  It is the central concept in what is known as Price Theory
(formerly as "Microeconomics").  

The distribution of wealth (like distribution of income) is a topic
within the realm of Politcal Economics.  It is not something separate
from capitalism (e.g., inheritance tax).
  
inkwell.vue.235 : Sajjad Khan and Farooq Khan, "New Civilisation"
permalink #55 of 281: Gerry Feeney (gerry) Mon 17 Jan 05 11:53
    
Thank you for posting the editorial, Sajjad.
  
inkwell.vue.235 : Sajjad Khan and Farooq Khan, "New Civilisation"
permalink #56 of 281: It's a new sun to me (nukem777) Mon 17 Jan 05 13:48
    
Thanks for the pointersin <49>Farooq. I'll get busy.
  
inkwell.vue.235 : Sajjad Khan and Farooq Khan, "New Civilisation"
permalink #57 of 281: Sajjad Khan (sajjadkhan) Mon 17 Jan 05 14:41
    
>It seems like this conversation has drifted into rather theoretical
>issues.  What short-term, practical goals do you have for your
>magazine?  Is it largely concerned with Moslems in Britain or with
>international issues?

It's mostly concerned with articulating Islamic political thinking to
a wide international audience. As I mentioned before, post 9-11 most
Islamic political books were written by western 'experts' not Muslims
who believed in core Islamic political ideas. In terms of short term
practical goals.

1 Heighten awareness internationally about Islamic political thinking

2 Increase Non Muslim participation in terms of articles

3 Sell more copies............
   
  
inkwell.vue.235 : Sajjad Khan and Farooq Khan, "New Civilisation"
permalink #58 of 281: Sajjad Khan (sajjadkhan) Mon 17 Jan 05 15:09
    
>This tension would also be true in any system. For Muslims, the
>tension would exist between Sunni and Shi'a Muslims along with >Druze,
Alawites not to mention members of other religions or even >atheists.

Yes it would, but here the challenge is political (like the challenge
of dealing with different nationalities) whereas the tensions I was
discussing within the different ideals within democracy (majority
rights vs minority rights, laws vs freedom, rule
of law vs national security) are intellectual and so much more
difficult to solve as they go to heart of the coherency of the
political vision. 

>Many Muslims trumpet the relatively lenient treatment of Christians
>and Jews during the hight of the Caliphate, but at the same time
>there was terrible persecution of another group of monotheists, the
>Zoroastrians in Persia as well as subjugation of women because of
>tribalism and lack of moral development. This shows how hard it has
>been in recorded history to have a truly ideal society.

Yes in practice politicians from time to time will not match up to the
ideals (your example above, Slavery in the USA until the civil war,
Watergate etc). However individual practices should not nullify the
ideal, unless it can be proved by continual practice that the ideal is
utopian. In this case the Islamic idea is to treat all Non Muslims
fairly and that as Jews and Christians were largely treated well, there
in reality is no barrier to applying this approach to others.

So the debate should not be about societal practice (humans will
always fall short) but about the coherency of the fundamental values
and political vision that shape society. So for example is Guantanomo
Bay an example of people falling short of the ideals, or is it an
example of the conflict that exists within western values and ideals. I
think the latter! Was attacking Zoroastrians an example of falling
short of the ideals or confusion within Islamic values and ideals. I
think the former!
  
inkwell.vue.235 : Sajjad Khan and Farooq Khan, "New Civilisation"
permalink #59 of 281: Sajjad Khan (sajjadkhan) Mon 17 Jan 05 15:26
    
>I can see the effectiveness of your magazine within and without
>Islamic communites in England, Europe, and Africa and possibly here,
>but when I look at Indonesia or the Middle East, or the republics >of
Russia they seem pretty closed to your ideas. Am I off-base in >that
estimation and what are you hoping for in establishing changes >within
those regions?

