Investments in social protection and their impacts on economic growth

While social protection is first and foremost a human right, the report also shows that social spending can yield significant economic returns. By applying a robust assessment of the impact of investing the equivalent of just 1% of GDP in each of eight countries, the research shows:

  • positive returns on the economy overall, stimulating GDP growth;
  • increased productivity and overall employment;
  • increased tax revenues;
  • more effective poverty alleviation; and
  • reduced barriers to women entering or returning to work.

In addition, the report shows that increased investments in social protection can yield between 0.7 and 1.9 times their value in economic returns. This means that the economic benefits of social spending increases can partially or completely offset the costs.

Read this ITUC Report

Spring Meetings 2021: Yet another insufficient response to the Covid-19 crisis?

Read Eurodad’s analysis of the World Bank and IMF Spring Meetings

The Rise and Fall of Multilateralism

by Walden Bello

A quarter-century ago, the multilateral system of global economic governance had reached its pinnacle. Today, the WTO, the IMF, and the World Bank are experiencing a deep crisis of legitimacy.

Global taxes for corporations?

US Treasury Secretary Yellen made a remarkable speech asking for minimum taxes for all corporations. An important step to more fair taxes for all!

See and read:

Recording of Yellen’s speech: https://www.thechicagocouncil.org/events/secretary-janet-l-yellen-international-economic-policy

Yellen’s speech manuscript: https://home.treasury.gov/news/press-releases/jy0101

IMF, World Bank Must Urgently Help Finance Developing Countries

Anis Chowdhury and Jomo Kwame Sundaram

 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.

Development setbacks
The outlook for developing countries is grim, with output losses of 5.7% in 2020. Compared to pre-pandemic trends, the expected 8.1% loss by end-2021 will be much worse than advanced countries dropping 4.7%.

COVID-19 has further set back progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). As progress was largely ‘not on track’ even before the pandemic, developing countries will need much support to mitigate the new setbacks, let alone get back on track.

The extremely poor, defined by the World Bank as those with incomes under US$1.90/day, increased by 119–124 million in 2020, and are expected to rise by another 143-163 million in 2021.

Read the article

Risky Business

WEMOS: POSITION PAPER ON THE PROMOTION OF
PUBLIC-PRIVATE PARTNERSHIPS IN
HEALTHCARE

PPPs are often far more expensive for governments than public
procurement, do not align with the most urgent medical needs and they seem to exacerbate
access for poor populations. Wemos therefore strongly recommends global actors such as the
World Bank and World Health Organization and country donors to stop promoting PPPs for
healthcare provision and financing in low- and middle-income countries. Instead, they should
focus on strengthening public healthcare provision and financing – in alignment with the
current trend in high-income countries.

Read the paper

Billionaire Wealth: Who Are the 10 Biggest Pandemic Profiteers?

A year ago, the Institute for Policy Studies published “Billionaire Bonanza 2020: Wealth  Windfalls, Tumbling Taxes and Pandemic Profiteers,”  and began tracking billionaire wealth gains as unemployment surged.  We teamed up with Americans for Tax Fairness (ATF) to track the wealth growth of America’s billionaires over the last year.  This report summarizes the extraordinary growth in wealth of those now 657 billionaires based on real-time data from Forbes on March 18, 2021.

Here are highlights from the last 12 months of billionaire wealth growth:

Read the article

A Manifesto for human life

On the anniversary of the Covid-19 pandemic, progressive forces around the world — including Noam Chomsky,

@vanessa_vash,  — have released a ‘Manifesto for Human Life.’
See the video made by Progressive International:  https://twitter.com/ProgIntl/status/1369943772155510786?s=20
Here video on twitter
Do see, sign and distribute!

Portuguese Council Presidency: European Pillar of Social Rights must be made binding

The Portuguese EU Council Presidency has recently announced that it will place the European Pillar of Social Rights and the European social model centre stage; the European Commission will present an action plan to this end in March 2021.

However, the effectiveness of these measures will depend on how they are actually implemented in Member States, given that up to now, the European Pillar of Social Rights has been just a non-binding collection of 20 social principles that was endorsed in November 2017 but has not contributed to an improvement in the social situation in the EU. And that means that the European Pillar of Social Rights and the Social Progress Protocol must finally be incorporated into the EU Treaties so that social protection and workers’ rights take priority over internal market freedoms – something that the ETUC has been demanding for years. To take one example, Principle 6 of the Social Pillar, entitled “Wages”, states that workers “have the right to fair wages that provide for a decent standard of living”. If this principle were actually put into practice, it would improve the lives of millions of workers. Other social principles include gender equality, the promotion of social dialogue, access to health care and access to essential services such as water, energy and transport.

Read the article by Manuela Kropp, Transform! Europe

Neoliberal Finance Undermines Poor Countries’ Recovery

Anis Chowdhury and Jomo Kwame Sundaram

SYDNEY and KUALA LUMPUR: After being undermined by decades of financial liberalisation, developing countries now are not only victims of vaccine imperialism, but also cannot count on much financial support as their COVID-19 recessions drag on due to global vaccine apartheid. 

Financialisation undermined South

Developing countries have long been pressured to liberalise finance by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank. The international financial institutions claimed this would bring net capital inflows. This was supposed to reduce foreign exchange constraints to accelerating growth, creating “a rosy scenario, indeed”.

Globalisation’s claim naively expects “more birds to fly into, rather than out of an open birdcage”. Instead, financial globalisation meant net capital flows from capital-poor developing countries to capital-rich developed countries, i.e., dubbed the “Lucas paradox”. A decade later, flows “uphill” had “intensified over time”.

The past decade saw the largest, fastest and most broad-based foreign debt increase in these economies in half a century. Total foreign debt of emerging market economies rose from around 110% of GDP in 2010 to more than 170% in 2019, while that of low-income countries (LICs) increased from 48% to 67%. Lees verder

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