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IMF: to solve inequality, tax food, books and coffins

The IMF has attracted plenty of favourable attention from unfamiliar places with two ‘staff papers’ (we’re enjoined to consider them as the personal opinions of the authors, not the IMF itself, an injunction that we all merrily ignore). The first argues that inequality reduces growth, while redistribution is an effective tool for reducing it; the second explains how governments should use taxes and public expenditure to achieve this goal.

Inequality campaigners are over-the-moon to have the IMF on their side. Oxfam International hails the IMF for “mashing myths and debunking dogma in economic policy,” while the Oxfam inequality guru, Nick Galasso, is fulsome in his praise of an “ideological sea change” at the Fund (“if If it sounds like I have a crush on the IMF’s Managing Director, Christian Lagarde…”).

But what tools does the IMF think we should use to shrink inequality?

The radical implications of being an internationalist

From Sharing the World's Resources:

What does it mean to be an internationalist today? This was the topic of a panel discussion and symposium held in October last year by the New Internationalist (NI) magazine to commemorate their 40th birthday. In a series of 5-minute opening talks, the 7 panellists each gave a perspective on how development and social change has evolved since the 1970s, and pointed the way forward for the global justice and environmental movements in the critical years ahead. All of the views expressed and the ensuing discussion was informative and persuasive, as can now be viewed on NI’s YouTube channel, but one submission had a particular resonance for us at STWR – that of Jonathan Glennie from the Overseas Development Institute who gave a pre-recorded video message from Colombia. - See more at:,296FJ,9JNJFJ,8634O,1#sthash.XUXd4ZPB.dpuf

For a transcription of his presentation, see below:

The future of global economic governance

Report on the changes in global governance and the consequences for organisations like the IMF

The stories of our men

When we tell the stories of our wealthiest men, we tend to tell the stories that are of no consequence: We repeat their names, which have generally remained constant for most of recent memory; we futilely recite the numbers of their net worth; and we mythologize the secrets to their success.

These stories are of no consequence for the simple fact that we are telling ourselves things that we either already know, or things we don’t need to know.

When we dwell on who the 10 Filipinos on Forbes magazine’s  2014 list of world billionaires are, we learn nothing of value. Henry Sy’s net worth is a few hundred million dollars lower this year, the Ayalas are mysteriously absent, the majority of the names are Chinese-Filipino. So what?

Discussion on basic income

For another discussion on basic income: Francine Mestrum and Barb Jacobson from Basic income UK, published in The New Internationalist

And don't forget the article with pro's and contra's of basic income under 'research'

On the wrong side of Globalization

Trade agreements are a subject that can cause the eyes to glaze over, but we should all be paying attention. Right now, there are trade proposals in the works that threaten to put most Americans on the wrong side of globalization.

Human Rights as an Ecosystem


-Human rights are philosophical; they are holistic; they are a secular religion with its own commandments. (Shula Koenig) But does the philosophy behind human rights depend on science? It does not. Nevertheless, human rights cannot and do not ignore scientific facts. As they do so, human rights cannot and do not build a philosophy-of-the-spirit like in the times of Descartes. Human rights advance when their practitioners dialogue with their peers and with human rights’ very own history, as well as when they ask relevant questions pertaining to other related domains. (Albino Gomez)

-It is not enough to write the word HUMAN RIGHTS in upper case or in color font in a document, or make any other kind of linguistic acrobatics to make it stick. What is at play is the deep meaning and action-orientation of human rights.


Panel discussion, El Jazeera, on basic income

Could adopting unconditional basic income end poverty?


by Basic Income Europe

Enno Schmmidt, Stanislas Jourdan, Ash Navabi and Francine Mestrum discuss the idea of an Unconditional Basic Income on Al Jazeera English.

More informations about Basic Income:


The Beginning of the End of a neoliberal approach to development

We should take note of what we see as the beginning of the end of the neoliberal approach to development. The process of discrediting that development model begins in the aftermath of the east Asian financial crisis of 1997–98.

At the time there appeared to be nothing new in the nature of the east Asian crisis or in the crisis response. But, in fact, the east Asian crisis marked the gradual beginning of the end of the neoliberal consensus in the development community.

Why the poor don't exist ...

An interesting article on why the poor don't exist and what this means for social protection policies...

The sorry state of corporate taxes

What Fortune 500 firms pay (or don't pay) in the USA and what they pay abroad (2008-2012) ...

most interesting to read

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