Globalisation

Financialization Promotes Dangerous Speculation

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.

Let’s Train Humans First … Before We Train Machines

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.

Driving Financialization

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.

Transforming Society, Financialization Destroys Social Solidarity

Finance has not stopped at dominating the real economy. The tentacles of finance have reached into significant, if not most parts of society. Gerald Davis 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 World Has Lost Its Compass

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.

Lost in Globalisation

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’).

Finance’s New Avatar

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.

Within a Parallel Universe – Monsters of the Dark Web

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.

Public-Private Partnerships Fad Fails

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).

Privatization Solution Worse than Problem

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.

Coping With World Bank-Led Financialization

The World Bank has successfully promoted its ‘Maximizing Finance for Development’ (MFD) strategy by embracing the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, internationally endorsed in September 2015. It has also secured support from the G20 of twenty biggest economies, and effectively pre-empted alternative approaches at the third UN Financing for Development summit in Addis Ababa in mid-2015.

Privatization Promotes Collusion and Corruption

At the risk of reiterating what should be obvious, the question of private or public ownership is distinct from the issue of competition or market forces. Despite the misleading claim that privatization promotes competition, it is competition policy, not privatization, that promotes competition.

Civil Society Leaders Meet Amid Protests, Attacks on Rights

Amid rising attacks on rights campaigners, and mass protests in countries such as France and Serbia, civil society groups are urging governments to ensure the protection of “democratic values” and freedom of expression.

Has Privatization Benefitted the Public?

In most cases of privatization, some outcomes benefit some, which serves to legitimize the change. Nevertheless, overall net welfare improvements are the exception, not the rule. Never is everyone better off. Rather, some are better off, while others are not, and typically, many are even worse off. The partial gains are typically high, or even negated by overall costs, which may be diffuse, and less directly felt by losers.

The Myth About the Race for Artificial Intelligence

UMEA, Sweden, 26 March 2019 (IPS) -- At this year’s Davos economic forum, US executives warned that China may be winning the so-called Artificial Intelligence (AI) race with Europe. In another recent article, Bloomberg pointed out that countries are rushing to not be left behind.

South-South Cooperation: a Path to Implementing UN’s 2030 Agenda

I see five issues that will be central to implementing the Paris Agreement on climate change and achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. South-South Cooperation can offer solutions to all of them. First, rising inequality both between and within countries is eroding trust and deepening a sense of injustice. Globalization has enabled many people to escape poverty – but its benefits are not shared equitably and its costs fall disproportionately on the poor and vulnerable.

Communication, a Key Tool for South-South Cooperation

Communication can be a key tool for the development of cooperation among the countries of the global South, but the ever closer relations between them do not receive the attention they deserve from the media.

South-South Cooperation Now Triangulates with the North

It sounds like a contradictory play on words, but the countries of the industrialised North are currently the big supporters of South-South cooperation, as was demonstrated at the United Nations Second High-Level Conference on this subject, held in the Argentine capital.

South Florida’s Underserved Refugee Communities

South Florida has long been known as a haven for refugees and migrants. Widely referred to as the “gateway to Latin America”, 1 in every 5 Florida residents is an immigrant. Significantly, the “sunshine state” welcomes 1,000 new settlers every day.

”As global citizens, we cannot turn a blind eye to the increasing spread of hatred and intolerance”

(Geneva Centre) - The 2019 International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and this year’s theme devoted to tolerance, empathy towards the Other and celebration of diversity, comes at a timely moment. Religions, Creeds and Value Systems: Joining Forces to Enhance Equal Citizenship Rights.” The conference sought to capitalize on the fundamental convergence of religions, creeds and value systems to mitigate the marginalization of communities worldwide with the goal of eliminating xenophobia and all forms of intolerance. The conference produced an outcome declaration aimed at moving towards greater spiritual convergence to support equal citizenship rights and resulted in a consensual global vision to promote this goal. The Geneva Centre will shortly be issuing a two-volume publication on the world conference. The Geneva Centre wishes on this International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination to join hands with all those involved in such a noble endeavor.

Belt and Road Initiative vs Washington Consensus

With the Washington Consensus from the 1980s being challenged, President Donald Trump withdrawing the United States from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), and China pursuing its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), most notably with its own initiatives such as the multilateral Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), the political and economic landscape in East Asia continues to evolve. Jomo Kwame Sundaram was interviewed about likely implications for developing countries in the region and beyond.

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