Has globalisation ended?

Michael Roberts Blog | April 27, 2022

Apart from inflation and war, what grips current economic thought is the apparent failure of what mainstream economics likes to call ‘globalisation’.  What mainstream economics means by globalisation is the expansion of trade and capital flows freely across borders.  In 2000, the IMF identified four basic aspects of globalisation: trade and transactionscapital and investment movements, migration and movement of people, and the dissemination of knowledge.  All these components apparently took off from the early 1980s as part of the ‘neoliberal’ reversal of previous national macro-management policies adopted by governments in the environment of the Bretton Woods world economic order (ie US hegemony).  Then the call was to break down tariff barriers, quotas and other trade restrictions and allow the multi-nationals to trade ‘freely’ and to switch their investments abroad to cheap labour areas to boost profitability.  This would lead to global expansion and harmonious development of the productive forces and resources of the world, it was claimed.

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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.

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National responsibility for ecological breakdown: a fair-shares assessment of resource use, 1970–2017

Prof Jason Hickel, PhD, Daniel W O’Neill, PhD, Andrew L Fanning, PhD & Huzaifa Zoomkawala, BS

The Lancet | Open Access | Published: April, 2022| DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/S2542-5196(22)00044-4

Summary
Background
Human impacts on earth-system processes are overshooting several planetary boundaries, driving a crisis of ecological breakdown. This crisis is being caused in large part by global resource extraction, which has increased dramatically over the past half century. We propose a novel method for quantifying national responsibility for ecological breakdown by assessing nations’ cumulative material use in excess of equitable and sustainable boundaries.

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Ukraine Updates: All Russia’s Big Exports Could Soon Be In Roubles, Signals Kremlin

Countercurrents Collective | 31/03/2022

The Kremlin indicated on Wednesday that all of Russia’s energy and commodity exports could be priced in roubles, toughening President Vladimir Putin’s attempt to make the West feel the pain of the sanctions it imposed for the invasion of Ukraine.

In the strongest signal yet that Russia could be preparing an even tougher response to the West’s sanctions, Russia’s top lawmaker suggested on Wednesday that almost Russia’s entire energy and commodity exports could soon be priced in roubles.

Asked about the comments by parliament speaker Vyacheslav Volodin, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: “This is an idea that should definitely be worked on.”

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Depicting Putin as ‘Madman’ Eliminates Need for Diplomacy

Joshua Cho

Fair | March 30, 2022

Even before Russia invaded Ukraine, Western media have depicted Russian President Vladimir Putin as an irrational—perhaps mentally ill—leader who cannot be reasoned or bargained with. Such portrayals have only intensified as the Ukraine crisis came to dominate the news agenda.

The implications underlying these media debates and speculations about Putin’s psyche are immense. If one believes that Putin is a “madman,” the implication is that meaningful diplomatic negotiations with Russia are impossible, pushing military options to the forefront as the means of resolving the Ukraine situation.

If Putin is not a rational actor, the implication is that no kind of diplomacy could have prevented the Russian invasion, and therefore no other country besides Russia shares blame for ongoing violence. (See FAIR.org3/4/22.) Yet another implication is that if Putin’s defects made Russia’s invasion unavoidable, then regime change may be necessary to resolve the conflict.

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Racism of the European Union on Display: Not All Refugees Matter

The European Union is making 17 billion euros available to help with the refugee crisis from the Ukrainian war. Meanwhile, millions of refugees from other wars remain stranded in precarious camps.

Left Voice | March 30, 2022

Beata Zawrzel/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The war in Ukraine has exposed the European Union’s imperialist hypocrisy in many ways, particularly when it comes to its treatment of people fleeing conflicts. From the beginning, there have been many reports of refugees from Africa and Asia being deprioritized over white refugees and experiencing racism and violence at European borders.  

As the weeks go by, the refugee crisis is intensifying. Four million people have already left Ukraine, with forecasts suggesting that the number could reach 10 million.

