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ESTO DEFINIRA EL 2012 Por Jorge Ramos Avalos

publicado a la‎(s)‎ 17 ene. 2012 11:50 por Alison McKellar

Enero 2, 2012

El continente americano quedará definido en este 2012 por lo que ocurra en las elecciones en Estados Unidos, México, Venezuela y República Dominicana. Pocas veces coincide que países tan cruciales para la región deciden al mismo tiempo. Esa decisión colectiva nos marcará por muchos años.
Empecemos con el grandote. Estados Unidos se debate entre reelegir al presidente Barack Obama o cambiar de rumbo y escoger a un Republicano para la Casa Blanca. Obama puede presumir por la ejecución de Osama bin Laden, de la muerte del líder libio Mohamar Kadafi y del fin de la guerra en Irak. Pero eso no llenará de votos ninguna urna el 6 de noviembre.
El tema central de la campaña en Estados Unidos será la economía. Con 13 millones de desempleados, pocos pueden decir que las cosas están mejor hoy que hace cuatro años. Y el argumento de los Demócratas de que heredaron una terrible crisis económica de manos de George W. Bush es una simple cuestión académica.
Obama tiene a su favor un nuevo seguro médico para millones. Pero no cumplió con su promesa electoral del 2008 de presentar una reforma migratoria durante su primer año de gobierno. Newt Gingrich y Mitt Romney tienen que demostrar que, más allá de su
tradicionalismo moral y económico, pueden ser mejores líderes que Obama y ofrecer soluciones muy concretas a los problemas que más duelen a los estadounidenses.
En México no hay reelección. Pero el Partido Acción Nacional (PAN) lleva ya dos sexenios en el poder y el desgaste se nota. Con 50 mil muertos, parte del territorio nacional en manos de los narcos y una violencia fuera de control, en México nadie quiere más de lo mismo.
Los tres candidatos panistas –Josefina Vázquez Mota, Santiago Creel y Ernesto Cordero- están obligados a distanciarse del presidente Felipe Calderon si no quieren quedar enterrados en las
urnas.
La frustración ante la criminalidad y la impunidad, la terrible desigualdad económica, el desgaste del PAN y la división en la izquierda explica la ventaja del Partido Revolucionario
Institucional (PRI) en las encuestas. Pero el candidato priísta Enrique Peña Nieto aún no ha demostrado que puede con el país ni que está preparado para ser presidente.
Su candidatura ha estado plagada de olvidos y errores; parece agarrada de hilitos. Si Peña Nieto no prueba más allá de toda duda que es un político capaz y no una simple invención mediática, su imagen tan cuidada por años se puede desplomar para las votaciones del primero de julio.
Andrés Manuel López Obrador, el candidato perredista, se encargará de recordarle al país el desastre que fue el PRI por 71 años –fraudes, corrupción, asesinatos, abusos- y lo poco que ha
cambiado el país con el PAN. Pero la pregunta es si él es el candidato del cambio.
Cambio es la esperanza de millones en Venezuela. Esta parece ser la última oportunidad de la oposición para sacar a Hugo Chávez del poder por las buenas, es decir, con los votos. Seis candidatos definirán el 12 de febrero quien se enfrenta al caudillo el siete de octubre.
El problema es muy sencillo. Chávez lo controla casi todo en el país, incluyendo al organismo que cuenta los votos. Habrá que arrancarlo del poder con una victoria contundente o
no se irá del palacio de Miraflores. La enfermedad de Chávez, que tantas simpatías le causó en un principio, ahora le pesa.
Muchos venezolanos no saben si contarán con él en el futuro y en Venezuela no hay chavismo sin Chávez. Toda una generación de boliburgueses –chavistas que se han beneficiado del despilfarro oficial- harán lo posible para mantener atornillado a Chávez en la presidencia. Es su linterna mágica.
Pero en República Dominicana nadie parece estar viendo al futuro. Las opciones son solo hacia atrás, según las últimas encuestas. Los dominicanos escogerán el 20 de mayo entre el continuismo –con Danilo Medina y la actual primera dama, Margarita Cedeño como candidata a la vicepresidencia del Partido de la Liberación Dominicana- y el pasado, representado por el expresidente Hipólito Mejía del Partido Revolucionario Dominicano. (Aquí está mi extraña
entrevista con Mejía en el 2007 http://bit.ly/qkslZB )
¿Dónde están los candidatos jóvenes, con ideas nuevas, para República Dominicana? ¿Por qué la vitalidad de la comunidad dominicana en Estados Unidos no se ve en la isla?
El continente americano se define en este 2012 con estas cuatro elecciones, aunque siento una desilusión generalizada con las opciones disponibles. Pero, como quiera que sea, será imposible no ser afectados, independientemente del país donde vivas, por lo que decidan norteamericanos, mexicanos, venezolanos y dominicanos.
En este mundo globalizado, todo voto en otro país es, también, un voto a nivel local. Ya nadie vive solo. Para bien y para mal.

