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.

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.

Rich Nations, IMF Deepen World Stagnation

With the US Fed raising interest rates, the world economy is slowing as debt distress spreads across the global South, increasing poverty worldwide to pre-pandemic levels, with the poorest countries faring worst.

Big Cons: How Consultancy Firms Undermine Governments

Greater government reliance on consulting companies has greatly enriched them while also undermining state capacities, capabilities, national economies, progress, governance and legitimacy.

Rich Distort Climate Problems, Offer Self-Serving Solutions

Many in the wealthy West have misrepresented the causes of global warming, offering false solutions while claiming the high moral ground. This distracts attention from how they became wealthy while emitting greenhouse gases.

Middle-Income Country Trap?

In recent decades, failure to sustain economic progress has been blamed on a supposed middle-income country (MIC) trap. Such blaming obscures as much as it supposedly explains.

IPEF: New Cold War Weapon Backfires

US President Joe Biden’s Indo-Pacific Framework for Prosperity (IPEF) is the economic arm of his administration’s Indo-Pacific Strategy, aimed at countering China’s influence in the region.

PPPs Fiscal Hoax Is a Blank Financial Silver Bullet

Public-private partnerships (PPPs) for infrastructure and service provision are both costly and risky. Worse, PPPs typically fail to ensure universal, let alone fair access to public amenities.

Even Rich Nations Now Worried About ISDS

Governments the world over are worried about investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) rules. These allow foreign investors to sue them for billions over new laws or policies reducing their profits.

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