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.

Beware UN Food Systems Summit Trojan Horse

Undoubtedly, the world needs to reform existing food systems to better serve humanity and sustainable development. But the United Nations World Food Systems Summit (UNFSS) must be consistent with UN-led multilateralism. For the first time ever, the World Economic Forum (WEF), a partnership of some of the world’s most powerful corporations, is partnering the UN in launching the Summit, now scheduled for September, with its ‘Pre-Summit’ beginning today.

European Duplicity Undermines Anti-Pandemic Efforts

Despite facing the world’s worst pandemic of the last century, rich countries in the World Trade Organization (WTO) have blocked efforts to enable more affordable access to the means to fight the pandemic.

Rich Country Hypocrisy Exposed by Vaccine Inequities

‘No one is protected from the global pandemic until everyone is’ has become a popular mantra. But vaccine apartheid worldwide, due to rich countries’ policies, has made COVID-19 a developing country pandemic, delaying its end and global economic recovery.

Developing Country Solidarity Needed to Overcome Pandemic

As rich countries have delayed contagion containment, including mass vaccination, in developing countries, much weaker fiscal efforts in the South have worsened the growing world pandemic apartheid.

Myths, Lobbies Block International Tax Cooperation

Too many have swallowed the myth that lowering corporate income tax (CIT) is necessary to attract foreign direct investment (FDI) for growth. Although contradicted by their own research, this lie has long been promoted by influential international economic institutions.

Boldly Finance Recovery to Build Forward Better

COVID-19 has become a “developing country pandemic”, retreating from the North’s mass vaccination. With developing countries heavily handicapped, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) warns of a “dangerous [new] divergence”.

Powerful States Push Tax Race to the Bottom

Last week, the largest rich countries, home to most major transnational corporations (TNCs), agreed to a global minimum corporate income tax (GMCIT) rate. But the low rate proposed and other features will deprive developing countries of their just due yet again.

Paltry International Support for Spending Needs Sets South Further Back

With the pandemic setting back past, modest and uneven progress, huge disparities in containing COVID-19 and financing government efforts are widening the North-South gap and other inequalities once again.

Pandemic Relief Policies Need More Resources, Better Design

Pandemic relief measures in developing countries have been limited by modest resources, fear of financial market discipline and policy mimicry. COVID-19 has triggered not only an international public health emergency, but also a global economic crisis, setting back decades of uneven progress, especially in developing countries.

Developing Countries Desperately Need COVID-19 Financing

Failure to sufficiently accelerate comprehensive efforts to contain COVID-19 contagion has greatly worsened the catastrophe in developing countries. Grossly inadequate financing of relief, recovery and reform efforts has also further set back progress, including sustainable development.

Put People Before Profits for Progress

Millions of people are expected to die due to delayed and unaffordable access to COVID-19 tests, treatment, personal protective equipment and vaccines. Urgent cooperation is desperately needed to save lives and livelihoods for all.

US Support for Vaccine Waiver Welcome, but More Needed

Thanks to President Biden, the US now supports a suspension of intellectual property (IP) rights to increase vaccine supplies. However, without vaccine developers sharing tacit technical knowledge for safe vaccine mass production, it will be difficult to rapidly scale up vaccine output.

CORRECTED VERSION: Struggle for the Future of Food

Producers and consumers seem helpless as food all over the world comes under fast growing corporate control. Such changes have also been worsening environmental collapse, social dislocation and the human condition.

Said Zahari: Unsung Mandela of Press Freedom

Have you ever heard of a workers’ strike or similar labour action for press freedom? And how long do you think it lasted? A day? A week? A month? And where and when do you think this happened? Workers strike for press freedom Six decades ago, in 1961, Said Zahari, the editor of the Malay language daily, Utusan Melayu, led a strike of journalists and other employees. The protracted strike, in both Malaysia and Singapore today, was for press freedom rather than employee welfare.

Another False Start in Africa Sold with Green Revolution Myths

Since the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) was launched in 2006, yields have barely risen, while rural poverty remains endemic, and would have increased more if not for out-migration.

Only Multilateral Cooperation Can Stop Harmful Tax Competition

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has urged all governments to support a global minimum corporate tax rate of at least 21%. The US is working with other G20 nations to get other countries to end the “thirty-year race to the bottom on corporate tax rates”.

IMF, World Bank Must Support Developing Countries’ Recovery

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to take an unprecedented human and economic toll, wiping away years of modest and uneven progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Developing countries now need much more support as progress towards the SDGs was ‘not on track’ even before the pandemic.

UN Leadership Necessary for Fairer Tax Cooperation

Illicit financial flows (IFFs) hurt all countries, both developed and developing. But poor countries suffer relatively more, accounting for nearly half the loss of world tax revenue. IFFs refer to cross-border movements of money and other financial assets obtained illegally at source, e.g., by corruption, smuggling, tax evasion, etc. This often involves trade mis-invoicing and transnational corporations’ (TNCs) transfer pricing via ‘creative’ accounting or book-keeping.

IMF, World Bank Must Urgently Help Finance Developing Countries

COVID-19 has set back the uneven progress of recent decades, directly causing more than two million deaths. The slowdown, due to the pandemic and policy responses, has pushed hundreds of millions more into poverty, hunger and worse, also deepening many inequalities.

End Vaccine Apartheid Before Millions More Die

At least 85 poor countries will not have significant access to coronavirus vaccines before 2023. Unfortunately, a year’s delay will cause an estimated 2.5 million avoidable deaths in low and lower-middle income countries. As the World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General has put it, the world is at the brink of a catastrophic moral failure.

Magellan, Inquisition and Globalisation

Globalisation’s beginnings are symbolised by Ferdinand Magellan’s near circumnavigation of the world half a millennium ago. But its history is not simply of connection and trade, but also of intolerance, exploitation, slavery, violence, aggression and genocide.

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