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.

Government Debt Is Symptom, Not Cause

Developing country governments are being blamed for irresponsibly borrowing too much. The resulting debt stress has blocked investments and growth in this unequal and unfair world economic order.

Land Grabs Squeeze Rural Poor Worldwide

Since 2008, farmland acquisitions have doubled prices worldwide, squeezing family farmers and other poor rural communities. Such land grabs are worsening inequality, poverty, and food insecurity.

South Suffering Due to Powerful Nations’ Policies

The World Bank expects the international economic slowdown to be at its worst in over four decades in 2024. This is mainly due to powerful Western nations’ contractionary macroeconomic and geopolitical policies.

Chronicle of a Catastrophe Foretold

The IMF warns of a decade ahead of ‘tepid growth’ and ‘popular discontent’, with the poorest economies worst off. But as with inaction on Gaza, little is being done multilaterally to avert the imminent catastrophe.

Trade Liberalisation Kicked Away African Development Ladder

Africans have long been promised trade liberalisation would accelerate growth and structural transformation. Instead, it has cut its modest production capacities, industry and food security.

Rich Nation Hypocrisy Accelerating Global Heating

Rich nations’ climate hypocrisy is accelerating global heating, pushing the planet closer to irreversible catastrophe, with its worst consequences borne by the poorest, both countries and peoples.

Trade Deception Returns in Pan-Africanist Guise

The World Bank has exaggerated probable gains from the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) to promote partial and uneven trade liberalisation that is unlikely to enhance development on the continent.

Carbon Markets Biased, Distorted, Undermined

Carbon dioxide emission taxes, prices and markets have been touted as key to stopping global heating. However, carbon markets have failed mainly because they favour the rich and powerful.

Developing Countries’ Government Debt Crises Loom Larger

Developing countries are being blamed for having borrowed and spent irresponsibly. But they have only been doing what foreign powers and financial interests have urged them to do.

IMF Urges Non-alignment in Second Cold War

The IMF no. 2 recommends non-alignment as the best option for developing countries in the second Cold War as geopolitics threatens already dismal prospects for the world economy and wellbeing.

Industrial Policy, East or West, for Development or War?

Developing countries wanting to pursue industrial policy were severely reprimanded by advocates of the ‘neoliberal’ Washington Consensus. Now, it is being deployed as a weapon in the new Cold War.

Global South Stagnating under Heavier Debt Burden

Much higher interest rates – due to Western central banks – are suffocating developing nations, especially the poorest, causing prolonged debt distress and economic stagnation.

Building Popular National Economic Alternatives*

Viable, popular national economic alternatives require conditions to help build and sustain them. An independent, accountable government can ensure supportive institutions, including laws.

Hapless New Year for Global South

As dire economic predictions for 2023 did not materialise, pundits began 2024 far more optimistically. But policy ghosts from the last half-century will likely undermine such wishful thinking.

Imperialism, Globalisation and Its Discontents*

Imperialism continues to dominate the world. Globalisation is losing to some of its anti-theses, but imperialism still rules, increasingly by law, albeit in changing even contradictory ways.

North Ignores ‘Perfect Storm’ in Global South

A gathering ‘perfect storm’ – due to various developments, several quite deliberate – now threatens much devastation in the global South, likely to most hurt the poorest and most vulnerable.

Neocolonial ISDS, Abused, Biased, Costly, and Grossly Unfair

Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) provisions in international trade and investment agreements – long abused by opportunists with means – are slowly being rejected by cautious governments.

Onerous Debt Making Poorest Poorer

Contractionary economic trends since 2008 and ‘geopolitical’ conflicts subverting international cooperation have worsened world conditions, especially in the poorest countries, mainly in Africa, leaving their poor worse off.

PPPs’ Private Gain at Public Expense

At high cost and with dubious efficiency, public-private partnerships (PPPs) have increased private profits at the public expense. PPPs have proved costly in financing public projects.

World Bank Enables Foreign Aid Theft

World Bank aid encourages governments to enable illicit financial outflows to offshore tax havens by reducing capital controls, thus draining precious foreign exchange and government resources.

World Bank Enables Private Capture of Profits, Public Resources

The World Bank insists commercial finance is necessary for achieving economic recovery and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), but does little to ensure profit-hungry commercial finance serves the public interest. By failing to address pressing challenges within their purview, the second-ever Bretton Woods institutions’ (BWIs) annual meetings on the African continent, in Marrakech in October 2023, set the developing world even further back.

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