Morocco: A King’s Conscience & the Infinitesimal Trickle Down Effect

Modern Morocco

 

“As Morocco’s economy slows, the jobless are getting restive”, The Economist, 1st March 2018.

https://www.economist.com/news/middle-east-and-africa/21737560-protests-north-have-pricked-kings-conscience-moroccos-economy-slows

The article explores recent developments in Morocco and begins by listing statistics meant to describe the economic improvement within this country. It quotes GDP per person increasing by some 70% since 2000 and mentions tax breaks attracting numerous foreign investors to this north African state. Tellingly, the article has an eco-tourism employee stating, “We can’t just build hospitals and schools…We need to lay the foundations for investment and regeneration”. (Sami Bouhmidi, Marchica eco-resort manager) This statement illustrates the awareness of the differing approaches to the idea of development in the modern era. Those onboard the foreign investment trickle down economics approach to development promote the benefits of their way in contrast to The Basic Needs Approach favoured by many NGOs (Spalding, 1990, p. 91).

Youth Unemployment at 40%

The article, by The Economist, does, however, also chart the reality for many Moroccans who are not experiencing the positive effects of this boost to the economy. Youth unemployment is listed at 40% in the north of the country, and poverty is demanding charitable food distribution in Sidi Boulaalam, which is located some 200 miles south of Casablanca. The report acknowledges King Muhammad of Morocco admitting great and growing inequalities within his nation. As in many places, there is a ruling elite, which controls the greater parts of the economy. The indigenous Berbers have been traditionally supressed by the Islamic ruling party and the threat of violent protests are readily imminent. As the economy slows in Morocco, many are demanding the government does more to alleviate poverty. The Capability Approach to development is, according to Sen, “the opportunity to achieve valuable combinations of human functionings”, and as clunky as that sentence sounds, it is an important part of human freedom and our rights as human beings (Sen, 2006, p. 153). The Capability approach empowers individuals through considerate development opportunities.

Doing the Underdeveloped a Huge Favour

Those of us living in wealthy western states have been conditioned to see the world in two different zones, the developed, and the underdeveloped. Numerous commentators, including Gustavo Esteva in The Development Dictionary, have identified American President Truman’s speech in 1949, as the progenitor of this world view. Wealthy superpowers like the United States were, from then on, doing these ‘underdeveloped’ nations a huge favour by exploiting their natural resources for profitable economic development. It was no longer possible to remain a natural oasis living apart from the wheels of progress, countries were duty bound to submit to development. Singh points out that Fukuyama identified the hegemonic influence of multinationals on the lives of peoples around the world (Singh, 2011, p. 811). In the case of Morocco, in the focus of this particular media report, building eco-resorts for wealthy tourists to holiday in is the way forward through foreign investment. Jobs are created via this development and, hopefully, some of the money spent by the tourists will trickle down to the locals, who are living on the poverty line. Unfortunately, many sectors of society are left behind, economically, through this kind of investment, with much of the influx of money going to wealthy Moroccan elites and back overseas to the investors. A high-speed train and new highways transport the tourists around the nation, but locals cannot afford the tolls and tickets to take advantage of these infrastructure improvements.

The Nature of International Development

Democracy is an important component of development, if development is going to serve the needs of the greatest number of human beings living in that nation or community (Donnelly, 1999, p. 609). Since the 1990s, the United Nations has begun to make its voice heard internationally about the nature of development and the human rights of those affected by these developments. Some say about time too, as it remained effectively silent on the topic for some fifty years from the Universal Declaration in 1949 until the emergence of Kofi Anan. The Rights Based Approach to development encapsulates this ‘rights first and above all else’ consideration of development. Development for whole human beings and not just their economic considerations. States must be accountable to the rights of their constituents, no matter their level of economic power (Cornwall, 2004, p. 1417). Under this model of development, vested interests can no longer ignore the human rights of those affected by their developments. Focusing on a few eco-resorts in Morocco is not addressing the economic and human plight of many Moroccans, it is probably going to make a few wealthy Moroccan interests even richer, but it is not addressing the basic needs of the majority of the nation’s population.

Morocco has seen colonisation by Islamic Arabic rulers and by French colonial administrations over the course of its history. Both external powers have left their mark culturally upon this, originally, Berber territory. Development has favoured the ruling elites for much of the nation’s history. Disenfranchised sections of the population continue to be neglected by development sanctioned by the state. Neoliberalism won the cold war, with the demise of the USSR and the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, and multinational corporations have had a hegemonic influence on the lives of human beings across the globe ever since. Communities and ecosystems have been destroyed in the name of progress and economic development. The UN and its various bodies have been a voice for the human rights of people affected by these developments, since the late 1990s, but not the loudest voice in the room. Capitalism and the, ‘so called’ free market economy, remain the loudest voice on this planet.