Yes our magazine and closed Muslim societies are about as compatible
as Dick Cheney is with the ideas of wind power. Most of these societies
are threatened by Islamic political ideas and so most of them crack
down on this kind of thing. I am hoping with our magazine that we begin
to influence thinkers and intellectuals in those regions to consider
alternatives to the chronic instability created by the current status
quo.

At the moment the educated people in the Muslim countries face choices
ranging from support of authoritarian leaders, supporting the goals of
US foreign policy or signing up to violence to achieve political
goals. I am hoping the magazine provides them with an alternative and
peaceful method of Islamic political change resulting in a Caliphate
which will help stabilise the region.
  
inkwell.vue.235 : Sajjad Khan and Farooq Khan, "New Civilisation"
permalink #60 of 281: It's a new sun to me (nukem777) Mon 17 Jan 05 16:08
    
Thanks for that (<59>) Sajjad, that is helpful.
  
inkwell.vue.235 : Sajjad Khan and Farooq Khan, "New Civilisation"
permalink #61 of 281: Brian Slesinsky (bslesins) Mon 17 Jan 05 16:10
    
So, the goal of having theoretical conversations about government is
to increase support for political changes in Muslim countries?  This
hasn't been clear so far.
  
inkwell.vue.235 : Sajjad Khan and Farooq Khan, "New Civilisation"
permalink #62 of 281: Farooq Khan (farooq) Mon 17 Jan 05 18:06
    
>Supply & demand is not a problem<

I think its well known that capitalist economists view the economic
problem in the context of supply and demand. Hence the onus is on
production of commodoties and services to meet the demand. Your other
point I would agree with that is to say the price mechanism is the
method to distribute wealth. Some references I found:

"The economic problem refers to the scarcity of commodities. There is
only a limited amount of resources available to produce the unlimited
amount of goods and services we desire."

http://www.bized.ac.uk/stafsup/options/notes/econ201.htm

"The economic problem emerges because our desire for goods and
services to consume is greater than our ability to produce those goods
and services. The demand for goods and services arises from human
wants."

http://faculty.etsu.edu/hipples/ProbSys.htm
  
inkwell.vue.235 : Sajjad Khan and Farooq Khan, "New Civilisation"
permalink #63 of 281: Farooq Khan (farooq) Mon 17 Jan 05 18:38
    
>800-1200 CE emphatically did *not* interpret the problems of the
distribution of wealth in the manner the radical preachers do today.
The orthodox interpretation of that time was positively Calvinist in
its approval of blessings bestowed in this world!<

Why do you say that? What's your evidence? You will find that Muslims
not only excelled in economic thinking but were also pioneers:

A book called Kitab ul-Kharaj was written by Qadi Abu Yusuf which
outlines an economic policy for the Caliph Harun al-Rashid who ruled
during 766 - 809. Also one will find othere refernces:

"IBN KHALDUN, FATHER OF ECONOMICS

In his Prolegomena (The Muqaddimah), 'Abd al-Rahman Ibn Muhammad Ibn
Khaldun al-Hadrami of Tunis (A.D. 1332-1406), commonly known as Ibn
Khaldun, laid down the foundations of different fields of knowledge, in
particular the science of civilization (al-'umran). His significant
contributions to economics, however, should place him in the history of
economic thought as a major forerunner, if not the "father," of
economics, a title which has been given to Adam Smith, whose great
works were published some three hundred and seventy years after Ibn
Khaldun's death. Not only did Ibn Khaldun plant the germinating seeds
of classical economics, whether in production, supply, or cost, but he
also pioneered in consumption, demand, and utility, the cornerstones of
modern economic theory."

http://www.islamic-world.net/economics/father_of_economics.htm

"Contemporary analytical economists normally date their origins from
the late eighteenth century. We argue herein that a
pseudo-scientificity (which omits normative information), combined with
an overriding ethnocentrism, tends to lead the disciplinary agents of
economics to ignore much economic thought outside the
American-British-Continental axis. The argument is developed beginning
with Joseph A. Schumpeter's classic, The History of Economic Analysis,
which set what appears to have remained a trend in history of economic
thought and analysis texts, by ignoring Arab/Islamic scholars.
At present, entire economies are organised, more or less, on Islamic
principles. Islam is explicitly concerned with material life and
provides numerous guidelines for the conduct of economic affairs for
millions of people. While it is not the aim of this paper to examine
the methodological or epistemological content of these principles, we
argue that, at the very least, the history of economic thought should
incorporate the work of Arab/Islamic thinkers."

