Latest Developments, April 9

In the latest news and analysis…

Cluster bomb blacklist
The Guardian reports that in an “unpublicised but co-ordinated move,” four major UK banks and insurance companies have blacklisted corporations that manufacture cluster munitions and landmines.
“The Guardian has learned that major firms such as Lloyds Banking Group (through its investment arm Scottish Widows), Aviva, the UK’s largest insurer, and the Co-op have imposed a blanket ban on holding shares in companies that make or supply cluster munitions, purging them from nearly all their share portfolios.
Royal Bank of Scotland has banned all new lending to the same companies, and is now reviewing its defence industry shareholdings. Similar action is being taken by all the firms to clear out shares in anti-personnel landmine manufacturers, following intense pressure from human rights campaigners.
The industry is operating two parallel ‘stop lists’, which cover a dozen arms companies involved in making or supplying cluster bombs and anti-personnel landmines, including the US defence companies Lockheed Martin and General Dynamics, and the South Korean industrial conglomerate Doosan.”

Bloody F1
Reuters reports on the “increasingly loud calls” for cancellation of the Formula One race scheduled later this month in Bahrain, whose regime continues to face regular protests.
“The governing International Automobile Federation FIA.L, commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone and Bahrain organisers have all said the April 22 race is on.

FIA president Jean Todt is expected to be in China, as is Ecclestone, and there are likely to be a number of meetings in the Shanghai paddock – possibly up until as late as Sunday morning.
‘Friday has been the busiest day for protests in Bahrain so Saturday looks the most likely day for any emergency meeting (in Shanghai),’ commented one team member.
Last year’s Bahrain Grand Prix was repeatedly re-scheduled and then reluctantly cancelled by organisers due to the violence in the country.”

Unfair policy
Al Jazeera reports that Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff has complained to her American counterpart about the impacts of US monetary policy on the world’s poor.
“Rousseff said low interest rates and other expansionist policies in wealthy nations have created an excess of global liquidity, which in turn has the unintended effect of damaging growth in poorer countries such as Brazil.
She also raised concerns with Obama that sanctions against Iran could fuel tensions in the Middle East and cause a spike in oil prices, threatening the global economic recovery, sources told Reuters news agency on condition of anonymity.”

Hostile environment
The Arizona Daily Star reports on new efforts to find and identify the bodies of migrants who die in Arizona’s desert.
“According to the Pima County Forensic Science Center, in 2011 there were 117 unidentified migrants who died in the Southern Arizona desert.

‘After a while, I started thinking: “Why do we have to just wait for the bodies? Let’s go get them,” ’ [technology liaison for the Office of the Medical Examiner and the Mexican Consulate, Engel] Indo said.
Once or twice a month, Indo plans to take volunteers into the desert on daylong searches for bodies, bones and live people.”

Solidarity tax
Reuters reports that Morocco’s government has decided to implement a “solidarity fund tax” on corporations in order to tackle social inequalities.
“Proceeds from the new tax will help raise 2 billion dirhams ($235 million) for a social solidarity fund to develop poor areas in a country that has one of the widest wealth inequalities in the region and where protesters still take to the streets over poverty, joblessness and corruption.

The 2012 budget now provides for the imposition in 2012 of a tax equal to 1.5 percent of the net profit for firms that make between 50 million and 100 million dirhams in net annual gains, Finance Ministry and parliament officials said.
Firms with annual net profits above 100 million dirhams will be subject to a 2.5 percent tax on their net profit in 2012, they added.”

Construction problems
A Libyan activist writing under the pen name Layla Ibrahim takes issue with the international community’s approach to rebuilding her country.
“The EU is responsible for media and communications training, yet that is still to start. The company, IMG international, hired to do this, is still in the needs assessment phase, for which they require a couple of months. However even when it does start, none of the ‘experts’ are Arabic speakers, which means it is unlikely they’ll be able to help shape the scripts or articles to support our journalists.

As one diplomat said: ‘The EU just about works within the EU; it has no business operating outside. The interests of one European country in Libya are not going to be the same as another, so Libya will suffer from these conflicts of interests as they fight over the same pot.’
In the meantime, Libyan professionals who are desperate to help rebuild their country are being side-lined. Internationals will hire Libyans in the main as fixers/drivers/translators but not in key positions. They will pay vast sums for hotel bills and per diems but will quibble over dinars to hire local staff.”

