Money, labor, and goods - economy:
Geography matters. The size of the territory and its quality, the size of the population and the quality of their education, the internal politics and the geopolitical relations affect the productivity of a country. Generally, economy is defined as “the activities related to the production and distribution of goods and services in a particular geographic region." The system of trade and industry by which the wealth of a country is made and used, i.e., the economic system of a country changes though time. Earlier economic systems involved kings and ecclesiastical hierarchies that controlled the land and the land use and services of citizens. Different methods of controls were experienced in different parts of the globe. In our century the economic systems evolved into two competing economies, the so-called command economy with a centralized system, and the market economy with its private enterprise that is rooted in democracy. The implementation of command economy failed to produce economic progress when contrasted to market economy. People now speak of the New Economy based on globalization and information technology both of which are basically controlled by Western economies. Another type, called the emerging, or developing, market economy (EME), a term coined in 1981, better explains the “economy with low-to-middle per capita income. Such countries constitute approximately 80% of the global population, representing about 20% of the world's economies. EMEs are characterized as transitional, meaning they are in the process of moving from a closed to an open market economy while building accountability within the system. Besides implementing reforms, an EME is also most likely receiving aid and guidance from large donor countries and/or world organizations such as the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.” [M1]
Short descriptions of money, labor, and land are provided below as a way of understanding the history of economy, and in particular the economy of Ethiopia .
Wealth and how it is measured has changed through time, and money is some measure of wealth. The measure becomes apparent during an exchange of goods and services. An exchange of property used to be accomplished by bartering before money was represented by coins or paper notes.
a) Bartering to using items of intrinsic value .
A person might barter his cow for a donkey and a sack of wheat to even out the exchange. The sack of wheat here, which has an intrinsic value, facilitated the exchange. Subsequently, the goods that served to facilitate the exchange were directly used to purchase property. Thus, salt, cattle, grains, and tobacco, etc., became the means of exchange. For example, in colonial USA tobacco was a means of exchange. Then, other commodities such as gold and silver, particularly stamped in coins to ascertain their purity became the means of exchange. In the USA such metals were used during the time of the writing of the US constitution. In Ethiopia, coinage was mostly used for conducting international trade for about 350 years from AD 270 to 619 during the prosperous Aksumite period. [M2] Perhaps the skilled workers of the Aksumite period were paid in coinage, or in grants of land, ships, or chariots, or combinations of such. In contrast, the common laborers would have likely been paid as follows. The emperor requests his kings and lords to supply for the construction of an obelisk. They will comply by paying in one of three ways, a) pay in coinage, b) pay in kind (offer cattle, grains and processed food), and c) pay in services (i.e., send their people to work in the quarry for a given number of days, weeks or months-corvee labor). Most likely they provided combinations of the above. Such practices likely operated up to the 20th century. In medieval Ethiopia and later in addition to silver pieces ("patacar") and salt ("Amole Tchew ") was the means of exchange. The practice of paying by combinations of coinage, food, and other grants has filtered down to paying for servants as was described by the 18th century traveler to Ethiopia, James Bruce. For comparison: 'corvee' labor was used throughout Europe and the United States down to the 19th century for purposes of construction of roads and bridges, and even the war against Vietnam in1965 was organized on Corvee basis. [M3] In the 19th century, Emperors Tewodros, and Menelik, used combinations of payment with a large dose of "corvee" labor for construction of roads. In Ethiopia, "corvee" labor was used because the system of government did not have enough coinage. Remarkably, Ethiopians adapted the Austrian coin, the Maria Teresa, in the 19th century, and Emperor Menelik had minted coinage with his picture on them. Yet, the coinage did not significantly reduce the need for corvee labor. At any rate, the coins used for exchange purposes were of silver and/or gold and had intrinsic value.
Coinage had permitted individuals to lease land and other property by issuing bonds. The issuer of a bond and his bondholders usually specify interest rate, maturity date, convertibility, and other terms in a written agreement called an indenture. As a safeguard against counterfeiting, the indebtedness agreement was written on skin in medieval times in the West, and the copies given to all parties were placed together and cut at the margins in a wavy, irregular pattern, uniquely identifying the authenticity of each copy, hence the name indenture. [M4] The ban of usury by religion fathers did not permit Ethiopia to participate in the issuing of bonds. However, the ban on usury did not prohibit having, though not in written form, “indentured servants”, or employees that have given up the right to their labor in exchange for care and protection - that is why kings and lords can pay “in services” by using (or abusing) their servants or employees whom they were said to protect and care for.
b) Paper notes.
