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Analysis
The tragedy of the private

Throughout the world, public service workers, alongside their fellow community members, are not only defending public services but also struggling to make them democratic and responsive to people’s needs and desires.

This is the conclusion of “The tragedy of the private, the potential of the public”, a report published by PSI (Public Services International), which looks at how these alliances are working at different levels – local, national and international.

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The unbelievable, unknowable wealth of the super rich

Back in May, when the Financial Times published an attempted takedown of the data on wealth inequality underpinning Thomas Piketty’s Capital in the Twenty-First Century, the newspaper managed to prove pretty much one thing. It wasn’t that Piketty had misled readers or botched his math, as the paper claimed—by almost all accounts, his response put those criticisms to rest. Rather, it was that measuring the riches of the global elite is a complicated, inexact science that economists are only beginning to grapple with. Even Piketty says that the data set he used in Capital to illustrate the American wealth gap is probably outdated. He prefers a new set that shows an even greater disparity.

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The Commons As a Fount of Hope

The commons is not just a battlefield between corporate predators and those who resist them - it is also a source of hope for those willing to imagine a world beyond capitalism. It represents a space between the private market and the political state in which humanity can control and democratically root our common wealth. Both the market and the state have proved inadequate for this purpose. In different ways, they have both led to a centralization of power and decision-making. Both private monopolies and state bureaucracies have proved incapable of maintaining the ecological health of the commons or managing the fair and equitable distribution of its benefits.

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South/South collaboration for a post-capitalist paradigm

How modernity has been absorbed by the logic of the market

In a short essay it is possible only to propose hypotheses based on the many writers who have reflected on the history of capitalism and of modernity from different angles, like Max Weber, Fernand Braudel, Walter Benjamin, Michel Baud, Maurice Godelier, Eric Hobsbawn, Immanuel Wallerstein, Jorge Beinstein, Samir Amin and others. In Europe, the development of modernity followed the long passage from a medieval society to the birth of mercantile capitalism, between the 12th and the 16th centuries. Forms of proto-capitalism developed in the 12th and the 13th centuries, especially in the cities of Northern Italy, thanks to increasing commercial activities with Eastern Europe (the Bogomils). In societies dominated by religious cultures, it is not strange that religious institutions and actors played a central role in this evolution.

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Bitcoin-like money in Ecuador?

After mortgaging most of Ecuador’s oil and gold to finance spending, President Rafael Correa is planning to create virtual money to pay the nation’s bills.

Congress last month approved legislation to start a digital currency for use alongside the U.S. dollar, the official tender in Ecuador. Once signed into law, the country will begin using the as-yet-unnamed currency as soon as October. A monetary authority will be established to regulate the money, which will be backed by “liquid assets.”

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World Bank's potential big step backwards on worker's rights

The very slow but steady progress among international financial institutions (IFIs) towards recognition that their projects need to comply with fundamental workers’ rights could be reversed if the World Bank adopts the draft social and environmental safeguards policy revision that was leaked about ten days ago. It will be discussed by the World Bank’s Committee on Development Effectiveness this Wednesday, and the TUC is one of several union voices to lobby their national representatives at the World Bank.

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Ten reasons for saying 'No' to the North on Trade

India’s decisive stand last week not to adopt the protocol of amendment of the trade facilitation agreement (TFA) unless credible rules were in place for the development issues of the South was met with  “astonishment” and “dismay” by trade diplomats from the North, who described New Delhi’s as “hostage-taking” and “suicidal”.

It obviously came as something of a shock for representatives of Northern interests that any party should have the brass neck to place the interests of its constituents on the negotiating table.

 

Last Updated on Thursday, 07 August 2014 21:17
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Africa Leaders Summit: Americas dirty little secret

This week's U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit is designed to showcase Africa in a new light, focusing on its economic potential as a trading partner and investment opportunity. With 10 of the world's 12 fastest-growing economies in Africa, both U.S. and African officials are keen to convince U.S. corporations that Africa is a wise place to do business.

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Tax evasion and Swiss banks

Switzerland has faced turbulence in recent times over tax evasion and banking secrecy, and the Swiss have this year agreed under duress to sign up to a multilateral agreement sponsored by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), which provides for automatic sharing of banking information from 2017. However, a French economist claims that Swiss banks will continue to have tempting incentives to cheat.

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South Stymies North in Global Trade Talks

A group of developing countries brought a tectonic shift at the World Trade Organization last week by turning the tables against the industrialised countries, when they offered a positive trade agenda to expeditiously arrive at a permanent solution for food security and other development issues, before adopting the protocol of amendment of the contested Trade Facilitation Agreement.

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