www.aucegypt.edu/faculty/thompson/herbtea/articles/jie3.html 

You will find a great amount of literature by Islamic thinkers and
scholars who wrote great economic works during the history of the
Caliphate. The following books further elaborate on Islamic economic
history:

"The possible indebtedness of political economy to fourth-century
Greek thinkers has been widely debated; the contribution of Islam, on
the other hand, is consistently forgotten. This volume addresses this
neglect by examining in three parts the following questions: Is there a
school of economic thought that can be considered specifically 'Arab',
or have the Arabs succeeded in combining the Greek heritage with
other, more oriental currents? Muslim economic thought has enriched the
Hellenic contribution to economic thought in the areas of government
of the kingdom by the caliph, of the city and the household
organisation; the Arab concept of tadbîr should be examined in relation
to each of these three levels. In rejecting profit, usury, egoism and
monopoly, and in preaching moderation, altruism, the practice of fair
prices, and unselfishness, Islam inaugurated an 'economic system' which
has derived from that of the Greeks and which laid the basis for
pre-capitalist thought."

http://www.brill.nl/m_catalogue_sub6_id7297.htm%20

Economic Thought of Al-Ghazali

Economic Thought of Al-Qayyim 

http://islamic-finance.net/scholar/islahipub.html

Islahi, A. Azim (1996), History of Economic Thought in Islam, Aligarh,
India: Department of Economics, Aligarh Muslim University.
  
inkwell.vue.235 : Sajjad Khan and Farooq Khan, "New Civilisation"
permalink #64 of 281: Farooq Khan (farooq) Mon 17 Jan 05 18:38
    
>I do aver that the anti-capitalism of modern radical Islam certainly
seems colored quite strongly by the previous generation's romance with
communism<

The proof of this would be in how we critique captailism and you will
find that our critique is built upon different principles. You would
also find a critique of communism.
  
inkwell.vue.235 : Sajjad Khan and Farooq Khan, "New Civilisation"
permalink #65 of 281: Gerald Feene (gerry) Mon 17 Jan 05 19:42
    <scribbled by gerry Mon 17 Jan 05 19:47>
  
inkwell.vue.235 : Sajjad Khan and Farooq Khan, "New Civilisation"
permalink #66 of 281: Gerry Feeney (gerry) Mon 17 Jan 05 19:47
    
Farooq, it seems to me that you are using economic jargon in ways that
are completely foreign to the discipline of economics.  Both of the
quotes you cited in <92> would be taken to task by virtually all
economists, because they perpetuate popular misconceptions about the
meaning of supply and demand.

> "The economic problem refers to the scarcity of commodities...

A basic economic problem is scarcity.  NOT scarcity of commodities,
but scarcity in GENERAL.  Economics exists because scarcity exists.
That scarcity exists is another way of saying that not EVERY person can
ALWAYS have EVERY thing that he or she wants. And that has nothing to
do with demand, in the economic sense of the word. 

> Your other point I would agree with that is to say the price
mechanism is the method to distribute wealth.

I'm sorry, but I think I failed to communicate my point.  I do not
believe that price mechanism has anything whatsoever to do with the
distribution of wealth.  The distribution of wealth would be the
statistical measurements for how wealth is currently distributed, for
example, in the nation of X, 10% of the population holds 80% of the
wealth.  Method is no part of that.  It is simply a measurement.

The REdistribution of wealth, on the other hand, would involve a
method.  Redistribution involves making political decisions about
taking wealth from some people in order to give it to other people. 
An inheritance tax, for example, is one way that can be accomplished.

