Mainstream economic thinking often tries to explain the trend of high and rising inequalities by referring to the forces of technology. Technological progress, so the argument goes, works to destroy middle pay routine jobs while at the same time creating many high skilled jobs. There is, however, increasing recognition that this ‘technology’ factor is but part of the story and there are other important forces at work. (see for example here).
The failure of this classical skills-related argument in explaining all of the wage inequality trends has not gone unnoticed by the OECD either. In a recently published working paper from their Economics department, the authors conclude that cross-country diverging experience “suggests that longer-term trends such as technological change and globalisation cannot fully account for decoupling of wages and productivity”. Country-specific public policies are also important as these shape the effects of global trends on inequalities.
The open-ended working group (OEIGW) on transnational corporations (TNCs) and other business enterprises with respect to human rights successfully held its second meeting in October 2016, in Geneva. The OEIGW was established by a Human Rights Council resolution adopted in July 2014. According to this resolution, the next meeting of the OEIGW, expected in October 2017, will see the Chairperson rapporteur “prepare elements for the draft legally binding instrument [on TNCs and other business enterprises with respect to human rights] for substantive negotiations” (hereinafter referred to as “the Instrument” or “binding Instrument”).
In the movie “The Big Kahuna,” the character played by Danny DeVito tells a young salesman that he does not have any character, “for the simple reason that you do not regret anything yet.” “Are you saying,” the young man asks, “that I won’t have character unless I do something that I regret?” “No, Bob,” DeVito answers, “I’m saying that you’ve already done plenty of things to regret. You just don’t know what they are.”
The South Centre recently published Research Paper No. 73: "Inequality, Financialization and Stagnation," authored by Dr. Yılmaz Akyüz, Chief Economist of the South Centre.
The failure of exceptional monetary measures pursued in response to the financial crisis in advanced economies to achieve a strong recovery has created a widespread concern that these economies suffer from a chronic demand gap and face the prospect of stagnation. This paper reviews and discusses the alternative views on the causes of the slowdown in accumulation and growth and the policies implemented and proposed to deal with it.
In an unprecedented and historic move, the Sixth Committee of the UN General Assembly recently granted observer status to the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC). The resolution was submitted by France, Albania, Colombia, the Netherlands and Tunisia and was adopted during the seventy-first session of the General Assembly. The resolution sets out the ICC’s position as observer in the General Assembly from 1 January 2017 on.
For the first time, the Sixth Committee of the General Assembly (GA) has approved a business organization as an observer to the UN General Assembly. So far, the current list of non-Member States, entities and organizations with observer status in the General Assembly was mainly limited to non-Member States, like the Holy See and the State of Palestine, and intergovernmental organizations like the African Union and the OECD. Trade unions and civil society organizations are not on the list.
The United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development commits UN member states to “leave no one behind.” One crucial component of that commitment – encompassed in the International Labor Organization’s own agenda – is decent work for all. At a time when worker frustration and disillusionment is being expressed in elections across the world, this goal could not be more important.
Nowadays, the expectation that each generation will be better off than the previous one, both socially and economically, is no longer automatic. For many, downward mobility has become the new normal.
Little wonder, then, that long-simmering frustration with the way globalization has been handled and resentment at the unfair distribution of its gains have fueled the political backlash sweeping the world of late. This disillusionment arises, at least partly, from people’s own experience of work, whether exclusion from the labor market, poor working conditions, or low wages.
His first days in office indicate that President Donald Trump intends to implement what he promised, with serious consequences for the future of the United Nations, trade, the environment and international cooperation, and developing countries will be most affected.
Those who hoped Trump would be more statesman-like in style and middle-of-the-road in policy matters after his inauguration had their illusions dashed when the new United States President moved straight into action to fulfil his election pledges.
Nos encontramos ante la muerte de una de las mayores
estafas ideológicas de los siglos recientes
(Álvaro García Linera, La Jornada, 28 de diciembre 2016)
The emergence of rentier capitalism
To all those who think ‘capitalism’ is the major obstacle to the success of the left and progressive forces, it may come as a surprise: capitalism continues to change and transform itself, to develop into something different from what it was before. And each time the left decides to better analyse what exactly is happening, ‘the enemy’ is taking one step ahead and succeeds in stopping all reflection on alternatives and strategies in order to surpass it.
To-day, this is happening once again. Thirty-five years after the introduction of neoliberalism which defined new rules for the functioning of the world, nearly two years after the IMF (International Monetary Fund) used the concept for the very first time and stated it might have perverse effects, the system is undergoing a metamorphosis and gives rise to political changes to which we are not prepared.
The Republic of Ecuador, currently chair of the largest single coalition of developing countries at the United Nations, is reviving a longstanding campaign for the creation of an inter-governmental UN tax body and the elimination of tax havens and illicit financial flows.
Practicing what it preaches, Ecuador says it is the world’s first country to hold a nation-wide referendum on tax havens, scheduled to take place on February 19.
Addressing a meeting of the 134-member Group of 77 (G77) on January 13, Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa, who was anointed the new G77 chair for 2017, said “illegitimate wealth mostly affected the world’s poorer nations”.
Automatic exchange of bank account information (AEOI) under the OECD’s Common Reporting Standard (CRS) is set to start during 2017. While more than 100 countries have committed to implement it, there are serious loopholes and concerns with regards to access by all countries (especially developing ones), its enforcement, the limited use of the information that can be obtained and the lack of participation by the United States.
Read the report of Tax Justice Network
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted yesterday to give the greenlight to Rex Tillerson’s nomination for Secretary of State. Assuming he is confirmed by the full Senate—which at this point is all but certain—Tillerson will play a critical role in shaping US foreign policy from the helm of the State Department with important implications for global development. While, like other nominees, some of Tillerson’s stated positions appear out of sync with those espoused by President Trump, it’s worth examining where Tillerson is on the record when it comes to issues of development and humanitarian relief.