The most gullible people in the world - Harvard
FROM A DISTANCE - Carmen N. Pedrosa () - March 26, 2011 - 12:00am

I would have been among many other Filipinos who would have said the same thing, but it is just as well that a Harvard study beat us to it. “The causes of this gullibility include the inability to question information and an over-reliance on interpersonal sources,” says the study.

“For Filipinos, a tsunami warning from the government does less than a mother’s directive to avoid the sea because of syokoys (mermen),” it notes. The Harvard Institute of Socio-Political Progression (HIS-PP) did not just say Filipinos were gullible, it said it was the first among “the world’s most gullible races.”

This is a serious allegation we should not ignore. For those who do not have access to the internet I found this item in a blog called “The Mosquito Press.” It may seem like a trivial source but according to the authors the study involved “content analyses of over 500,000 historical documents from 300 different societies. So we better take it seriously.

“What’s curious about the Filipino condition is that despite a respectable literacy rate, many of its people still believe that condoms cause cancer — or that Appolo Quiboloy, CEO of Kingdom of Jesus Christ, The Name Above Every Name, Inc. is the son of God,” said the report.

We are gullible because we are not able or do not question information. We prefer to believe what other persons tell us.

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It is good news for the Xstrata mining project in Peru. The Peruvian authorities have just approved the Las Bambas project environmental and social impact study for $4.2 billion copper project in southern Peru.

Peru’s Ministry of Energy and Mines (MEM) has announced the approval of the Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) for the $4.2 billion Las Bambas copper project in southern Peru’s Apurimac Region. 

Xstrata Copper chief executive Charlie Sartain said: ”Over the past six years, we have rapidly transformed Las Bambas from an early stage exploration prospect with no defined mineral resources to a significant project with resources of over one billion tons. (By the way, Mr. Sartain was in Manila recently to look over the progress in their Tampakan project.)

The development of Las Bambas will generate an average of approximately 3,600 direct jobs during construction and 1,350 permanent jobs once in operation.

In August 2010, Xstrata announced approval to construct Las Bambas subject to regulatory approvals.

Back to the Philippines. The news is bleak with the local government of South Cotabato “bent” on enforcing a ban on open pit mining. The Xstrata project here is even bigger than Peru’s. South Cotabato is the site of a $5.9-billion copper-gold project said to be one of the biggest in the world.

This is unfortunate because the Tampakan copper-gold mine, could contribute one percent of the country’s gross domestic product and boost economic growth. It may be interesting to look into why local officials are “bent” on stopping mining in the area where the indigenous peoples themselves have said they welcomed it as the hope of improving their lives. Is it a case of people vs. politicians? Let’s see how this will play out under the Aquino government.

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The siege of Libya is more complex than merely a people’s protest. We sympathize with Libyans who want a more democratic country or a regime change. But something is worrying about the way it is being implemented through foreign intervention.

There was a story that went around (perhaps apocryphal) that when television screens flashed the pictures of Iraq’s Saddam Hussein being pulled out of his hiding place by American soldiers, Saif Gaddafi was able to convince his father that it was time to open up Libya despite the opposition of security forces and the elite of Gaddafi’s court.

Time Magazine interviewed Saif last year and told it that he was “at the heart of a political battle for his country’s future.” The article quoted Saif, “The whole world is going through more freedom, more democracy. We want to see those changes now, instead of 10 years’ time, or 15 years.”

Saif convinced his father to abandon Libya’s chemical- and nuclear-weapons program. This was welcomed by the West and opened up the country since the Lockerbie tragedy.

Time wrote that “trade embargoes and an air blockade that had sealed most Libyans from the outside world for decades were lifted. In late 2008 the US confirmed its first ambassador to Tripoli since 1972. More than 100 oil companies, including US majors like Chevron and ExxonMobil, and European giants such as BP and Royal Dutch Shell, arrived to tap Libya’s vast oil reserves.

“Construction crews now bang and clatter across Tripoli, building apartments and office towers, Western hotels (InterContinental, Starwood and Marriott are all working on new hotels) and a new airport.”

The first US ambassador to Libya in 37 years hosted 100 Libyan women at his house one February evening for the first American cultural event in decades. American singers shimmied across the stage in tight dresses, belting out Broadway show tunes like “All That Jazz” and “New York.”

“For years this place was Slumberland,” says Sami Zaptia, a Libyan business consultant in Tripoli. “Now everyone wants to get on the Libya gravy train.”

What happened? Did Gaddafi fils et pere renege on promises?

*      *      *

You have to look for clues. Most interesting was a report by CNN correspondent Nic Robertson who contradicted “allegations that reporters in Libya were used by Gaddafi’s forces as a human shield.“

Asked to explain what he knew about Fox News reporting that he, a Reuters crew, some other journalists, were effectively used by Gaddafi as a human shield to prevent Allied fighter planes from coming in and attacking a certain position.

Nic Robertson answered “this allegation is outrageous and it’s absolutely hypocritical. You know, when you come to somewhere like Libya, you expect lies and deceit from the dictatorship here. You don’t expect it from the other journalists. Why do I say that?

“Because Fox News has said that they didn’t send somebody on this trip last night because they said it was a quote, unquote, ‘propaganda trip.’

“So that’s why I say what Fox is saying is outrageous and hypocritical. And the idea that we were some kind of human shields is nuts.”

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