Ashley Judd’s face
Actor Ashley Judd analyzes a culture in which enormous media attention is focused on a woman’s face that is perceived to have become “puffy.”
“That women are joining in the ongoing disassembling of my appearance is salient. Patriarchy is not men. Patriarchy is a system in which both women and men participate. It privileges, inter alia, the interests of boys and men over the bodily integrity, autonomy, and dignity of girls and women. It is subtle, insidious, and never more dangerous than when women passionately deny that they themselves are engaging in it. This abnormal obsession with women’s faces and bodies has become so normal that we (I include myself at times—I absolutely fall for it still) have internalized patriarchy almost seamlessly. We are unable at times to identify ourselves as our own denigrating abusers, or as abusing other girls and women.”

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Latest Developments, December 4

In the latest news and analysis…

Subsidizing Walmart
A new World Development Movement report alleges that so-called climate aid is being used to provide subsidized power to the world’s largest retailer.
“The report, ‘Power to the people?’, details how money taken from the UK aid budget has been used by the World Bank to finance wind farms in the Mexican state of Oaxaca, built without the consent of the indigenous people who own the land. The project produces enough electricity to power 160,000 homes, but is instead being sold at a discounted rate to Walmart. The project is 99 per cent controlled by French electricity giant EDF.”

Disagreement over cluster munitions
The Economist reports on the recent failure of US-led efforts to negotiate a new agreement on cluster munitions that would be less restrictive than the current ban that has been signed by 109 countries and, therefore, more acceptable to the countries that account for 85 percent of the world’s stocks of such weapons.
“The 50-plus countries that opposed the draft protocol, and the campaigners who egged them on, complained that the text still allowed the use of cluster munitions known to cause unacceptable harm. The International Committee of the Red Cross said the American proposal would simply stimulate the development of devices that met the new standards but might still be lethally unreliable; and backsliding from the Oslo rules would set a bad precedent.
The big countries were cross. America (which has argued that a total ban on cluster munitions would make life impossible for NATO) expressed “deep disappointment”. Russia grumbled that opponents were “irrational” and China said they would bear indirect responsibility for future cluster-bomb casualties.”

Outsourcing military missions
Researcher/journalist Jody Ray Bennett argues that the US State Deparment’s awarding of a contract to the controversial DynCorp private security company in the Democratic Republic of Congo is very much in keeping with recent American foreign policy.
“When asked why DynCorp had been awarded a contract back in 2004 to operate in the Sudan, an anonymous US government official told CorpWatch: ‘The answer is simple. We are not allowed to fund a political party or agenda under United States law, so by using private contractors, we can get around those provisions. Think of this as somewhere between a covert program run by the CIA and an overt program run by the United States Agency for International Development. It is a way to avoid oversight by Congress.’”

Blue Helmet mercenaries
Daivd Isenberg, author of Shadow Force: Private Security Contractors in Iraq, looks into the pros and cons of using private military contractors for UN interventions and uses a Stephen Wittels quote to support his point that such troops are only as good as their contract.
“Because the State Department failed to build into Blackwater’s contract strong incentives to treat Iraqis respectfully, the company did not. Indeed, Blackwater had every reason to shoot first and ask questions later with regards to Iraqis since any civilian could, in theory, have been an assassin, and contractors were, for the first few years of the war, immune to prosecution. It should also come as no surprise that in this consequence-free environment, Blackwater employees adopted excessive aggression as their default disposition, even when it served no apparent purpose. Had their assignment and their conduct been properly engineered in their contract from the outset, a strong argument can be made that Blackwater would not today be known as a collection of ‘cowboys.’”

African leadership
Voice of America reports that African leaders are calling for changes in the global fight against HIV/AIDS.
“African Union Social Affairs Commissioner Bience Gawanas says it is time the continent has a greater say in how the fight against sexually-transmitted diseases is fought. Gawanas told a World AIDS Day observance at AU headquarters that the continent most affected by the epidemic must take ownership of the battle to eradicate it.”

