SOCIOINTERCULTURAL EVALUATION FOR INVESTMENT PROJECTS IN INDIGENOUS COMMUNITIES WIXARIKAS

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This paper analyzes aspects of the problem that occurs in the social evaluation of investment projects for indigenous communities' Wixarikas (Huichols). A project in this context make particularly complex the evaluation. On the socioeconomic
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  British Journal of Social Sciences   URL: http://www.bjss.baar.org.uk /current-issue.html ISSN: XXXX-XXXX  Vol. 1, No. 1, pp 1-19, October 2012      SOCIOINTERCULTURAL EVALUATION FOR INVESTMENT PROJECTS IN INDIGENOUS COMMUNITIES WIXARIKAS Ernesto Guerra-García, Ph.D. Universidad Autónoma Indígena de México drguerragarcia@gmail.com  José G. Vargas-Hernández, M.B.A.; Ph.D. University Center for Economic and Managerial Sciences, University of Guadalajara  jvargas2006@gmail.com  María Eugenia Meza-Hernández, M.S. Universidad Autónoma Indígena de México uaim_mmeza@yahoo.com  ABSTRACT his paper analyzes aspects of the problem that occurs in the social evaluation of investment projects for indigenous communities’ Wixarikas (Huichols). A project in this context make particularly complex the evaluation. On the socio-economic perspective with which it is evaluated comes into play the incommensurability of social and intercultural issues that cannot be ignored. It is addressed the questions that have arisen in the development of this type of project and presents a theoretical framework for the methodological proposal of socio-cultural evaluation. Keywords  : Social evaluation of investment projects, socio-intercultural evaluation, indigenous communities, Wixarikas  . T  British Journal of Social Sciences   URL: http://www.bjss.baar.org.uk /current-issue.html ISSN: XXXX-XXXX  Vol. 1, No. 1, pp 1-19, October 2012       Introduction While developing investment projects for the implementation of alternative energy in communities Wixarikas (hichols) in Mexico in 2010, it was found that there were a number of issues to discuss in the theory of social evaluation of investment projects when they are applied in an indigenous context. These projects aim to improve the conditions of Wixarikas and other indigenous communities through promoting basic infrastructure. This basic infrastructure also enables the generation of projects with their own principles and approaches in line with the cultures and economic logics of the involved ethnic groups, as well as their social and environmental rationality, especially how they relate with Mother Earth (Gómez González, Gómez Calderón and Gómez Calderón, 2008). In Wixarikas communities, the fact of assessing the possibility of provide electric service through alternative energies presents in advance externalities which can be considered negative to their culture, as this service would involve greater use of television sets, radios and other media which open the possibility of extending an acculturating process that despite the benefits, negative effects could be even more undesirable. However, the installation of all services would result in improving their means of agricultural production through the use of machinery and equipment that cannot be used without electricity. But the simple fact of wanting to help Wixarikas as part of government policy may have racist implications to place the national mestizo culture above them. This is not a simple matter; the sample is that despite the high interest in this culture, in recent decades, the government policy has not been able to contribute to significantly improve the economic and material well-being of this ethnic group (Wiegand and Fikes, 2004: 54). Externalities are found in opposed directions and they should be valued them both from the perspectives of the indigenous communities and the non-indigenous society. Clearly, it is evident that the non-indigenous culture has a greater weight and that decisions will have a particular bias in this direction, but through a series of ethical issues in public policy, they could be taken into account qualifications of the indigenous world to try to balance their interests. For example, unlike the non-indigenous world, for Huichol peasants both production and religion are so closely linked with economic and social life which apparently show a lack of interest in the adoption and adaptation of technology (Torres Contreras, 2000: 162 - 163). The Huichol Serrano uses his time not devoted to alternative working techniques in the performance of ritual acts jointly with his family and other families in the social and production environment production (Torres Contreras, 2000: 163). This does not mean that W  ixarikas  are isolated from the mestizo society . T he persistence of their culture and community can be explained through processes of identification to the world, but the specificity of their ethnicity is due in part to the creative integration of what is not their culture (Florentine Beimbord and Peñaflor Romandie, 2009: 13). The complex skein for the analysis of projects in these contexts begins with the consideration that in the social assessment, mentions Fontaine (1999), externalities allow to understand the feasibility of promoting a non-profit project and socio-intercultural context. Externalities are multi-way and should be analyzed in intra-social, the intra-cultural and inter-cultural (Guerra García, 2004).  