SOURCE: International Herald Tribune
AUTHOR: Anand Giridharadas
DATE: 11 September
MUMBAI: A decade ago, the world hurtled toward a calendrical crisis, and India seized an opportunity.
An affliction called the Y2K bug impended. Thousands of Indian techies were marshaled to repair the software glitch. The rest is outsourcing history.
The outsourcing boom craved English speakers. Hole-in-the-wall “academies” from Kerala to Punjab began to sell English classes for a few dollars a week. A colonizer’s language was recast in the minds of many young lower-income Indians as a language of liberation, independence and mobility.
A decade hence, Indians who have achieved that mobility may struggle to understand the newspaper headlines in Mumbai in recent days. They tell of brigades of young men shattering the windows of shops and restaurants whose signs declare their names only in English, not in the regional language Marathi.
The men are cadres of a political party, the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena, that has electrified a section of lower middle-class youth in this city. Many of them view English as a language of exclusion: a secret code that, having become success’s prerequisite, traps millions of non-English speakers in failure. Continue reading
From Dani Rodrik’s blog
Whatever became of the anti-globalization movement? I learn from Robin Broad and John Cavanagh’s latest book, Development Redefined, that it is alive and well and now called the alter-globalization movement (for “alternatives to globalization”).
John Cavanagh directs the Institute for Policy Studies and has long been a thorn in the side of globalization’s cheerleaders…
As one might expect, the book takes swipes at the usual suspects: the Washington Consensus, the IFIs, the MNCs, Tom Friedman, and Jeff Sachs. Against the growth-focused and globalization-centered views of these institutions and commentators, Robin and John argue for a localized, community-based, self-sufficient model of development. What many others would celebrate as real development (for example the spread of commercial farming for export in the Philippines) they see as the destruction of local communities. They write: “We stand at a moment marking the end of what may well be the most destructive development era of modern history.”
Can we be talking about the same era during which, according to World Bank calculations, the number of people in extreme poverty fell (in absolute terms!) by 400 million people? Broad and Cavanagh don’t pay much attention to such figures because they seem to have a somewhat romantic view of the lives of rural poor, who apparently have a relatively decent quality of life until market forces in the form of international trade and MNCs encroach upon them.
‘Development As A Tool Of International Institutions
By Vasudha Dhingra
02 September, 2008
MURPHY, CRAIG, Global Institutions, Marginalisation and Development (New York: Routledge, 2005). Pp. xi + 191 + Index. Price not indicated.
Global institutions, marginalisation and development are terms that have dominated academic discussions and policy-level deliberations for quite some time now. As is well documented, the goal of achieving development by simultaneously integrating the marginalised sections of the society has remained a serious predicament of several developing and under-developed countries. The role of global institutions of governance in facilitating these two processes has remained crucial and contestable.
Murphy, in this book, has attempted to analyse these relatively recent themes, with otherwise blurred definitional identities, from distinct perspectives – such as developmentalist, feminist and Third World view – adding to the intellectual appeal of the book. The following themes find recurring mention in the book: world organisation and human needs; liberal institutionalism; social movements and liberal world orders; marginalised and the privileged, which expanse across questions of equality, justice and need in global political economy. One of the author’s emphatic depositions in the book is that inequality is the enemy of human development; it harms those at the bottom of hierarchy (p. 182). By asserting that inequality by itself contributes to the ill-health of the marginalised, Murphy, by implication, has tried to argue that economic equality is a precondition for realising other aspects of human development. Continue reading
source: Reshaping the International Order Part 1
“The establishment of a New International Economic Order entails fundamental changes in political, social, cultural and other aspects of society, changes which would bring about a New International Order.” – RIO: Reshaping the International Order, 1976 (p5)
The Club of Rome is a premiere think tank composed of approximately 100 members including leading scientists, philosophers, political advisors, former politicians and many other influential bureaucrats and technocrats. This series of articles describes the major conclusions of the 1976 book Rio: Reshaping the International Order: A Report to the Club of Rome  coordinated by Nobel Laureate Jan Tinbergen. The RIO report “addresses the following question: what new international order should be recommended to the world’s statesmen and social groups so as to meet, to the extent practically and realistically possible, the urgent needs of today’s population and the probable needs of future generations?” Continue reading
Eurodad making sense once again:
In the aftermath of the Asian financial crises ten years ago the international community recognised the importance of financial stability. Today new troubles infect the global financial system, leaving governments and financial analysts uncertain how to react. The media is full of the credit crunch, write-downs by private banks and dramatic price rises. … Very little attention is given to the specific impacts in the world’s poorest countries. Yet global financial stability – like climate change – is a key global challenge and one that the current financial and regulatory system is ill-equipped to handle.
