Stories written by Jomo Kwame Sundaram
Jomo Kwame Sundaram, a former economics professor, was United Nations Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development, and received the Wassily Leontief Prize for Advancing the Frontiers of Economic Thought.

Progressive Taxation for Our Times

As developing countries struggle to cope with the pandemic, they risk being set back further by restrictive fiscal policies. These were imposed by rich countries who no longer practice them if they ever did. Instead, the global South urgently needs bold policies to ensure adequate relief, recovery and reform.

Food Systems Summit’s Scientistic Threat

Timely interventions by civil society, including concerned scientists, have prevented many likely abuses of next week’s UN Food Systems Summit (UNFSS). The Secretary General (UNSG) must now prevent UN endorsement of what remains of its prime movers’ corporate agenda.

End Vaccine Apartheid

Vaccine costs have pushed many developing countries to the end of the COVID-19 vaccination queue, with most low-income ones not even lining up. Worse, less vaccinated poor nations cannot afford fiscal efforts to provide relief or stimulate recovery, let alone achieve Agenda 2030.

Allow Least Developed Countries to Develop

The pandemic is pushing back the world’s poorest countries with the least means to finance economic recovery and contagion containment efforts. Without international solidarity, economic gaps will grow again as COVID-19 threatens humanity for years to come.

Prioritising Profits Reversed Health Progress

Instead of a health system striving to provide universal healthcare, a fragmented, profit-driven market ‘non-system’ has emerged. The 1980s’ neo-liberal counter-revolution against the historic 1978 Alma-Ata Declaration is responsible.

Privatised Health Services Worsen Pandemic

Decades of public health cuts have quietly taken a huge human toll, now even more pronounced with the pandemic. Austerity programmes, by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank, have forced countries to cut public spending, including health provisioning.

Central Banks Must Address Pandemic Challenges

Hopes for an inclusive global economic recovery are fast fading. As rich countries have done little to ensure poor countries’ access to vaccines and fiscal resources, North-South “fault lines” will certainly widen. Enhancing relief, recovery, transformation While the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has revised rich countries’ recovery prospects upward, the United Nations (UN) notes formidable challenges, especially for developing countries, due to the pandemic.

Beware UN Food Systems Summit Trojan Horse

Undoubtedly, the world needs to reform existing food systems to better serve humanity and sustainable development. But the United Nations World Food Systems Summit (UNFSS) must be consistent with UN-led multilateralism. For the first time ever, the World Economic Forum (WEF), a partnership of some of the world’s most powerful corporations, is partnering the UN in launching the Summit, now scheduled for September, with its ‘Pre-Summit’ beginning today.

European Duplicity Undermines Anti-Pandemic Efforts

Despite facing the world’s worst pandemic of the last century, rich countries in the World Trade Organization (WTO) have blocked efforts to enable more affordable access to the means to fight the pandemic.

Rich Country Hypocrisy Exposed by Vaccine Inequities

‘No one is protected from the global pandemic until everyone is’ has become a popular mantra. But vaccine apartheid worldwide, due to rich countries’ policies, has made COVID-19 a developing country pandemic, delaying its end and global economic recovery.

Developing Country Solidarity Needed to Overcome Pandemic

As rich countries have delayed contagion containment, including mass vaccination, in developing countries, much weaker fiscal efforts in the South have worsened the growing world pandemic apartheid.

Myths, Lobbies Block International Tax Cooperation

Too many have swallowed the myth that lowering corporate income tax (CIT) is necessary to attract foreign direct investment (FDI) for growth. Although contradicted by their own research, this lie has long been promoted by influential international economic institutions.

Boldly Finance Recovery to Build Forward Better

COVID-19 has become a “developing country pandemic”, retreating from the North’s mass vaccination. With developing countries heavily handicapped, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) warns of a “dangerous [new] divergence”.

Powerful States Push Tax Race to the Bottom

Last week, the largest rich countries, home to most major transnational corporations (TNCs), agreed to a global minimum corporate income tax (GMCIT) rate. But the low rate proposed and other features will deprive developing countries of their just due yet again.

Paltry International Support for Spending Needs Sets South Further Back

With the pandemic setting back past, modest and uneven progress, huge disparities in containing COVID-19 and financing government efforts are widening the North-South gap and other inequalities once again.

Pandemic Relief Policies Need More Resources, Better Design

Pandemic relief measures in developing countries have been limited by modest resources, fear of financial market discipline and policy mimicry. COVID-19 has triggered not only an international public health emergency, but also a global economic crisis, setting back decades of uneven progress, especially in developing countries.

Developing Countries Desperately Need COVID-19 Financing

Failure to sufficiently accelerate comprehensive efforts to contain COVID-19 contagion has greatly worsened the catastrophe in developing countries. Grossly inadequate financing of relief, recovery and reform efforts has also further set back progress, including sustainable development.

Put People Before Profits for Progress

Millions of people are expected to die due to delayed and unaffordable access to COVID-19 tests, treatment, personal protective equipment and vaccines. Urgent cooperation is desperately needed to save lives and livelihoods for all.

US Support for Vaccine Waiver Welcome, but More Needed

Thanks to President Biden, the US now supports a suspension of intellectual property (IP) rights to increase vaccine supplies. However, without vaccine developers sharing tacit technical knowledge for safe vaccine mass production, it will be difficult to rapidly scale up vaccine output.

CORRECTED VERSION: Struggle for the Future of Food

Producers and consumers seem helpless as food all over the world comes under fast growing corporate control. Such changes have also been worsening environmental collapse, social dislocation and the human condition.

Said Zahari: Unsung Mandela of Press Freedom

Have you ever heard of a workers’ strike or similar labour action for press freedom? And how long do you think it lasted? A day? A week? A month? And where and when do you think this happened? Workers strike for press freedom Six decades ago, in 1961, Said Zahari, the editor of the Malay language daily, Utusan Melayu, led a strike of journalists and other employees. The protracted strike, in both Malaysia and Singapore today, was for press freedom rather than employee welfare.

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