Hugh McDermott for Prospect


Pages tagged "globalisation"

Occupy Wall Street: The Most Important Thing in the World Now

by Naomi Klein 

I was honored to be invited to speak at Occupy Wall Street on Thursday night. Since amplification is (disgracefully) banned, and everything I say will have to be repeated by hundreds of people so others can hear (a k a “the human microphone”), what I actually say at Liberty Plaza will have to be very short. With that in mind, here is the longer, uncut version of the speech.

I love you.

And I didn’t just say that so that hundreds of you would shout “I love you” back, though that is obviously a bonus feature of the human microphone. Say unto others what you would have them say unto you, only way louder.

Yesterday, one of the speakers at the labor rally said: “We found each other.” That sentiment captures the beauty of what is being created here. A wide-open space (as well as an idea so big it can’t be contained by any space) for all the people who want a better world to find each other. We are so grateful.

If there is one thing I know, it is that the 1 percent loves a crisis. When people are panicked and desperate and no one seems to know what to do, that is the ideal time to push through their wish list of pro-corporate policies: privatizing education and social security, slashing public services, getting rid of the last constraints on corporate power. Amidst the economic crisis, this is happening the world over.

And there is only one thing that can block this tactic, and fortunately, it’s a very big thing: the 99 percent. And that 99 percent is taking to the streets from Madison to Madrid to say “No. We will not pay for your crisis.”

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World Bank-IMF Meetings 2011: How the Mighty Have Fallen

by John Weeks

For decades at the annual meetings of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund the heads of these two institutions lectured the representatives from developing countries on how to manage their economies, from the macro of balancing budgets to the micro of privatizing public sector enterprises.  Thusly imparting the enlightenment of sound policy, the Fund and Bank expected those representatives to return to their countries and dutifully implement their instructions.  Those that did not could with few exceptions expect quick discipline in the form of strict conditionalities or suspension of current loan programs.

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The Trans-Pacific Partnership — Its Economic and Strategic Implications

by Joshua Meltzer

While the challenges of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Doha Round have been the focus of attention recently, real trade policy action has been happening in the Asia-Pacific region. Already the Asia-Pacific accounts for about 50 percent of trade and 60 percent of global GDP and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimates that by 2030, the GDP of Asia will exceed that of the G7.

One of the key trade negotiations currently underway in the Asia-Pacific region is the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a regional free trade agreement (FTA) that comprises the United States, Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. These countries represent about 26 percent of global GDP and approximately 17 percent of world trade.

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Wall Street: From Protest to Politics

by Robert Kuttner 

"There go my people. I must find out where they are going so I can lead them." --Alexandre Auguste Ledru-Rollin, French politician (1807-1874).

When elected leaders largely ignore a disgrace like the financial collapse of 2008, sooner or later popular protest fills the vacuum. The Wall Street protests are heartening -- but also a measure of the utter failure of the usual machinery of democracy to remedy the worst pillaging of regular Americans by financial elites since the 1920s.

For three years, we have been wondering, where is the outrage? For a time, it was co-opted by the Tea Parties -- a faux populism, attacking government, financed by billionaires, delivering nothing to the 99 percent of Americans not represented by Wall Street. Now authentic protest directed against the real villains is finally here.

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Global Action for Global Recovery

By Christine Lagarde

The global economy has entered a dangerous new phase. There is a path to sustained recovery, but it is narrowing. To navigate it, we need strong political will around the world – leadership over brinksmanship, cooperation over competition, and action over reaction.

One of the main problems today is too much debt in the global financial system – among sovereigns, banks, and households, and especially among the advanced economies. This is denting confidence and holding back spending, investment, and job creation. These countries face a weak and bumpy recovery, with unacceptably high unemployment. The eurozone debt crisis has worsened, and financial strains are rising. Political indecision in some quarters is making matters worse. Social tensions bubbling beneath the surface could well add fuel to the crisis of confidence.

