Update with a Focus on Asia
Developing countries lost 6,5 billion Dollars as a consequence of illicit capital outflow in the last ten years. This is the result of a new study by Global Financial Integrity.
Three experts on issues of taxes an incomes, Camille Landais, Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Sanz have published a website where they make simulation exercices with changes in the French tax system. Citizens are invited to join them in order to find solutions for a radical reform of the tax system.
The Millennium Development Goals and the 'Charity' Paradigm
Since the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were established in 2000, an enormous effort has mobilized resources to reduce poverty, discrimination and disease in poor countries [1-3]. The Millennium Project's 2005 Report expected that the Goals would be achieved by the 2015 target date if high-income countries increased official development assistance from 0.25% of donor Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2003 to 0.44% in 2006 and 0.54% in 2015, delivering approximately US$120 billion each year of aid . By 2007, the latest year with available data, that financial goal was largely met: development assistance totaled more than $120 billion, of which $22 billion was allocated to health .
Despite this tremendous influx of resources, many resource-poor countries continue to be unable to reach the Goals, contrary to previous projections [1,2]. About 1 billion people are likely to remain in extreme poverty in 2015, missing the poverty MDG target of halving the number of people who live on less than $1 a day by 2015. More than 1 out of every 10 school-aged children in the world remains out of school, such that the target of achieving universal primary education is unlikely to be met. Five years after the target date for eliminating gender disparity in primary and secondary education, marked disparities persist. Estimated child mortality is twice the target rate, and maternal mortality is four-times the target rate. Only some of the targets related to HIV and tuberculosis seem likely to be met . Furthermore, the MDGs cover only the small share of the total burden of disease that is regularly measured in many countries, ignoring the large burden of adult disability and premature death that is increasingly driven by non-communicable diseases.
This is a critical book ( in Dutch) by Francine Mestrum on development and development assistance with new proposals for global solidarity. It is meant for young people who want to ‘help’ without knowing how to do it. It goes back to the origins of ‘development’ and ‘development cooperation’, it wonders whether development is possible and desirable. It looks at the criticisms on ‘aid’ and sees that, to-day, it mainly comes from neoliberals who only trust markets. It shows the widening gap between rich and poor countries, the net transfers from South to North due to the debt burden, capital flight and transfer pricing mechanisms of multinationals. It finally proposes a new structural solidarity, based on sovereignty, human rights, post-capitalism, global taxes and a global redistribution of incomes.
Why is development assistance not working for the people who need it most? Because these people, or the countries they live in, are simply too poor.
In this first report of a new series, the ILO defines social security as a human right and an economic necessity. It gives a useful oversight of definitions and approaches and an extensive overview of what already exists in different countries, in terms of coverage and expenditure.
UNCTAD's new LDC Report 2010 once again criticizes the poverty measures of the World Bank and pretends that 53 % of the population in LDCs is extremely poor (at less than 1.25 $/day) and 78 % of the population is poor (at 2 $/day). It proposes a new International Support Mechanism, which in turn requires a new International Development Archtiecture. This is the most urgent challenge facing the international community today.
At the 20th anniversary of its first Human Development Report, UNDP proposes an Human Development Index (HDI) corrected for inequality and a new Multidimensional Poverty Index. A new methodology has also been developed for measuring the HDI, though it is already very controversial.
There are serious problems with the conceptualization of ‘poverty’. There are no clear definitions and monetary and multidimensional poverty approaches continue to amalgamate causes and consequences of poverty. In this contribution, I want to focus on the comparison of income and multidimensional approaches and question the relevance of measuring child poverty. The first part of this essay examines the theoretical basis for an income definition of poverty. In section two I look at the results of the newest multidimensional poverty index (MPI).The third section looks at the arguments for a multidimensional approach to child poverty. In the final part I examine the ideology of poverty and propose some alternatives for eradicating poverty and promoting development.
Money, money, money …
In this contribution, I want to highlight the long and tortuous way of official development thinking on social policies and poverty reduction. In the first part, I look at the early social thinking of the World Bank and the United Nations. In the second part, their parallel strategies to fight poverty in the 1990s is examined. Section three looks at the re-conceptualization of ‘social development’ and the new discourses on social protection. Section four points to the lack of reliable data on global poverty and the changing methodologies of the World Bank. Finally, section five highlights the new old ideas of the United Nations concerning economic and social development. Neoliberalism is far from dead, and the international community clearly is at a crossroads with, furthermore, serious resistance from post-development social movements. The climate crisis, which has to be taken very seriously, may strengthen the neocolonial and military approaches to development.
To a large extent, the reality of global inequality is ignored or at best downplayed. However, this has not always been the case. Indeed, in the early 1950s, the first UN resolutions on development focused on inequality rather than poverty. Unfortunately, this decline of interest in inequality is not an indication of any improvement in global equality.