African generosity
Globe and Mail columnist Gerald Caplan writes about how much of the West’s wealth has come at the expense of Africa.
“There is not a single African nation that does not suffer from a dearth of trained teachers, health workers and public servants. Meanwhile there are hundreds of thousands of highly trained Africans now working in the West and more are coming as rich countries increasingly demand well-trained immigrants. Like that of other rich countries, the Canadian immigration model, as The Globe’s editorial puts it, “aims to attract the best and brightest from around the globe.” So while International Co-operation Minister Bev Oda announces “new CIDA initiatives for Africa … focused on helping Africa fulfill its future potential,” Immigration Minister Jason Kenney is wooing Africans who could make Africa’s potential a reality.
Is this bureaucratic carelessness or rank hypocrisy? Canada’s case is typical of most rich countries. African governments spend preposterously large sums hiring foreign consultants on short costly contracts to perform the work that could have been done by their own lost experts. Is it necessary to point out that those sums often come out of the foreign aid that we, the so-called “donor” countries, provide? So a nice chunk of our aid goes to pay our own citizens to do work in Africa that Africans are doing in our own countries.”

Manifesto of the appalled economists
The Inter Press Service reports on the growing number of “appalled economists” who are calling on world leaders to change course in the current battle against sovereign debt.
“Although the ‘manifesto of the appalled economists’ was first intended to serve as a basis for debate amongst economists on European economic policies, it has rapidly become a manifesto for thousands who have signed it, not just in Europe, but also across continents and countries from Australia to Brazil. The manifesto is also being discussed in numerous forums.
In the paper, [André] Orléan and his co-authors complain that ‘the neoliberal paradigm is still the only one that is acknowledged as legitimate, despite its obvious failures.’”

Capitalism’s future
Harvard economist Kenneth Rogoff asks if capitalism is sustainable and how it can be improved.
“It is ironic that modern capitalist societies engage in public campaigns to urge individuals to be more attentive to their health, while fostering an economic ecosystem that seduces many consumers into an extremely unhealthy diet. According to the United States Centers for Disease Control, 34% of Americans are obese. Clearly, conventionally measured economic growth – which implies higher consumption – cannot be an end in itself.”

Latest Developments, November 15

In the latest news and analysis…

Vulture funds
The Guardian reports there are growing calls for the UK to close a legal loophole that allows so-called vulture funds to use Jersey courts to collect money from poor countries.
“Vulture funds legally buy up worthless debt when countries are at war or suffering from a natural disaster and defaulting on their sovereign debt. Once the country has begun to stabilise, vulture funds cash in their cheap debt deeds, at massively inflated cost to the countries.
In the case before the Jersey court, to be decided next month, FG Hemisphere, run by vulture financier Peter Grossman, is trying to collect $100m from the DRC on a debt that appeared to start out at just $3.3m. The original debt was owed to the former Yugoslav government to build power lines.”

Gibraltar tax ruling
Agence France Presse reports Europe’s highest court has ruled against a tax reform proposed by the UK for its territory of Gibraltar, on the grounds that it would constitute state aid to offshore corporations.
“The system was ‘specifically designed’ so that companies with no real physical presence could avoid taxation because it would be based on the number of employees and the size of business premises occupied in Gibraltar, the court said.
The assessment to levy the tax ‘excludes from the outset any taxation of offshore companies, since they have no employees and also do not occupy business property,’ the court said.”

Growing inequality
Euromonitor has released a new report that suggests global inequality is on the rise – “high net worth individuals” increased their wealth by nearly 10 percent in 2010 – and is likely to continue growing in the years ahead.
“It is possible for governments to help narrow the gap between rich and poor by introducing various redistribution mechanisms, such as social welfare programs, minimum wage legislation, higher taxes for the rich and better educational opportunities for the poor,” according to Euromonitor’s Gina Westbrook. “However, many governments are trying to tackle their growing debt troubles, leaving very little financial room for investing in efforts to ease the plight of the poor.”

Toxic dumping trial
Netherlands-based oil and metals trader Trafigura is back in a Dutch court appealing a million-euro fine for illegally exporting toxic waste that was subsequently dumped in Cote d’Ivoire, while the prosecution is seeking a penalty twice that large, as well as the overturn of acquittals for the city of Amsterdam and the Amsterdam Port Services.
“On July 2, 2006, toxic residues on board the Probo Koala were prevented from being offloaded for treatment in Amsterdam’s port and redirected to Abidjan, where they were dumped on city waste tips.
Trafigura, which denies any link between the waste and subsequent deaths and has an independent experts’ report backing its stance, reached out of court settlements for 33 million euros and 152 million euros in Britain and Ivory Coast that exempted it from legal proceedings.
But a United Nations report published in September 2009, found ‘strong’ evidence blaming the waste for at least 15 deaths and several hospitalisations.
The dumping caused 17 deaths and thousands of cases of poisoning, Ivorian judges said.”