> "There is only a limited amount of resources available to 
> produce...

okay, that is supply

> ...the unlimited amount of goods and services we desire."

That is NOT demand.  Desire is not demand.

> "...The demand for goods and services arises from human
wants."  

Yes, it arises from wants, but again, that is not demand in the
economic sense.

Buyer:  I am very hungry, and I demand a hamburger.

Seller:  I can sell you a hamburger.  The price is $3.  (supply)

Buyer:  I have only $1.  (demand)

In such a case, the supply of hamburgers is $3 and the demand $1.  The
market forces are not at equilibrium, and no transaction takes place. 
Demand does not mean "I want A."  Demand means "I want A AND I am
willing and able to pay $X for it."
  
inkwell.vue.235 : Sajjad Khan and Farooq Khan, "New Civilisation"
permalink #67 of 281: Dennis Wilen (the-voidmstr) Mon 17 Jan 05 20:43
    
"Science" and "evidence" are not being used in a familiar manner
either.
  
inkwell.vue.235 : Sajjad Khan and Farooq Khan, "New Civilisation"
permalink #68 of 281: Sajjad Khan (sajjadkhan) Mon 17 Jan 05 22:02
    
>The REdistribution of wealth, on the other hand, would involve a
>method.  Redistribution involves making political decisions about
>taking wealth from some people in order to give it to other people. 
>An inheritance tax, for example, is one way that can be accomplished.

I partly agree redistribution can be through the form of political
decisions, but this is much wider than taxation. Under Islamic
economics the hierarchy of obligations starts from the individual, then
goes on to immediate family and only then is it the state's
responsibility. By obliging immediate families to support individuals
is a distinct difference between capitalist and socialist societies. It
also has the benefit of keeping state welfare payments lower and
therefore the amount of tax that needs to be collected is also lower

Secondly I think it is accurate to state that capitalist states have
primarily focused on increasing growth historically and ideologically,
leaving it to the market to distribute the fruits of the growth
generated. Hence the focus on GDP all the time. State intervention is
controversial in redistribution and America is a good example of this.
  
inkwell.vue.235 : Sajjad Khan and Farooq Khan, "New Civilisation"
permalink #69 of 281: Cthulhu Saves--in case he's hungry later (jmcarlin) Mon 17 Jan 05 22:43
    

<the-voidmstr>
>  Islamic science?
> Whatever might that be?

I take that phrase in the same sense that I take 'political science' and
'social science'. Our guests may differ.

> Guantanomo
> Bay an example of people falling short of the ideals, or is it an
> example of the conflict that exists within western values and ideals. I
> think the latter! 

There we differ. To me, Guantanomo is explicitly falling short of the
ideals embodied in the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and
the religious roots of the US.

I want to explicitly applaud the sentiments in #59. Offering people a
political and intellectual alternative between the mess that currently
exists and violence is important.
  
inkwell.vue.235 : Sajjad Khan and Farooq Khan, "New Civilisation"
permalink #70 of 281: Farooq Khan (farooq) Tue 18 Jan 05 04:30
    
>Evidence of what?<

It is an evidence pertaining to the prohibition of hoarding wealth. 
  
inkwell.vue.235 : Sajjad Khan and Farooq Khan, "New Civilisation"
permalink #71 of 281: Farooq Khan (farooq) Tue 18 Jan 05 05:21
    
>I take that phrase in the same sense that I take 'political science'
and 'social science'<

Yes that would be correct. The Islamic sciences refers to the
disciplines of tafsir, jurisprudence, hadith, Arabic language and so
on. 
  
inkwell.vue.235 : Sajjad Khan and Farooq Khan, "New Civilisation"
permalink #72 of 281: midget gems (riffraff) Tue 18 Jan 05 05:26
    

"State intervention is controversial in redistribution and America is a good
example of this."

Neither of those statements are true: in most of the societies you're
describing as "capitalist", state intervention in redistribution is the
norm, and is non-controversial. State *control* of redistribution would
perhaps be controversial, but right now there's a balance - most
"capitalist" societies rely on a combination of the market and progressive
taxation to govern redistribution.