The sub-prime crisis that started in the U.S. and spread through contagion has shown that market-based solutions and conventional crisis management are completely insufficient. Central bankers and finance ministers have tried injecting liquidity, lowering interest rates, and even nationalising a bank. Yet regulators and central banks are largely playing catch up…
The crisis is not just due to individual misbehaviour. There are deep flaws in the international financial system. Finance has become an end in itself: to make money out of money in the shortest possible time. This speculation leads to instability and widens the gap between rich and poor. Recurrent crises are inevitable. We are very far from achieving what the world’s governments signed up to at the Monterrey Financing for Development conference in 2002. There they pledged to encourage “the orderly development of capital markets aimed at addressing development financing needs and foster productive investments”. They agreed, correctly, that this “requires a sound system of financial intermediation, transparent regulatory frameworks and effective supervisory mechanisms”. Finally they said they would introduce measures “that mitigate the impact of excessive volatility of short-term capital flows” and to strengthen “prudential regulations and supervision of all financial institutions, including highly leveraged institutions”.
Full text here
This appears to be an interesting report, thanks to this blog
Worldwide, between 320 and 440 million people live in chronic poverty. They need not. Five policy measures could help them escape the poverty trap, says the second international Chronic Poverty Report 2008-2009, launched in London last month.
The report was produced by the Chronic Poverty Research Centre (CPRC), a global partnership of universities, research institutions and NGOs from countries including Bangladesh, India, South Africa, Uganda and the UK, and is funded by the UK government’s department for international development. The centre is led by the University of Manchester, UK and the UK’s Overseas Development Institute (ODI).
It intersperses these personal stories with analysis, and identifies five factors which underlie poverty: insecurity, limited citizenship, spatial distribution, social discrimination and poor work opportunities.
The solutions to these ‘poverty traps’ include nets of social protection, particularly through cash transfers to households; public services for the hard to reach poor; anti-discrimination and gender empowerment measures; building individual and collective assets, and strategic urbanization and migration policies
Here is an alternative and deeply ideological response to the current crisis of global economic system reflected by oil and food speculation and profit-greed at a scale unprecedented in the recent times.
At the heart of the crisis is the breakdown of the global economic system. For decades, politicians, corporate leaders and the media have subjected the world’s people to the self-serving claim that the capitalist market is the most rational means of allocating society’s resources. What is now being revealed is the basic conflict between the needs of a modern mass society and anarchy of the profit system.
It is impossible to ascertain any truthful estimates of remaining global supplies, because the oil producing countries and energy conglomerates have vested interests in concealing their “business secrets” from the people. Entrenched corporate and political opposition has also largely squelched large-scale development of environmentally safe and sustainable alternatives, although the technology has existed, in some cases, for decades.
Supposed solutions produced within the framework of the capitalist system have only worsened the crisis. The development of bio-fuels is a case in point. Even if one were to accept the widely disputed claims that bio-fuels are a means of reducing carbon emissions, their production has only led to a massive increase in the price of corn and other crops, wreaking havoc throughout the world. The entire project has been tied to the interests of agri-business monopolies, such as ADM and Cargill, which have an overriding concern, not in ending global warming, but boosting their bottom lines.
The rational use of remaining petroleum resources and the development of genuine alternatives require an unprecedented level of international cooperation and the marshalling of the world’s technological, material and human resources. This is not possible as long as capitalism divides the globe into competing nation states, each vying for advantage over the other.
The mad scramble to control the world’s remaining oil supplies has led to a violent struggle, in which the bloody US invasion and occupation of Iraq is but one episode. All of the major powers—from the US, to China, Europe, and Japan—are vying for control of the Middle East, the Caspian region, the Artic and Antarctica and even the sea-beds of the world’s oceans. The struggle for resources is once again threatening the world with the eruption of a new round of imperialist wars, which could threaten the very survival of humanity.