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After a late flurry of additions to the founding membership of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, attention now turns to setting the China-led AIIB’s rules and regulations. But important questions remain – most important, whether the AIIB is a potential rival or a welcome complement to existing multilateral financial institutions like the World Bank. 

Since China and 20 mostly Asian countries signed the AIIB’s initial memorandum of understanding last October, 36 other countries – including Australia, Brazil, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, Italy, Norway, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, and the United Kingdom – have joined as founding members.

The FfD agenda is an important reference point for discussions on development finance, and serves as a unique space where governments, in particular from the South, are able to debate important issues like trade and foreign direct investment as well as systemic issues like the international financial architecture and financial regulation. These are the global economic issues that were absent in the origin and overall framework of the Millennium Development Goals and remain piecemeal in the proposed Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) framework.

Throughout history, people have migrated from one place to another. People try to reach European shores for different reasons and through different channels. They look for legal pathways, but they also risk their lives, to escape from political oppression, war and poverty, as well as to find family reunification, entrepreneurship, knowledge and education. Every person’s migration tells its own story.”

“an agenda which reflects our common values and provides an answer to our citizens’ worries about unacceptable human suffering.”

Today, it seems the ‘values’ of the European Union refer precisely to this ‘unacceptable human suffering’. A very modest proposal from the European Commission (quotes) is rejected by the meeting of our national governments. Whereas thousands of refugees have drowned in the Mediterranean and thousands are harassed in Libya or on their way through Macedonia. Are these people able to sleep at night? ‘Wir haben es nicht gewusst’?

Many advocates of a basic income – an amount of money paid to all members of society, rich and poor – claim that their idea is neither left nor right. It is not always clear how we have to understand this. Today, there are political movements who do not want to call themselves left or right – the Spanish Podemos for example – though their proposals are clearly leftwing.

And for sure, there is a difference between the right and the left. The idea of a basic income is indeed being promoted by leftwing as well as rightwing forces, though it remains problematic.

In this article I want to argue that in fact, a basic income cannot be a leftwing idea.

A new report from OECD: Income inequality has reached record highs in most OECD countries and remains at even higher levels in many emerging economies. The richest 10 per cent of the population in the OECD now earn 9.6 times the income of the poorest 10 per cent, up from 7:1 in the 1980s and 9:1 in the 2000s.


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