Resource extraction harm reduction
The UN News Centre reports on a new book on exploitation of natural resources in post-conflict settings, which includes advice for the international community whence most extractive industry companies originate.
“The publication stresses four areas where international support can be helpful which include providing help to post-conflict countries so they secure better contracts with companies extracting natural resources, increasing transparency in payments and decision-making, supporting the monitoring of companies extracting natural resources, and encouraging strategic planning using revenues to provide immediate gains to the population.”

Reviving cluster munitions
Human Rights Watch’s Steve Goose says the US is leading the fight against the elimination of cluster munitions in negotiations, currently underway in Geneva, to establish a new draft law that would permit the “continued use, production, trade, and stockpiling” of weapons 111 countries have already agreed to ban outright.
“The [Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons] proposal would also establish a terrible precedent in international humanitarian law, adopting for the first time an instrument with weaker standards after one with stronger standards has already been embraced by most nations. The trend has been for the law to grow progressively stronger, with ever greater protections for civilians.”

Free trade opposition
Al Jazeera’s Patty Culhane blogs about the Asia-Pacific Economic Conference in Hawaii, the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership and protesters not sold on the benefits of international free trade.
“The bottom line for these protesters is that they feel the expanding global economy means their culture is being replaced, their resources exploited and their natural wealth taken. It is true that tourism here means much of the money made goes back to the giant hotel chains. There are jobs, but is it better to be paid to clean up after tourists, or to work in a field? That isn’t really the question I’m learning. They don’t all necessarily want to go back to what they had, but they want a bigger share of what is here now.”

Arab Spring media spin
The University of Michigan’s Juan Cole contends the Western media’s coverage of the Arab Spring as a purely political protest was tactically motivated.
“If the revolutions in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya were merely about individualistic political rights – about the holding of elections and the guarantee of due process – then they could be depicted as largely irrelevant to politics in the US and Europe, where such norms already prevailed.
If, however, they centred on economic rights (as they certainly did), then clearly the discontents of North African youth when it came to plutocracy, corruption, the curbing of workers’ rights, and persistent unemployment deeply resembled those of their American counterparts.
The global protests of 2011 have been cast in the American media largely as an “Arab Spring” challenging local dictatorships – as though Spain, Chile and Israel do not exist. The constant speculation by pundits and television news anchors in the US about whether “Islam” would benefit from the Arab Spring functioned as an Orientalist way of marking events in North Africa as alien and vaguely menacing, but also as not germane to the day to day concerns of working Americans. The inhabitants of Zuccotti Park in lower Manhattan clearly feel differently.”

Latest Developments, November 9

In the latest news and analysis…

Cluster munition comeback
The Independent reports the UK is backing a US-led proposal that would legalize virtually all cluster munitions and be “a nail in the coffin” of a two-year-old ban on the controversial weapons.
“In recent years, the UK has played a leading role in trying to rid the world of cluster bombs. It is one of 111 countries that have signed up to the Convention on Cluster Munitions, is on target to destroy its own stockpile, and has ordered the US military to remove any submunitions it holds on British soil.
But The Independent has learnt that the UK Government is supporting a Washington-led proposal that would permit the use of cluster bombs as long as they were manufactured after 1980 and had a failure rate of less than one per cent. Arms campaigners say the 1980 cut-off point is arbitrary, and that many modern cluster bombs have far higher failure rates on the field of battle than manufacturers claim.”

Corporate liability
Alliance Sud reports more than 50 organizations are calling on Switzerland to draw up laws that will require Swiss-based companies – “on a per capita basis the country has the highest number of internationally active firms” – to respect human rights and the environment while operating abroad.
“In response to pressure from public campaigns in recent years many companies have indeed adopted regulations for socially and environmentally responsible behaviour or have signed international guidelines like the Global Compact. Yet that is not enough to prevent human rights abuses and environmental destruction. These initiatives are often only about acquiring a social or a green image. Implementation depends on the goodwill of companies. Control and sanction mechanisms are either absent or very weakly formulated.”

