Jargon and the death of charity

“What tends to happen is your syntax collapses… All of a sudden, you are mumbling. It often works. I created a new language which we now call Fedspeak. Unless you are expert at it, you can’t tell that I didn’t say anything.”

– Alan Greenspan (Chairman of the Federal Reserve 1987-2006).

Continue reading “Jargon and the death of charity”

Gates Foundation Plunders African Agriculture

gated-development-coverFrom a recent article in The Ecologist:

The Gates Foundation – widely assumed to be ‘doing good’, is imposing a neoliberal model of development and corporate domination that’s opening up Africa’s agriculture to land and seed-grabbing global agribusiness, writes Colin Todhunter. In the process it is foreclosing on the real solutions – enhancing food security, food sovereignty and the move to agroecological farming.

The article is a thorough summary of a report by Global Justice Now: ‘Gated Development – Is the Gates Foundation always a force for good?’. It goes into detail about the foundation’s extremely dodgy connections and actions. Well worth a read.

Here’s the Ecologist article, and
The Report  (gated-development-global-justice-now here as a pdf)

Charisma Inhibits Higher Brain Function In Believers.

Unfortunately this study only covered religious subjects, but its lessons can be applied pretty much anywhere. “Experts” are trotted out every night on news programs, to justify the most heinous of activities, or just to instill fear in the population. Politicians and other rulers practice being charismatic because it saves them having to be truthful. The voluntary and NGO sector is full of “conference dragons”, and so on.

The study found that a religious person, anticipating a person who has a reputation as a charismatic literally shuts down his highest brain functions in the charismatic’s presence. That doesn’t happen in the brains of non-believers.

An article on OpEdNews.com does some interesting speculation about this (archived as pdf: power_of_charisma) but again is limited by only looking at religious matters. The full study is available at intl-scan.oxfordjournals.org and pdf is archived here:
soc-cogn-affect-neurosci-2011-schjoedt-119-27

See also:  The science of charismatic voices on phys.org for some studies using politicians’ speeches.
(archived as pdf: phys-org-the_science_of_charismatic_voices )

Edit, 22 Nov 2014: Found a similar study that focuses on experts rather than religion:
expert-financial-advice-neurobiologically-offloads-financial-decision-making-under-risk