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Ever wondered why the world is a mess?

The latest figures from UNHCR, the U.N. Refugee Agency, show that in 2013 the total number of refugees worldwide had reached the staggering figure of 51 million people – we are close to the trauma of the Second World War, when the number of refugees was estimated at 55 million.

Now, while the Third World War has not been formally declared, this means that conflicts throughout the world are reaching levels unseen since 1944. Of course, for the large majority of people throughout the world, news about these conflicts is just part of our daily news, even though it should be insane to ignore the increasing spending on arms everywhere.

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BIS calls for reversal of loose money policy

The Bank for International Settlements (BIS) has asked the world's central banks to change course and reverse their policies of monetary stimulus, warning, with an almost professorial admonishing finger, that the longer the policy continues on the same course as now the more difficult it will be to change.

The Basel-based BIS (commonly called the Central Bank for the world's central banks) advocates this course in its 84th annual report published on 29 June.

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No EU funds for countries that breach intellectual property rules

The European Commission will ban developing countries from EU programmes, or cut their funding, if they persistently break intellectual property rights rules, according to a trade strategy published yesterday (1 July).

The executive yesterday adopted two initiatives to fight IPR infringement - one for breaches in the EU and the other internationally. Such breaches hit economic growth and employment, it said. Both plans will be put into practice this year and next.

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The Continuing enigmas of social policy

One particular index of the systemic nature of the current crisis is the weaknesses of

intellectual responses to the crisis and the inability, often self-confessed by orthodox

thinkers and policy makers, to offer convincing or viable remedies. Unsurprisingly, this

intellectual deficiency has primarily focused on the role of finance. But the intellectual

weaknesses—especially as far as policy responses are concerned—run deeper and

wider, covering (un)employment, industrial and housing policies, and so on. To a large

extent, this reflects the debilitating influence of neoliberalism (looking at things in terms

of a simple dichotomy between market and state, themselves simply conceived), the

compromises with it, and the corresponding weaknesses of alternatives on offer prior to

the crisis.

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BRICs Summit: the Seeds of a new Financial Architecture

On the day following the end of the World Cup in Brazil, the Sixth Summit of BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) will be held in Fortaleza and Brasilia, on the 14th, 15th and 16th of July, to establish a financial architecture under the slogan: “Inclusive growth and sustainable solutions”. In contrast to the initiatives of financial regionalization in Asia and South America, the BRICS countries, since they do not have a common geographical space, at a time when they are less exposed to simultaneous financial turbulence, can increase the effectiveness of their defensive instruments.

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The new development finance landscape

On 25 June, the DCD held a very successful multi-stakeholder workshop on “The new development finance landscape: partner countries’ perspectives and implications for post-2015 debate”.  The overall aim of the workshop was to examine the evolving development financing landscape in order to improve the understanding of how partner countries are dealing with its increasing complexity and risks. The workshop also looked at the measurement of development flows and proposed a means of enhancing transparency to contribute to partner countries’ strategic planning needs. The workshop brought together more tdacnews_june2014_devfinancehan 120 participants, including senior policy makers from 15 developing countries, DAC and non-DAC providers of development co-operation, international finance institutions, NGOs and think tanks. They debat‌ed synergies with the emerging post-2015 framework and highlighted the fact that ODA will remain critical in the post-2015 universe from a recipients’ perspective, concluding that the international community should continue to provide highly concessional finance in accordance with the 0.7 UN target. In light of the increased complexity of the development finance landscape, it is also fundamental to enhance transparency around resource flows beyond ODA; this will require a joint effort from all actors, both sovereign and non-sovereign. The workshop was viewed as a success by all involved; in particular, the multi-stakeholder nature of the event was applauded. The workshop is expected to inform the OECD/DAC’s work on modernising its monitoring of global resource flows in order to ensure it is fit for a post-2015 accountability framework.

 
The Transfer Pricing Labyrinth

Last week, Namibian activists raised concerns about transfer pricing in Africa’s extractive sector in an open letter to De Beers. Their letter comes at a critical time in which transfer pricing and tax havens have contributed to an exorbitant amount of capital flight from developing countries. Namibia’s economy is hugely dependent on diamond exports, which alone account for 10% of GDP, and revenues from the extractive sector, including uranium and gold. With increased scrutiny into transfer pricing just across the border in South Africa’s platinum mines, these Namibian activists have delivered a timely, earnest demand to investigate transfer pricing in their own country.

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State and Finance in Financialized capitalism

Costas Lapavitsas is a leading Professor of Economics at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, and also sits on the National Advisory Panel of Class.

Costas specialises in the study of financial systems and their structure, and the relationship of finance and development. He is the author of a number of books including Profiting without Producing, How Finance Exploits Us All, Financialised Capitalism: Expansion and Crisis, Social Foundations of Markets, Money and Credit and Political Economy of Money and Finance.

In the public interest: the role of the modern state

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Transnational corporations and Human Rights

The Human Rights Council just adopted a

resolution presented by Ecuador and South Africa that establishes an

intergovernmental working group with the mandate of developing an

international legally binding instrument to regulate the activities of

transnational corporations.

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The Rise of Infrastructure Giants in Asia

With massive infrastructure projects seeking funds, the World Bank is facing increased competition from new players in Asia, with China launching the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and the new Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa (BRICS) Bank (see Bulletin Feb 2014, Update 85) expected to be launched in July, largely focusing on infrastructure finance. But questions remain about potential negative social and environmental impacts, with none of the players adequately engaging with local communities.

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Money Drain Blocks African Progress

With average economic growth of 5 per cent, Africa makes a lot of profit. The problem: a big chunk of the money doesn’t stay in the continent. Billions of African dollars are illegally transferred into foreign bank accounts every year, and effectively make the continent a net creditor, legal experts say.

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