Stories written by Anis Chowdhury

Donald Trump, Working Class Hero?

In his early February annual State of the Union address, US President Donald Trump typically hailed his own policies for increasing wages and jobs to achieve record low US unemployment. Directly appealing to labour for a second term, Trump claimed exclusive credit for the US “blue-collar boom”.

Are We Going from San Francisco?

Seventy-five years ago, on 26 June 1945, before the Japanese surrender ending the Second World War, fifty nations gathered at San Francisco’s Opera House to sign the United Nations (UN) Charter.

Racism, Shitholes and Re-election

Over the course of his presidency, US President Donald Trump’s racism has become more evident with more leaks of his private remarks, which he has been generally quick to deny, qualify and explain away.

Reviving the Economy, Creating the ‘new Normal’

The Covid-19 pandemic has significantly impacted most economies in the world. Its full impacts will not be felt, let alone measured, until it runs its course. Many countries are still struggling to contain contagion, while the costs on both lives and livelihoods will undoubtedly have long-term repercussions.

This Year of Living Dangerously

Indonesia’s founding President Sukarno delivered his annual Independence or National Day address on 17 August 1964 anticipating the forthcoming year as Tahun vivere pericoloso, the ‘year of living dangerously’. 2020 may well be the world’s turn, and not only due to the obvious Covid-19 threat to the world.

Politics, Profits Undermine Public Interest in Covid-19 Vaccine Race

With well over five million Covid-19 infections worldwide, and deaths exceeding 340,000, the race for an effective vaccine has accelerated since the SARS-Cov-2 virus was first identified as the culprit.

‘Passing the Buck’ Becomes Reckless ‘Conspiracy Blame Game’

Although Wuhan local authorities undoubtedly ostracized local medical whistle-blowers, notably Dr Li Wenliang, who suspected a new virus was responsible for flu-like infections in Wuhan in late 2019, official responses were apparently not delayed, and possibly even expedited, as the novel character of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, responsible for Covid-19 infections, was not immediately self-evident.

Argentina Responds Boldly to Coronavirus Crisis

Like much of the West, Argentina did not take many early precautionary actions after the Covid-19 epidemic was confirmed in January, but became the first Latin American country to act decisively with a 12 March public health emergency declaration. The presidential decree came a day after the World Health Organization (WHO) declared a global pandemic, just over a week after the first case was detected in the republic on 3 March.

All-of-Government, Whole-of-Society Involvement Needed to Fight Virus

The Covid-19 pandemic is now widely considered more threatening than any other recent viral epidemic. Most believe that many more have been infected or even died than officially confirmed.

Covid-19: Brazil’s Bolsonaro trumps Trump

Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro appointed medical entrepreneur Nelson Teich his new health minister on 17 April. The businessman quickly echoed his boss’ desire to resume business as usual regardless of its potentially lethal consequences.

Vietnam Winning New War Against Invisible Enemy

Vietnam, just south of coastal China, is the 15th most populous country in the world with 97 million people.According to its Ministry of Health (MoH), as of 13 April, there were 262 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 144 recovering or discharged from hospitals, and no deaths.

Kerala Covid-19 Response Model for Emulation

Within weeks, the Covid-19 epidemic was classified by the World Health Organization (WHO) as an epidemic of international significance, triggering a pre-agreed WHO response. By the end of the first week of April, more than 1.3 million people had been confirmed as infected, with over 65,000 deaths across the world.

West First Policies Expose Myths

As the epicentre of the COVID-19 pandemic shifts from China to the developed West, all too many rich countries are acting selfishly, invoking the ‘national interest’, by banning exports of vital medical supplies.

Stronger UN Leadership Needed to Cope with Coronavirus Threat

The economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic is hard to predict as events are still unfolding, and estimates vary dramatically. UNCTAD estimates lost output in the order of US$1 trillion, just over a third of Bloomberg’s expectation of US$2.7 trillion in losses. The OECD expects global economic growth to halve from already anaemic levels.

Use Stimulus Packages for Longer Term Progress

The coronavirus pandemic seems to have finally forced governments around the world to ditch their obsession (at least for the moment) with delivering budget surplus. As stock markets tumble, stimulus measures, worth billions of dollars, are announced to boost investor confidence and consumer spending to keep economies running.

Coronavirus Exposes Global Economic Vulnerability

As the outbreak of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 threatens a global pandemic, major stock markets around the world have suffered their worst performance since the 2008 financial crush.

Lucky Trump Looking Smug

Meeting the President of the Republic of Korea in September 2019, President Donald J Trump bragged that the “US economy is the envy of the world”. Trump reiterated such claims in his State of the Union address in early February, hailing his own policies with typical humility.

Global Economy Still Slowing, Dangerously Vulnerable

In an annual ritual early in the year, most major economic organizations have released forecasts for the global economy in 2020. Incredibly, almost as a reminder of where financial power resides in this day and age, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) released its forecasts at the World Economic Forum’s 50th annual meeting in Davos.

Billionaires Beware

The latest November 2019 UBS/PwC Billionaires Report counted 2,101 billionaires globally, or 589 more than five years before. Earlier, Farhad Manjoo had seriously recommended, ‘Abolish Billionaires’, presenting a moral case against the super-rich as they have and get far, far more than what they might reasonably claim to deserve.

Billionaires’ Existential Threats to Humanity?

The social utility of billionaires’ existence has come under increased scrutiny, especially during the Democratic Party primaries for the 2020 US Presidential election. Leading newspapers, such as The New York Times, published opinion pieces arguing to abolish billionaires and reflecting on why billionaires engage in illegal insider trading.

Inequality and Its Many Discontents

Much recent unrest, such as the ‘yellow-vest’ protests in France and the US ‘Abolish the Super-Rich’ campaign, is not against inequality per se, but reflects perceptions of changing inequalities. Most citizens resent inequalities when it is not only unacceptably high, but also rising.

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