The World Is Sliding Into Recession, Warns WTO Chief

Countercurrents | September 30, 2022

The world is sliding into a recession due to multiple overlapping crises, the head of the WTO said on Tuesday.

Speaking at the opening of the WTO’s annual public forum in Geneva, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala noted that the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have both downgraded their global growth forecasts, and that trade indicators are “not looking too good.”

Colliding crises such as surging food prices, the soaring cost of living, and the energy crunch, first triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic and then aggravated by the Russia-Ukraine conflict, have created the conditions for a global recession.

Read More »

Controlling Inflation at the Expense of Working Class

Prabhat Patnaik

Economists distinguish between two kinds of inflation: “demand-pull” and “cost-push”. Demand-pull inflation is said to occur when there is excess demand in a situation where supply cannot be augmented, because full capacity output has been reached in one or more crucial sectors. War-time inflation is a classic example. In India during the pre-neoliberal, dirigiste period, inflation was often the result of insufficient foodgrain output relative to demand, arising from a poor harvest.

Cost-push inflation on the other hand occurs when supplies can be augmented, as the economy is nowhere near full capacity in key sectors, but one of the classes tries to raise its share of output, by demanding a higher price for the input it provides, while other classes are unwilling to lower their shares, giving rise to a tug-of-war, which manifests itself through inflation.

Read More »

ECONOMIST RICHARD WOLFF: SANCTIONS AGAINST RUSSIA, INFLATION & CLASS WAR

Mintpress News | September 12, 2022

European countries, as well as the United States, continue to be imperiled by an economic crisis following the imposition of sanctions on Russia. The policy has backfired spectacularly and has had worse economic ramifications on those levying the sanctions, than those being sanctioned. In this week’s episode, Lowkey speaks to respected U.S. economist Dr. Richard Wolff, discussing the links between the war in Ukraine, inflation, and the class war at home.

Before exploring the people’s definition of inflation, Dr. Wolff contextualizes the economic crisis currently unfolding across the West.

Read More »

Life expectancy and human development in the 21st century

Michael Roberts Blog | September 11, 2022

Life expectancy is one of the best measures of human development.  In hunter-gather societies, on average, about 57-67% of children made it to 15 years. Then 79% of those 15 year-olds made it to 45 years.  Finally, those remaining at 45 years could expect to reach around 65-70 years. So we can see that life expectancy at birth in these societies was very low, given high child mortality. But some 40% did make it to about 65 years on average.  It seems to have been worse in the class-based feudal and slave societies.  The average medieval life expectancy for a peasant was only a mere 35 years of age at birth, but it was closer to 50 years on average for those who made it beyond 15 years. 

You can see that measuring life expectancy at birth is not a perfect guide to how long humans did live in pre-capitalist societies.  Nevertheless, there is no doubt that life expectancy on average rose sharply once science came to bear on hygiene, sewage, knowledge of the human body, better nutrition etc.  Of course, there were sharp inequalities in life expectancy in class societies between rich and poor.

Read More »

“Sri Lanka needs a strong public distribution system, wealth tax and universal welfare measures”

In the second part of an interview with Peoples Dispatch, Ahilan Kadirgamar analyzes the economic crisis faced by Sri Lanka and talks about the steps that need to be taken urgently

Peoples Dispatch | June 18, 2022

In the second part of an interview with Peoples Dispatch, Ahilan Kadirgamar, senior lecturer at the University of Jaffna, details the economic crisis that has engulfed Sri Lanka. He explains why shortages of essentials have continued over the months, and the inability of the government to tackle it.

He also talks about how Sri Lanka has already begun to adopt IMF policies before even signing an agreement and how this is affecting the country. He lists out the steps that need to be taken urgently to protect livelihoods and ensure the future of the next generation.

Watch the first part of the interview on the political crisis here:

Read More »

A new pandemic has struck the world: Food inflation

Food prices are increasing at an unprecedented rate worldwide, triggered by 2 years of COVID-19 pandemic-induced disruption and now the Russia-Ukraine war

Richard Mahapatra

Down To Earth | April 19, 2022

This story was updated April 28, 2022 to correct conversion of US dollar to Indian rupees. 

The novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic was pushed off global front pages last fortnight by food inflation. Food prices have leaped 75 per cent since mid-2020, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) assessed.

In India, rural consumer food price has doubled in the year through March 2022, according to the All India Consumer Price Index (CPI) by the National Statistical Office (released April 12). At 13 per cent, the country’s annual wholesale inflation was at the highest in a decade. Food and fuel prices played a major role.

Read More »

The Road Will Be Long And Bumpy: WEF On Post-pandemic Recovery

Countercurrents | January 12, 2022

The World Economic Forum (WEF) warns: The effects of the Covid-19 pandemic may take years to reign in. The WEF has also sheds light on major concerns regarding the future from the globe’s economic elite.

“Covid-19 and its economic and societal consequences continue to pose a critical threat to the world. Vaccine inequality and a resultant uneven economic recovery risk compounding social fractures and geopolitical tensions,” said the new Global Risks Report released by the WEF on Tuesday states.

The report is based on opinions of nearly 1,000 global risk experts and leaders from business, civil services, government, academic, and other spheres.

Read More »

IMF Downgrades its Growth Forecast for Asia, says Covid Still ‘Ravaging’ the Region

Countercurrents | October 25, 2021

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Tuesday downgraded its 2021 economic growth forecast for Asia after the Covid-19 delta variant caused a spike in cases in parts of the region.

The IMF said it expects Asia’s economy to grow by 6.5% in 2021, compared with its April forecast for a 7.6% expansion.

“The global COVID-19 pandemic is still ravaging the region,” the fund said in its Regional Economic Outlook report for Asia and the Pacific.

Read More »
GLOBAL ECONOMY 

j 5212

“Global carbon emissions are set to jump by 1.5 billion tonnes this year. This is a dire warning that the economic recovery from the Covid crisis is currently anything but sustainable for our climate,” said Dr Fatih Birol, International Energy Agency (IEA) Executive Director.

Global Energy Review, the new IEA report, sees global energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions rising by 1.5 billion tonnes in 2021, driven by a strong rebound in demand for coal in electricity generation. The CO2 emissions’ surge by 1.5 billion tonnes in 2021 is the second-largest increase in history, which reverses most of last year’s decline caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. This would be the biggest annual rise in emissions since 2010, during the carbon-intensive recovery from the global financial crisis.

The IEA’s Global Energy Review 2021 estimates that CO2 emissions will increase by almost 5% this year to 33 billion tonnes, based on the latest national data from around the world as well as real-time analysis of economic growth trends and new energy projects that are set to come online.Read More »

ECONOMIC COST OF THE COVID PANDEMIC 

COVID-COST: Over $13 TRILLION spent to combat the pandemic

A Journal of People report

covid economic cost

Global leaders have committed trillions of dollars to battle the Covid-19/coronavirus pandemic and support the global economy, Japanese business newspaper Nikkei reported in December, citing its experts.

According to estimates, the total amount up to December has exceeded $13 trillion across the world. It includes the $900 billion stimulus package, which was passed by the U.S. Congress this week. Read More »