Showing posts with label identity politics. Show all posts
Showing posts with label identity politics. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Trump Signs Feminist Foreign Aid Policy Into Law


Sources: White House, Congress, Center for Family and Human Rights, USAID

Trump signed the little noticed Women’s Entrepreneurship and Economic Empowerment Act January 9th, likely at the behest of his daughter, who lobbied for it in congress where it was put on hold in the senate. While the new law seems well meaning and does contain some good provisions, it also gives professional feminists or 'gender advisers' power to dictate foreign aid policy mired in inter-sectional feminist restrictions on the design and implementation of all USAID policies, grants and programs.

As the Center for Family and Human Rights noted, it is very ironic that Trump would enact Obama's gender policies, especially ones informed by a radical left-wing cultural perspective that includes the whole spectrum of LGBTQ (and whatever other letters they'll add in the future). It is very likely that he didn't even read the bill and just signed it to make his princess happy. Whether he agrees with the law or not is irrelevant at this point. He approved it; he put his name to it; he owns it now, especially the parts that seem to run counter to his domestic policies. The Obama era gender policies in question are outlined in ADS chapter 205. The document details steps for implementing 'gender integration' through all USAID programs, making gender equality the main focus of all USAID projects, and by equality they don't mean legal equality or equality of opportunity. Apparently, the goal is to close gender gaps in status, access to resources, participation in the labor force, and leadership positions, presumably until they are about the same. The Bureau for Policy Planing and Learning, which shapes development policy, is mandated to have a full time gender adviser for this purpose.

Section 3 of the law subjects all USAID strategies, projects, and activities to 'gender analysis' and 'gender integration'. Gender analysis is defined as:

a socioeconomic analysis of available or gathered quantitative and qualitative information to identify, understand,
and explain gaps between men and women which typically
involves examining differences in the status of women and men and their differential access to and control over assets, resources, education, opportunities, and services

This could be interpreted in several different ways, but it seems to imply that the goal is equal outcomes between genders, rather than equal opportunities or more practically equal liberty. If they meant to imply equal opportunities or equal liberty they could have made this clearer by wording it different by, for instance, stating their goal was to remove legal and cultural market barriers for women in developing nations; however, this is not the case. It becomes clear that the goal is equal outcomes in section 4 (b), which introduces a gender quota for financial assistance.

50 percent of all small and medium-sized enterprise resources shall be targeted to activities that reach enterprises owned, managed, and controlled by women.

However well meaning this may be for women's' empowerment abroad, it will also have the unintended consequence of hurting entrepreneurs in developing countries where women are nowhere near 50% of total small and medium-sized enterprise owners or managers. Hypothetically, lets say a certain developing country x has 20 small and medium-sized businesses in need of financing; 15 of them are owned by men and 5 are owned by women. Under the provision in section 4 (b), we would only be able to provide financial resources to 5 businesses owned by men and 5 owned by women, leaving 10 small and medium sized businesses without assistance. This is especially damaging given the fact that the authors' of this bill own findings that '50% of small and medium-sized businesses, in emerging markets, lack access to formal credit'. Imposing a gender quota on these businesses isn't going to make it any easier for them to get credit through any USAID development program.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Political Superstitions (part 4): Gentrification and Identity Politics

This is a somewhat obscure topic that is of exclusive concern to the left, since the right dismisses it entirely, that despite being controversial is shrouded in superstition. Merriam Webster defines gentrification as the process of renewal and rebuilding accompanying the influx of middle-class or affluent people into deteriorating areas that often displaces poorer residents. It is most often viewed through the lens of identity politics as wealthy young whites displacing minorities from traditionally minority neighborhoods because they can no longer afford the rent. The solutions prescribed range from rent control to subsidized housing all of which merely address the symptoms.

The difficulty arises when rent is spoken of as a single unit instead of a composite. Rent in its common usage refers to both interest payments for the use of a building and rent for the use of a specific site or location. The latter is economic rent. Property values are a combination of the value of the building or any improvements to the land (e.g. drainage, pavement, water supply) and the rental value of the land that arises from demand for a fixed supply of it (e.g. amenities and proximity to business district). The law of rent stipulates that increases in population density, growth in commerce, improvements in education, improvements in infrastructure and basic government services like policing all add to the rental value of land and drive up the cost of living, especially housing. The unintended consequence of urban renewal is that wages are consumed by incrementally growing rent, as their purchasing power decreases in proportion to rent. A lower margin of production, the floor of wages, would inevitably hit the lowest income earners the hardest.

A single tax on land rent would raise the the margin of production, providing higher wages, and recapture the value added by public services and private businesses for public expenditure. Unlike property taxes and sales taxes, a land value tax would not be passed onto tenants and consumers because they are not paying for a good or service, but a government granted monopoly that is fixed in supply. This concept is not new. Cities that charge parking rates on busy streets already levy a form of land value tax. Similarly, states that require hunting and fishing licenses are levying a form of land value tax and countries such as Australia, New Zealand, Estonia, Canada, and Norway already have them at either the local or national level, though none recapture all rents.

Side Note: To ensure each person’s natural right to use the earth, a citizen’s dividend could be funded from the surplus revenue providing low income tenants with a non-paternalistic dole instead making them dependent on a plethora of social services.