Paper notes were introduced and began to represent coinage of metal that was stored elsewhere. Slowly, more paper notes than were supported by placing equivalent amount of coinage resulted in the implementation of what is known as "fractional reserve banking." [M5] Such practice led to run on banks and bank failures. Governments interfered and began regulating banking and centralizing them. In short order, the governments became the greater abusers. Some governments, including the Ethiopian, began to issue paper money themselves, while others such as the USA allowed the formation of the federal reserve system (a banking cartel). And as Galbraith continued to explain: "It is now possible for a small elite group, both in government and out of government, to quietly and imperceptibly control the entire realm of human affair." [M6]
c) Money as an information system.
Money now is better defined as " an information system we use to deploy human effort." Money is likened to the blood of the human anatomy that carries different nutrients to the cells that use the nutrients but not the blood itself. The cells are likened by economists to economic units such as a household or clusters of households. [M7] More and more, however, the husband, the wife, and each child in the household, and even babies, and body parts of individuals are monetized. Women's reproductive organs are rented to fertilize the eggs of others. Blood, kidneys, and other body parts are sold for money. Hence, the mighty dollar is redefining human existence, and the politicians are forced to talk of family values, though such values are being undermined by the monetary system.
d) How is money created?
Money is created when someone borrows bank notes, which further implies that borrowing for productive purposes is investing. "Commercial banks lend something which they create out of nothing, and then require that the 'borrower' pay interest for the privilege. Not only that, but banks usually require that the borrower pledge some 'collateral,' which they will confiscate if the borrower fails to repay the loan. The principal amount is created at the time the loan is made, but the money to pay the interest due in subsequent periods has not yet been created. Thus, debtors, in the aggregate, are in an impossible situation of always owing more money than there is in existence. They must vie with one another for the available money in order to avoid defaulting on their loans and losing their collateral.--- Lending money at interest, either directly or through financial intermediaries is one of the primary mechanisms by which the rich get richer and the poor get poorer." [M6] Hence money is pumped from the poor to the rich. "The primary obstacle to the improvement of the human condition is the general reliance upon the current structure of global finance and the nature of its primary element, Money." [M8]
Labor is a process ( the labor-process) that results in the attainment of a purpose (in life or the necessary segments of life). Three purposes, the biological, spiritual, and historical (what Karl Marx identified as the purpose to "make history") seem to be important in life. [M9]
a) The biological purpose.
The biological purpose is to adjust to an environment or have a habitation, grow, reproduce, eat, and die (or be eaten). In the biological purpose, the "labor-process" begins with bacteria and plants that make their own food ( autotrophs) by converting inorganic carbon into organic carbon (glucose). The conversion ( photosynthesis) involves changing solar energy (sun's light) into chemical energy that is stored in glucose. The autotrophs perform a sophisticated chemical reaction as they transform light and heat energy of their environment into chemical energy that they story within their body. Glucose materializes from the "labor-process" that involved photosynthesis (on the surface of the earth or chemosynthesis in the depth of oceans).
Other animals (herbivores) graze the autotrophs (bacteria and plants) seeking the glucose (the chemical energy) stored in the autotrophs. Yet, other animals eat the flesh (carnivores) of the grazers, again seeking the glucose (the stored chemical energy) that has been transferred from the autotrophs to the herbivores. Other carnivores feed on the primary carnivores in search of the glucose contained in the primary ones. Yet others (omnivores) feed on plants herbivores, and carnivores. Thus, glucose is transferred from the autotrophs to higher trophic levels up the food chain. The percentage transfer efficiency is generally in the lower teens, but glucose is transferred, as biota feed on each other. Organisms swim, fly, run, dart, float, burrow, and perform all kinds of locomotion as they try to escape from being preyed upon or to prey on others. Organism utilize different forms of habitation to spawn their young and see them grow; for example, turtles return to same spot on earth, no matter how far the journey, and lay their eggs, birds build nests, bees build honeycombs, and spiders weave nets. The young, which are quite vulnerable, are easy prey to other organisms. Organisms use different mechanisms to locate their prey; for example dolphins use echo sounding techniques, sharks and sting rays use electrical signals, deep sea angler fish use luminescent devises to lure prey. On land, some organisms, such as cheetahs hunt alone while others (lions, hyenas, etc.) hunt in groups. [In their survival efforts hunting organisms mark their territory by placing sent on trees, rocks or soil to ward off others from using their territory for hunting. Apes and monkeys are also territorial and protect their grazing fields from use by other monkeys. A feeling for one's territory is also deeply ingrained in primitive societies. This is the essence of "Gossa identity" that the TPLF, EPLF, and OLF revere.] All organisms, no matter their methods of acquiring prey do it because they seek glucose. Glucose is necessary for all animals, from autotrophs that are its primary producers, up the food-chain, because it can be combusted (burnt in the presence of oxygen) in a process called respiration, a process that transforms chemical energy to mechanical energy that allows the organism to move about, feed, grow and reproduce.