Social responsibility is still a relatively novel concept for many in the halls of power, be they in Washington, Canberra or Rabat. Self-interest remains a powerful motivator for those who can control the levers of economic development within a city or nation. Private property sits at the heart of our economic systems; and the Marxist model is shunned by neoliberal forces globally. The nub of this dilemma is, to be crude, the question of whether beggars can be choosers. This is how the power elite would see the situation in regard to development in poorer nations. Whether Sen and Nussbaum can invoke Aristotelian ethics to shift the profit motivation as bottom line for corporate multinationals when operating in ‘underdeveloped’ nations is, at this stage, an unresolved question (Crocker, 1992, p. 584).

 

©Robert Hamilton

 

 

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY

 

 

Cornwall, Andrea, “Putting the ‘rights-based approach’ to development into perspective”, Third World Quarterly, Vol. 25, pp. 1415-1437.

Crocker, David, “Functioning and Capability: The Foundations of Sen’s and Nussbaum’s Development Ethic”, Political Theory, Vol. 20, pp. 584-612.

Donnelly, Jack, “Human Rights, Democracy, and Development”, Human Right Quarterly, Vol 21, pp – 608-632.

Sachs, Wolfgang, The Development Dictionary: A Guide to Knowledge as Power, 2nd ed. (2009).

Sen, Amartya, “Human Rights and Capabilities”, Journal of Human Development, Vol. 6, pp. 151-166.

Sikha, Prem, “Accounting for human rights: The challenge of globalization and foreign investment”, Critical Perspectives on Accounting, Vol. 22, pp. 811-827.

Spalding, Nancy, “The Relevance of basic needs for political and economic development”, Studies in Comparative International Development, Vol. 25, pp. 90-115.

The Economist,“ As Morocco’s economy slows, the jobless are getting restive”, , 1st March 2018. Retrieved from https://www.economist.com/news/middle-east-and-africa/21737560-protests-north-have-pricked-kings-conscience-moroccos-economy-slows Viewed 27th March 2018.

Metrics: Measuring Your Marketing

For much of its life, marketing has been the last mystery left unexplained on the shelf. It has been like the art of alchemy of old, add a pinch of this and a splash of that in the hope that it will all turn to gold. Businesses have employed marketing in the quest for success. B2B and B2C marketing strategies have been utilised to maximise opportunities to sell a hill of beans to whoever might be buying. Advertising in all its forms and via its many mediums has attempted to sell more widgets for its advertisers. Clients have wanted to know how effective their marketing has been beyond the most obvious set of figures, those that tell us how many widgets have been sold.

Metrics Taking the Faith Out of Marketing

These figures are affected by many other variables than, just, the raw effectiveness of the marketing or advertising. Widgets sales may have been hindered by poor admin or logistics within the business, or really crappy sales people. Marketing managers and advertising people have wanted to know how many people have seen the ads and how many have been moved to respond to the message. Enter the internet and metrics, an electronic filing system and measuring device. Metrics have taken the faith aspect out of the art of marketing and attempted to turn it into a quantifiable science.

Examples for Consideration

Here are some stats for those who love the crunch of cold hard numbers:

  • 84% of B2B marketers stated that ‘brand awareness’ was their top goal, according to Content Marketing Institute.
  • 43% of B2C marketers using a documented strategy considered themselves effective vs 33% of those without – same organisation as referenced above.
  • 36% of B2B companies with a documented content marketing strategy declared themselves very effective, three times more than those without said strategy, according to Linked In Technology Marketing Community.

The language used in these three examples, however, still employs expressions like “considered themselves”, which is hardly scientific or objectively definitive. Marketing, it seems, still has that anecdotal air of the snake oil salesman.

  • 70% of B2B organisations & 69% of B2C organisations reported that they increased their content creation from 2013 to 2014 – Content Marketing Institute.
  • 24% of organisations devote 50% of their budgets to content, according to Contently.
  • Facebook drives 25% of all internet traffic – Shareaholic.
  • 63% of B2B marketers rate Linked In as the most effective social media platform.

Measuring stuff and statistics are the new best friends of marketing professionals; just don’t get stuck next to one at your next dinner engagement, unless you want to know how many Pinterest views it takes before someone changes a light bulb.

