In 2015, for the first time ever, global extreme poverty will fall below 10 %, according to the World Bank in a triumphant press release of three weeks ago. But the Bank remains cautious about its in 2013 defined objective : to eradicate extreme poverty by 2030, or to have it at around 3 %.
This is obviously good news. The United Nations just adopted its ‘Sustainable Development Goals’ as a follow up to the Millennium Development Goals and objective number one, the halving of extreme poverty between 1990 and 2015 has been met. The World Bank’s Global Monitoring Report 2014/15 estimated extreme poverty in 2011 at 14,5 %, expecting it to lower to 11,5 % in 2015.
Global poverty, then, is diminishing. Some may remember that at the start of this century a percentage of around 20 was mentioned for 2010. In the past year, many scholarly articles were published saying that new measurements would further diminish extreme poverty, others estimating it to remain stable and still others expecting it to rise.
It is sometimes difficult to believe and it can be useful to try and follow the thread, look at how debates are developing and put the poverty measures into their right context. It is useless to try and prove the figures are ‘false’, since that would imply other figures are ‘right’ and that thesis particularly has to be rejected.
There has been no shortage of highly publicized scandals involving the financial sector in recent years, from the crash in 2008 onwards. A much less known, yet equally shocking, one is the key role banks play in enabling corruption, which has a devastating impact on people around the world. This is the focus of Banks and Dirty Money, a recently published report by Global Witness. It highlights how regulatory failure lies at heart of this problem too.
The 2015 Annual Meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank had offered the opportunity to put some flesh on the bare bones of what is called the ‘Means of Implementation’ for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). However, not much has been achieved in this respect. The meetings were rather overshadowed by the economic downturn in major middle-income countries and their negative spillovers for the mostly resource-based economies of other developing countries, due to falling commodity prices. Here, the Bretton Woods institutions could not present a credible response strategy either.
Russia’s illicit outflows were 8.3% of GDP (1994-2012); Illicit outflows from Mexico (1970-2012) and the Philippines (1960-2012) were 4.5% of GDP. $682.2 billion drained illicitly out of India 1948-2012; $561.7 billion leaked out of Brazil 1960-2012.
Dr. Thomas Pogge, Leitner Professor of Philosophy and International Affairs at Yale University, calls illicit financial outflows a drag on human rights realization in developing countries. Erik Solheim, the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee chair, considers the links between IFFs and development
This book is dedicated to all those who suffer the indignities of poverty due to illicit financial flows.
The book features five condensed and updated quantitative country studies on illicit financial flows (IFFs) from India, Mexico, Russia, the Philippines, and Brazil by GFI Chief Economist Dr. Dev Kar, as well as chapters written by GFI President Raymond Baker and Managing Director Tom Cardamone. Dr. Thomas Pogge, Leitner Professor of Philosophy and International Affairs at Yale University, writes on the human rights impact of illicit financial flows. The relationship between illicit flows and development is considered by Erik Solheim, the chair of the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee.
As the star-studded endorsements and media hype surrounding the all-pervasive Global Goals campaign begins to subside, a very different truth is beginning to emerge about this latest attempt by the international community to end poverty and create an ecologically viable future. Despite the UN’s ambitious claims, all the indications are that the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) do not have the potential to “free the human race from the tyranny of poverty and want” or “heal and secure our planet”. On the contrary, the ‘new agenda for development’ fails to address the root causes of today’s interconnected global crises, perpetuates a false narrative about poverty reduction, and reinforces an unsustainable economic paradigm that is inherently incapable of reducing the true scale of human deprivation by 2030.
In this report, the author examines the evidence on the political economy of 'targeting'. By first examining the history behind social security in developed countries, and then looking at contemporary tax-financed social security schemes in both developed and developing countries, Stephen demonstrates how the targeting design of a social security programme can influence both political commitment and the value of transfers. The paper helps in explaining why 'programmes for the poor tend to be poor programmes.'
16 October: International Day of Action for Peoples' Food Sovereignty
After a week of arduous debates at the FAO headquarters in Rome, on the 9th of October, The Governing Body of the International Seed Treaty (1) in its sixth session had to choose between plague and cholera: to accept as fait accompli its irregular "governance arrangements”, to say the least, or to sink into an open crisis.
In a recent report (“the report”), the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Extreme Poverty, Mr. Philip Alston (“the Rapporteur”) addressed the issue of economic inequality, drawing its connections to the enjoyment of human rights and to policy recommendations needed to tackle it. Among the recommendations offered in the report, some squarely focused on economic policies. States should “reduce inequality by adopting taxation policies that are instrumental to achieving that aim,” the report said. By linking economic inequality to human rights enjoyment and to the actions and omissions by the state (in pursuing a particular tax policy), the report constitutes yet another important building block in the emerging body of standards that connect acts and omissions of the state in the field of economic policy to human rights.
Two things in life are inevitable: death and taxes. But not for big corporations.
Although they are "legal persons" and can fund politicians of their choice without limit, they don't have to be limited by time and, thanks to our outdated system of taxing global profits, they can easily shirk paying taxes.
As the unprecedented flow of hundreds and thousands of migrants and refugees continues from war-ravaged countries to Europe, a new study warns that large-scale migration from poorer to rich nations will be a permanent feature of the global economy for decades.
The joint study by the World Bank (WB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), released Oct. 7, says the world is undergoing a major population shift that will reshape economic development for decades.
And, while this poses challenges, it also offers a path to ending extreme poverty and shared prosperity if the right evidence-based policies are put in place nationally and internationally.
Joseph Chamie, an independent consulting demographer and a former director of the United Nations Population Division, told IPS that in contrast to the recently adopted UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the WB/IMF report does not ignore population growth, but rightly acknowledges its vital role in the global economy and development efforts.
Mohammad Yunus, the founder of Grameen Bank in Bangladesh, transformed the lives of millions of poor women through unsecured micro loans or micro credit to self-help groups. Microcredit evolved into microfinance that also includes savings and basic forms of insurance and transfer mechanisms. Within a few years, microfinance became a global phenomenon. Although microfinance continues to grow, the enthusiasm for it shows signs of waning.
In recent years, there has been a great deal of scepticism regarding the “miracle” of microfinance. Critics have questioned whether the rhetoric has moved far ahead of the evidence, with some even suggesting that microfinance can spell the death of local economies. Meanwhile, its defenders present robust evidence to substantiate their claims that microfinance delivers enormous benefits. We argue that the miracle is largely intact but needs strengthening.