Tax Havens and the Business Lobby (May 7, 2009)

May 21, 2009

The Obama administration’s plan to crack down on US tax evasion not only targets corporations but also powerful lobbies that helped draft the legislation which made it easier for big businesses to evade taxation. Groups including the Business Roundtable, the US Chamber of Commerce, and the National Association of Manufacturers, formed a lobbying coalition called Protect America’s Competitive Edge. This lobby aims to defeat the President’s tax proposals, and openly threatens the government with outsourcing jobs if such legislation is enacted. Earlier, business lobbyists successfully ruined an important housing bill that could have “prevented 20 percent of foreclosures, at no cost to taxpayers.” (Huffington Post)


Contribution of Mr. Olivier De Schutter Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food; 17th Session of the UN Commission on Sustainable Development (May, 2009)

May 21, 2009

The UN’s Special Rapporteur on the right to food warns that as attention turns to increase food production in response to food price hikes, the solutions must not overlook social and environmental factors.  De Schutter’s statement outlines the implications of the right to food framework for the CSD topics.  Sustainable food systems suitable to cope with climate change must prioritize the most vulnerable.  He recommends, among others, the regulation of corporate dominance in the global food chain, redistribution of land and international guidelines on large scale land grabs by foreign investors. (United Nations)


Cold War Origins of the Somalia Crisis and Control of the Indian Ocean (May 3, 2009)

May 19, 2009

The mainstream media coverage of Somalia mainly focuses on the escalating piracy issue, but fails to provide an in-depth understanding of its root causes. The crisis in Somalia results from years of US interference in its internal affairs to implement the “Carter Doctrine.” The US “cleaned” Somalia, and to a larger extent the Horn of Africa, of a pro-Soviet tilt and set up military bases to secure a region that contains more than two-thirds of the world’s oil. The US and NATO largely use the “pirate threat” to legitimize the deployment of their navy in the Indian Ocean. This enables them to control trade and reduce the naval presence of competitors such as Russia and China.  (Dandelion Salad)


Worries Rise on the Size of US Debt (May 3, 2009)

May 19, 2009

During the first quarter of 2009, the US federal deficit exceeded the highest record since World War II. The Congressional Budget Office projects that US household debt will rise to 51 percent of the GDP in 2009 and the US administration will need to borrow around US$ 2 trillion to fund its budget. As foreign countries become increasingly reluctant to buy US treasury bonds, the US government hopes to find a sustainable way to finance its deficit-driven budget. The concern rests on the government’s ability to pay on its debt obligations without defaulting or jeopardizing future generations. (New York Times)


Statement on the Negotiations about the Outcome of the UN Conference on the World Financial and Economic Crisis and its Impact on Development (May 15, 2009)

May 18, 2009

Civil society organizations call for governments worldwide to focus on the substance of the outcome document of the UN Economic Crisis Summit and urge leaders not to allow procedural delays to detract from progress on the fundamental issues that must be addressed during the summit. (GPF)


Blame this Crisis on the Myth of Inflation (May 8, 2009)

May 15, 2009

The myth that low inflation would automatically lead to financial stability encouraged risky behavior and created the illusion that it was safe to borrow and invest more and more. Excessive self-confidence in the international banking system transformed loans into “investments” and debts into the safest of “securities.” “Inflation targeting” omits the aspects of inflation that caused the crisis, such as mortgages and asset prices, thereby enabling the economic crisis to strike during a low inflation period. (Times Online)


United Nations Economic Crisis Summit – Draft Outcome Document (May 8, 2009)

May 15, 2009

The President of the General Assembly (PGA) Miguel d’Escoto Brockmann has presented this draft outcome document for the UN Conference which will take place June 1-3, 2009. The EU, the US and Canada objected to the process of producing the draft, arguing that the PGA has excluded member states from it. The PGA explained that he has incorporated inputs from the Co-Facilitators of the preparatory process as well as from his visits to member states. The draft contains bold proposals to transform the global economy in order to put a focus on people instead of profit, including a new Global Economic Coordination Council.