My Sydney Holiday

by Robert Hamilton

I recently returned to Sydney for a month long working holiday. After living in NSW’s capital city for some 15 years through the 1980s and 1990s, I had departed the harbour city just prior to its 2000 Olympic games and had shifted to regional Australia. My time on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast hinterland and, later, a stint on the Fleurieu Peninsula of South Australia, were welcome respite from big city living. A long-time friend invited me to bunker down in Mosman with him for a work experience vacation. The green leafy streets of the northside of Sydney were still there, but these transport veins were clogged with European SUVs. It was bumper to bumper BMWs, Benzes, and Range Rovers. Yummy mummies and working executives squeezed their way down streets not designed for this level of traffic, in a bid to avoid the slow march on Military Road.

Harbourside Living is Bumper to Bumper

It is difficult to find a flat surface anywhere in a harbourside suburb. Looking up and down these winding side roads, I thought to myself, motor vehicle traffic does, at least, look a lot better on tree lined thoroughfares. Crossing the street at roundabouts is something to approach with vigilance; and it is a credit to Sydney drivers that more pedestrians are not knocked down in the process. Cafes dot the corners of many Mosman avenues, and al frescoe tables are filled with locals sipping lattes. Great coffee is accessible in abundance all over Sydney, as I can personally attest to. Café prices are reasonable, when compared with the price of parking and most other things in Australia’s largest city.

Still a Sticky City

The humidity of Sydney was a clammy shock to my skin and body temperature, after living away from the east coast for several years. Playing golf at Northbridge I was drenched in perspiration after climbing my way up the cliffside pathways and fairways on this delightful little course. Adapting to mountain goat conditions is a prerequisite when traversing these northern harbourside suburbs. My body soon grew accustomed to the steep climbs on streets, apartment stairs and other slopes. I used to joke about never being able to stand still in Sydney, without being shunted backward socially and economically, now, I must circumnavigate the inclination geographically. My heart beat faster and my blood pumped more vigorously, I was alive in this city.

Sydney’s Good Fare

Good food is not as easy to access in regional Australia, especially of the takeaway kind. Cheap eats do not exist in little towns. It takes mass to manifest an abundance of commercial culinary options. The ubiquitous Thai restaurant does not deliver affordable and fantastic fare in the impoverished outer zones of the great southern land. Luckily, I am a dab hand in the kitchen myself and do not overly miss the cheap eats available in larger cities. It was great to be back in Sydney for the food alone. Sensational Thai, fabulous phos, superb pizza, really fresh sushi, and a myriad of other cuisines, tantalised my taste buds for the duration of my stay.

Natural Beauty Harbourside

The essential beauty of the harbour itself is breathtaking. I had forgotten just how dramatic and verdant parts of it were. Looking down from the Mosman national parklands was extraordinary and evidence of why people have stuck around and paid handsomely for the privilege of living harbourside. Boats bob about on blue waters, bushland rises to the top of cliffs, and birds screech and wing their way about the ecosystem. Sometimes you can, even, forget about the mass of humanity perambulating around in their shiny new SUVs.

Driving around these streets I felt squashed in from all sides and worried about making contact with the metal skins of other drivers. Parking was a case of sucking in my belly and hoping to fit in, which I invariably did. It was a perceived reduction of room to move, there was enough space, but it felt constrained. I thought about the recent comments of the ex-Premier Bob Carr and Dick Smith in relation to the accelerated population growth in Australia’s two biggest cities. The high levels of migration, in excess of 100 000 every year for years, has marked Sydney and the lifestyle options it affords its residents.

Looking around the streets of Mosman and the northside suburbs of Sydney, you see a proliferation of Chinese faces. I imagine these are some of the wealthy migrants who have moved to Sydney over the last couple of decades. Those I saw looked happy and were engaged in the common pursuits of this harbourside suburb. Young women were jogging and walking, enjoying the warm weather and exercising their lithe bodies. Mothers were escorting children to and from their SUVs. Mosman is a vibrant and health conscious community in the 21C, judged by the behaviour I observed.

You cannot turn the clock back, ala John Howard and his conception of the Australia of the 1950s. You can, however, question the social and economic settings that exist in any nation or state. You can talk about issues and debate whether these settings are correct in the current climate. Do people in Sydney want more and more population growth? Are we spoiling one of the most beautiful cities in the world, through excessive urban development? Is the Mosman lifestyle worth the hundreds of thousands of dollars it costs to reside there?

Human beings are funny things, we love to crowd together in one spot, despite there being an enormous Australian coastline of opportunities. Businesses will not shift to regional locations and assist in the spread of our population. Those who move to the country, often struggle to find employment and to survive away from the major cities. Democratic governments have narrow short-term vision and will not plan for sensible satellite-city growth. The socialist dictatorships, seem, better at making long-range plans, which cater for their population’s tomorrow. Sydney on the current scale of growth, will be a challenge for commuters, and, I imagine, residents will spend more time within their domiciles.

