The newest edition of the World Wealth Report ... interesting literature:
Last week the IMF published an article in its magazine that caused a considerable stir around the world. Entitled ‘Neoliberalism: oversold?’ the short piece by Jonathan D. Ostry, Prakash Loungani, and Davide Furceri, all from the Fund’s Research Department, questions whether the economic approach of neoliberalism has been taken too far. They define neoliberalism as a focus on promoting competition through deregulation and on shrinking the state through privatisation and fiscal austerity.
The authors conclude that many of the policies promoted under the neoliberal approach have been beneficial to economic progress. Among these they list the privatisation of state owned enterprises, and the expansion of global trade. However, they argue that others have been of more questionable benefit. Among these they include liberalising the flows of international capital, to allow speculative money to flow in and out of countries rapidly, which they conclude is largely harmful, and austerity, which they believe whilst necessary in some circumstances due to high debt burdens, is nevertheless dangerous in that it increases inequality, which in turn reduces growth.
There is a battle of interest between industrialised countries and Africa on how to alleviate the effects of climate change leading to different conferences being held. The much publicised were the Conference of Parties - known as COP15 - held in 2009; the United Nations, UN, climate talks in Warsaw, Poland, tagged the COP19 - the 19thConference of Parties 2013; the pre-COP planned for Venezuela in 2014. The most recent is the 21st Conference of Parties, also - known as COP21 - held in Paris in 2015.
The International Labour Organization (ILO) has adopted a new international labour standard that is expected to help hundreds of millions of workers and economic units move out of informality and into the formal economy.
More than half of the world’s workforce is estimated to be trapped in the informal economy* , which is marked by the denial of rights at work, the absence of sufficient opportunities for quality employment, inadequate social protection, a lack of social dialogue and low productivity, all of which constitutes a significant obstacle to the development of sustainable enterprises.
The new Recommendation acknowledges that most people enter the informal economy not by choice but due to a lack of opportunities in the formal economy and an absence of any other means of livelihood.
The Recommendation – the first ever international labour standard specifically aimed at tackling the informal economy – was passed by 484 votes in favour and garnered outstanding support from the ILO’s tripartite constituents.
From cash transfers in the South to basic income in the North: many social demands are currently more oriented towards money than towards social and economic rights. The implicit risk is a system in which governments pay for people who will work for private interests – for free.
Mozambique, long touted as an African “success story”, is sinking under debt. International lenders and donors have been angered by revelations of at least $2.3 billion in secret loans taken in 2013-4. Inflation is rising and so is the cost of living. The government is clamping down on critics speaking up about the crisis. The future looks uncertain.
Mr. Micawber is a character in Charles Dickens's 1850 novel David Copperfield who is always in debt and frequently responds that "something will turn up". Maputo feels like that at the moment. The heavily indebted government on one side, and the lenders and donors on the other, seem to be assuming that "something will turn up". Neither side appears to be planning for the implications of the debt crisis or for how to get out of it. But the crisis is serious and getting worse.
Restrictions on freedom of speech and assembly, including severe crackdowns in some countries, increased by 22%, with 50 out of 141 countries surveyed recording restrictions.
The ITUC Global Rights Index ranks 141 countries against 97 internationally recognised indicators to assess where workers’ rights are best protected, in law and in practice.
“We are witnessing the closing of democratic space and an increase in insecurity, fear and intimidation of working people. The speed at which attacks on rights are being forced through, even in democracies with the Finish government’s proposals and the new trade union law in the United Kingdom, shows an alarming trend for working people and their families,” said Sharan Burrow, ITUC General Secretary.
Beware of semantic confusion, but we urgently and most seriously need a good debate on pro's and con's of basic income and of social protection.
Here, a debate on Al Jazeera in which I participated last Sunday:
In the passed month, the website of Global Social Justice has been repeatedly hacked.
We are searching for a permanent solution and hope to find it soon.
We already want to thank you for your loyalty towards our initiative.
In a shantytown perched in the hilly outskirts of Lima, Peru, people were dying. It was 1994, and thousands of squatters — many of them rural migrants who had fled from their country’s Maoist guerrilla insurgency — were crammed into unventilated hovels, living without basic sanitation. They faced outbreaks of cholera and other infectious diseases, but a government austerity program, which had slashed subsidized health care, forced many residents to forgo medical treatment they couldn’t afford. When food ran short, they formed ad hoc collectives to stave off starvation.
A Catholic priest ministering to a parish in the slum went looking for help, and he found it in Jim Yong Kim, an idealistic Korean-American physician and anthropologist. In his mid-30s and a recent graduate of Harvard Medical School, Kim had helped found Partners in Health, a scrappy nonprofit organization whose mission was to bring modern medicine to the world’s poor. The priest had been involved with the group in Boston, its home base, before serving in Peru, and he asked Kim to help him set up a clinic to aid his flock. No sooner had Kim arrived in Lima, however, than the priest contracted a drug-resistant form of tuberculosis and died.
Kim was devastated, and he thought he knew what to blame: the World Bank. Like many debt-ridden nations, Peru was going through “structural adjustment,” a period of lender-mandated inflation controls, privatizations, and government cutbacks. President Alberto Fujimori had enacted strict policies, known collectively as “Fujishock,” that made him a darling of neoliberal economists. But Kim saw
calamitous trickle-down effects, including the tuberculosis epidemic that had claimed his friend and threatened to spread through the parish.
Today is a day to celebrate the achievements that through generations union men and women have won: peace, democracy, rights and decent work for millions of people.