Faced with this situation, the European Commission is making up to 17 billion euros ($19 billion) available to help member states receive refugees. The Commission has also developed a plan to evenly distribute refugees among EU countries to relieve the situation in Ukraine’s bordering countries. At over 2 million, Poland has received the most refugees since the beginning of the conflict. The plan also includes the development of a single, centralized platform for registering people crossing borders.

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CP of the Russian Federation, The war crimes of Nazi-Bandera nationalists must be condemned by the whole world

Statement by Chairman of the CC CPRF Gennady Zyuganov

Communist Online | March 31, 2022

The tactic of the punitive Nazi battalions which are suffering defeat in the clash with the DPR and LPR troops is very clear. It is the same “scorched land” tactic as that used by the Nazi occupiers as they were driven by the Red Army out of the territory of the USSR, including Ukraine. The Germans blew up the Dneproges Power Plant, destroyed hundreds of factories, mines and bridges and burned tens of thousands of Ukrainian homes.

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As Inflation Hits US Workers Hard, do Argentina and Venezuela Provide a Heterodox Toolbox to Confront It? (Part I)

Dakotah Lilly

Orinoco Tribune | March 30, 2022

Part I: Introduction
Inflation is currently a problem in the United States. It is not a problem in the classical sense that inflation has been weaponized as in the past; as a trojan horse against popular, socialist, or nationalist governments in favor of neoliberal adjustment plans. Instead, inflation is a problem in the United States because it exemplifies a ramping up of an aspect of a class based warfare tactic by the oligarchic establishment in order to continue raking in huge profits and an ever increasing share of the capital-labor pie. How do we know this? Well, we know there is general inflation that is further squeezing the wallets of the average working family because every single wage earning member of a family that is not of privilege will be the first to tell you that their wage is not going nearly as far as it was 1, 2, or 3 years ago. Not only this, but the US Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers for the Consumer Price Index puts inflation at its highest numbers in 40 years.

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US Arms Companies Make Big Fortune amid Russia-Ukraine Conflict

teleSUR | March 31, 2022

The Stryker Infantry Carrier Vehicle Dragoon during a fire demonstration, Aug. 15, 2017. | Photo: Twitter/ @defense_news

As the Russia-Ukraine conflict continues to unfold, casualties keep rising and its economic impact has been devastating, stock prices of major American arms companies on the other side of the world have surged.

Experts believe that the ongoing conflict will bring huge revenues to U.S. arms manufacturers, and the military-industrial complex will profit from the crisis in the long run, with continued lobbying for a more confrontational approach and higher defense spending.

U.S. defense firms are the indisputable top producers of the world’s weapons. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, the world’s top five arms companies have all been American since 2018, and the United States accounted for 39 percent of global military expenditure in 2020.

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The Irony of Sanctions against Russia

Prabhat Patnaik

People’s Democracy | March 27, 2022

THE juggling which US imperialism has to do to maintain its hegemony becomes more bizarre by the day. First, it kept needling Russia (“provoking the bear”) “on behalf of the western alliance” by expanding NATO to its very borders, knowing full well that Ukraine’s joining NATO would be totally unacceptable to Russia. Its objective was to prevent Russia and western Europe from coming closer, which would have occurred because of the latter’s dependence on the former for energy; it is even reported that to keep hostilities going between Russia and Ukraine, it sabotaged an agreement between the two, that had been witnessed by France and Germany. When this confrontation eventually led to Russia invading Ukraine, it imposed economic sanctions on Russia, so that Russia could not have access to its own dollar earnings obtained from exports. But it did not impose sanctions on the import of Russian oil and gas (except into the United States itself where such import meets about 8 per cent of total energy requirements); the reason is that as much as 40 per cent of the European Union’s energy needs are met through imports from Russia, and sanctions against Russian oil would have hit the European population hard, leading to a possible break-up of the “western alliance”.

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