I was impressed with the natural vivaciousness of the all the locals I encountered during my working holiday. Sydney people are out there living their lives, even, if finding a park takes up considerable amounts of time. Get more people using Uber, and other crowd sharing applications, and it could take some heat out of the traffic situation. I am thinking self-driving cars may make some inroads into the bottlenecks and traffic jams in the, hopefully, not too distant future. Sydney drivers are great at letting each other into lanes and making turns. They are far more mature than drivers in smaller cities around Australia. It is like they all share a secret, about how great their city can be, and they act in concert to alleviate gridlocks and make life a little easier for their fellow human beings.

Sydney brings out the best in most locals and visitors, I reckon, with the majority striving to have a good time. Darling Harbour is the mega multicultural melting pot, where the variety of faces and skin tones is wonderful. A brief pit stop at Maccas, saw Islander girls singing hip hop tunes out loud, tables of Asian youth enjoying the vibrant parade of their peers, and families from all over tucking into a fried treat or two. There are concrete ping pong tables to share for free with those who love their table tennis. Parking is cheaper on Sundays to support families partaking of the facilities. We kicked a footy around on a grassy expanse in the middle of it all.

A trip to IKEA was another eye-opening experience. Carparks full of consumer vehicles that had journeyed out to shop in giant warehouses. Whether it be a mega sports mart, a Bunnings, or the Swedish furniture monolith, these folks were here to have a good time. Sausage sizzles fronted one joint and my friend made a beeline for this carpark gourmet snack. Meatballs were, also, on the menu at the IKEA cafeteria, surrounded by families enjoying the budget offerings. The food was unsurprisingly good, this was Sydney after all. I watched an African church congregation exit their temple, which was taking place over the highway. The brightly coloured dresses caught my attention on this Sunday morning. My friend could not decide on the floor lamp he sought from among the many choices within the IKEA display. I purchased a pizza cutter, a desk lamp, a colander, 3 side plates, and a stainless-steel grater. We left deflated after exploring two immense floors of furniture and accessories, which we were forced to traverse like rats in a maze, which appeared to never end.

A night time visit to Marrickville in search of Pho memories (pronounced fer I am assured) was like journeying to another world. A warm world of spicy Asian smells, flying cockroaches and balmy breezes. The Pho was wonderful, served in an extra-large bowl for my reminiscing friend. One could say it was a long way to go for a bowl of soup, but that would be completely missing the point. Sydney is a kaleidoscope of distinctive microcosms, which sit side by side in different directions. Marrickville is quite unlike Mosman, as Manly differs decidedly from Glebe; and higgeldy piggeldy roadways criss cross suburbs like something planned on LSD. The expression, ‘up hill and down dale’, comes to mind, as I reencounter this city from my previous lives.

As you get older, and, if like me, you have lived like a gypsy, moving around ceaselessly, you look back at periods of your like, like some immortal vampire. Times spent in certain locales take on misty past life shades. Did I really live there, with her, all those years ago? It becomes like those places do not exist anymore, which they don’t, really, the past is gone forever after all. Sydney is a patchwork of memories for me, but this time around, those memories do not call to me like sirens in the night. I am thankfully free of the tug of the past. I can enjoy today for what it is and not what it once was.

I am older and the people I meet are older, it seems. My pursuits are not those of a younger man. I diligently labour at my work, and, then, am happy to quaff a glass of wine and enjoy a tasty meal.  I no longer seek extracurricular entertainment in my surrounds. Is this pulsating city wasted on one of my generation? Is the hassle of getting from A to B worth the grind, if the rewards sought are not of the extraordinary kind? We used to call Sydney, Sin City, half-jokingly, of course. My only sin, these days, is occasional gluttony. Too much of a good thing can kill you, or so they say.

Younger people clamour on the busy thoroughfares in this city. They are all hurriedly on their way to somewhere. I see faces from a hundred different cultures, as these people gambol about in search of prosperity. Broadway shopping centre is a hub on the inner west side of this metropolis, and it attracts large numbers of itinerant city dwellers. A coffee seated here by the vast sloping automated walkways, affords the watcher a parade of Sydneysiders going about the business of consuming and living. Apple has a store here that is more like a temple than a mart of any kind. Sleek people fondle sleek machines in search of who knows what. Light reflects from the devices into faces huddled above, as if these were pilgrims seeking holy benediction from godly relics. My god, Steve Jobs.