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Why Parties need to become Movements again

By Marcus Roberts and Daniel Elton

Winning progressive parties in the 1990s were those that had learnt the lessons of the 1980s: that division, disorganisation and an obsession with a core left vote was no way to win. As a consequence from Blair and New Labour to Schroeder and the SPD’s Neue Mitte, progressive parties in the ‘90s embraced change through discipline, professionalism, tight message control and a focus on the political centre ground. Such an approach made sense at the time both as a response to the defeats of the previous decade and as a positive appeal to the moderate-minded electorates of the affluent 1990s.

But the electoral and economic challenges of recent years call for a change as dramatic as that of the 1980s to 1990s. In short, the era of political organisation predicated upon hierarchy has passed and the time has come for political organisation based on movements.

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The Price of 9/11

By Joseph Stiglitz

The September 11, 2001, terror attacks by Al Qaeda were meant to harm the United States, and they did, but in ways that Osama bin Laden probably never imagined. President George W. Bush’s response to the attacks compromised America’s basic principles, undermined its economy, and weakened its security.

The attack on Afghanistan that followed the 9/11 attacks was understandable, but the subsequent invasion of Iraq was entirely unconnected to Al Qaeda – as much as Bush tried to establish a link. That war of choice quickly became very expensive – orders of magnitude beyond the $60 billion claimed at the beginning – as colossal incompetence met dishonest misrepresentation.

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A Plan B For The World Economy

by Christian Kellermann

‘Capitalism’ is back on Main Street. Crashing, dismantling, reforming, repairing, restoring – all kinds of approaches to capitalism are discussed in the wake of the recent crisis. The debate has gained far more momentum today than it had during the past decade, though we had already witnessed a number of such crises. However, in practice, the gap between regulatory rhetoric and actual reform of our economies and the world economy as a whole is still considerable. Our systems remain at risk of on-going instability. Crises will continue to be the norm rather than the exception if we keep on working with the dysfunctions of current capitalism. Many of us will be unable to live a decent life under conditions of increased insecurity, inequalities and pressure in terms of wages, jobs, raising children and providing for old age. An excessive degree of unequal income distribution and personal insecurity is not only detrimental to a good life; it is also economically dangerous and inefficient. The reasons for economic crises and increasing inequality, which are symptom and root of personal and systemic insecurity and inefficiency alike, are manifold.

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The new middle classes rise up - Marx’s revolutionary bourgeoisie finds its voice again?

THE past four years have seen a sharp contrast between recession-hit rich countries and buoyant emerging giants. This year the rich countries’ economic woes have spilled over to their politics, too: European governments are bogged down in the euro crisis while America brought upon itself a sovereign-debt downgrade. But the woe is not all on one side. Despite their economic achievements, the likes of China, India, Indonesia and Brazil—to say nothing of the Middle East—are suffering discontent almost as profound as the malaise in the West.

In India the Congress-led government of Manmohan Singh has faced its biggest challenge so far from mass demonstrations by supporters of Anna Hazare, a veteran anti-corruption campaigner who went on hunger strike in Delhi. This week Mr Hazare halted his strike with a cup of honeyed coconut water after the government agreed to pass tougher laws against graft. The protests were the culmination of a sequence of huge corruption scandals, from last year’s Commonwealth games in Delhi to the distribution of 2G mobile-telecoms spectrum licences. “What you are seeing on the street is a middle-class rebellion,” says Mohan Guruswamy, a former official at the finance ministry.

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9/11 – A Duty to Remember, but What?

By Bradley Evans and Simon Critchley

The violence witnessed ten years ago was spectacularly horrifying. Mass death quite literally broadcast “live”. Many images of that fateful day still linger. We still recoil at the moment the second plane impacted, the point at which we knew this was no accident. Our memories can still recall that frozen transience, the same experienced shared by President George Bush who in a room full of children cut a powerless figure. And still we are traumatised by the thought that any one of us may have faced that terrifying predicament, whether to jump or not as the searing heat became too intense to bear. Such an impossible decision thankfully most of us will never have to face.

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