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Feeding the 1 %

Since the global food crisis of 2008, there has been a massive wave of private sector investment in agriculture. More money flowing into agriculture means more innovation and modernisation, more jobs and more food for a hungry planet, say the G8, the World Bank and corporate investors themselves.

But does it?

Rights ... and also Hong Kong

One of the very positive aspects of the current debates on ‘sustainable development’ – however inadequate the concept may be -, is that it shows the necessary links between civil, political, social, economic and environmental rights.

First of all, economic rights cannot be separated from social rights.

What is good for social justice, is good for the economy

Roberto Bissio is the coordinator of Social Watch, an international network of citizens’ organisations reporting on how governments and international organisations implement their commitments on poverty eradication and gender equality. Here, he talks to Equal Times about this crucial moment in the development world.

Can you explain the “post-2015” process currently being discussed in the United Nations?

Capitalism only globalizes poverty ...


Where is the public in WB's 'Public Private Partnerships'?

A July report from the Bank’s Independent Evaluation Group (IEG) has revealed a worrying lack of proven poverty impact from Bank Group interventions involving PPPs.

The report assesses how effective the Bank Group has been in supporting countries to use PPPs from 2002-2012. There is currently no unified definition of a PPP. The IEG considers that PPPs are “long-term contracts between a private party and a government agency, for providing a public asset or service, in which the private party bears significant risk and management responsibility”. By using this definition, the IEG excluded from the report other type of private sector involvement, such as short-term outsourcing arrangements without private capital at stake (“pure public”) and fully privately owned regulated businesses (“pure private”).

Illicit money flows from Brazil: more than 400 billion US$ since 1960

More than US$400 billion flowed illegally out of Brazil between 1960 and 2012— draining domestic resources, driving the underground economy, exacerbating inequality, and facilitating crime and corruption—according to a new report to be published Monday, September 8th at a press event in Rio de Janeiro by Global Financial Integrity (GFI), a Washington DC-based research and advocacy organization.

The Road to Addis Abeba : Financing Development

In July 2015, the international community will have the chance to change the future of finance development. Governments, civil society, trade unions and other actors will meet for the third UN conference on Financing for Development (Ffd) in Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) to take concrete decisions for the future of development and how to finance it. In the run-up to this crucial meeting, two major reports have been released which are intended to inform the upcoming debates. We have had a report from the Intergovernmental Committee of Experts on Sustainable Development Finance (ICESDF) and one from the Open Working Group (OWG) – a 30-member group nominated by the UN General Assembly to decide on the Sustainable Development Goals. Both reports should feed into future action. Disappointingly, both lack ambition and fail to present specific recommendations, something that CSOs - many in developing countries - and other actors have been calling for some time.

IMF and World Bank at 70: Many Happy Returns?

In July, the IMF and World Bank turned 70. Unlike previous anniversaries of their establishment at the Bretton Woods conference in 1944, this milestone passed with relatively little attention or criticism. This reduced interest is presumed by many commentators, supportive or critical, to reflect the waning leadership and even lost hegemony of the Bretton Woods institutions (BWIs). This perception has been emphasised by Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa’s (BRICS) launching of their own New Development Bank (NDB) in July, widely seen as a rival to the BWIs (see Bulletin Feb 2014). The BRICS also announced a Contingent Reserve Arrangement (CRA) explicitly designed to ensure they never again turn to the IMF for support. The CRA and NDB were announced just days before the 70th anniversary of the 1944 Bretton Woods conference.

The Great Rip Off

Global Witness, an international investigative and advocacy organization, today released a report, entitled “The Great Rip Off,” studying the use of anonymous U.S. companies for a wide range of illegal and otherwise fraudulent activities in the United States, and outlining the policy steps needed to curb this massive abuse of the incorporation system. Global Financial Integrity (GFI), a Washington DC-based research and advocacy organization that has worked closely with Global Witness over the years, recommends the report as a welcome new resource on an important but often misunderstood issue.

Read the report


How Did Leaders Respond to the People’s Climate March?

About 400,000 people went to the streets on September 21st to ask for real actions to address climate change. It was the greatest climate march in history. The UN Climate Summit organized by Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon took place two days later with the participation of 100 heads of state and 800 leaders from business. How did this Summit react to the demands of the peoples climate march? Did it meet the expectations?

According to Ban Ki-Moon and other leaders, it was a success. To see if that is true, we should look at: 1) what science is telling us; 2) the previous commitments made by governments; and 3) how these commitments at the UN have improved in order to address the mismatch between what has to be done and what is being done.

Climate change and toxic assets

The assets of oil companies have a toxic effect. The irrational behaviour of markets has moved into the industry of non-renewable energy resources (oil, gas, coal), as accurately described in an article published in The Telegraph by Ambrose Evans-Prichard (1).

We must remember that, previous to the great crisis of central capitalism of 2008, the banks created the so-called financial bubbles, when they gave big loans to persons with little possibility of repayment. US banks, to increase the market, created high risk mortgages, known as “sub-prime” options, with the backing of the Community Reinvestment Act, a law that required the banks to loan to persons who lacked a good credit history. The risk was eluded systematically, which amplified the demand for real estate and hiked housing prices. This was the cause of the sudden growth of the real estate bubble, both in the United States and in Europe.

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