Parking is an unavoidable chore for the motorist in Sydney. The amount of time, my friend and I spent in search of affordable parking options was considerable. Councils in this city seem to allow developments to be built without the necessary parking facilities to support their functioning. A trip to the Orpheum cinema complex in Cremorne was not complete without the dance of finding street parking. We watched The Shape of Water, which began inside a building, which was the movie’s Orpheum cinema. This was a story within a story, our very own Russian doll experience. Del Toro exquisitely explored the concept of our relationship to the monster, disability, and morphed genres together like an alchemist. This was the old Mike Walsh cinema, but it has grown in size and dimensions.

Hot stifling nights, without a fan, sleeping on my friend’s son’s red racing car, single bed, were not a highlight of my trip. The view out the window was of the tree lined slopes of Mosman, of houses and apartment buildings bunched together up hill and down dale. I could see a designer bathroom, way in the distance, which overlooked a Sydney harbour view, in my estimation of its orientation. The average house price in Mosman last year, was $3 827 000, according to www.realestate.com.au. The median rental price for a house in Mosman is $2 300 per week, and for an apartment $650.

As the days until my departure dwindled, I felt myself constrict somewhat and my appreciation of the city dimmed. It is a natural cycle within a holiday, when the realisation dawns that you are but one tiny part of a giant machine going about its business. Sydney has its daily regimes defined by the usage of its roads and facilities by its population of residents and visitors. The takeaway food did not taste quite so special anymore. The pokiness of the flat was suddenly more apparent. The sounds of the city were intrusive and annoying. Holidays are like honeymoons, familiarity breeds contempt, and what was charming is, now, chaffing.

Getting out of Sydney is no easy thing on a budget. Airfares are much cheaper these days; but you get what you pay for in this life. Uber would not allow me to register online, there were multiple problems with the sign on for rider’s process. I took a taxi from Northbridge to Mosman and it cost around $40 something. I was already up for in excess of $300 for long term parking at the other end of my journey. I tracked down a minibus service to the airport for $52. On the day of my departure it was late because of traffic. As the bus pulled up 30 minutes late I simultaneously was informed by Virgin that my plane was delayed by some 45 minutes, this would stretch to over an hour in actuality at the airport. At the terminal there was one baggage drop receptionist for every hundred, waiting queued up, passengers. Once we had passed through this grim experience, passengers on our flight were wrongly informed of a gate change twice, before we sat on the tarmac, in our stationary aeroplane awaiting a flight plan from those in command at the tower. Onboard we received a tiny packet of crisps, as our allocated snack. This is what airlines now provide in the age of the cheap fare. Our stewardesses were aggressively cheerful throughout the flight.

Upon landing I did not look back, but Sydney was not to blame, it had just been a bad day.

©Robert Hamilton & Midas Word

How to Write the Perfect Cover Letter

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In this day and age of rapid fire and online job applications it is handy to know how to write the perfect cover letter. You have honed your resume to a keen edge, it is prickling with relevant information regarding your training and experience. Your CV shimmers with PB highlights and character references. Your employment application quiver contains these razor-sharp missives, ready to be dispatched at a moment’s notice in the direction of a potential employer. What about the cover letter? It is often the forgotten weapon in your armoury and a last-minute pain to find in your arsenal.

Cover Letter Tips for Success

You are sitting in front of your computer and applying for a position via one of the many online employment directory services. You are seeking a new opportunity and a fresh start to ply your trade in the world around you. You have carefully ready the job listing, taking note of the salient skills required for the advertised position. You are enthusiastically nodding your head and thinking I can do this, I am the right person for this job. You quickly begin the application process and are immediately confronted by the cover letter question.

No War & Peace Please

Do you wish to write a cover letter, edit one in the system, or omit a cover letter with your application? The first option takes you into a long and winding road, as you narrate War & Peace, listing your suitability for the role. You delve into memories about desirable work experiences from your past. Suddenly the page is filled with copious amounts of information pertaining to your previous career experiences. Recruiting agents and potential employers do not like to receive lengthy essays regarding your entire working life and accompanying insights of wisdom. Keep it brief my friend if you want to be read at all.

Inject Some Humour Into the Proceedings

Better still bring some humour into the equation. New relationships of all persuasions are best begun with a bit of a laugh, if possible. Humour is one of the most attractive human qualities. The ability to make someone laugh is a valuable skill. Don’t over do it, of course, you are not interviewing for a spot on the Comedy Show. Nothing ribald or off colour please. Analyse your resume and see where your cover letter can better illustrate your skills or relevant experience. Use your cover letter as an introduction to the best things about you and why you are the perfect candidate for the job.

Midas Word can write your cover letter in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth and Brisbane for best results.