British Journal of Social Sciences   URL: http://www.bjss.baar.org.uk /current-issue.html ISSN: XXXX-XXXX  Vol. 1, No. 1, pp 1-19, October 2012       This research refers to intra-societal aspects when what it is analyzed is not unique to one of the participating cultures involved and is not put into consideration in inter-cultural relationships. The intra-societal aspects are all those cross-cutting issues in society regardless of the cultures involved, such as poverty, technology and welfare that concern to all human beings. The inter-cultural affairs, on the other hand, are placed on the discussion of the interrelationships among cultures such as the use of resources, domination, language shifts and displacements, asymmetries, differences of understanding, among others. Intra-cultural refers to the differences within the ethnic and cultural groups and that does not give a clear and uniform idea of what a community or people want. By introducing this methodological perspective of analysis that it has been called socio-intercultural (Guerra García, 2004) in the social assessment, it opens an area of research to generate models that describe the categories to consider in this type of environment. To pay to the issue is necessary to take into account the fact that decision-makers and intended beneficiaries of the project are from different cultures necessarily involves a "poli-relativism", i.e., to consider all possible relative positions on the evaluation at the same time. That is, if relativity is understood as the application of criteria and calculations from a determined particular perspective accepting that there are certain other points of reference, then, implies not only the acceptance of the existence of other criteria, but the development of mechanisms to consider these other benchmarks and other ways of seeing the world in her assessment of a project. This implies that the assessment must be also performed as 'multi-criteria', i.e. recognizing that treating complex problems such as those presented in ethno-regions will need to consider the social, cultural, intercultural and intra-cultural un-commensurabilities present in these situations. This incommensurability refers to the presence of multiple legitimate values in society and culture, diverse views and conflicting that result not only the in need to involve all the different actors and agents in the decision making process, but understand the policies of the State implied to the effect (Vargas Isaza, 2005). The incommensurability is associated with the multidimensional nature of complexity and the use of different dimensions of socio-intercultural analysis. Therefore, this paper is aimed to answer the following research questions: How to make a   socio - intercultural   assessment of an investment project in an indigenous community? O r more specifically ,  what are the categories to be considered in these assessments?   These issues have been analyzed for the case mentioned and briefly described in this article. Evaluation of investment projects  It is understood as an investment project to be considered as the formulation of an intervention as a mean to study an existing problem and analyzing the feasibility of achieving a desired change at least in some parts of society. The investment project is one where is delineated with clarity and detail what is to be achieved and also how to do, allowing to justify the intervention from different points of view to give or not give solution to a problem (Andia Valencia, 2010: 28-29).  British Journal of Social Sciences   URL: http://www.bjss.baar.org.uk /current-issue.html ISSN: XXXX-XXXX  Vol. 1, No. 1, pp 1-19, October 2012       Before achieving any activity are assessed the possibilities and potential for the project or projects. In any case, even when the target is private, the assessment should be considered a form of social research. …applied, systematic, planed and directed, on which is supported a judgment about the merit and value of different components of a program, in such a way that serve as a basis or guide for making rational and intelligent decisions between courses of action (Matos Bazó, 2005:23). Evaluation of investment projects  The objectives of any project evaluation, private or social, are always aimed at developing or improving living conditions. The development of the formulation comprises activities from the intention until the end and how it is to be put into operation the project. The project evaluation, although not mentioned in many methodologies, borrows from making public policy criteria already established or commonly accepted. The private evaluation of investment projects provides criteria that mostly come from public policies aligned with an individualistic perspective they put on a secondary level the involvement made to the community. The social assessment of investment projects, however, departs from public policy underlining