The latest November 2019 UBS/PwC Billionaires Report counted 2,101 billionaires globally, or 589 more than five years before. Earlier, Farhad Manjoo had seriously recommended, ‘Abolish Billionaires’, presenting a moral case against the super-rich as they have and get far, far more than what they might reasonably claim to deserve.
Manjoo also argues that unless billionaires’ economic and political power is cut, and their legitimacy cast in doubt, they will continue to abuse power to further augment their fortunes and influence, in ways detrimental to the economic, social and public good.
I have been noting this for several years now. It is sometimes very difficult to talk about social protection with progressive forces.
Sure, they all support actions and policies ‘in favour of the poor’, they all support ‘social justice’. But once you start to talk about details and how to achieve all this, there is mostly total silence. And little support.
There are several reasons for this, and some are easy to understand though not necessarily to be accepted. Lees verder
Amid a downgrade of global growth projections to their lowest levels since the global financial crisis, the International Monetary Fund and World Bank are pushing deregulatory structural reform. Working people in Ecuador and around the world are resisting this dangerous mix of austerity, deregulation, and attacks on labour rights.
The statement by Global Unions to the IMF and World Bank proposes an alternative path of inclusive and sustainable growth built around collective bargaining, public investment, and a just transition to a low-carbon economy.
In contrast, the IMF is urging deregulation, privatisation, and weakening of worker protections, especially in emerging and developing countries. The World Bank is moving in the same direction, promoting financial deregulation and a development model that prioritises the interests of private finance. A recent Bank publication recommended that countries combine weaker labour regulations with individualised, marketised schemes for social protection. Lees verder
Access to health is a human right and Universal Health Coverage (UHC) is essential to achieve health for all. States should ensure through public funding, based on solidarity and the fair redistribution of wealth, that nobody is deprived from health care. Policies that promote competitive markets for pharmaceuticals, particularly in the area of procurement, regulatory approvals (including biologicals) and intellectual property, should be implemented. Governments should make use of the available space in the TRIPS Agreement to apply rigorous definitions of invention and patentability standards and use other flexibilities allowed. Below is the South Centre’s Statement to the UN High-Level Meeting on UHC held on 23 September 2019 at the UN headquarters in New York. The Centre noted the recognition, in the draft political declaration, of the responsibilities of governments as well as of their right to choose their own path towards achieving UHC.
Read the statement
Workers demand a New Social Contract to put the world back on track to reach the Sustainable Development Goals
Peoples’ Summit issues landmark declaration in New York, unleashing new resources to wage financial and legal campaign.
The UN special rapporteur on human rights and extreme poverty, Philip Alston, published an extraordinary report some months ago. He starts with stating the obvious: climate change will have devastating consequences on poor people. They will suffer from food insecurity, forced migration, diseases and death. Climate change is indeed a threat to their human rights.
No matter how accurate this reasoning is, it also carries some risks. Because the inevitable answer to this concern is to take special care of people living in poverty, to take measures to somewhat protect them, to compensate them for unavoidable losses, to help them to find new homes and livelihoods.
This thinking reveals first of all that the philosophy behind it is one of adaptation. It is not about mitigating the risks, even less is it about system change, in order to avoid the risks. This is neoliberal thinking, exposed long ago by the World Bank: you cannot avoid risks, you mainly have to develop the resilience of people so they can adapt and cope with risks when they actually occur. Lees verder
“What’s wrong with inequality? Should all people be the same?” someone asked me once. Maybe this person was confusing inequality with diversity. Diversity does not necessarily imply exclusion or marginalization. Inequality does.
by Dr Luise Steinwachs
The research report, The Hidden Dimensions of Poverty, fundamentally challenges global conceptions of the nature of poverty. This participatory research, led by ATD-Fourth World and the University of Oxford, has sought to refine the understanding and measurement of poverty by engaging with people directly experiencing poverty, practitioners and academics.
The 2030 Agenda recognizes that poverty is multidimensional. However, apart from income poverty, hitherto these dimensions have not been well-specified, several of them have gone unrecognized, and the ways in which they all interact to shape the experience of poverty has not been properly understood.
In May 2019, the 72nd World Health Assembly acknowledged the health of refugees and migrants as a global priority through the acceptance of the World Health Organization’s global action plan to promote their health.1 Since then, however, the discrepancy between policy rhetoric and global reality has continued to be painfully apparent, with high profile media coverage of deaths of migrant children, separation of children from parents, and detention in appalling conditions on the US border2 and direct targeting of migrant detention centres3 and indefinite detention in overcrowded conditions without drinking water or sanitation in Libya.4
The global action plan is intended to guide WHO, partner agencies, and governments in meeting the health related objectives identified in the 2018 global compacts on migration and refugees56 and strengthen international cooperation to protect people on the move. The action plan acknowledges that to prevent inequities, public health considerations for refugees and migrants cannot be separated from those of their host populations, or from tackling the broader determinants of health. It therefore retains a health system strengthening and multisectoral approach at its core and builds on a declared commitment to strong collaboration between all UN agencies, led by WHO, the International Organisation for Migration, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), the International Labour Organisation, and others, to bring the health of refugees and migrants to the fore of global policies.
(People’s Health Movement)