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Posts Tagged ‘Globalization’

Inequality and the world economy: True Progressivism

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on October 15, 2012

A new form of radical centrist politics is needed to tackle inequality without hurting economic growth

BY THE end of the 19th century, the first age of globalisation and a spate of new inventions had transformed the world economy. But the “Gilded Age” was also a famously unequal one, with America’s robber barons and Europe’s “Downton Abbey” classes amassing huge wealth: the concept of “conspicuous consumption” dates back to 1899. The rising gap between rich and poor (and the fear of socialist revolution) spawned a wave of reforms, from Theodore Roosevelt’s trust-busting to Lloyd George’s People’s Budget. Governments promoted competition, introduced progressive taxation and wove the first threads of a social safety net. The aim of this new “Progressive era”, as it was known in America, was to make society fairer without reducing its entrepreneurial vim.

Modern politics needs to undergo a similar reinvention—to come up with ways of mitigating inequality without hurting economic growth. That dilemma is already at the centre of political debate, but it mostly produces heat, not light. Thus, on America’s campaign trail, the left attacks Mitt Romney as a robber baron and the right derides Barack Obama as a class warrior. In some European countries politicians have simply given in to the mob: witness François Hollande’s proposed 75% income-tax rate. In much of the emerging world leaders would rather sweep the issue of inequality under the carpet: witness China’s nervous embarrassment about the excesses of Ferrari-driving princelings, or India’s refusal to tackle corruption. Read the rest of this entry »

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Why Globalism Is a Victory for You

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on June 20, 2012

By Deepak Chopra, Author, ‘Spiritual Solutions’; founder, The Chopra Foundation

It’s become commonplace to worry about China and its threat to the American economy. But everyone should stand back and realize that two billion people are rising up from poverty there. Throughout Asia the story is much the same as the dispossessed are getting a seat at the banquet table for the first time. It’s recorded that more has been done for world poverty in the past fifty years than in the previous five hundred, with much of that progress coming in the last twenty years.

Instead of resenting this trend, it should be celebrated as a victory for American values. Poverty is ending because of opportunity, progressive thinking and greater freedom, the very things that America stands for. Occasionally I hear a positive voice like Warren Buffett’s, who says that what’s good for China is good for the U.S. Ultimately, there will be a balancing out. The Chinese will have to take care of hundreds of millions of old people, no easy task with a policy of one child per family. Middle class incomes will mean greater consumerism, making China a country that imports goods from outside. But even if this balancing weren’t going to occur, the moral thing is to stop griping about the rise of impoverished nations like China and India.

We Americans sit at the head of the banquet table, as we have done for a century. Our standard of living is luxurious by any measure. It’s time to show generosity of spirit to the less fortunate. We use more energy per capita and produce more air pollutants than any other society (even if China is fast catching up in the latter category). We deal more arms to the world and instigate more wars. Yet the American ideal of peace continues to spread, with deaths from all forms of war, including terrorism, falling in the last decade by 20%, with a 75% decrease since the decades of the Cold War.

Fareed Zakaria is one of the few to bring this wider perspective to light. A few optimists won’t relieve American anxiety, but our growth and recovery, even since 2008, has been a success compared to the Great Depression, especially considering that bank losses and factory output fell more this time than in the Depression. Read the rest of this entry »

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It’s not a conspiracy! Elite controls global economy

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on October 23, 2011

A man dressed as an "evil banker" stands outside Saint Paul's Cathedral in central London as protestors gather on October 15, 2011 (AFP Photo / Leon Neal)

Bankers really do control the world! That’s according to Swiss researchers who, in an exhaustive scientific study, mapped out a blueprint showing the real architects of global economic power.

From freemasons to the Council on Foreign Relations to Bilderberg, the belief that secretive groups control the world’s economic and political system are quite possibly as old as human civilization itself.

But while Occupy Wall Street protestors may be slightly exaggerating in calling themselves the 99 per cent, a recent study conducted by the Swiss Institute of Technology in Zurich shows that they aren’t too far off the mark.

Drawing from a 2007 Orbis database, which lists 37 million companies and investors spanning the globe, the researchers focused on 43,000 transnational corporations and the share ownership which connected them. Based on their analysis, the Swiss team found that a core of companies, the majority of which are in the banking sector, yield excessive power over the global economy, the weekly New Scientist magazine reports.

Within this group, 1,318 companies with intertwined ownership structures were on average connected to 20 other companies.

Representing some 20 per cent of global operating revenues, the study also shows this group of 1,318 controls the bulk of the largest blue chip and manufacturing firms. In terms of the real economy – the part which produces actual goods and services – they take in some 60 per cent of global revenues. Read the rest of this entry »

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Putin promotes ‘Eurasian Schengen’ in first program article

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on October 5, 2011

Vladimir Putin has proposed the creation of a new international power nexus between Europe and the Asia-Pacific region in an article in the Izvestia daily.

The Izvestia article, published on Tuesday, mainly covers the economic dimension of the proposed union, but also touches upon the political aspects of the project.

Putin writes that the creation of the joint economic space in 2012 is an integration project of prime importance and will constitute a historic landmark not only for Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan, but for all countries in the post-Soviet space.

“We suggest creating a powerful supra-national union capable of becoming a pole in the modern world, and at the same time an effective connection between Europe and the dynamic Asia-Pacific Region.”

The Prime Minister also states that the Customs Union started in 2011 and the anticipated joint economic space would form the basis for a future Eurasian Economic Union and later the Eurasian Union – a political organization similar to the European Union today.

The Russian Prime Minister describes the Eurasian Union as an open project. “We welcome other partners to join it, first of all the countries of the Commonwealth [of Independent States], but we are not going to hurry or push anyone,”Putin writes. Read the rest of this entry »

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Global ‘Mini-Lateralism’ Will Get Us Nowhere

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on April 23, 2011

By Gordon Brown, Former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom

Two years ago the formal creation of the G20 helped prevent the world recession from becoming a world depression. World leaders agreed to a one trillion dollar underpinning of the world economy, and strengthened the World Bank, the IMF and the World Trade Organization. In its concluding statement, however, the G20 promised more: that it would work towards implementing new global standards and regulations across the world’s banking system and that it would be the architect of a global growth agreement designed to deliver rising prosperity and create jobs in the decades ahead.

Two years on, what some now call mini-lateralism, seems to be the order of the day. The immediate crisis has passed and despite outstanding leadership in our international institutions and bold international initiatives by some national leaders, many governments have retreated into their national shells. We cannot agree on the proposed ‘global growth pact’, a world trade agreement is yet again stalled, risking the first failure of a planned trade agreement since 1948, and, even after a nuclear catastrophe in Japan and a period of violent volatility in oil prices, there is still insufficient momentum for a global climate change agreement.

So what has happened? The need for cooperation cannot be in dispute. Indeed this year the world is facing an unremitting onslaught of new challenges – food shortages, commodity price rises, youth unemployment and social unrest ; and large imbalances even as inflation reappears. Some now talk not of a crisis but of crisis-ism, a state of ever recurring crises that cannot easily be resolved by nations acting autonomously. Read the rest of this entry »

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