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State of Power Report

The Transnational Institute is proud to launch its third annual ‘State of Power’ report as the World Economic Forum meets in Davos. This anthology exposes and analyses the principal power-brokers, members of the “Davos class”, who have caused financial, economic, social and ecological crises worldwide.

Unless we know which elites control our wealth and resources, understand how they influence political and social processes, and can identify the systems, structures and policies by which they maintain their power, TNI believes our hopes for advancing social and environmental justice are slim. Justice demands a recalibration of power and that requires us to better understand it.

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Chinese Capital Flows

IS CAPITAL fleeing China? The recent crackdown on official corruption might suggest that fat cats are busy whisking their money out of the country to avoid scrutiny. That impression is strengthened by the apparently endless flow of Chinese money into luxury goods, penthouses and other trophies in London, New York and Paris.

Lots of money is undoubtedly leaving China, despite the country’s strict currency controls. However, a close look at the official figures suggests that, on balance, more hot money (meaning capital flows other than foreign direct investment, both above board and under the table) has been flowing in (see chart).

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Offshore holdings of China's elite

China's top leaders have held secretive offshore companies in tax havens that helped shroud the communist elite's wealth.

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Working for the Few: Political capture and economic inequality

Almost half of the world's wealth is going to the richest 1 % ... You cannot fight poverty if you do not fight inequality ... Oxfam puts the focus on truths that have been analysed twenty years ago already. At that time, most NGOs were happy with the focus on poverty reduction and did not want to see this was totally compatible with neoliberal policies. Let us hope we can now work on inequality and decent social protection.

Read Oxfam's report

 
Global Employment Trends 2014

The not so bright future for jobs ...

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The Inequality Nightmare

“The poor cannot sleep, because they are hungry,” the Nigerian economist Sam Aluko famously said in 1999, “and the rich cannot sleep, because the poor are awake and hungry.” We are all affected by deep disparities of income and wealth, because the political and economic system on which our prosperity depends cannot continue enriching some while it impoverishes others.

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Global Risks

The New 'Global Risks' Report of the World Economic Forum: economists have discovered the inequality problem and consider it 'a global risk'. Very improbable though they will conclude that high incomes have to be lowered ...

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The War on Poverty at 50 (US)

Date on which President Lyndon Johnson declared the War on Poverty in the United States: 1/8/1964

Percent of Americans who were living in poverty at that time: 19

Percent living in poverty in 1969: 12.1

Percent living in poverty today: 15

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Trading Away Human Rights

 

 

Trade negotiators in Singapore recently failed to finalize a deal on the long-awaited Trans-Pacific Partnership; they will soon have another chance to complete what would be the world’s largest regional free-trade agreement. But, given serious concerns that the TPP will fail to consider important human-rights implications, that is no cause for celebration.

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Human Rights and The World Bank

Established in 1944, the World Bank has become the largest lender to developing countries, lending more than $20 billion per year. The Bank is probably the most well-known symbol of economic globalization, capitalism and Western imperialism. Its more than ten thousand employees are engaged in the Bank’s official mission of poverty reduction, which it carries out primarily through development lending. Its legitimacy depends on fulfillment of the mission, which is inextricably linked to human rights.

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A new way to look at the climate crisis

We are all trying to find a way out of the climate crisis. But we seem to be trapped in a fossil world where burning fossil fuels is good and economic growth is the measure of things. I would like to propose a simple goal for our climate movement:

Let's shut down all coal mines, oil and gas wells in our lifetimes, and guarantee the right to life.

That is the one responsibility that we, as a climate movement have. You can call it "ending the fossil age", "putting fossil technologies into the museum", "the global energy transition", "zero emissions" or "leaving it in the ground". But I find it helpful to focus on shutting down the mines and wells that we have in our countries and that feed our countries.

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