Early in its origin, the earth's atmosphere did not contain free oxygen. The early atmosphere was hot because of the abundance of greenhouse gases including carbondioxide that trap heat with in the atmosphere. The photosynthesis by simplest of organisms, the cynaobacteria was important in reducing the carbondioxide content and increasing the oxygen content of the atmosphere, thereby reducing its temperature. Also, natural selection of variants of the cynobacteria resulted in producing new species, which in time resulted in the formation of other species up to and including the human species. Scientists, engineers, and technician working separately or in unison cannot duplicate what the cyanobacteria have done over the millions of years. Yet, as Marx put it the worst engineer is to be distinguished from the most competent non-human organism because "the architect raises his structure in imagination before he erects it in reality." [M9] The ability to innovate, plan and implement the plan distinguishes the human animal from others. How did the human animal, which evolved from other organisms, perhaps from apes about a couple of hundred thousand years ago, become so distinct from other animals? Was there a Holy Spirit that interfered in the evolutionary process and placed the spirit in the human? How the spiritual purpose will be met with a labor-process is described below.
b) Spiritual purpose.
The overarching spiritual purpose is to be at peace with oneself and the world to which one is bound. Religious people of different denominations and the non-religious describe this spiritual purpose in different ways. The "labor-processes" designed to attain each prescribed religious purpose are so different from each other that the most competent chameleon will disrupt itself in trying to adjust from one hue of religion to another. Even focusing on the Judeo Christian religion, the labor-process of the Ethiopian Tewahdo Orthodox Church (EOTC) is different from others. Ethiopia that practiced Judaism prior to the birth of Christ, and absorbed Christianity without negating Judaism, holds the resurrection of Christ and the Glory of God as the prime purpose of life. The Ethiopian Orthodox Christian that dances to the Judaic Arc of the Covenant reveres the laws of Moses, which has a huge impact on the means of production, and the modes of production that Marx elucidated by assuming that labor is the totality of activities taken to be able to "make history." Several references in the Old Testament instructed that land is not to be sold (Nehemiah 5-11,12; Ezekiel 33:24; Ecclesiastes 5:9; Isaiah 5:8; Leviticus 25:23) nor is usury to be allowed (Exodus 22:25-27; Leviticus 25: 35-37; Deuteronomy 23: 19,22; Nehemiah 5:10,11; Psalm 15:5; Proverbs 28:8; Isaiah 24:1-13; Ezekiel 22:12). Similar prohibitions are present in the Koran. Thus transference of land is by inheritance or by allowable exchanges among the descendents- this provides the religious aspect of the "‘r’est" land tenure system of Ethiopia. Though the New Testament permits gainful investment (Matthew 25:14-29, Luke 19:11-26 and Jesus instructed: ‘Give to those who ask, and don’t turn away from those who want to borrow,’ Matthew 5:14), only in the 19th century was the "gult" land tenure system that permits individual ownership with the ability to sell the land practiced.
Though in the biological purpose, organisms eat others of equal or lower trophic levels, the religious purpose, particularly the Judaic and Islamic aspect, prescribes what types of organism to eat, how the organism have to be prepared for permissible eating, etc. The "labor-process" to attain such purpose would not only require knowing which organisms are or are not allowed for human consumption, but also performing the task of blessing the food, and praying that the food becomes acceptable in the sight of God and for the benefit of the consumer.
