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Analysis
Debt auditing in Argentina

The Argentine parliament has just passed legislation for launching a debt audit commission. It will look into the debts contracted by the country since the military junta took over in 1976. The Commission, which is yet to take off, is supposed to submit its report within 180 days. The audit can genuinely serve the interest of the people. Thus, CADTM urges the Argentine government to follow the example of Ecuador which set up a commission in 2007 for an audit of the debt incurred between 1976 and 2006.

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On Minimum and Living Wages

A few years ago, Richard Anker, a former ILO official, wrote an important paper on the historical evolution of the notion of ‘living wages’ and different ways of measuring them. This paper is one example of a growing realization that mandated minimum wages, however effectively enforced, can diverge significantly from ‘living wages’ that can sustain a worker and his/her family. Not surprisingly, the notion of the ‘living wage’ is embedded in the ILO’s normative framework. The 2008 Declaration refers to a ‘minimum living wage’. The 1970 convention on minimum wages demonstrates flexibility and pragmatism by suggesting that a policy on minimum wages should strike the right balance between the need to meet the living expenses of workers and their families and national goals pertaining to employment and economic development.

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Bretton Woods Institutions Birthday Party Turns Sour
This year’s annual meeting of the World Bank (WB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), on October 10-12, coincided with the 70th anniversary of both institutions. But it was not a happy party with global economic storm clouds looming, a growing Ebola pandemic and major internal problems at both institutions. The threat of a return to economic crisis and recession, now including Europe's largest economy Germany, also weighed heavily during discussions.
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Africa can be its own Switzerland

Africa has the capacity to access at least 200 billion dollars for sustainable development investment but it will remain a slave to foreign aid unless it improves the climate for investment and trade and plugs illicit financial flows, development experts say.

“Africa is not poor financially but it needs to get its house in order,” Stephen Karingi, director of regional integration, infrastructure and trade at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), told IPS during the commission’s Ninth African Development Forum, which is being held in Morocco from Oct. 13 to 16.

Last Updated on Monday, 20 October 2014 13:52
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On the importance of human rights

FROM THE ABSENCE OF ANY CONSIDERATION BEING GIVEN TO HUMAN RIGHTS, TO A STATE WHERE THEY ARE PAID LIP SERVICE, TO A STATE IN WHICH CONCRETE RECOMMENDATIONS ARE MADE …AND HUMAN RIGHTS ARE APPLIED AND MONITORED!

1. We live in an era in which the ideals of human rights (HR) have moved center stage both ethically and politically*. A great deal of energy is expended in promoting their significance for the construction of a better world. But, for the most part, the concepts circulating do not fundamentally challenge hegemonic liberal and neoliberal market logic or the dominant modes of legality and of state action. We live, after all, in a world in which the rights of private property and profit trump all other notions of rights. (D. Harvey)

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What Markets Will

In the Middle Ages, the call for a crusade to conquer the Holy Land was met with cries of “Deus vult!” — God wills it. But did the crusaders really know what God wanted? Given how the venture turned out, apparently not.

Now, that was a long time ago, and, in the areas I write about, invocations of God’s presumed will are rare. You do, however, see a lot of policy crusades, and these are often justified with implicit cries of “Mercatus vult!” — the market wills it. But do those invoking the will of the market really know what markets want? Again, apparently not.

 

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Majority of governments remain blind to the challenges of global food security

The delegation of La Via Campesina, gathered in Rome for the 41st session of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS), recognizes the CFS as the major international forum for debate and decision making on agricultural and food issues. LVC urges governments to take urgent action in favor of peasant and indigenous agriculture, which is the only model capable of feeding the world. On the occasion of World Food Day, we restate our commitment to struggle for Food Sovereignty as a solution to the multiple crises affecting our societies. We reaffirm our commitment to the recognition and enforcement of peasant rights.

 

Last Updated on Friday, 17 October 2014 12:24
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World Food Day and International Year of Family Farming

It does not make the headlines, but 2014 is the International Year of Family Farming (IYFF) and family farming will be centre-stage at this year’s World Food Day on Oct. 16 at the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO).

“If we are serious about fighting hunger we need to promote family farming as a way of production and also [...] as a way of life. It is much more than a way of agricultural production”, says Marcela Villarreal, Director of FAO’s Office for Partnerships, Advocacy and Capacity Development.

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Sharing a (not so) living planet

Barely a week after more than half a million people marched for decisive action on climate change, the World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF) released their latest Living Planet report, which serves as a timely reminder that the environmental crises we face extend far beyond the popular discourse on global warming. As ever, this year’s report makes for grim reading, with updated facts that illustrate the devastating impact of human activity on the biosphere and point to the urgent need for a revolutionary shift in the way we use, manage and share the earth’s natural resources.

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EU candidates for the Commission endorse tax justice measures during hearings

Tax was one of the key issues tackled when Commissioner candidates faced MEP questioning in the European Parliament over the past two weeks. Junker’s lineup of candidates were being grilled on their policies – and every other imaginable issue - as part of the Commissioner candidate hearings which take place every five years.

Among the range of issues covered, several candidates endorsed a ‘goodie bag’ of tax justice proposals. These included country-by-country reporting, automatic exchange of information, public disclosure of beneficial ownership, unitary taxation and equal representation for developing countries in international negotiations on tax reforms.

This year’s hearings consisted of three hours of intense Q&A sessions as well as a written submission prepared by the candidate in advance. And they are not just theatre. Indeed this time the Slovenian candidate was rejected.

The fact that so many Members of Parliament asked questions on taxation has shown the continued high priority that this topic has. Commissioners will no doubt take note that tax justice is an issue that has the attention of MEPs and the public.

Below, we bring you a small excerpt of what the Commissioner candidates have said on tax justice issues:

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