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South/South collaboration for a post-capitalist paradigm

How modernity has been absorbed by the logic of the market

In a short essay it is possible only to propose hypotheses based on the many writers who have reflected on the history of capitalism and of modernity from different angles, like Max Weber, Fernand Braudel, Walter Benjamin, Michel Baud, Maurice Godelier, Eric Hobsbawn, Immanuel Wallerstein, Jorge Beinstein, Samir Amin and others. In Europe, the development of modernity followed the long passage from a medieval society to the birth of mercantile capitalism, between the 12th and the 16th centuries. Forms of proto-capitalism developed in the 12th and the 13th centuries, especially in the cities of Northern Italy, thanks to increasing commercial activities with Eastern Europe (the Bogomils). In societies dominated by religious cultures, it is not strange that religious institutions and actors played a central role in this evolution.

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Bitcoin-like money in Ecuador?

After mortgaging most of Ecuador’s oil and gold to finance spending, President Rafael Correa is planning to create virtual money to pay the nation’s bills.

Congress last month approved legislation to start a digital currency for use alongside the U.S. dollar, the official tender in Ecuador. Once signed into law, the country will begin using the as-yet-unnamed currency as soon as October. A monetary authority will be established to regulate the money, which will be backed by “liquid assets.”

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World Bank's potential big step backwards on worker's rights

The very slow but steady progress among international financial institutions (IFIs) towards recognition that their projects need to comply with fundamental workers’ rights could be reversed if the World Bank adopts the draft social and environmental safeguards policy revision that was leaked about ten days ago. It will be discussed by the World Bank’s Committee on Development Effectiveness this Wednesday, and the TUC is one of several union voices to lobby their national representatives at the World Bank.

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Ten reasons for saying 'No' to the North on Trade

India’s decisive stand last week not to adopt the protocol of amendment of the trade facilitation agreement (TFA) unless credible rules were in place for the development issues of the South was met with  “astonishment” and “dismay” by trade diplomats from the North, who described New Delhi’s as “hostage-taking” and “suicidal”.

It obviously came as something of a shock for representatives of Northern interests that any party should have the brass neck to place the interests of its constituents on the negotiating table.

 

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Africa Leaders Summit: Americas dirty little secret

This week's U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit is designed to showcase Africa in a new light, focusing on its economic potential as a trading partner and investment opportunity. With 10 of the world's 12 fastest-growing economies in Africa, both U.S. and African officials are keen to convince U.S. corporations that Africa is a wise place to do business.

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Tax evasion and Swiss banks

Switzerland has faced turbulence in recent times over tax evasion and banking secrecy, and the Swiss have this year agreed under duress to sign up to a multilateral agreement sponsored by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), which provides for automatic sharing of banking information from 2017. However, a French economist claims that Swiss banks will continue to have tempting incentives to cheat.

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South Stymies North in Global Trade Talks

A group of developing countries brought a tectonic shift at the World Trade Organization last week by turning the tables against the industrialised countries, when they offered a positive trade agenda to expeditiously arrive at a permanent solution for food security and other development issues, before adopting the protocol of amendment of the contested Trade Facilitation Agreement.

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World Bank Board Declines to Revise Controversial Draft Policies

A key committee of the World Bank’s governing board Wednesday spurned appeals to revise a  draft policy statement that, according to nearly 100 civil-society groups, risks rolling back several decades of reforms designed to protect indigenous populations, the poor and sensitive ecosystems.

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Luxemburg Tax Regime Under Siege

Amid the rolling, wooded farmland of the Ardennes, the highway from Brussels briefly hugs the Luxembourg frontier at Martelange, a small town famous for the border that runs down the middle of its busy main street.

On one side – in low-tax Luxembourg – is a profusion of petrol stations offering some of the most lightly taxed fuel in Europe. It is a striking example of the “gas pump tourism” that boosts Luxembourg’s exchequer at the expense of its neighbours.

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Is the World Bank weakening its poverty reduction policies?

A leaked draft of the World Bank’s proposed new Safeguard Policies appears to reverse a generation of gains. Despite over two years of input from civil society, project-affected communities, and experts on a wider range of social and environmental issues, the leaked proposal reveals a significant weakening of those standards. The proposed policies, which are up for discussion by the Bank’s board on July 30 ahead of public consultations, are not only at odds with the Bank’s stated goals of ending extreme poverty and boosting shared prosperity, but they also lower the bar for the entire international community.

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What NML vs Argentina means for the world

At the end of June, 2014, a New York’s Second District Judge ruled in favour of a hedge und, NML Capital, and against the Republic of Argentina.  The issue at stake was if a hedge fund that bought debt paper three years after a debt restructuring, had or not the right to collect on the same terms as the rest of creditors. The ruling was, yes it has. The problem is that in the original debt restructuring creditors received new instruments with a strong haircut that made the payback possible for Argentina, while the old instruments do not have any debt reduction. In this way, the profitability of the hedge funds in buying, in 2008, those old unwanted instruments of a debt rescheduled in 2005, and unpaid since 2001, will be of 1,600%.

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