img1 img2
logo
img3 img4
 

Articles

I had the opportunity to listen to Paul Krugman last week. He gave the keynote speech in a conference on inequality in Brussels. Theme of the conference: No prosperity for all in Europe if we do not tackle inequality. Underlying message: inequality is hindering growth and the distribution of wealth.

Krugman was there to debunk some of the myths. No, there is no shred of evidence that inequality promotes growth, as some neoliberals continue to say. But there is only little evidence that inequality hinders growth. What it is all about is the political economy, the concentration of wealth. We have a lot of evidence that there is a close link between inequality and politics.

The wealthy have become very powerful, they are the ones who promoted financial deregulation, they are the ones promoting so-called free trade agreements, they are the ones blocking all reasonable legislation that could help to improve the social situation in this world.

Our thoughts are with the thousands of victims that continue to perish in the Mediterranean, year after year. The only dream these people had was to reach the shores of the European Union with the promise of a better life and a future for themselves and their children.

However, the ‘European values’ do not cross borders. They are strictly reserved for European populations and are denied to people coming from elsewhere. Basic human rights, as if they could be different in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Europe…

‘Fortress Europe’ is killing people. But let us not forget that ‘Fortress Europe’ is made by the governments of the European Union’s member-states. And let us not forget that these governments have always refused to define a common European policy on immigration and asylum.

 

This is the tragedy. In the same way as the Greek people are forced to pay for the debts made by their banks and governments, African people pay the price for the lack of political courage of 28 national governments. 

More than four years have passed since an overwhelming majority of the membership of the International Monetary Fund agreed to a package of reforms that would double the organization’s resources and reorganize its governing structure in favor of developing countries. But adopting the reforms requires approval by the IMF’s member countries; and, though the United States was among those that voted in favor of the measure, President Barack Obama has been unable to secure Congressional approval. The time has come to consider alternative methods for moving the reforms forward.

The delay by the US represents a huge setback for the IMF. It stands in the way of a restructuring of its decision-making process that would better reflect developing countries’ growing importance and dynamism. Furthermore, with the reforms in limbo, the IMF has been forced to depend largely on loans from its members, rather than the permanent resources called for by the new measures. These loans, meant as a temporary bridge before the reforms entered into effect, need to be reaffirmed every six months.

ITUC general secretary Sharan Burrow stated: “The IFIs should use the opportunity of lower world oil prices to encourage the adoption of carbon taxes whose revenue could finance energy-efficient infrastructures and essential public services. This would help reduce the jobs deficit and also set the global economy on a more environmentally sustainable footing.” The recommendation is included in a statement for the IFI meetings produced by the ITUC and its Global Unions partners.

A sluggish global economy, the Greek debt crisis and continuing fallout of the Ebola epidemic will take focus beginning Thursday when top finance officials gather for the World Bank and IMF Spring meetings.

With high unemployment festering in advanced economies, and emerging countries entering their fifth straight year of slowing growth, how to fire up output and demand is the primary order of business for the world's central bankers and finance ministers in Washington.

Read the full article 

 

Subcategories

Focus on
Search
Interesting links
Follow me
facebook twitter rss