WHAT is happening in the US economy provides an object lesson on the functioning of neo-liberal capitalism. Pre-first world war capitalism which had witnessed the long Victorian and Edwardian boom had relied on the colonial arrangement for the system’s dynamics. The goods produced by Britain had been sold in colonial and semi-colonial economies (causing “deindustrialisation” there), and goods of even greater value had been taken away from these economies (the difference constituting the “drain of surplus”) to be exported, partly against British imports and partly on credit, to the “New World”, ie, to the temperate regions of white settlement, for which Britain and not the colonies were counted as the creditors.Read More »
Cuban argoecological urban farming. | Sustainable Sanitation Alliance / CC
CAMBRIDGE, Mass.—Imagine living in a town surrounded by ecologically friendly farms; walkable, green, with world-class cultural and health institutions, and flexible working schedules allowing you to get your hands dirty and exercise by working on a farm in the morning and studying, creating art, or playing with your children in the afternoon.
Envision a comfortable, well-constructed, and re-purposed rural town, devoted to growing the highest quality produce and food products, with the least amount of chemicals, packaging, and transportation costs. If you get the picture, you’re beginning to understand the idea of an “agrotown.”Read More »
Is it tenable to propose and perceive education as a commodity or a good which can be traded? Is education a state responsibility or an “opportunity” which only the select few can avail? When citizens become consumers and corporations’ rights are protected with more vigour than human rights, there seems to be nothing wrong with the scenario wherein education can be treated as a commodity with profit and loss as its guiding factor.
Under the WTO regime education is a tradable service and therefore subject to the same liberalization rationale as other tradable commodities and services. In 1994, with the conclusion of the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) national laws and regulations of many countries governing education became the object of an international trade regime. At the time, few members of the education community noticed. The General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) also contains the cross border provisions of education. Currently negotiations are underway to expand the scope of the liberalization commitments in GATS.Read More »
Thanks to the release of the so-called Paradise Papers, and the additional research conducted by Gabriel Zucman, Thomas Tørsløv, and Ludvig Wier, we know that a large share of the surplus captured by corporations is artificially shifted to tax havens all over the world. This, of course, is on top of the conspicuous tax evasion practiced by the individual holders of a large portion of the world’s wealth. Read More »
As humans, we have evolved with the natural environment over millennia. We have learned what to eat and what not to eat, what to grow and how to grow it and our diets have developed accordingly. We have hunted, gathered, planted and harvested. Our overall survival as a species has been based on gradual, emerging relationships with the seasons, insects, soil, animals, trees and seeds. And out of these relationships, we have seen the development of communities whose rituals and bonds have a deep connection with food production and the natural environment.Read More »
EXACTLY twenty years ago, a major financial crisis had hit the countries of East and South East Asia in July 1997. This crisis was a watershed in the history of third world development, in the sense that these “tiger economies” which had seen extraordinarily high growth rates until that time, remained permanently crippled thereafter. Just around the time that they were shaking off the effects of the 1997 crisis on their respective economies, the collapse of the “housing bubble” in the United States plunged the entire world capitalist system into a crisis which also affected them, so that they could never recapture their earlier growth trend.
The earlier growth performance of these Asian economies had been used by the World Bank, the IMF and the OECD (the rich countries’ club) to debunk the growth strategy pursued by India and a host of other third world economies in the immediate aftermath of decolonisation (what we call the “Nehruvian strategy”) which visualised delinking from world capitalism through trade and capital controls, and emphasised dirigiste development based on the domestic market, for breaking out of the colonial pattern of international division of labour. It was argued against such a strategy of “economic nationalism” that the Asian economies were doing remarkably well by hitching themselves to the global economy and eschewing dirigisme and controls.Read More »
A non-governmental organization (NGO) is a nonprofit and a political organization engaged in a wide range of activities, and take different forms in different parts of the world. It particularly works in the fields of humanitarian assistance and poverty alleviation. The term “non-governmental organization” was first coined in 1945, when the United Nations (UN) was created. It is estimated that about 2 million NGOs (just over one NGO per 600 Indians) are in welfare services.
It was observed that Government of India puts its attention for the rehabilitation of children in difficult circumstances aiming to build up strong future of nation under the Ministry of Women and Child Development. Similarly, the Ministry of Labour and Employment and Ministry of Human Resources Development introduced National Child Labour Project and Programme for Urban Deprived Children under Sarva Shikshya Abhijan respectively. The street children (i.e. pavements and slums dwellers, children of sex workers, and child labour, and so forth) of Metro cities like Kolkata had priority. For their rehabilitation, the Ministry of Women and Child Development of Government of India introduced the Integrated Programme for Street Children in 1993-94 and it was implemented in association with NGOs. This scheme included education, nutrition, recreation, counselling services for both street children, for their psychosocial development, and their parents, for their attitudinal changes towards care and attention for their children’s upbringing, and vocational training for street children between the age group of 6-14 years. Another two programmes as mentioned above targeted the restoration of lost childhood and the promotion of healthy childhood development. Interestingly after almost 10 years of services, the problems of children were in a static position because of faulty service delivery system and the members of NGOs who were basically nonprofessional and pursued their own profit and the preservation of their prestigious life style and life choices. Secondarily, government authorities were also responsible because of weak monitoring and evaluation of the programme.Read More »
While Americans fixate on Trump, the super-rich are absconding with our wealth, and the plague of inequality continues to grow. An analysis of 2016 data found that the poorest five deciles of the world population own about $410 billion in total wealth. As of June 8, 2017, the world’s richest five men owned over $400 billion in wealth. Thus, on average, each man owns nearly as much as 750 million people.
Why Do We Let a Few People Shift Great Portions of the World’s Wealth to Themselves?
Most of the super-super-rich are Americans. We the American people created the internet, developed and funded artificial intelligence, and built a massive transportation infrastructure, yet we let just a few individuals take almost all the credit, along with hundreds of billions of dollars.
Defenders of the out-of-control wealth gap insist that all is OK, because after all, America is a meritocracy in which the super-wealthy have earned all they have. They heed the words of Warren Buffett: “The genius of the American economy, our emphasis on a meritocracy and a market system and a rule of law has enabled generation after generation to live better than their parents did.”Read More »
Last year, Allyn taught a second grade class in a high-poverty school in Saint Petersburg, Florida. The school had been in the papers for poor test results, and it was pushing to change by adding extra time for reading instruction.
“We were very strictly monitored how each minute of our day was spent,” said Allyn, who asked me to use only her middle name. “I think we were in the spotlight so much from all the media that they were just super strict about how our day was supposed to go.”
GMO‘s Jeremy Grantham is worried about the perseverance of abnormally high corporate profit margins in the US. The phenomenon is amongst other things upsetting the standard notion that profits are mean reverting to historic averages. But as the following chart from GMO’s latest quarterly letter shows this just isn’t happening: