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Material World

Material World: The Road From Burma

Material World

The plight and persecution of the Rohingya have featured in the columns of Material World previously. Like so many problems thrown up by capitalism, the topic slips out of the headlines only to return later with greater tragedy.

Tens of thousands are fleeing Myanmar as best they can, driven from their homes by the violence of Myanmar government troops and accompanying vigilante Burmese mobs inflicting massacres and atrocities, in what now appears customary practice in ethnic cleansing operations. Yet the Rohingya in search of sanctuary find it thwarted by Bangladesh and India border guards,

Material World: It's Not Overpopulation, it's the System

Material World

    'We must find new lands from which we can easily obtain raw materials and at the same time exploit the cheap slave  labour  that is available from the natives of the colonies...'- Cecil Rhodes

Material World: The Mad Cow Disease of India

Material World

Nation-states require symbols and slogans to promote patriotism. Often the identification is a religious one. India's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government under Prime Minister Modi has been described as a Hindutva regime proclaiming India as a Hindu country. The move of the Modi government on 26 May to impose a ban on the sale of cows and buffaloes for slaughter at animal markets across India was a populist move aimed at gaining support from the Hindu majority. It is well-known that the cow is a sacred animal in India but beef is consumed by many and beef is on the menu of many Indian citizens including a substantial section of Hindus as well, many Dalits, for instance. 42 percent of the Indian population are Dalits, Muslims, Adivasis, Christians and Sikhs. None of these populations are particularly put off by the consumption of meat, with some of these populations regularly including beef in their diet.

Material World: One Thing the Romans Did For Us

Material World

What did the Romans ever do for us – other than pass down their concepts of property? For instance, land in Rome could either be ‘private property’, res privata or managed by the city authorities such as a park in which case it would be part of the res publica. Res nullis referred to land belonging to no-one, ownerless, therefore, it was available for occupation, the justification on which the British settlement in Australia was based despite it already being the home of indigenous peoples. However, res communis property was territory not subject to the legal title of anyone.

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