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A slippery ladder: 2.8 billion people on the brink

The precarious rise from poverty of millions in the emerging world.

Muljoko, a 27-year-old cleaner who works in one of Jakarta’s gleaming office towers, has all the trappings of a newly minted member of the middle class. He owns a motorcycle, slings a Sony smartphone and has a futuristic-looking phone-watch strapped to his wrist that he uses to text friends during working hours.

He is infinitely better off than when he was growing up in an impoverished farming village in southern Sumatra. Like millions around the world over the past three decades, Muljoko has risen out of poverty and is now a proud member of Asia’s emerging urban middle class.

And yet, a closer look at his finances – and his aspirations – reveals that his place in the middle class is much more fragile than it seems.

New data from the International Comparison Program: Is China already the biggest economy?

The International Comparison Program (ICP) released new data today showing that the world economy produced goods and services worth over $90 trillion in 2011, and that almost half of the world’s total output came from low and middle income countries.

Under the authority of the United Nations Statistical Commission, the 2011 round of ICP covered 199 economies - the most extensive effort to measure Purchasing Power Parities (PPPs) across countries ever. ICP 2011 estimates benefited from a number of methodological improvements over past efforts to calculate PPPs.

Rewriting global tax rules could increase developing countries’ corporate tax revenues by over 100%

“Corporations are rigging the rules and taking advantage of poor countries, fuelling a vicious cycle of inequality. ”

OECD’s current tax action plan is flawed because it excludes poorest countries

The G20’s plan to tackle corporate tax dodging, devised by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), needs a radical shake up so that developing countries can capture their fair share of foreign business activity, according to a new report published today by Oxfam.

Social protection: a key to a fair society

ITUC's frontline report 2014 on social protection: a must read

Tame Corporate Power, Reduce Inequality

ITUC May Day Statement

Building Workers’ Power is vital to drive economic, industrial and social transformation. The international system today is heavily stacked against workers and their families, and governments are increasingly cowered by big finance and big business.

A tiny proportion of the world’s population holds vast power and wealth, while millions upon millions of people have no job or work in precarious and exploitative conditions for little reward.


After a lengthy process of consultation and deliberation, talks over the post-2015 sustainable development agenda are now moving into the cut and thrust of practical negotiation. As the process enters this more overtly political phase, there is a very real threat that the voice of powerful actors, especially those from the private sector, may drown out global civil society’s demands for a human rights-based framework, and with it the possibility of a genuinely transformative agenda.

28 April: Life and health at work are not an option but a right

Despite the world’s outcry which followed the death of 1.138 workers in the collapse of the Rana Plaza factory building in Bangladesh a year ago, or the silent death of more than 107,000 workers a year due to asbestos exposure, workers around the world continue to see employers and governments prioritising “competitiveness” or cutting vital inspection and enforcement services and removing regulatory protection over workers’ lives and health.

Some Reflections on Thomas Piketty's Capital in the XXIst century

Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century is a six hundred and eighty-five page tome that definitively characterizes the empirical pattern of income and wealth inequality in capitalist economies over the past two hundred and fifty years, and especially over the last one hundred. It also documents the grotesque rise of inequality over the past forty years and ends with a call for restoration of high marginal income tax rates and a global wealth tax.

(Also a debate on this same book with Krugman and Stiglitz)


As more people watch the money flowing into Africa, we have to keep an eye on the money flowing out ...

Earlier this month, Nigeria leapt past South Africa to emerge as Africa’s largest economy. The financial world has watched the shift intently, with a keen interest on the amount of money coming into Nigeria. But keeping an eye on the huge sums of money flowing out is just as important.

The economic growth didn’t happen overnight. Rather, Nigerian officials decided it was time to recalculate the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), based on new statistics they claim more accurately reflect the country’s present economic situation.

Commercialisation: the Anti-thesis of sharing

The danger is not commercialisation per se but our constant identification with its inner and outer manifestation, in which humanity’s intelligence is led in the opposite direction from nature and spiritual evolution.

What is evil, anyway, if not our identification with it?

Read the article


The Dual Role of the EU in Promoting Human Development

Is European Union really committed to Human Development? EU has made an undeniable progress in promoting the integration of policy coherence for development (PCD) at the discursive level, nevertheless European policies developed in the last five years have not only had profoundly negative consequences for other countries and people, but have made living conditions significantly precarious for large part of the population living in Europe. There appears to be a more than significant gap between the policy commitments undertaken by the European institutions and Member States, and the real actions to promote greater PCD at both EU and national levels. This article, written by Natalia Millán, analyses the dual role of the European Union in promoting real Human Development.

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