Hegemony, big money and academic independence (2010)

This article considers whether a threat is posed to academic independence in corporate universities by the United States Studies Centre (USSC) at the University of Sydney. The USSC rapidly worded its way into Australia’s oldest university, building a unique governance structure in which a private business lobby vets senior academics and controls the Centre’s finances. Despite a secret management agreement, the aims, control mechanisms and some of the outcomes of this project are fairly plain. Continue reading “Hegemony, big money and academic independence (2010)”

Melanesian customary land and hybrid livelihoods (2010)

Community land was at the root of indigenous survival and social relations until colonial regimes enforced dispossession. Yet, as if by an accident of history, the countries of Melanesia (and particularly Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu) largely escaped this fate. To this day, the great majority of land in these countries is still held by communities and families under a customary law which is neither written down nor centrally registered. Continue reading “Melanesian customary land and hybrid livelihoods (2010)”

HIV/AIDS in Cuba: Lessons and challenges (2009)

Cuba, a relatively poor, socialist, developing country has the lowest rate of HIV infection in the Caribbean subregion and a rate among the lowest in the world. Yet when we look at the published explanations for this, outside Cuba, we face a wall of controversy and disdain. A fair amount of the criticism seems due to ideological wars and the economic blockade by the United States of America imposed on Cuba. The latter certainly undermines communication, scientific exchange, and understanding. Continue reading “HIV/AIDS in Cuba: Lessons and challenges (2009)”

Public vs private: Developing accessible health systems (2009)

There are two types of health systems in the world, public and privatised, though in practice virtually all national systems are some form of hybrid. Nevertheless, these two opposing models drive much of the dynamics of health systems. The best health outcomes (i.e. low preventible disease and low critical mortality rates) come from those countries which have (i) publicly funded and well coordinated systems Continue reading “Public vs private: Developing accessible health systems (2009)”

HIV/AIDS in Cuba: A rights-based analysis (2009)

The common assertion that Cuba’s achievements in HIV/AIDS control have come at a cost in human rights is reinforced by US hostility toward its small neighbour. Nevertheless, a rights-based analysis may be one useful way of exmining the actual Cuban experience. By reference to the United Nation’s Guidelines on HIV/AIDS and Human Rights, this paper examines the Cuban experience as it relates to the themes of quarantine and person freedom; privacy in testing and tracing; education, participation, and non-discrimination; and the availability of AIDS treatment. Continue reading “HIV/AIDS in Cuba: A rights-based analysis (2009)”

Solidarity aid: The Cuba-Timor Leste health programme (2008)

This paper considers distinct views of ‘capacity building’ in health aid, using the example of the largest health aid programme in the Asia-Pacific region, the Cuba-Timor Leste health cooperation. By 2008 there were 300 Cuban health workers in Timor Leste, while 850 Timorese students were studying medicine with Cuban trainers. The paper contrasts ‘big money’ neoliberal notions of aid with Cuban notions of solidarity amongst peoples and investment in human resources. Continue reading “Solidarity aid: The Cuba-Timor Leste health programme (2008)”

RAMSI: Intervention, aid trauma and self governance (2008)

The Regional Assistance Mission Solomon Islands (RAMSI) was an intervention force requested by the Solomon Islands Government to help stabilise the country after a period of civil strife. It became an experiment in ‘cooperative intervention’ – at a time of uninvited intervention, elsewhere – and exercised the imagination of a number of ‘failed state’ theorists. After more than five years, and with the evaporation of initial rationales that instability in the Solomon Islands might pose a ‘terrorist’ threat, much uncertainty remains over its future. Continue reading “RAMSI: Intervention, aid trauma and self governance (2008)”

Women roadside sellers in Madang (2008)

A survey of women roadside sellers in Madang Province of Papua New Guinea found that they earn a weighted average income of more than three times the national minimum wage. The relative economic success of these roadside vendors relies to a large extent on access to good-quality customary land and proximity to major roads. Continue reading “Women roadside sellers in Madang (2008)”

Health, income and public institutions: Explaining Cuba and Costa Rica (2007)

The World Bank in 2004 sought to explain socialist Cuba’s success in public health, and juxtaposed Costa Rica as a contender for similar public health gains, through the orthodox model which stresses broad based growth , backed by increased private investment. However a unique public institution (the Caja Costarricense de Seguro Social) for health and social security insurance better explains Costa Rica’s health advances, and its superior performance to some higher income Latin American countries such as Mexico and Argentina. Continue reading “Health, income and public institutions: Explaining Cuba and Costa Rica (2007)”

Timor Leste: The second Australian intervention (2006)

Two stories are in circulation over the second Australian intervention in Timor Leste (East Timor). The first has it that the small, newly independent country, beset with leadership and ethnic divisions, and led by an arrogant and even despotic Prime Minister, out of touch with the people, called once again on Australian assistance to avoid collapse into a ‘failed state’. Continue reading “Timor Leste: The second Australian intervention (2006)”