Sources of Poverty

Peter Hansen is confident that, “blame for the world’s starving millions belongs [to] greedy corporate giants, environmental exploiters, warmongers and corrupt officials”. He quotes no evidence.But consider Surjit Bhalla’s opinion (he does produce evidence):

  • Estimates of world poverty are grossly exaggerated
  • Globalisation has been the golden age of development
  • Poverty in developing countries declined from 37 per cent to 13 per cent of the population between 1985 and 2000 with the biggest advances in India and China
  • Inequality of income is at its lowest level in 50 years

All this is totally opposed to Green dogma but those who have contrary evidence (not just opinion) should produce it if they wish to convince skeptics.

Anti-globalisation protesters were in Sydney last May to oppose an international conference. The Australian Financial Review asked an interesting question.The international protest movement was obviously well funded.From where did the money come? Some Asian delegates had an answer. From World Aid organisations.According to them (and I lack the resources to investigate) much aid money never gets to those in need but goes to corrupt governments and officials. “Trade not Aid” threatens the gravy train, so these corrupt people are funding those who help to maintain the status quo. One could call it recycling.

Under socialism India was a poor country, people starved. The import of luxury goods (including colour TVs) was forbidden. Good comrades watched TV on black and white sets, if they could afford them. The idea that India could manufacture and export anything more complicated than cotton goods was laughable. (According to Gandhi only hand spinning and weaving are ethical. Under capitalism many peasants are still desperately poor, but they are not starving. India exports its food surpluses. Even better it manufactures and exports luxury goods (including colour TVs) to Europe. Most people are much more wealthy. It is claimed that:

  1. There are more US$ millionaires in India than there are people in NZ and Australia combined.
  2. There are more US$ millionaires in India than in the US.

The second proposition has been challenged, the first seems to have been accepted.

Jim Ring

Repressed Memories

Craig Young writes “there is a wide ranging debate over questions of “false” and “recovered” memories within the mental health professions”. While many clinicians may still be “debating” this, the scientific evidence is clear: belief in the theory of “memory repression” and the “memory recovery” techniques in wide-spread use in the 1990s resulted in thousands of tragic cases of false allegations of childhood incest made against bewildered parents.

Certainly some clinicians still believe in the validity of recovered memories, however the scientific community and the clinical professional bodies have clearly indicated that the complete repression of memory childhood sexual abuse subsequently “recovered” as an adult, usual in the context of psychotherapy, is a phenomenon not supported by scientific evidence.

In 1997 a Working Group on Reported Recovered Memories of Child Sexual Abuse of the Royal College of Psychiatrists in England issued a report including the following:

  • “We can find no evidence that apparent memories of long forgotten and repeated child abuse have ever been proven to be true.”
  • “There is a good deal of evidence that patients will produce the material the therapist seeks, but it is often a product of fantasy.”
  • “We must conclude that, like abduction by space travelers, accounts of satanic abuse are false.”
  • “There is evidence that memory enhancement techniques are powerful and dangerous methods of persuasion.”
  • “Many of the memories relate to events in the early years which is incompatible with present knowledge of infantile amnesia.”
  • “The damage done to families is immense.”

In 1998 the Canadian Psychological Association passed the following resolution: The Canadian Psychological Association recognises the very serious concern of child abuse and child sexual abuse in our society. The Canadian Psychological Association also recognizes that justice may not have been served in cases where people have been convicted of offences based solely upon “repressed” or “recovered” memories of abuse, without further corroborative evidence that the abuse in fact occurred…”

In 2000, the American Psychiatric Association made a statement including:

  • “Some therapeutic approaches attempt specially to elicit memories of childhood abuse … The validity of such therapies has been challenged.Some patients … have later recanted their claims of recovered mem-ories of abuse and accused their therapists of leading or pressuring them into such ideas.”
  • “No specific unique symptom profile has been identified that necessarily correlates with abuse experiences.”

In 2001, the American Psychological Society awarded the William James Fellow Award to Elizabeth Loftus, who holds the title of Distinguished Professor of Psychology at the University of California, Irvine. In 2002, the Review of General Psychology ranked her 58th among the top 100 psychologists of the 20th century. She also ranked among the 25 psychologists most frequently cited in introductory psychology textbooks. The award citation said, in part:

“Over the past 15 years, Dr Loftus’s attention has turned to a related but considerably more controversial issue, that of the validity of “recovered memories” of childhood abuse. As a result of her pioneering scientific work as well as her activity within the legal system, society is gradually coming to realise that such memories, compelling though they may seem when related by a witness, are often a product of recent reconstructive memory processes rather than of past objective reality.”

It should be noted that since the professional bodies issued these statements; training for therapists mostly stopped teaching repression theory and memory recovery techniques and the numbers of people “recovering” such memories dropped from a torrent to trickle. This also supports the premise that the phenomenon was iatrogenic — a therapeutic artifact. (Abridged)

Felicity Goodyear-Smith
Senior Lecturer, Department of General Practice & Primary Health Care, University of Auckland

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