Supposedly increased social protections may just be new words for old policies and a new ‘Washington Consensus’ may be in the making
Read the article by Francine Mestrum: Whither the Washington Consensus? | Wall Street International Magazine (wsimag.com)
The COVID-19 crisis has evidenced the fragility of the multilateral system to address a global health challenge. There are multiple reasons behind it. Since donations are not enough, a global solution to the pandemic would have required concerted actions in several fronts. The author suggests that, while examining how the proposed “pandemic treaty” might contribute to a global solution in future health emergencies, immediate actions are needed.
by Carlos M. Correa, South Center
Read the article
The AEPF denounces the callous violation of safety norms in Bangladesh, where more than fifty workers lost their lives when a fire broke out in a sealed factory. The AEPF calls for accountability, compensation and immediate measures so that such tragedies do not occur.
AEPF Statement on Bangladesh Factory Fire – AEPF | Asia Europe People’s Forum AEPF
Recent years have witnessed a notable re-embrace of the state’s role in the economy, leading some to declare that the set of free market economic policy reforms widely known as the Washington Consensus has come to an end.
First popularized by U.S. President Ronald Reagan and U.K. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s, the Washington Consensus policies offered a set of policy guidelines for developing countries, many of which were struggling with high debt and high inflation at the time. These free market reforms included trade and financial liberalization, privatization, deregulation, the removal of capital controls, fiscal austerity (cutting public spending) in order to achieve strict targets for maintaining low inflation and low fiscal deficits, the adoption of independent central banks, and deregulating restrictions on foreign investment, among others. Broadly speaking, the policies sought to roll back the role of the state in the economy and unshackle the animal spirits of the free market. In the 1980s, adopting the policies became binding conditions for developing countries to receive debt relief and new lending by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank, in the 1990s, the policies served as the basis for World Trade Organization (WTO) membership rules – and ever since then, the policies have become a cornerstone of the curricula in economics departments at universities across the world.
The Global Coalition for Social Protection Floors presents an interesting document with Questions and Answers on the Global Fund for Social Protection:
Q&A on the Global fund for social protection « www.socialprotectionfloorscoalition.org
The Intergovernmental Working Group (IGWG) on the Right to Development met virtually for its 21st session from 17-21 May 2021 to discuss a new draft Convention on the Right to Development. The session had originally been scheduled for May 2020, but was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The experts from the drafting group emphasized that the draft Convention was not seeking to impose new obligations upon States but sought to draw upon existing State obligations regarding the right to development, international human rights law, and the UN Charter. According to the discussants, the nature of such obligations were fully in compliance with the States’ sovereignty.
Discussions also highlighted the inclusion of possible extraterritorial obligations for States in the draft Convention, as well as gender mainstreaming in the text. The draft Convention also proposes the possibility of setting up a Conference of Parties and an implementation mechanism. The final provisions are very similar to existing human rights conventions, particularly the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
(The South Center)
The text of the draft convention is available here: A/HRC/WG.2/21/2 – E – A/HRC/WG.2/21/2 -Desktop (undocs.org)
Find herewith the communiqué of G7 ministers on (a.o.) global taxes:
“16.We strongly support the efforts underway through the G20/OECD Inclusive Framework to address the tax challenges arising from globalisation and the digitalisation of the economy and to adopt a global minimum tax. We commit to reaching an equitable solution on the allocation of taxing rights, with market countries awarded taxing rights on at least 20% of profit exceeding a 10% margin for the largest and most profitable multinational enterprises. We will provide for appropriate coordination between the application of the new international tax rules and the removal of all Digital Services Taxes, and other relevant similar measures, on all companies. We also commit to a global minimum tax of at least 15% on a country by country basis. We agree on the importance of progressing agreement in parallel on both Pillars and look forward to reaching an agreement at the July meeting of G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors.”
The welfare state wasn’t created by enlightened dialogue or “sensible” moderate politics. It was a concession won by workers against bosses through decades of struggle.
Article by Asbjorn Wahl
The South Centre is pleased to announce the publication of Policy Brief No. 92 entitled “Expanding the production of COVID-19 vaccines to reach developing countries. Lift the barriers to fight the pandemic in the Global South” by Carlos M. Correa, Executive Director of the South Centre.
The unfolding of COVID-19 has shown that the international system has been unable to ensure equal access to the vaccines and other products necessary to fight the pandemic. While the need for a strong response remains obvious, proposals for scaling up the production of COVID-19 vaccines across the globe are still blocked in the World Trade Organization.
To access the policy brief directly, go to this webpage: https://www.southcentre.int/policy-brief-92-april-2021/
by Isabel Ortiz and Matthew Cummins
This paper warns of an emerging post-pandemic fiscal austerity shock—one that is far more
premature and severe than the one that followed the global financial crisis—and presents
alternative options to ensure that populations do not yet again have to suffer from austerity cuts. It
does so by: (i) examining IMF government expenditure projections until 2025; (ii) summarizing
the most common austerity measures to be avoided given their negative social impacts; and (iii)
calling on governments to urgently create fiscal space to finance an equitable socio-economic
recovery and progress toward human rights and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Analysis of expenditure projections shows that austerity cuts are expected in 154 countries in 2021,
and as many as 159 countries in 2022. The trend continues at least until 2025, with an average of
139 countries each year, according to IMF projections contained in the October 2020 World
Economic Outlook database. Austerity is projected to affect 5.6 billion persons in 2021 or about
75% of the global population, rising to 6.6 billion or 85% of the world population in 2022. By
2025, 6.3 billion people or 78% of the total population may still be living under austerity.
Read the article