The EOTC prohibits its followers from working on two days every week (Saturdays and Sundays), and the birth date (Gana), the baptismal day (Tmket) and the resurrection (Tnsae) of Christ, the days for virgin Marry, the days of the archangels and the days of saints every year. The "labor process" for the purposes of the EOTC functions includes praying to Christ, the Virgin Mary, the archangels, and the saints during their commemoration days so that they may intercede on our behalf for our well being. These days provide to the peasant compulsory days of rest from physical work (vacation days if you will). The “labor process” also involves providing council to individuals and groups that may seek advice, blessing offerings at marriage and death ceremonies, and preying to the dead so that their souls will find heavenly habitation, while simultaneously consoling the living whose loved ones have departed. Moreover council and guidance is given to bring peace among disagreeing parties, and priests play a major role in encouraging soldiers to defend their territory when such is trespassed by aggressors.
When Christians run the Ethiopian government, tithing for church involved giving 10% of the land owned by the government to the Church in the name of the Christians. Additionally, Christian peasants tilled the land for the church, and built and refurbished the church buildings.
Viewed from the labor-process, the merger of ancient Jewry and Christianity in the EOTC seems to give the upper hand to ancient Jewry and its prohibitions. The merger of ancient Jewry and Christianity preceded the often-quoted books of 13th century, Kebra Nagast (Glory of Kings) and Fetha Nagast (Laws of Kings). These books were authored by a Jewish forebear of Bitweded Ras Amde Michael a general of Emperor Zara Ya 'Iqob,[M10] and by an Egyptian, [M11] respectively. What these two books partly did was cement the merger between Christianity and ancient Jewry and effectively codify the superiority of ancient Jewish traditions over Christianity, and as such had a decidedly deleterious impact on the labor-process in Ethiopia. If Christianity were allowed to have the upper hand then the instruction of Jesus: "Give to those who ask, and don’t turn away from those who want to borrow," (Matthew 5:14) would have the liberating force on the labor-process. Add the liberating effort of the parables "to those that have more shall be given" (Matthew 25:14-29, Luke 19:11-26) and one can see how Christianity would be the foundation for productive labor described below. The reasons for the divorce of ancient Jewry from Christianity are unambiguously explained in Galatians 3, 4, and 5, and 2 Corinthians 3. But, that would be a discussion for the fathers of the EOTC to deal with and is quite outside the scope of this report. The hope is that the government would permit the EOTC to independently develop the religion and its meaning. In the past, monarchs interfered with the EOTC some more profoundly than others. For instance, Emperor Zara Ya 'Iqob chaired the Debra Mitmaq council that instituted Saturday as a Sabbath. [M12] The same emperor disallowed a suggestion of a reformation of the church and banished and murdered priests, notably, Abba Estifanos and his followers. [M13]
c. Historical purpose: labor to “make history”
The human existence and history leads, according to Marx, to the premise that the integrated human labor-process is to be able to "make history." [M9] This type of labor goes beyond performing tasks that are necessary for subsistence (i.e., eat, drink, have a habitation, clothes, etc.,) that are described in the biological "labor-process" above. The difference between the integrated labor-process and the biological "labor-process" is the productive labor. The ability to innovate, plan and implement the plan distinguishes the human animal from others and allows him to engage in productive labor.
