Under the cover of philanthropy: a monopoly machine at work

by Pavan Kulkarni

News Clicks | March 22, 2018

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
Image Courtesy: Business Day

 The long-term costs of allowing a handful of corporations to take over healthcare and agriculture in developing countries, in exchange for vaccinations and hybrid seeds sold at discounted price, is likely to be a forbidding one – one that the populations of the Global South will be suffered to pay once the process of monopolization is complete.

The possibility of a handful corporations monopolizing healthcare and agriculture in the developing world is a very real risk today. Closely associated with these corporations, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) – the richest and the most powerful philanthropic foundation shaping these sectors globally – aids them in the process of monopolization by granting huge funds to its network of NGOs to carry out activities which mainly benefit these selected corporations, in many of which the foundation has considerable financial stakes.   Read More »

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Bubbles, Stocks and Crashes

by Prabhat Patnaik

People’s Democracy | February 18, 2018

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 »

Agrotowns: Ecological pathways to development

by Donald Donato

People’s World | January 05, 2018

Agrotowns: Ecological pathways to development

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 »

WTO and Commodification of Education

by Neha Chauhan\

Frontier | November 23, 2017

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.[1] 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 »

Where has all the surplus gone?

by David Ruccio

Real World Economic Review Blog | November 15, 2017

profits abroad

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 »

The Stomach-Churning Violence Of Monsanto, Bayer And The Agrochemical Oligopoly

by 

Countercurrents.org | August 29, 2017

bayer-monsanto1

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 »

Twenty Years after the Asian Financial Crisis

by Prabhat Patnaik

People’s Democracy | August 13, 2017

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 »