For many people, climate change is about shrinking glaciers, rising sea levels, longer and more intense heatwaves, and other extreme and unpredictable weather patterns. But for women pastoralists—livestock farmers in the semi-arid lands of Kenya—climate change has forced drastic changes to everyday life, including long and sometimes treacherous journeys to get water.
In the grand European political reshuffle of 2019, it turned out that Christine Lagarde was the answer to the conundrum of who should replace Mario Draghi at the European Central Bank. But her move opens another question. Who succeeds Lagarde at the International Monetary Fund?
The geopolitical significance of key digital technologies now takes centre stage in a new global conflict between the US and China. The dispute over the Chinese technology group Huawei exemplifies this situation.
In a world of stagnating public aid, limited fiscal space, and rising public debt in low-income countries (LICs), can they realistically expect to rely more on private finance from foreigners? What does the evidence suggest?
International financial institutions (IFIs) have typically imposed wide-ranging policy reforms – called ‘conditionalities’ – in exchange for country governments to secure access to financial assistance.
While IFIs may demand anti-corruption policies, other IFI policy conditionalities, such as the privatization of state-owned enterprises (SOEs), can create new rentier opportunities, undermining government will and capacity to curb corruption.
When all is said and done, it appears that Thomas Hobbes, the 17th century English philosopher who had a dire vision of man, was not totally wrong.
From the frivolous to the serious, in just a week we have had four items of news which would not happen in a normal world. An English porn beauty with 86,000 followers on social media has put bottles of the water she bathes in on sale at 30 pounds a bottle and has sold several thousand bottles.
On 17 June, a Facebook white paper
proposed a new global digital currency it plans to launch in the first half of 2020. The Libra will be managed by a ‘not for profit’ Swiss-based Facebook-led consortium of ‘for profit corporations’, with Uber, eBay, Lyft, Mastercard and PayPal among its founding members.
For decades, the two Bretton Woods institutions have rejected the contribution of industrial policy (IP), or government investment and technology promotion efforts, in accelerating and sustaining growth, industrialization and structural transformation.
Finally, two International Monetary Fund (IMF) staff members, Reda Cherif and Fuad Hasanov, have broken the taboo. They embrace industrial policy, arguing against the current conventional wisdom that East Asian industrial policies cannot be successfully emulated by other developing countries.
As the focus of Australian politics shifts away from refugee and asylum-seeker policies, the government avoids accountability for inhumane actions.
The relationship between finance and the real economy is arguably at the root of the contemporary economic malaise. Unlike earlier acceptance of simple linear causation, recent recognition of a curvilinear relationship between finance and economic growth
, implying ‘diminishing returns’, has important implications.
Agriculture is the bedrock of sedentary human civilization, without it we would have no governments or nations. It was food surplus generated by agriculture that enabled people to live in cities and form regimes able to organize food production in such a manner that some community members could engage in other activities than direct food production and thus give rise to the ideologies, techniques and goods which now constitute and govern our existence.
The feeling in the air at a recent meeting of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) was one of compassion and benevolence.
The focus was on children as Foreign Terrorist Fighters (FTFs), a subject that everyone at the panel discussion argued is delicate and politically sensitive.
With growing economic conflicts triggered by US President Donald Trump’s novel neo-mercantilist approach to overcoming his nation’s economic malaises, many voices now argue that bad free trade agreements are better than nothing.
After US withdrawal following Trump’s inauguration in early 2017, there is considerable pressure on signatory governments to quickly ratify the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), the successor to the TPP.
As China rapidly replaces Europe and the USA as the key player in developing countries, the Western press is full of articles about the dangers of dealing with the Chinese.
Financialization has involved considerable ‘innovation’, often of opaque, complex and poorly understood financial instruments. These instruments typically have large debt components involving leveraging, deepening connections across markets and borders.
We humans are at the absurd stage in our technological evolution when we seem to have abandoned our common sense. Billions are spent by governments, corporations and investors in training computer-based algorithms (i.e. computer programs) in today’s mindless rush to create so-called “artificial” intelligence, widely advertised as AI.
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.
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.
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’).
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.