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Inequality Matters!

World Social Situation 2013: new report from the UN Department for Economic and Social Affairs: it is possible to fight inequality, it is possible to reverse the current situation...

 
Does Foreign Aid Really Work?

A must read on the many many things we do not know about development aid ... 'from the viewpoint of aid's transformational role, on balance aid doesn't work' (Angus Deaton)

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Ground-breaking changes to fight money laundering

Joint NGO media reaction: Financial Transparency Coalition – Eurodad - Global Witness - Oxfam

NGOs welcome MEP's vote for ground-breaking changes to fight money laundering

A cross political party agreement in the European Parliament puts pressure on EU member states to step up the fight for corporate transparency

Soon it might be a lot harder for criminals, tax evaders, corrupt politicians and other money launderers to hide their identity and their illicit funds behind anonymous shell companies, following a key vote today in the European Parliament.

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Humanity Divided

New UNDP report on inequality in developing countries

 
Global, European or national: on the neoliberalisation of social policies

In 2012, 24.8 % of the European Union population was at risk of poverty. 40.2 % of the population said it would be hard to be faced with unexpected financial expenditures. In Belgium, 21.6 % of the population is at risk of poverty, but without social allowances, this would rise to 27.8 %.[1] In other words, social protection is needed and is useful.

In all European countries political declarations on welfare states show the same pattern. Welfare states have to be come ‘efficient’ and ‘effective’, people have to take on more responsibility and have to ‘participate’, unemployment benefits are being curtailed, pensions are privatized, costs have to be reduced in health care. In many countries the focus is now on ‘child poverty’, as if children did not live in poor households …

Of course there are differences, between countries and between political parties. Right wing parties will be more willing to accept the austerity policies imposed by the European Union, while social-democratic parties will try to soften their consequences. But all in all, the philosophy of their policies is the same. And the only conclusion this leads to is that welfare states are in decline.

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How the 2009 Tax Haven Agreement Failed

Back in April 2009, a summit of the G20 countries agreed to lean hard on tax haven nations to sign treaties to exchange information with other countries. News stories made much of the agreement (for examples, here and here.)  But what effect did the agreement actually have? Niels Johannesen and Gabriel Zucman tackle this question in "The End of Bank Secrecy?  An Evaluation of the G20 Tax Haven Crackdown," which appears in the most recent issue of American Economic Journal: Economic Policy (6:1, pp. 65–91). The journal isn't freely available on-line, but many readers will have access through library subscriptions.

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Moving Beyond the Corporate Vision on Sustainability

In light of ongoing global negotiations on pressing environmental issues, it’s time for efforts to curtail the excessive influence of multinational corporations over public policy to be strengthened and scaled up at all levels – especially at the United Nations.

The corporate capture of policymaking has dire implications for how we achieve sustainable development in the 21st century, and it must be strongly opposed in the coming years as deliberations on climate change and sustainable development reach important conclusions. Private sector influence over politics at the national level is already widely recognised, but the extent to which powerful industries are able to influence global negotiations on some of the world’s most pressing problems is far less reported by the media or discussed in the public sphere.

 

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Crises Swamping Developing Economies

Several developing countries are now being engulfed in new economic crises as their currency and stock markets are experiencing sharp falls, and the end is not yet in sight. The “sell-off” in emerging economies has also spilled over to the American and European stock markets, thus causing global turmoil.

Countries whose currencies were affected of late include Argentina, Turkey, Russia, Brazil and Chile. A hike in interest rates by Turkey and South Africa has so far failed to stem the depreciation of their currencies. An America market analyst termed it “emerging market flu” and several global media reports tend to focus on weaknesses in individual developing countries.

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OECD Announcement on Global Transparency

GFI Applauds Historic OECD Announcement on Global Transparency of Financial Information

New Standard Ensures All Nations Can Potentially Benefit from Robust, Automatic Exchange of Financial Information

G20 Finance Ministers to Review Document for Approval Next Week Ahead of Australian G20 Summit in the Fall

Research and Advocacy Organization Expects New Transparency Regime to Be ‘Game-Changing’ Deterrent to Cross-Border Tax Evasion, Money Laundering

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Global Fight for Land Rights at Tipping Point

Global trends towards a strengthening of legal rights over land for local and indigenous communities appear to have slowed significantly in recent years, leading some analysts to warn that the fight for local control over forests has reached an inflection point with a new danger of backtracking on previous progress.

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Fighting Income Disparity with some basic FTC Recommendations

The Financial Transparency Coalition issues play an important role in the context of global income inequality. By discouraging tax evasion and corruption among the world’s wealthy individuals and corporations, the FTC recommendations could play an important role in alleviating egregious and dangerous income disparity.

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