America, or more precisely the U.S., does the same, but less so than most
(or all) other Western democracies. It's not a good example of anything,
being unique in the west in it's somewhat closer hewing to capitalist
ideals.

It too, however, falls far short, it's government being heavily engaged in
the redistribution of it's wealth.

None of the above statements are, as far as I know, remotely controversial.
it surprises me therefore that I'm reading points that appear as if they
were.
  
inkwell.vue.235 : Sajjad Khan and Farooq Khan, "New Civilisation"
permalink #73 of 281: Farooq Khan (farooq) Tue 18 Jan 05 05:38
    
>edistribution involves making political decisions about
taking wealth from some people in order to give it to other people<

Aside from the differences here, which need to be explored in greater
detail. I think this aspect of the discussion highlights the need for a
real debate about economics especially since solving world poverty is
high on the international agenda this year. It would be good if someone
wrote an article about whether capitalism can really eliminate
poverty. Or whether the Islamic economic system can achieve such a
lofty goal.
  
inkwell.vue.235 : Sajjad Khan and Farooq Khan, "New Civilisation"
permalink #74 of 281: Gerry Feeney (gerry) Tue 18 Jan 05 07:06
    
> It would be good if someone wrote an article about whether
capitalism can really eliminate poverty. Or whether the Islamic
economic system can achieve such a lofty goal.<

As to whether capitalism can eliminate poverty, I think the question
is too vague to answer.  I don't think an analysis of capitalism, in
and of itself, can be meaningful without a context pertaining to the
environment in which it is to be implemented.  In other words,
capitalism can be credited historically with having eliminated or
reduced poverty in some cases.  Yet it can also be credited with having
CREATED or INCREASED poverty and inequality in other cases.

As someone stated here earlier, capitalism is an ideal.  In actual
practice it seems more often to be a process than a state - a process
in which corporate interests are in constant conflict with labor &
consumer interests.  Each side attempts to gain an advantage against
the other by trying to influence government to strengthen its position.
 And according to many development economists, where corporations have
been gaining the advantage, we see growing inequalities.   

Definitions could also affect a discussion like this, because
capitalism tends to mean different things to different people.  For
instance, some people equate capitalism with free markets.  Yet several
of the successful newly industrialized countries, especially among the
"Asian Tigers," were centrally-planned economies, not free-market
economies.  And several European nations have economies that are some
mix of both capitalism and socialism.

I can't comment about Islamic economics, being rather ignorant on that
subject.  But I look forward to what you can tell us on the subject. 
What nations are there that practice Islamic economics today?  Where
are the best examples of it?
  
inkwell.vue.235 : Sajjad Khan and Farooq Khan, "New Civilisation"
permalink #75 of 281: Farooq Khan (farooq) Tue 18 Jan 05 08:23
    
>I don't think an analysis of capitalism, in and of itself, can be
meaningful without a context pertaining to the environment in which it
is to be implemented<

What I'm referring to here is the British goal to end world poverty: 

Brown's plan to end world poverty
Mr Brown believes international aid should be doubled
The coming year offers a "once-in-a-generation" chance to eradicate
global poverty, Chancellor Gordon Brown said. His goals for the UK's EU
and G8 presidencies include doubling aid from donor countries and
eliminating debt owed by the poorest nations.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/4129483.stm

January 03, 2005

Brown to visit Africa in anti-poverty campaign
By Philip Webster, Political Editor

GORDON BROWN will raise his international profile next week with a
three-nation visit to Africa highlighting Britain’s efforts to relieve
world poverty.

The Chancellor will, in effect, be launching Britain’s 12- month
presidency of the Group of Eight industrial nations on a trip to
Tanzania, Mozambique and South Africa, during which he will promote
British policies for enhancing debt relief for the poorest countries
and his scheme to double Third World aid through the International
Finance Facility. 

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2-1424452,00.html
  

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