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G20 Plans for World Without Tax Evasion

Good luck hiding your money in a Swiss bank account, people.  The G-20, a group of the world’s largest economies, are going to discuss ways to make hiding your cash off-shore next to impossible during their finance ministers and central bankers summit meet in Australia Sept 21.

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THE SOVEREIGN, ITS CREDITORS AND THE LAW

The Group of 77 and China tabled at the United Nations a draft resolution to start negotiating a multilateral  multilateral legal framework  establishing a legal regulatory framework for the sovereign debt restructuring processes.

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Trillion Dollar $candal

Globally, extreme poverty has been halved in 20 years, and could be virtually wiped out by 2030. But much of the progress that has been made is at risk – not because of natural disasters or new diseases, but because of something far more insidious.

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Delivering (Financing) Development after 2015

World leaders are set to meet in September 2015 to agree on a set of goals to replace the Millennium Development Goals, which will expire in 2015. People from all over the world have been engaged in opining, discussing, debating, and even voting on what those new goals should be.

While significant attention is being paid to the vision of the post-2015 agenda, less attention has focused on the details of how to achieve this vision by 2030, the assumed deadline for the next set of goals.

Fortunately, the conversation is now turning from the “what” to the “how” with the recent announcement of the Third International Conference on Financing for Development, or FFD, conference to take place in July 2015 in Addis Ababa, just ahead of the September 2015 U.N. summit to adopt the post-2015 framework.

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Austerity works! Poverty reduction policies succeed!

Some people will be surprised to read this. But yes, the narratives on austerity and poverty reduction do exactly what was expected from them. Most people believe them and protest when the promises are not met.

But we should wonder if these promises are real promises? Or just a way of distracting the attention away from the real goals of the policies that are put in place.

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Exposing the great 'poverty reduction' lie

The UN claims that its Millennium Development Campaign has reduced poverty globally, an assertion that is far from true.

The received wisdom comes to us from all directions: Poverty rates are declining and extreme poverty will soon be eradicated. The World Bank, the governments of wealthy countries, and – most importantly – the United Nations Millennium Campaign all agree on this narrative. Relax, they tell us. The world is getting better, thanks to the spread of free market capitalism and western aid. Development is working, and soon, one day in the very near future, poverty will be no more.

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The long and ugly tradition of treating Africa as a dirty, diseased place

This week’s Newsweek magazine cover features an image of a chimpanzee behind the words, “A Back Door for Ebola: Smuggled Bushmeat Could Spark a U.S. Epidemic.” This cover story is problematic for a number of reasons, starting with the fact that there is virtually no chance that “bushmeat” smuggling could bring Ebola to America. (The term is a catchall for non-domesticated animals consumed as a protein source; anyone who hunts deer and then consumes their catch as venison in the United States is eating bushmeat without calling it that.) While eating bushmeat is fairly common in the Ebola zone, the vast majority of those who do consume it are not eating chimpanzees. Moreover, the current Ebola outbreak likely had nothing to do with bushmeat consumption.

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Promoting the social commons

 
What's the point of the post-2015 agenda?

The UN Open Working Group (OWG) on Sustainable Development Goals completed its outcome document a few weeks ago, putting forth 17 goals and 169 targets.  The optimistic take: that’s only just over twice the number of goals in the Brazil-Germany World Cup match.  But for all the space devoted to targeting almost every conceivable area of global progress, there was one topic on which the OWG was notably silent: what’s the purpose of all of this?

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Illicit capital flowing out of Africa often benefits foreign invetors

The US-Africa Summit in Washington DC has built enormous expectations for the development of Africa, particularly in what concerns economic ties, trade relations, investments and business between the nations of the African continent and the US.

Despite enormous human-rights violations, conflict, widespread disease and other ills commonly known to Africa, the focus of the conference was largely business-oriented, a forum hosted by Bloomberg Philanthropies and the US commerce department. There is certainly no harm in focusing and prioritising economic ties for growth; in fact, business is necessary and it can be tremendously beneficial for the continent through the creation of jobs lifting some of the poorest of society out of poverty and building a firm middle class. The main issue is whether investments pledged at the summit and increased trade will bring that type of prosperity to ordinary Africans.

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Culture as a cause of poverty has been wilfully misinterpreted

When the term “culture of poverty” was first used by the anthropologist Oscar Lewis in 1959, it was seized upon as “evidence” that poverty is not caused primarily by an absence of material resources. This was never Lewis’s intention. In a 1966 essay for Scientific American, he wrote: “A culture of poverty is not just a matter of deprivation or disorganisation – a term signifying the absence of something. It is a culture in the traditional anthropological sense in that it provides human beings with a design for living, a ready-made set of solutions for human problems, and so serves a significant adaptive function.”

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