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The State is dead! Long live the State!

A very interesting article on 'the state of the State': Is the State dead as an economic player? Is corporate power in the ascendancy? It should be clear that the State is now at the centre of heated political and academic debate.

 
Migration as a Strategy for Household Finance

Interesting article on migration, with a fresh look on remittances as a return on investment

 

 
A happier ending for IMF Reform?

Despite an elegant solution that involved no new commitments of resources, the US Congress has refused to take up a long-delayed funding proposal for the International Monetary Fund. In the process, it derailed a multilateral agreement that was hammered out back in 2010 – ironically, in the eyes of the rest of the world, with US President Barack Obama’s administration taking a leading role. And it did so at a time when financial disruption in emerging economies is reminding the world of the importance of a strong stabilizing anchor at the core of the international monetary system.

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European Commissioner Semeta on FTT

Speech of Algirdas Semeta, member of the European Commission, on the Financial Transaction tax - European Parliament 4 February 2014.

The Greek Deputy PM of Greece, Mr. Venizelos, also addressed the EP Plenary on this issue: read the speech

 
Stop talking about the poor ...

Let’s begin with some simple semantics: poor [bad] performance; poor [bad] quality; poor [shoddy] work; poor [weak] effort; etc. So, what do we mean when we talk about “poor people” or “the poor”? I’m struck by how – in discussions on social policy in many high-income countries – progressive writers often avoid using the term “the poor,” preferring to talk about “families living on low incomes” or “families living in poverty.” Yet, in international development, many of us – and, yes, there is significant mea culpa here – have fallen into the trap of referring to such families and individuals as “the poor.”

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Perspectives in Gender and Development

In September 2013 the International Monetary Fund (IMF) released a Discussion Note called Women, Work, and the Economy: Macroeconomic Gains From Gender Equity. The report examines “whether women have the same opportunities as men to participate in labour markets in the first place, [or] in other words, are women empowered to contribute fully to global economic growth and prosperity?”

In this two part series we share responses to the report from leading feminist economists. In part one Dr. Mariama Williams gives a critical analysis of the Discussion Note, highlighting the positives and shortfalls of the various sections of the Note. In part two Prof. Stephanie Seguino with Assistant Prof. Elissa Braunstein and Dr. Anit N. Mukherjee take a look at some of the shortfalls in the report related to gender wage gap, how macroeconomic policies perpetuate gender inequality, female labour force participation rate (FLFPR) and unpaid care work.

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The Ethics of the World Bank

The World Bank’s Office of the Compliance Adviser/Ombudsman (CAO) determined on January 10 that the Bank’s private-sector lending arm, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), violated “its own ethical standards” when it “lent millions of dollars to a Honduran palm oil company [Dinant Corporation] accused of links to assassinations and forced evictions,” Nina Lakhani reported in the Guardian.  Were this true—had the Bank really acted against its principles, displayed over decades of consistent action—then the appropriate response would be global celebration.  But the IFC-Dinant incident is just the latest chapter in a miserable story.

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European FTT
The official communiqué of the meeting of the French German Financial and Economic Council on 27th of January between Moscovici, Christian Noyer (Head of French central bank), Wolfgang Schäuble and Sigmar Gabriel (German vice chancellor from the SPD) has been published on the website of the finance ministry in Berlin:

http://www.bundesfinanzministerium.de/Content/DE/Pressemitteilungen/Finanzpolitik/2014/01/2014-01-27-PM-DFFWR-DEU.html

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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”.

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Davos Screts: Swiss trade opacity and illicit flows from developing countries

This week the World Economic Forum holds its annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland. As the great and good gather to chart the direction of the global economy, there will be much talk of development, of transparency, and of the importance of trade. In light of our new research showing that Switzerland’s recent emergence as a global commodity trading hub might hide large illicit capital flows, participants may want to raise some questions with their hosts.

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Bill Gates in Davos

Bill Gates is worried – too many people are talking about raising the minimum wage. Appropriately, the world’s richest man spoke on the eve of the World Economic Summit in Davos. Gates is a great symbol of the Davos summit, an annual away day for global capitalism, at which the world’s 1% mouth concerns about poverty and climate change, while working on policies which fuel inequality.

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