           

How Immigrants Create More Jobs

publicado a la‎(s)‎ 19 dic. 2010 21:19 por Alison McKellar

By Tyler Cowen


IN the campaign season now drawing to a close, immigration and globalization have often been described as economic threats. The truth, however, is more complex.

Over all, it turns out that the continuing arrival of immigrants to American shores is encouraging business activity here, thereby producing more jobs, according to a new study. Its authors argue that the easier it is to find cheap immigrant labor at home, the less likely that production will relocate offshore.

The study, “Immigration, Offshoring and American Jobs,” was written by two economics professors — Gianmarco I. P. Ottaviano of Bocconi University in Italy and Giovanni Peri of the University of California, Davis — along with Greg C. Wright, a Ph.D. candidate at Davis.

The study notes that when companies move production offshore, they pull away not only low-wage jobs but also many related jobs, which can include high-skilled managers, tech repairmen and others. But hiring immigrants even for low-wage jobs helps keep many kinds of jobs in the United States, the authors say. In fact, when immigration is rising as a share of employment in an economic sector, offshoring tends to be falling, and vice versa, the study found.

In other words, immigrants may be competing more with offshored workers than with other laborers in America.

American economic sectors with much exposure to immigration fared better in employment growth than more insulated sectors, even for low-skilled labor, the authors found. It’s hard to prove cause and effect in these studies, or to measure all relevant variables precisely, but at the very least, the evidence in this study doesn’t offer much support for the popular bias against immigration, and globalization more generally.

We see the job-creating benefits of trade and immigration every day, even if we don’t always recognize them. As other papers by Professor Peri have shown, low-skilled immigrants usually fill gaps in American labor markets and generally enhance domestic business prospects rather than destroy jobs; this occurs because of an important phenomenon, the presence of what are known as “complementary” workers, namely those who add value to the work of others. An immigrant will often take a job as a construction worker, a drywall installer or a taxi driver, for example, while a native-born worker may end up being promoted to supervisor. And as immigrants succeed here, they help the United States develop strong business and social networks with the rest of the world, making it easier for us to do business with India, Brazil and most other countries, again creating more jobs.

For all the talk of the dangers of offshoring, there is a related trend that we might call in-shoring. Dell or Apple computers may be assembled overseas, for example, but those products aid many American businesses at home and allow them to expand here. A cheap call center in India can encourage a company to open up more branches to sell its products in the United States.

Those are further examples of how some laborers can complement others; it’s not all about one group of people taking jobs from another. Job creation and destruction are so intertwined that, over all, the authors find no statistically verifiable connection between offshoring and net creation of American jobs.

We’re all worried about unemployment, but the problem is usually rooted in macroeconomic conditions, not in immigration or offshoring. (According to a Pew study, the number of illegal immigrants from the Caribbean and Latin America fell 22 percent from 2007 to 2009; their departure has not had much effect on the weak United States job market.) Remember, too, that each immigrant consumes products sold here, therefore also helping to create jobs.

When it comes to immigration, positive-sum thinking is too often absent in public discourse these days. Debates on immigration and labor markets reflect some common human cognitive failings — namely, that we are quicker to vilify groups of different “others” than we are to blame impersonal forces.

Consider the fears that foreign competition, offshoring and immigration have destroyed large numbers of American jobs. In reality, more workers have probably been displaced by machines — as happens every time computer software eliminates a task formerly performed by a clerical worker. Yet we know that machines and computers do the economy far more good than harm and that they create more jobs than they destroy.

Nonetheless, we find it hard to transfer this attitude to our dealings with immigrants, no matter how logically similar “cost-saving machines” and “cost-saving foreign labor” may be in their economic effects. Similarly, tariffs or other protectionist measures aimed at foreign nations have a certain populist appeal, even though their economic effects may be roughly the same as those caused by a natural disaster that closes shipping lanes or chokes off a domestic harbor.

AS a nation, we spend far too much time and energy worrying about foreigners. We also end up with more combative international relations with our economic partners, like Mexico and China, than reason can justify. In turn, they are more economically suspicious of us than they ought to be, which cements a negative dynamic into place.

The current skepticism has deadlocked prospects for immigration reform, even though no one is particularly happy with the status quo. Against that trend, we should be looking to immigration as a creative force in our economic favor. Allowing in more immigrants, skilled and unskilled, wouldn’t just create jobs. It could increase tax revenue, help finance Social Security, bring new home buyers and improve the business environment.

The world economy will most likely grow more open, and we should be prepared to compete. That means recognizing the benefits — including the employment benefits — that immigrants bring to this country.

