During these winter holidays, Global Social Justice will publish some photo’s of Mexico. A country where 43 students can just disappear, where, in the past eight years, more than one hundred thousand people were murdered and more than twenty thousand were disappeared. Where feminicide continues . Where impunity reigns. Where the President and Ministers can receive million Dollar houses from businessmen. Where thousands of ordinary people lose their savings because of fraud in a financial institution. Where the minimum wage has just been risen by 2.74 Pesos and now reaches … less than five US$ a day. Workers have lost 80 % of their purchasing power over the past thirty years.
People react. People resist. And yes, they get punished. But they continue. They march. They make music. They get help from artists. Life is full of colours. During two weeks, I would like to show you some of this sad but hopeful reality.
The path to implementing a tax on financial transactions (known as the FTT) was never going to be smooth. This week's announcement that the expected coalition between Christian Democrats and the Social Democrats in Germany will prioritise the tax's implementation, is a sign that the proposal remains on track. But any measure that taxes or regulates financial markets and banks will always meet concerted opposition.
On Wednesday, Presidents Barack Obama and Raúl Castro announced the most profound change in relations between the United States and Cuba in decades.
Why now? What explains the timing of this historic change to a policy in place for over half a century? The short answer is that the decision to restore diplomatic ties between the two countries was driven by a surprising convergence of biology and technology. Biology dictated the aging of the Castro brothers and other leaders of their revolutionary generation in Cuba, as well as the graying of the Cuban exile population in Florida. This dynamic altered old political balances both inside the Cuban regime and in U.S. electoral politics. Technology—especially innovations in the extraction of shale oil and gas—allowed the United States to upend the world’s energy map and push down the price of oil, thus undermining the ability of Venezuela, a major oil-exporter, to continue providing a lifeline to Cuba’s bankrupt economy. Cuba needed an economic alternative, and the U.S. became one.
Corporations should be carefully vetted for their fiscal responsibility and human rights record before being allowed to use the UN name and logo or join any partnership with the international organizations, argued Roberto Bissio, from the Social Watch secretariat during a panel on global economic governance on December 11 in New York.
Former US congressman Barney Frank, co-author of the Frank-Dodd Act to regulate financial corporations, passed after the 2008 global crisis, was a panel member and agreed with many of the points raised by civil society organizations.
The panel also included Chilean Ambassador Eduardo Gálvez, who defended a central role for the UN in global economic governance, an IMF executive director, and representatives of the US Treasury and of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime.
Several government representatives intervened in the debate, asking for details about the critique and analysis of Private-Public-Partnerships (PPPs) by Social Watch.
See Roberto Bissio's intervention here.
See the whole debate here.
The Brisbane G20 Summit offered civil society groups an opportunity to renew demands for a financial transaction tax (FTT). But in the end it proved a missed opportunity to build international cooperation on financial reform.
A global financial transaction tax - dead or alive?
Illicit Flows from Developing & Emerging Countries Growing at 9.4% per Year
US$6.6 Trillion Stolen from Developing World from 2003-2012; Trade Misinvoicing Responsible for 77.8% of Illicit Outflows
China, Russia, Mexico, India, Malaysia—in Declining Order—Are Biggest Exporters of Illicit Capital over Decade; Sub-Saharan Africa Still Suffers Biggest Illicit Outflows as % of GDP
Study Calls for UN Sustainable Development Goals to Halve Annual Trade-Related Illicit Flows by 2030; Recommends Public Registries of Beneficial Ownership; Urges Public Country-by-Country Reporting for Multinationals
Read the full report
Floods and droughts in many parts of the world are getting ever more frequent and intense. Scientists have long warned that a changing climate is making such weather events more extreme. What is often neglected in the public debate is that the impacts of climate change on flood and drought disasters are exacerbated by environmental destruction.
A new report by Wetlands International argues that "damaged ecosystems are the hidden hand behind many supposedly natural disasters. They can be what turns extreme weather into human calamity." The new report, Downstream Voices, was authored by the eminent environmental journalist Fred Pearce.