the common good as a priority. It is to be considered that public policies can be placed in streams and approaches of economic thought. Classical economics often includes only the variables that are monetary and cash, but the latest trend precisely it includes all aspects of the social fabric that could not be strongly measured though can be qualified. Especially when considering the known effects as externalities previously thought to be indirect or of minor importance, but increasingly are taking on a greater significance. Without putting aside the economic and financial technicalities, the fact that many externalities are hardly difficult to quantify in general makes more difficult to evaluate. Evaluation is one of the more difficult concepts to address in socio-inter-cultural environments because is generally not possible to implement a valid metric valid and accepted by all stakeholders. In addition, the aspects that commonly are considered to have universal validity are questioned in the presence of other ways of seeing and perceiving the world. Then for this case, to evaluate means to clarify any doubts that the operation of a project might have before it is applied from the poli-relativism and multi-criteria mentioned. Such type of projects do not always represent a competition for the allocation of scarce resources, where the guiding principle of the allocation would be given by an indicator of profitability, but there are other equally valid criteria that deal with socio-inter-cultural issues where cultural relativism provides different views that may converge or diverge. The uncertainties that arise are due in large part because of problems involving socio-inter-cultural information and the difficulties for prescribing and determining the final outcome (Arroyave, 1994).  British Journal of Social Sciences   URL: http://www.bjss.baar.org.uk /current-issue.html ISSN: XXXX-XXXX  Vol. 1, No. 1, pp 1-19, October 2012       The social economics approach The crisis of development models has allowed the visibility of some ancestral ways of understanding the economy and the emergence of innovations that have being called the third sector economy, solidarity economy, barter economy, popular economy or social economy (Bastidas Delgado and Richer, 2001: 1). In fact, any economy is social. However, when the focus is on private, all considerations are set aside of the other actors involved in the whole economy (Bastidas Delgado and Richer, 2001:2). The purpose is not to add a more endogenous variable but predominantly recognize the social dimensions of the economy (Izquierdo, 2009:5). The aim of the social economy is not for profit, it is a welfare-oriented model of groups and communities (Pujol, 2003:36). So, an alternative energy project in these communities ensures sustainability, even if the investment cost is high and apparently did not have a positive financial result. The good life of the community and social synergies generation may be sufficient to justify a project of this type. From this perspective, the State would pursue the aim to improve conditions in communities. In addition, the social economy is diffused through a process of recognition of the poor circumstances in which there is an indigenous community and the debt for over 500 years of Mexican society has for this sector (Bastidas Delgado and Richer, 2001: 2). In modern times, where it is increasingly clear responsibility for each of the people, where cooperation is becoming increasingly necessary and where it is not considered that the individual good necessarily leads to the common good, social approach is increasingly most needed, even in private projects. In this sense the social economy is an alternative approach consistent with the proposed socio-inter-cultural assessment. Precisely for the mentioned case, it is necessary to address an indigenous economy, understood as one form of social economy in Latin America, which starts from a vision of a plenty fulfillment life of human beings in their relationship with nature and its search for the good of all. For example, for the case of Wixarikas  is known that …each family member contributes something to the party and also he has the right to be helped to open his land to plant, to help him clean the fields, to harvest and to help him hunt the deer (Torres, 2000: 162). This gives a sample of a different economic dynamics of the mestizos. In itself the indigenous economy looks: …to ensure to the indigenous peoples their well-being in all spheres of life, being this philosophical basis of welfare and lays the groundwork for the implementation of the indigenous economy (Consejo Indígena de Centroamérica, 2010). The indigenous economy is composed of traditional practices to adapt to a particular environment which consist of the following features: a) the production that determines a given landscape according to the particular form of territory appropriation of each tribe worked with traditional techniques, b ) distribution, where different mechanisms operate to the intermediation as reciprocity and redistribution c) consumption, characterized by the
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