Corporate Democracy
Harrington Investments’ Jack Ucciferri who caused a stir last month by calling the UN’s framework for business and human rights a “patently worthless document” has announced plans to launch the Corporate Democracy Initiative [DOC] and to develop “metrics to assess the ‘democracy quotient’ of publicly traded corporations.”
“The simple fact is that corporations and economic elites have too much power over governance and governments.  Power is never relinquished voluntarily.  Power must be met with power. I am not suggesting violence, but I am suggesting coercion.  Laws are coercive, binding bylaw resolutions are coercive, civil disobedience can be coercive, democratic elections are coercive.

Frameworks are not coercive, but they do take an awful lot of scarce non-profit and public sector resources to negotiate.  Now that we’re done with drafting the framework, let’s re-channel all of that energy and smarts toward more empowered forms of engagement.”

The rise of unelected officials
The Globe and Mail’s Doug Saunders writes about the rise of unelected officials in the context of Europe’s current crisis, as illustrated by the forceful speech International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde delivered today in China.
“This starkly political message was being delivered by an unelected official. It joined messages delivered by European Union president Herman Van Rompuy, by European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso, by European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi – as it appears that elected leaders still do not fully agree on a path forward.
With the fate of millions of hard-pressed voters being left to unelected officials, some of them on the other side of the world, it shouldn’t be surprising that many Europeans are taking to the streets.”

World finance’s black hole
The Res Publica Foundation’s Jean-Michel Quatrepoint looks at world trade figures from the last five years to buttress his argument that international trade imbalances – and a “black hole” – lie at the heart of the current financial crisis.
“First observation: the numbers don’t add up. Logically, the total of the account balances (balance of goods and services, financial revenues and capital movements) should cancel each other out. Far from it. Each year, the discrepancy is greater. It’s the black hole of world finance. Even taking into account the margins of error and the different accounting systems, there is still a gigantic gap that no one can, or wants to, explain. No doubt because that would involve taking a close look at the reality of Chinese statistics, the accounting of big corporations, the role of tax havens, the revenues of drug trafficking and organized crime. But the World Trade Organization, the International Monetary Fund and the central banks do not want to deal with any of that. There’s an omerta over this black hole.” (Translated from the French.)

Dysfunctional disarmament
Simon Fraser University’s Paul Meyer argues multilateral disarmament efforts are in the depths of a decade-long “crisis of non-performance.”
“The designated forum for negotiation of arms control and disarmament agreements, the 65-nation Conference on Disarmament in Geneva, has not concluded any agreement since the 1996 Comprehensive (Nuclear) Test Ban Treaty. Operating under an extreme version of the consensus rule, whereby nothing can be decided unless all 65 members are in agreement, the conference has not even been able to adopt a functioning work program since 1998.
As a result, major multilateral files such as the negotiation of a ban on the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons and the prevention of an arms race in outer space go unaddressed. States shed copious tears over this lamentable situation, but take no effective measures to fix it.”

New imperialism
The Daily Maverick writes that former South African president Thabo Mbeki is concerned NATO’s Libyan intervention was the beginning of a new imperialism that threatens to recolonize Africa.
“He points out that Nato far exceeded its UN mandate in Libya, which allowed for the protection of civilians, not regime change. And he argues that the intervention was never motivated by anything other than a fig leaf to legitimise the involvement of foreign powers. ‘It is clear that the beginning of the peaceful demonstrations in Libya served as a signal to various Western countries to intervene to effect “regime change”. These countries then used the Security Council to authorise their intervention under the guise of the so-called “right-to-protect”.’”

Latest Developments, November 2

In the latest news and analysis…

Equity and sustainability
The UN Development Programme has released its new Human Development Report, in which it links the dual goals of global equity and sustainability – not for the first time, as illustrated by its quoting of another UN report from 1987.
“Many problems of resource depletion and environmental stress arise from disparities in economic and political power. An industry may get away with unacceptable levels of water pollution because the people who bear the brunt of it are poor and unable to complain effectively. A forest may be destroyed by excessive felling because the people living there have no alternatives or because timber contractors generally have more influence than forest dwellers. Globally, wealthier nations are better placed financially and technologically to cope with the effects of climatic change. Hence, our inability to promote the common interest in sustainable development is often a product of the relative neglect of economic and social justice within and amongst nations.” (emphasis in original)

