The paper reviews several of the measures that States have taken with the intention of improving the sustainability of pension systems and evaluates their effectiveness. The paper highlights that many of the measures taken have had negative distributional impacts and have significantly compromised the primary function of pension systems: to provide a secure replacement income for people in old age and prevent their ability to fall into poverty.
While many governments and international institutions have framed pension reforms as an inescapable trade-off between adequacy and sustainability, unions insist that addressing the challenges of demographic ageing requires adopting a new overarching narrative, combining greater efforts to support labour market participation of excluded groups, enhanced revenue through progressive and innovative forms of taxation, and the guarantee of a decent income in retirement at the centre of this agenda.
The report can be found online in English here: https://www.ituc-csi.org/Pension-systems-adequacy-sustainability
Over the last four decades, growing concentration of market power in the hands of oligopolies, if not monopolies, has been greatly enabled by ostensibly neo-liberal reforms, worsening wealth concentration and gross inequalities in the world.
The ‘counter-revolution’ against Keynesian and development economics four decades ago, which inspired the Washington Consensus, claimed to promote economic liberalization, including market competition, but strengthening property rights entitlements, especially for intellectual property, has been far more important.
Such oligopolistic and monopolistic trends have recently accelerated in much of the world, while already feeble anti-trust efforts have lagged far behind. Over a century after US President Teddy Roosevelt’s anti-trust initiatives, with the neoliberal rhetoric of recent decades, many all over the world still have great expectations of similar US reform initiatives.
(Jomo Kwame Sundaram, Anis Chowdhury)
April was a month for some international institutions to publish data and forecasts to revise or confirm their economic projections made at the beginning of the year. So far, it has been bad news after bad news. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has repeatedly cut its projections for world gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 2019. The World Bank and IMF revealed further worsened accumulation of public and private debt. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) reported declining official development assistance (ODA). The World Trade Organization (WTO) worried about decelerating international trade and intensified trade tension. The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) highlighted consecutive drops of foreign direct investment (FDI) flows. When so many dark clouds are gathering together at the same time, one can only say that the world economic prospects for 2019 are indeed gloomy. A closer examination of the performance of developing countries in these datasets would clearly show the economic conundrum that developing countries are facing.
Read the Policy Brief of the South Centre
Is the UBI part of the solution or part of the problem? A new study out this week, published by NEF and Public Services International, finds little evidence to support most of the claims made for UBI. It confirms the importance of generous, non-stigmatising income support, but everything turns on how much money is paid, under what conditions and with what consequences for the welfare system as a whole. There are more effective and sustainable ways of meeting people’s needs and fighting inequalities than just giving cash to everyone.
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The historic achievements of the ILO as a political organisation and standard-setter still comprise a highly valuable asset. But if it wants to preserve its influence in the future, it has to defend its fundamental principles and its credibility. So yes to the ILO, but working in the right way!
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Access to good, quality health care is a basic human right and is best guaranteed if the services are organised by public authorities that are democratically controlled. Increased corporate involvement in health services provision and financing and increased corporate capture of health and development governance are worrying trends because corporate interests are generally not aligned with the public good. The primary aim of corporations is to make profit,instead of guaranteeing health for all. Moreover, corporations are not accountable to claim holders; they are accountable to their shareholders. In contrast, the human rights-based approach makes states or governments the primary duty bearers. Case studies show that only collective action lead by social movements can bring about sustainable policy change towards health for all.
Read the Article of Viva Salud
When I finished my research on the global poverty discourse, some twenty years ago, one of my conclusions was that the inevitable victims of the new neoliberal social paradigm would be the middle classes. This is why I have always preferred to focus on the importance of universal social protection instead of targeted poverty reduction. Lees verder
This week, representatives of around 100 countries are meeting in New York to talk about investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS). ISDS is a legal instrument that multinationals can use to sue governments for billions. External experts and observers fear that the new negotiations will amount to ‘old wine in new bottles’. They believe that those who benefit from this instrument (powerful states and top lawyers from the ISDS sector) are controlling the debate.
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The World Bank exerts enormous influence over the economies of developing countries through loan conditions, advisory services, technical assistance and policy blueprints. Conditions are significant because they tend to lock in a donor-driven reform agenda in recipient countries. Loan conditions are part of the World Bank’s Development Policy Financing (DPF) and have long been criticised by civil society, academics and developing country governments. They undermine borrower country ownership and restrict policy space, and all too often they have harmful impacts on the lives and livelihoods of people, especially the world’s poorest and most vulnerable.
This briefing aims to shed light on the extent to which the World Bank advances its own policy agenda through loan conditionality. Eurodad – the European Network on Debt and Development – examined the loan conditions attached to Development Policy Operations (DPOs) for 2017. We looked at 53 DPOs in 46 countries, including 30 International Development Assistance (IDA) operations (in 28 countries) and 23 International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) operations (in 18 countries). We ‘unbundled’ conditions to identify all conditions including those that refer to more than one policy issue, and we found 506 conditions for 53 DPOs – 9.6 conditions per operation on average. We focused on prior actions, the conditions borrower countries need to fulfil before the loans are disbursed.