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Corporate influence in the post-2015 process

As Global Social Justice already noted when analyzing the first report of the Open Working-Group of the UN on sustainable development goals, the influence of corporations is becoming more and more significant.

Read this timely and important report on the corporate influence in the post-2015 process. This is a major part of the neoliberal agenda.

Debt is back in developing countries

The World Bank’s 2014 International Debt Statistics report, released on February 12, unveiled a worrying new trend. In 2012, the last year covered by the report, all relevant debt indicators worsened – reversing the essentially uninterrupted trend of improvement since the early 2000s. Although developing country debt levels remain low when compared with their historical levels and with crisis struck countries in the global north, in the absence of sufficient other sources of income, developing country governments increasingly turned to issuing large volumes of sovereign bonds to be sold on private capital markets. The boom in sovereign bond issuance poses severe challenges for the international financial architecture, which is not well equipped to restructure this category of debt if needed.

Progress report on Sustainable Development Goals

The Open UN Working Group preparing the post-2015 development agenda has published its progress report. It gives a first idea of what the new 'development goals' might become.

At this moment, two remarks can be made:

- all or almost all expected items are mentioned, from poverty to hunger and essential services, through peace and human rights.

- for meeting these new development goals, the UN wants to work with 'partnerships'. This means the official and strengthened entry of transnational corporations within the UN. It could become a 'worthy' complement of the new rights TNC's are acquiring through investment treaties, such as TPP and TTIP ... what about States? what about democracy?

Read the progress report

Is the 'European social model' in danger?

“The European Social Model has been subjected to stress and unprecedented challenges - and it's still facing these huge challenges”, ILO Director-General Guy Ryder stated at the opening of the joint ILO-EU conference on 'The European Social Model in times of Economic Crisis and Austerity Policies'.

European Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion László Andor stressed that "our social model is struggling, and in some parts of the EU often failing to fulfill its mission”.

(executive summary of the book on this topic)


Tsetse flies, spirit mediums and Western “science” of development

In the 1980s and 1990s, I was working as a rural development "expert" in north Zimbabwe bordering Zambia - an area called “Lower Guruve”, so called because it was on the lower part of a 1000 meter escarpment which separates the Zambezi Valley from the rest of Zimbabwe. Human settlements have taken place around the relatively fertile areas below the escarpment and along the valleys of rivers flowing through the area right up to the mighty River Zambezi that runs through Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The colonial government had damned the Zambezi River and had created one of the world's largest artificial lakes - Lake Kariba.  Traditionally, people had lived off the resources of the river and the forest.  There was plenty of food.  People lived off fish, kudus, buffaloes and other wild life and fruits. But after the dam was built, they were uprooted and removed from around the Lake and pushed further south towards the escarpment. They were thus denied access to fish and wild life - physically and by law. These were now reserved for tourists from the West who came to the Zambezi for fishing and hunting.

World Wage Report 2012/13

This new report looks at the macroeconomic effect of wages and in particular at how current trends are linked to equitable growth.

The gap between wage growth and labour productivity growth is widening - and labour's income share is declining ...

Corporation tax in the EU: 107 billion Euro lost

Back in 2000, the effective corporate tax rate in the Eurozone was 18.4 percent.  By 2011, this had fallen to 12.5 percent.  This may not seem like a lot but it is.  This is equivalent to approximately €107 billion reduction in Eurozone corporate tax revenue.  €107 billion.

Imagine if that revenue was available to the Eurozone:  less tax on labour, more expenditure on public services and social protection, higher investment in telecommunications, renewable energy, and education (let’s not forget that there are 76 million people in the Eurozone at risk of poverty and social exclusion).  That €107 billion would mean a significant boost to domestic demand which would, in turn, mean more prosperous markets for exporting firms to operate in.



Redistribution, Inequality and growth

Can inequality undermine progress? Growth?

Redistribution appears generally benign in terms of its impact on growth. There is no big trade-off between redistribution and growth.

When the IMF is saying this in a new report, this news! But beware, it remains the IMF ...

Increasing the Minimum Wage Can Actually Create Jobs—If It’s Enforced

Back when I first studied economics, we “proved” in class that a minimum wage causes unemployment. You just draw supply and demand curves for labor, add a horizontal line for a wage above the “market clearing” competitive equilibrium wage, and—bingo!—a gap appears between labor supply and labor demand. Q.E.D.

IMF Conditionality and its discontents

Popular resistance to the IMF’s role and influence appears to be growing in significance. A December study published by the Initiative for Policy Dialogue at Columbia University and German political foundation Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, World Protests 2006-2013, found that of the 843 protests examined in 87 countries, the IMF was a target of 168 protests overall, 20 per cent of the total. The report reveals that hostility to the Fund is not restricted to richer or poorer countries; 25 per cent of IMF protests occurred in high-income countries and 24 per cent took place in low-income countries. The study found that where the IMF is targeted, it is “for promoting a ‘new Washington Consensus’ that favours the interests of corporations, wealthy investors and the financial sector”.

Africa and GM crops

Africa is expected to be the next target of GM food companies, as European scientists and policymakers travel to Ethiopia to boost the prospect of growing more of the controversial crops on the continent.

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