Tyler Cowen is a professor of economics at George Mason University.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/31/business/economy/31view.html?_r=1

Speaking More Than One Language May Slow The Aging Process In The Mind

publicado a la‎(s)‎ 22 oct. 2010 20:13 por Alison McKellar

ScienceDaily (May 8, 2008) — Children who speak a second or third language may have an unexpected advantage later in life, a new Tel Aviv University study has found. Knowing and speaking many languages may protect the brain against the effects of aging.

Dr. Gitit Kavé, a clinical neuro-psychologist from the Herczeg Institute on Aging at Tel Aviv University, together with her colleagues Nitza Eyal, Aviva Shorek, and Jiska Cohen-Manfield, discovered recently that senior citizens who speak more languages test for better cognitive functioning. The results of her study were published in the journal Psychology and Aging.
However, Kavé says that one should approach these findings with caution. “There is no sure-fire recipe for avoiding the pitfalls of mental aging. But using a second or third language may help prolong the good years,” she advises.
Exercising the Brain
A person who speaks more languages is likely to be more clear-minded at an older age, she says, in effect “exercising” his or her brain more than those who are monolingual. Languages may create new links in the brain, contributing to this strengthening effect.
The research was based on a survey taken in 1989 on people between the ages of 75 and 95. Each person was asked how many languages he or she knew, what his or her mother tongue was, and which language he or she spoke best. The researchers compared bilingual speakers to tri- and multilingual speakers.
Analyzing the results, the researchers found that the more languages a person spoke, the better his or her cognitive state was. A person’s level of education was also strongly associated with cognitive state, but the number of languages contributed to the prediction of cognitive fitness beyond the effect of education alone.
A Matter of Words, Not Degrees
Although the easiest way to explain the findings was to point out the relationship between higher education and number of languages, this was not the whole story. In fact, Dr. Kavé says, “We found that more languages were most significantly correlated with cognitive state in those people who had no education at all."
Dr. Kavé, however, adds a note when interpreting the statistics. “The study looked at the final result and not the cause,” she says.
Use It or Lose It?
A future question for research, according to Kavé, is whether languages reflect an initial potential for prolonged mental fitness, or that learning and speaking more languages actually do something to the brain over time.
While the controversy continues as to whether or not parents should introduce their young children to a second language, Kavé thinks that learning a new language is only a good thing, even if it isn’t intended to stave off mental decline in old age.
“In my professional opinion, learning a new language can only do good things,” she believes. “Other languages are good for you at any age. They allow for a flexibility of thought and a channel for understanding another culture better, as well as your own,” says Kavé.
Editor's Note: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

SEXA

publicado a la‎(s)‎ 22 sept. 2010 8:55 por Alison McKellar

http://perteneceraunomismo.blogspot.com/2010/04/cuento-de-luis-fernando-verissimo-sexa.html?spref=fb

SEXA
–Papá...
–¿Hummm?
–¿Cómo el es femenino de sexo?
–¿Qué?
–El femenino de sexo.
–No tiene.
–¿Sexo no tiene femenino?
–No.
–¿Sólo hay sexo masculino?
–Sí. Es decir, no. Existen dos sexos. Masculino y femenino.
–¿Y cómo es el femenino de sexo?
–No tiene femenino. Sexo es siempre masculino.
–Pero vos mismo dijiste que hay sexo masculino y femenino.
–El sexo puede ser masculino o femenino. La palabra "sexo" es masculina. El sexo masculino, el sexo femenino.
–¿No debería ser "la sexa"?
–No.
–¿Por qué no?
–¡Porque no! Disculpá. Porque no. "Sexo" es siempre masculino.
–¿El sexo de la mujer es masculino?
–Sí. ¡No! El sexo de la mujer es femenino.
–Y ¿cómo es el femenino?
–Sexo también. Igual al del hombre.
–¿El sexo de la mujer es igual al del hombre?
–Sí. Es decir... Mirá. Hay sexo masculino y sexo femenino, ¿no es cierto?
–Sí.
–Son dos cosas diferentes.
–Entonces, ¿cómo es el femenino de sexo?
–Es igual al masculino.
–Pero, ¿no son diferentes?
–No. O, ¡sí! Pero la palabra es la misma. Cambia el sexo, pero no cambia la palabra.
–Pero entonces no cambia el sexo. Es siempre masculino.
–La palabra es masculina.
–No. "La palabra" es femenino. Si fuese masculino sería "el pal..."
–¡Basta! Andá a jugar.
El muchacho sale y la madre entra. El padre comenta:
–Tenemos que vigilar al pendejo...
–¿Por qué?
–Sólo piensa en gramática.

Luis Fernando Verissimo Nació en Brasil en 1938, es escritor y periodista.

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