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World Development Report 2015: Mind, Society and Behaviour!

The World Bank published this week its newest World Development Report: 'Mind, Society and Behaviour'.

In a most cynical way, the World Bank now reduces poverty to a 'cognitive tax' that makes it impossible for poor people to think rationally and take adequate decisions. This report gives a 'theoretical' justification for sanctioning the 'non-deserving' poor and implicitly also for repressing resistance. A must-read.

The latest newsletter of Global Social Justice explains what is happening and how this new reasoning is a logical consequence of the World Bank's earlier thinking on poverty and development.

 

 
Is Climate Justice Movement Ready to Scale-Jump our Policies?

Bond argues that climate change movements, organizations and communities are not yet strong enough to shape climate negotiations. He also suggests that Latin American counterpower is vital to that struggle:

Global pessimism and local optimism: that’s how to quickly explain Climate Justice (CJ) ‘scale politics.’ Or, better: paralysis above, movement below.

The combination is on display again this week, in Lima, Peru, at the twentieth annual United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change ‘Conference of the Parties’, the ‘COP20’ (actually, ‘Conference of the Polluters’ is more accurate). So it is opportune to re-assess global environmental governance as a site of struggle, one that has proven so frustrating over the past two decades.

It is time again to ask, specifically, can hundreds of successful episodes in which communities and workers resist local greenhouse gas generation (‘Blockadia’ is Naomi Klein’s term for the newly liberated spaces) or seed local post-carbon alternatives, now accumulate into a power sufficient to shape climate negotiations?

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Climate and Post-2015 Development Agenda Talks Share the Same Path

The international community’s post-2015 development agenda will depend, in key aspects, on whether the delegates of 195 countries meeting now at the climate summit in the Peruvian capital reach an agreement to reduce global warming, since climate change affects all human activity.

Climate change’s effects on agriculture, health, poverty reduction or housing among vulnerable segments of the population mean progress in the search for a solution to global warming will have a major impact on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), said experts consulted by IPS at COP20.

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Latest news from the EU-FTT Front

At the today’s AGM of the German campaign the director of the tax department in the MoF, Mr. Sell, made a briefing.

Here are the main messages:

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LUxLeaks: Half-hearted response from EU Finance Ministers

The finance ministers of France, Germany and Italy today sent a joint- letter to the EU commissioner for economic and financial affairs and taxation Pierre Moscovici calling for new EU legislation on aggressive tax planning, through base erosion and profit sharing (BEPS) (1).

Commenting on the initiative, Greens/EFA economic and finance spokesperson Sven Giegold stated:

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Linking Illicit Capital Flows, Tax Policies and Gender Justice

The loss of tax revenues due to international tax evasion and avoidance significantly reduce the funds available to finance policies aimed at fulfilling the human rights of women and girls and gender justice.

Due to the structural nature of gender inequality and its intersection with other categories such as age, race-ethnicity, sexual orientation and income, women in most of societies continue to be overrepresented in the lowest quintiles of the income distribution, continue to be the most responsible  for unpaid and care work, continue to be concentrated in the most precarious and poorly paid jobs, are still a minority in the spaces of representation and leadership in political, labor or territories, still face gender-based violence, human trafficking, and continue to have their sexual and reproductive rights and autonomy limited.

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How China is reshaping development finance

Over the past couple of months, China has played a major role in launching initiatives to increase infrastructure financing for developing countries. In July 2014, China, together with the other BRICS nations - Brazil, Russia, India and South Africa - agreed to create a new development bank (NDB) that would have initial capital of 50 billion USD.

More recently, in October, 21 Asian countries agreed to establish a new Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) for which China will provide up to 50 percent of initial capital. The bank's aim is to provide funding for infrastructure projects such as roads in underdeveloped Asian countries. Just last week, at the APEC Leaders Summit in Beijing, President Xi also announced the creation of a new Silk Road Fund to improve connectivity in Asia, for which China will provide USD 40 billion of capital funding.

While the initiatives have been criticized by some as a way for China to simply challenge Western-backed institutions such as the World Bank or International Monetary Fund (IMF) - as a result of Beijing's growing discontent with these bodies - there are others who believe the new development banks might have a positive impact on emerging economies.

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Radical left is Right about Europe's debt

Let us assume that you share the global consensus view on what the eurozone should do right now. Specifically, you want to see more public-sector investment and debt restructuring.

Now ask yourself the following question: if you were a citizen of a eurozone country, which political party would you support for that to happen? You may be surprised to see that there is not much choice. In Germany, the only one that comes close to such an agenda is Die Linke, the former Communists. In Greece, it would be Syriza; and in Spain, it would be Podemos, which came out of nowhere and is now leading in the opinion polls.

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Laying the Foundations of a World Citizen's Movement

Has organised civil society, bound up in internal bureaucracy, in slow, tired processes and donor accountability, become simply another layer of a global system that perpetuates injustice and inequality?

How can civil society organizations (CSOs) build a broad movement that draws in, represents and mobilises the citizenry, and how can they effect fundamental, systemic transformation, rather than trading in incremental change?

This kind of introspective reflection was at the heart of a process of engagement among CSOs from around the world that gathered in Johannesburg from Nov. 19 to 21 for the “Toward a World Citizens Movement: Learning from the Grassroots” conference.

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Debt and the international context of North and South in the 21st century

This article reviews a number of developments that occurred between 2000 and 2014 related to the debt issue, various aspects of the international crisis |1|, international financial institutions, the scope of attacks against social and economic rights, and CADTM priorities.

 

Several changes have occurred since the end of the 1990s.

 
The Future of the Planet and the Irresponsibility of Governments

Less than a week after everybody celebrated the historical agreement on Nov. 17 between the United States and China on reduction of CO2 emissions, a very cold shower has come from India.

Indian Power Minister Piyush Goyal has declared: “India’s development imperatives cannot be sacrificed at the altar of potential climate change many years in the future. The West will have to recognise we have the needs of the poor”.

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