Never before has half a degree (0.5C) meant so much for humanity. We are behaving as if we have time to deal with climate change. We don’t. The main problem is that we believe we must sacrifice growth and prosperity for the sake of decarbonisation. We don’t.
The emergence and growth of financialization from the 1980s has been driven by several factors operating at various levels – national and international, ideological and political, and of course, technological. The 1971 collapse of the Bretton Woods (BW) international monetary system arguably paved the way for financial globalization.
When I recently visited the Czech Republic I noticed an increasing Czech opposition against their wealthy Prime Minister. Andrej Babiš has been endowed with the nickname Babisconi
since he, like the former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, is accused of purchasing and using various means of communication for his own propaganda purposes. Apparently, this endeavour has so far been quite successful, since according to my Czech friends Babiš is still popular among a majority of their compatriots.
On the 1st of March 2019, we saw one of the rare moments in history when the entire world comes together and agrees on a joint way forward. The United Nations General Assembly recognized the urgent need to tackle the compounded crisis of climate change and biodiversity loss, and passed a resolution to proclaim 2021-2030 as the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration
. With the aim to restore at least 350 million hectares of degraded landscapes by 2030 – an area the size of India – the UN Decade is a loud and clear call to action for all of us. And it is a great opportunity for the UN-REDD Programme and its partner countries to build on 10 years worth of relevant experience with safeguards, impactful policies and measures, and attracting private and public investments.
Our oceans play a major role in everyday life, but they are in grave danger. To protect the ocean, we must look to a crucial, largely overlooked component: gender.
Finance has not stopped at dominating the real economy. The tentacles of finance have reached into significant, if not most parts of society
characterises modern society, where finance is dominant, as a ‘portfolio society’, in which aspects of social life have been securitized and transformed into a kind of capital or investment to be managed.
The terrible feeling I had on waking up and seeing the Italian voting results at the recent European elections was that my country was suddenly full of strangers. How could the majority of Italians reconfirm a government which has been the most inefficient in history, quarrelling on everything every single day and looking with total indifference to the looming problem of how to establish the next budget without clashing with the European Union or squeezing Italian citizens? Its irresponsible debate on the Italian finances has now led to a spread (difference of value) of 290 points with the Germans.
Perhaps the most direct way to introduce this tough issue is what the United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres, stated
just one week ahead of the 5 June World Environment Day
, which focuses this year on air pollution, caused chiefly by the use of fossil fuels both in transport, industry and even household cooking, heating, etc.
Do not panic! This is not about telling you how bank accounts and pension funds have been used to finance the production of nuclear bombs (they call it ‘investment’).
No, no, no. Nothing to do with what US and Europe’s far-right fanatics now use to vociferate, saying once and again that “migrants come here to destroy our democracy, our civilisation, and our life-style”.
Since this Commission first met in 1947, our countries have travelled a long journey. Our economies are expected to become larger than the rest of the world combined, measured by purchasing power parity. It is often said the Asia-Pacific region is the engine of the world economy.
Over recent decades, the scope, size, concentration, power and even the purpose and role of finance have changed so significantly that a new term, financialization, was coined to name this phenomenon.
Financialization refers to a process that has not only transformed finance itself, but also, the real economy and society. The transformation goes beyond the quantitative to involve qualitative change as finance becomes dominant, instead of serving the needs of the real economy.
For subsistence farmer Rogers Hove—who proudly brandishes a worn out letter for his five hectare piece of land he obtained from government following the chaotic land seizures from white commercial farmers over two decades ago—what matters most to him, “is to see my piece of land in my possession”.
Human existence includes dreams, thoughts, ideas, music, stories, religion, and other immaterial ”things”. They constitute an important part of our habitat
, i.e. the dwelling place of any living organism, consisting of both organic and inorganic surroundings. I learned this when I many years ago found myself among the undulating heights of Cordillera Central
, which rise diagonally across the island of Hispaniola, shared by Haiti and the Dominican Republic.
There is a strong link between provision of basic social services and the use of natural resources in a country. Thus, with increased population comes additional pressure on natural resources. This is a key finding in the latest Zambia Environment Outlook (ZEO) Report 4, published by the Zambia Environmental Management Agency (ZEMA).
No matter which approach is used, every method of measurement shows inequality has risen in Bangladesh (at least) over the last 10 years. If we take the latest Household Income and Expenditure Survey of the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics, we see that the country’s Gini coefficient—a measure of inequality—went up (indicating disparity has grown) from 0.458 in 2010 to 0.482 in 2016. From a different angle, a report released by Oxfam towards the close of last year ranked Bangladesh 148th in the world—out of 157 countries—for reducing inequality.
After the failure and abuses of privatization and contracting-out services from the 1980s, there has been renewed appreciation for the role of the state or government. Earlier promoters of privatization have taken a step backward, only to take two more forward to instead promote public-private partnerships (PPPs).
Mozambique, which was affected by an unprecedented two tropical cyclones over a matter of weeks, is still reeling from the impact a month after the latest disaster. But resultant devastation caused by the cyclones could impact the country’s elections as concerns are raised over whether the southern African nation can properly hold the ballot scheduled for later this year.
There is barely a corner of human life that will not be affected by climate change, and some of its impacts are already being felt. Consider this, 821 million people are now hungry and over 150 million children stunted, putting the hunger eradication goal, SDG 2, at risk.
Today 15 May, is the United Nations International Day of Families and the theme for this year is, ‘Families and Climate Action’.
Development is a very uneven process, accompanied by heterogeneity in outcomes across sectors, across regions and across income groups. Such process, Albert Hirschman elegantly established about 60 years ago, constantly generates tensions and demands for redistribution of resources and power. In this sense, conflict is inherent to development.
Privatization has not provided the miracle cure for the problems (especially inefficiencies) associated with the public sector. The public interest has rarely been well served by private interests taking over from the public sector. Growing concern over the mixed consequences of privatization has spawned research worldwide.