Tag Archives: World

International Development Law Organization on Davos

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Development

Why Indigenous People of the World are Losing Out

From Surind blog

Why Indigenous People of the World are Losing Out

Source: NST

Most of the clashes between indigenous peoples, governments and international financial institutions have arisen due to differing interpretations of the term “development”. For indigenous peoples, the key issues include not just the right to protect and preserve their ancestral lands, but also often their very survival as a community, notes Terence Gomez.

Last month, members of the Indigenous Peoples Network of Malaysia (JOAS) tried unsuccessfully to submit a memorandum to the king urging, among other things, that the government honour its commitment to abide by the United Nations Declaration for the Rights of Indigenous People (Undrip).
The incident, on the first anniversary of Undrip, raised an urgent question: why is it that, despite the burgeoning number of international charters and national laws across the world that assert and protect their rights, the majority of indigenous peoples find themselves increasingly subjected to discrimination, exploitation and dispossession? Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Exclusion, Poverty

1.4 billion are still very poor

The World Bank’s has published new poverty figures and revisited the $1 poverty line and set a $1.25 poverty line according to 2005 prices.

On the basis of the new poverty line, 1.4 billion very poor people live in this world, of which 337 million live in East Asia and 596 million in South Asia. The Asian continent is the home for more than two thirds of the World’s poor.

Leave a comment

Filed under Poverty

The world food crisis and the capitalist market – Part Three

By Alex Lantier
10 June 2008

This is the last part of a series of articles on the world food crisis also posted here. The original versions of Part one and  Part two can be found here.

The current food crisis reflects not only financial events of recent years, but longer-term policies of world imperialism. Instead of allowing for a planned improvement of infrastructure and farming techniques, globalization on a capitalist basis has resulted in a restriction in many parts of the world of farm production. This has been carried out in order to lessen competition and prevent market gluts from harming the profit interests of the major powers.

One major aspect of imperialist policy was to limit farm production in the so-called “First World” to prevent sudden falls in world prices. In the US, this policy took the form of the federal government’s Conservation Reserve Program, first passed as part of the 1985 Food Security Act.

The program allows farmers to apply for payments of $50 per acre of land on which they do not plant crops. A nationwide limit of 180,000 square kilometers (about 10 percent of US arable land) was imposed on the program, later decreased to 130,000 square kilometers in 2007.

Though the bill was presented as a means of limiting soil erosion due to overplanting of ecologically vulnerable land, much of the fallow land registered under the project was not, in fact, vulnerable to erosion, but rather chosen by farmers on the basis of the price of the crops that could be grown on it. This was in line with the law’s stated objectives, which were “acreage reduction” and the maintenance of “target prices and price-support loans.”

Similar payments to farmers for farmland kept out of cultivation were adopted on a country-by-country basis, after the 1992 reform of Europe’s Common Agricultural Policy. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under capitalism, Food Security, Globalization, Poverty

The world food crisis and the capitalist market – Part Two

By Alex Lantier published here on  9 June 2008

This is the second part of a three-part series of articles on the world food crisis. Part one was posted earlier

The central problem underlying the current food crisis is not a physical lack of food, but rather its unaffordability for masses of people due to rapidly increasing prices. Among the immediate factors driving the rapid worsening of the food crisis, a major role is played by the explosion of speculative investment in basic commodities such as oil and grain, itself bound up with the difficulties facing US and world financial markets and the decline in the US dollar. Rampant speculation by hedge funds and other big market players has increased costs, encouraging private firms to further bid up prices in a competitive drive to amass as much profit as possible.

Official statistics disprove the assertion that there is not enough food for everyone. According to 2008 US Department of Agriculture figures, the average per capita consumption is 2,618 calories per day in developing countries and 3,348 in developed countries, compared with a recommended minimum of 2,100 calories. However, profound disparities in access to this food, stemming from poverty and social inequality, condemn many millions to hunger.

Time magazine quoted United Nations World Food Program official Josette Sheeran as saying, “We are seeing food on the shelves but people being unable to afford it.”

Commodity speculation
World market prices for agricultural commodities have surged precisely as big investors have pulled out of traditional investment and credit markets, largely as a result of the bursting of the US housing and credit bubbles in 2007. Speculative capital has gone in search of other profitable investments.
A major avenue for such speculative capital is commodity futures. This essentially involves financial bets that prices of basic goods such as oil, grains and metals will continue to rise. Since these futures are used as benchmarks for actual trading in the physical commodities, their heady rise has helped sharply pull up market prices for the commodities themselves.

Recent congressional testimony by a US hedge fund manager, Michael Masters, sheds an interesting light on commodity futures speculation. He told Congress:
“In the early part of this decade, some institutional investors who suffered as a result of the severe equity bear market of 2000-2002 began to look to the commodity futures market as a potential new ‘asset class’ suitable for institutional investment. While the commodities markets have always had some speculators, never before had major investment institutions seriously considered the commodities futures markets as viable for larger-scale investment programs. Commodities looked attractive because they have historically been ‘uncorrelated,’ meaning they trade inversely to fixed income and equity portfolios [i.e., they do not necessarily fall, and instead tend to rise, when the bond or stock markets decline].”
Continue reading

2 Comments

Filed under capitalism, Food Security, Globalization, Inequality, Poverty