Productive labor is generated by the means of production, which include: a) the subject of the labor (raw materials, and unprocessed natural materials that are easily detachable from the environment such as soil, water, and organisms), b) the body of the worker, and c) the instruments that the worker might devise to give him mechanical, chemical and other advantages in his work. It turns out that capitalists take control of productive labor, and the product is the property of the capitalist, according to Marxist theory. Regardless of who owns or controls what, the labor-process to "make-history" results in helping tackle big projects such as building bridges, roads, dams, cathedrals, schools, that serve the community even after the laborers have perished. Some of the products of a labor-process may be repeatable at costs much less than the cost of labor and of commodity paid for in the initial cycle of product. Such works generates surplus value, which pay huge dividends to the owners of the product. [M9]
The economic history of Ethiopia indicates that productive labor was sporadic. To be sure big projects were accomplished in certain periods of the vast history of Ethiopia, as may be judged by the presence of the obelisks at Aksum, the rock-hewn Churches at Lalibela, the wall at Harar, and the castles at Gondar. Why the projects were so few and why there is discontinuity in the productive effort has been a subject of inferences and speculations. These inferences and speculations include the role of religion and its inhibition of usury and the sell of lands, the valorization of labor on corvee basis and domestic slavery, the "roaming capital cities", particularly in the medieval period when the kings spent most of their time in camps by using tents and moved their camps from place to place in order to consolidate power under their dominion, the political system administered by absolute monarchs, interference by Egypt through Egyptian bishops that were the spiritual and administrative leaders of the EOTC from the 4th century until the 1950's, and interference by ambient geopolitical power centers. More likely, combinations of these factors will explain the sporadic use of productive labor in Ethiopian history. Theories of colonization of one group of Ethiopians by another propounded by some politically motivated analysts obfuscate the issue and shades no light to the understanding of the problems much less offer solutions related to paucity of productive labor. [M14]
In examining the world for comparative purposes, we find that "only 50 years ago 95% of Tibet's total population were serfs and slaves while 5% were serf owners". [M15] They have changed now, as indeed Ethiopia also has. Unfortunately, the land in Ethiopia is still under the control of the Ethiopian ruler. Ironically, a leader of a Tigrey-ethnic party, who instituted division of Ethiopia on perceived ethnic lines, does not only control his ethnic lands but also controls the land throughout Ethiopia from 1991 to 2005.
3. The land.
The phrase, "semay aytares, negus ayekeses - semayu yegziabeher, mederu yenegus", indicates that the monarch owns all land and how he is an absolute monarch in traditional Ethiopia. The powers of the absolute monarch were similar to that of the state. Since money was scarce land was used as a means of exchanging service to the monarch with use of the land. Commonly, the monarch allowed two broad methods of land-use, called the "‘r’est" and "gult" types. [M16] Over the last 40 years, the meanings of land-use systems have been cast by politicizing in so many different ways that defy comprehension. The easiest way to understand the land-use types is to put yourself as “owner” of “r’est” or “gult” and imagine how the system worked
a) "‘r’est" system. Pay taxes to the state and participate in the defense of the state as your forbears had on uninterrupted basis, and you may use communal land holdings, that your ancestors on either side of your parents have passed along to their offspring. If your ancestors occupied widely separate plots of land, then your "‘r’est" will be in different locations. Also, the elders may allocate you a plot of land smaller in size than owned by others who have a higher social standing in the community. After several generations your plots of land may be smallholdings scattered over a vast area. You are not allowed to sell the land that you use as "‘r’est".
b) "Gult" system. Render services that the monarch considers valuable to his governance, and he may give you a plot of his land such that the tax that people give for the use of that land, your "gult", will be yours. The tax that you collect from the workers on your "gult" may be arranged by you, and commonly depends on the means of production you may have to give to the workers in addition to the land. Depending on whether you give oxen and ploughs in addition to the use of the land, the worker might share the produce equally with you ('ekul), or the share might be 1/3 ("siso") or 1/4 ("e'rub") of the produce. If the monarch allows it, the right to receive taxes from those who work on your "gult" may be transferred to your children as a "‘r’esta-gult" . The monarch also respects the holdings of the church, which is about a tenth of the monarch's land (tithing on behalf of the Christian subjects).
The "‘r’est" or "gult" systems of land-use are not dependent on the quality of the land or the geography. You may have a "r’est” and “gult" next to each other in some places. All land that is not prepared for agricultural or pastoral purpose is called virgin land and belongs to the state (and hence the monarch). Certain plots of land are given by the monarch as a common holding by different communities or family groups for the purpose of grazing by cattle. The entire purpose of "r’est" and "gult" system is for the state to make all inhabitants defend the nations, and to pay for services that the state needs on a more regular basis or for extraordinary services. Due to shortage of money, notice that the "gult" land-use system is the way the monarch pays for more regular services that people he calls upon render to the state (i.e. the monarch).