A step backward
A group of NGOs is warning that international negotiations set for later this month in Geneva threaten to undo much of the progress to date on banning cluster munitions.
“Over the last few months, under pressure from several military powers that are opposed to the [Convention on Cluster Munitions], such as the United States, France has thrown it support behind a proposed international agreement, known as “Protocol VI” that would once again authorize the use of cluster munitions produced after 1980. A step backward, contradicting the norm established by the Convention, that would be unprecedented in international humanitarian law.
From Novermber 14th to 25th, country representatives will meet in Geneva to discuss the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) and will decide on the adoption of this new text. If it is passed, these barbaric weapons would once again be considered legitimate by certain states.” (Translated from the French.)

Corruption’s supply side
Transparency International has released a new Bribe Payers Index, which examines the “supply side of bribery” – the likelihood that companies from a given country or sector will offer bribes when operating abroad – and for the first time includes bribes paid between companies, rather than simply to the public sector.
“While this particular form of bribery remains largely overlooked by researchers and policy-makers, its impact is likely to be significant. Its effects can be felt through the entire supply chain, distorting markets and competition, increasing costs to firms, penalising the smaller companies that cannot afford to compete on these terms and those firms with high integrity that refuse to do so. This not only prevents a fair and efficient private sector but also reduces the quality of products and services to the consumer.”

Human trade
The Inter Press Service reports on the complex human trafficking networks that are flourishing in the Horn of Africa’s context of conflict, drought and hunger.
“According to one Kenyan human trafficking agent, the networks have links to politicians, senior police officers, non-governmental organisations, senior immigration officials, airline officers and resettlement officials in various countries.
‘These powerful people, including foreign diplomats and ministers in Kenya, have transformed access to foreign visas into a growth industry matched possibly only by piracy, selling visas for 10,000 to 15,000 dollars each to leaders of the networks,’ the agent says.”

EU reform fallout
The Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations (SOMO) has released a report suggesting the EU is undertaking financial reforms without regard for sustainability or their impact on poor countries.
“The new SOMO report provides some concrete recommendations on how the EU’s financial reforms need to be improved. All financial services, products and derivative trading need to be assessed for their risks and usefulness to society and the environment, as well as for financial stability. The supervisors and regulators of developing countries should have a say in the supervision and decisions concerning European banks that are operating in their country. Overall, speculative banking and financial markets need to be separated from retail banking and basic financial services, and that also means preventing financial links (e.g. loans) between banks and hedge funds.”

Due diligence
Following last month’s collapse of a French-owned hydroelectric plant in Panama, Counter Balance is calling on the European Investment Bank to investigate the troubled project for which it provided $220 million in loans.
“This is not the first problem with this project. In August 2010 a nearby village was flooded after the company opened a sluice. Other damage to private property was caused by detonations in the early stages of the construction. Additionally the Counter Balance report [published in the spring] lists a number of problems related to the project such as the excessive cost of the project (3 times higher than average for these projects), the alleged speculation on land which the company could buy below marked prices and the failure by the project promoters to properly consult local communities.”

There will be blood
The Courthouse News Service reports California-based Occidental Petroleum has been accused in a federal complaint of giving millions of dollars to a Colombian army unit whose alleged misdeeds included the killings of three union activists.
“The Colombian army provided security to an ‘association’ made up of [Colombia’s state oil company] Ecopetrol, Occidental and Spanish oil company Repsol, the plaintiffs say. Occidental’s Colombian subsidiary, Oxy Colombia, committed roughly $3 million to the army under the agreement, an amount ‘so large that Occidental’s U.S.-based leadership must have approved the 2004 Security Agreement,’ the complaint states.”

Enforcing transparency
The Taskforce on Financial Integrity and Economic Development has issued a statement ahead of the G20 summit in Cannes, in which it suggests concrete ways that world leaders can “focus on the underlying, systemic causes of the current financial crisis.”
“A free-market cannot flourish when rules of fair play are perverted by the corruption and legally-condoned tax cheating that has resulted from 30 years of de-regulation, liberalization and increasing financial secrecy provided by tax havens.
As the living standards and job prospects of billions of people suffer, the fundamental injustice of the current financial system has led to the groundswell of anger represented by the ‘Occupy’ movements around the world. Many of the ill effects currently suffered by ‘rich country’ economies have been endured by the developing world for decades.”