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.

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.

Action Delayed, Justice Denied by Voluntary ESG Approach

Policy approaches relying solely on voluntary actions to address urgent needs are unlikely to succeed. Depending on optional compliance to address global warming will not fix things in time.

Insider Exposé of ESG Greenwashing

A senior manager of the world’s largest investment firm has ‘blown the whistle’ on ESG (environment, social and governance) ‘greenwashing’, especially on supposed climate finance.

Beware Climate Finance Charade

Finance has increased, not reduced, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Meanwhile, funding for mitigation, and especially adaptation, is grossly inadequate, with little for climate losses and damages.

Debt-Pushing as Financial Inclusion

Ajay Banga was anointed World Bank president for promoting financial inclusion. Thanks to its success and interest rate hikes, more poor people are drowning in debt as consumer prices rise.

Don’t Count on PPP Solutions

In recent years, public-private partnerships (PPPs) have spread rapidly. While usually profitable for the private partners, PPPs have generally not served the longer-term public interest.

Dangerous Scramble for Renewable Energy Resources

The growing and changing material requirements for new technologies have triggered natural resource scrambles for strategic minerals, generating dangerous rivalries fought out in the global South.

Enhancing Mining Revenue

The commodity boom early this century was mainly driven by mineral prices. Yet, mining’s contribution to developing countries’ revenue has been modest, largely due to massive tax evasion and avoidance.

Finally, a Real Chance for International Tax Cooperation

After decades of resistance by rich nations, African governments successfully pushed for the United Nations to lead on international tax cooperation. All developing countries and fair-minded governments must rally behind this initiative.

UN Financing Appeal Last Hope for SDGs and Climate?

The United Nations Secretary-General’s Dialogue on Financing for Development on 20 September may well be the world’s last chance to save the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and curb global warming in time.

UN Must Reclaim Multilateral Governance from Pretenders

International governance arrangements are in trouble. Condemned as ‘dysfunctional’ by some, multilateral agreements have been discarded or ignored by the powerful except when useful to protect their interests or provide legitimacy.

World Bank Climate Finance Plan Little Help, Unfair

Rich nations have contributed most to the current climate crisis. They are primarily responsible for the historical emissions and greenhouse gas (GHG) accumulation of the last two centuries.

Mining Revenues Undermined

The primary commodity price boom early this century has often been attributed to a commodity ‘super-cycle’, i.e., a price upsurge greater than what might be expected in ‘normal’ booms. This was largely due to some minerals as most agricultural commodity price increases were more modest.

Government Health Financing for All, Not Insurance

To achieve universal health coverage, people need public healthcare systems providing fair access to decent health care. This should be an entitlement for all, regardless of means, requiring adequate, appropriate and sustainable financing over the long term.

Exchange Rate Movements Due to Interest Rates, Speculation, Not Fundamentals

Currency values and foreign exchange rates change for many reasons, largely following market perceptions, regardless of fundamentals. Market speculation has worsened volatility, instability and fragility in most economies, especially of small, open, developing countries.

Improving Healthcare for All

In 2015, almost all heads of government in the world committed to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including universal health coverage (UHC). This was consistent with the World Health Organization’s commitment to Health for All.

Can Carbon Trading Stop Global Heating?

As our planet continues to heat up at an alarming rate, carbon credits, markets and trading have been promoted as effective measures to combat global warming. While there is an urgent need to curb planetary heating, growing reliance on this innovation is problematic, to say the least.

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