The above system of land-use has been likely perfected over a long period of time. It was thwarted by internal revolts, which apparently did not provide any better land-use system. Major internal revolts include the 10th century Yodit Gudit, the 15th century Ahmed ibn-Ibrahim al-Ghazi (also known as Ahmed Gragn), and the socialist- to-ethnic revolt since 1974 up to 15 May, 2005. Each of these had serious impacts on the land tenure system. In the past, the nobles more easily manipulated the "gult" land-use system particularly in times when the monarch was weak. After the Yodit revolt, the central government lost control of most lands south of the Tekeze river. The Bete Israel were strong in Wegera and Semien, and Moslems took control of Somalia and lands from Yefat through Kembata and regions southeast and east of there. A couple of centuries after the revolt of Yodit the Ethiopian capital moved to Lasta. And about a century and half later, the Shewan emperors (the restored Solomonic Dynasty) with "their roaming capitals" began reincorporating lost territories. Emperor Amde Tsion, and his great grandson emperor Dawit and his children succeeded in reincorporating most of the lost territories. Unified Ethiopia once again was shaken by the Gragn internal revolt in the 16th century. After the revolt by Ahmed Gragn most of the southern provinces of the country escaped from the control of the central Ethiopian government once again. The Solomonic Dynasty moved to Gondar for its safety and ruled from Gondar. The Gondarine kings concentrated their efforts in the north. However, over the years, the strengthening of "gult" owning nobles" and the selling of land in Gondar in the reign of Emperor Iyasu 1 (1682-1706) and subsequently in Aksum [M17] were among the potential reasons that weakened the monarchy, and resulted in the devolution of central power and rise of the reign of the princes ('Zemaene Mesafint"). In an effort to reunite Ethiopia, in the mid 19th century Emperor Tewodros reinstated the "‘r’est" land-use system in the north (Eritrea, Tigrey, Begemedir, Gojam, some parts of Welo and Shewa). Emperor Yohannes IV and Ras Alula furthered the cause. Ras Alula decreed that uncontested land that was held by a family in Mereb Melash (now Eritrea) for over 40 years were to become a "r’est" of that family. [M18] In Shewa both the "r’est' and "gult" systems were operational. When Menelik II reincorporated the rest of southern Ethiopia under Ethiopian central government control, the land that the lords of those regions used as "rist" was respected as theirs, and the "gult" system was extended to those who helped the monarch. Land distribution in the south was more systematic because Menelik II had used the "qelad" to measure land more precisely. [M18] The regions in the south that offered little or no resistance to being reincorporated were admitted with their system of land-tenure intact, for example, the Jima Aweraja. [M19] Virgin lands that were not the "‘r’est" of southern lords and were not used as agricultural or pastoral lands belonged to the state (hence the monarch) as did such lands in the north. Despite the fact that some southern provinces were for some time outside the control of the central Ethiopian regime, as in the north the "‘r’est" system is identifiable by burial rights in family landholdings. [M20]
The "‘r’esta-gult" system offered opportunities for a conflict between the tiller and the one who has the right to the "‘r’esta-gult", often an absent landlord. Like a "‘r’est" owner the "‘r’esta-gult" owner pays taxes. If the person was well connected to the monarch he may succeed in owning a large tract of land, hundred to thousands of hectares. Suppose the tillers on the land gave 2/3 of their produce to the owner, i.e. they are "siso Tisagna" the owner has huge surplus value, and the tiller is at a disadvantage. How was it that the tiller worked the land and got 1/3 of the produce, whereas the absent landowner received 2/3 of the produce every year and without providing any additional contribution to the product? Such form of land-use was so wrong that that students of Haile Selassie I University marched with the slogan "land to the tiller" in the most celebrated student demonstration of all time, in 1965. That was a Pan-Ethiopian effort, and was meant for the benefit of the tiller irrespective of his ethnic origin, and without any intentions to be against any particular ethnic group. Unfortunately, the issue was subsequently pulled in different direction and used by different politicians to suit their political agendas.
The socialist revolts since 1974, firstly during the Derg, and subsequently during the rein of ethnic-centered rulers since 1991 left the control of the land in the hands of the dictators of the central government. However, the dictators have applied poorly studied means of land redistribution and reorganization that were unequal across and within regions, and according to some have resulted in poor use and abuse of the land in some regions. [M18]
In modern times, when the government prints bank notes (money) to facilitate transactions and exchanges of services and goods, there is no reason for the monarch or dictator to own all land in Ethiopia. Under no circumstances should a head of state be designated the owner of all land in Ethiopia with the individuals being given only the right to use land. Individuals must have a right to own land with the right to sell it to other Ethiopians at their pleasure. The state, but not the head of state, may own national lands or reserves for the common good of the nation