Blog by Dorothy Grace Guerrero, Global Justice Now:
The organisation of our economies has driven two of the biggest global crises the world faces: pandemics, of which Covid-19 will not be the last, and the climate and ecological breakdown. On top of actual infections and deaths experienced by families, Covid-19 is also affecting every person and community due to lockdowns, prolonged workplace closures, suspension of classes, travel restrictions and general economic impacts. However, it does not do so equally. The pandemic has exposed and exacerbated existing inequalities and injustices and the structural inequalities play a significant role in determining who lives and who dies.
Experts say Covid-19 survivors may go on to develop long Covid, creating a generation left with chronic health problems and disability, the personal and economic impacts of which might be felt for decades to come. The UN has already acknowledged that Covid-19 has also wiped out years of progress in the 15-year global work on the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, which was already off track in 2019.
Vaccine apartheid, a strategy of social murder – Global Justice Now Global Justice Now
(from Sven Giegold, MEP):
The plenary of the OECD/G20 Inclusive Forum on BEPS sealed the final text of the international corporate tax reform today, 8 October. MEP Sven Giegold, financial and economic policy spokesperson of the Greens/EFA group commented:
“A global minimum tax is an important step forward against tax dumping. A decades-long blockade in international tax policy has been overcome today. The agreement ushers in a new era of global tax cooperation. This means that a limit has finally been set on the ruinous tax race to the bottom. However, there is regret mixed in with the joy about this agreement. It is a success with a drop of bitterness. The corporate tax reform lacks the ambition to really reduce global inequalities. The capping of the effective minimum tax at 15 percent weakens a key aspect of the international corporate tax reform. Tax avoidance by corporations and tax evasion by the wealthy remain major problems. The relatively low redistribution of excess profits to countries where, for example, digital corporations exercise market power, is also a disappointment. Developing countries in particular get too little of the global tax pie. The fight for global tax justice is far from won.
Kristalina Georgieva, the IMF’s Managing Director since 2019, has been a bold leader in confronting the economic fallout of the pandemic, as well as in positioning the Fund as a global pioneer on climate change. The efforts now underway to remove her are not only unjust, but could hamstring the Fund’s management for years to come.
Joseph STIGLITZ on this: A Coup Attempt at the IMF by Joseph E. Stiglitz – Project Syndicate (project-syndicate.org)
An ICIJ Investigation:
Based upon the most expansive leak of tax haven files in history, the investigation reveals the secret deals and hidden assets of more than 330 politicians and high-level public officials in more than 90 countries and territories, including 35 country leaders. The Pandora Papers lays bare the global entanglement of political power and secretive offshore finance.
ICIJ obtained more than 11.9 million financial records, containing 2.94 terabytes of confidential information from 14 offshore service providers, enterprises that set up and manage shell companies and trusts in tax havens around the globe. ICIJ shared the files with 150 media partners, launching the broadest collaboration in journalism history. For nearly two years, ICIJ organized and led an investigation that grew to encompass more than 600 journalists in 117 countries and territories.
Read more about it: Pandora Papers – ICIJ
The world is estimated to lose around USD 500-600 billion in revenues from corporate tax avoidance each year. Ensuring that governments can collect this revenue through ending global tax avoidance will play a major role in ending extreme poverty. Overseas aid provided to developing countries focused on eliminating extreme poverty must therefore incorporate addressing tax avoidance, especially by Multinational Enterprises, as a core component of their efforts.
To access the article directly, go to this webpage
Author: Abdul Muheet Chowdary is a Senior Programme Officer with the South Centre Tax Initiative of the South Centre.
Some reflections on an important topic for today, by Francine Mestrum
Global civil society report demands justice beyond rhetoric.
Policy responses to the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic crisis have greatly exacerbated national and global inequalities. Blatant examples are the unfair distribution of care work, relying mainly on women and poorly remunerated if at all, and the global disparity in the distribution of vaccines.
So far more than 60 percent of people in high-income countries have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, but less than 2 percent have done so in low-income countries. In view of this dramatic disparity, the “leave no one behind” commitment of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development remains hollow.
The dominant interests of rich countries, and corporate powers continue to dominate political decision-making. Given the urgency of the COVID-19 crisis and the other unresolved global problems, most notably the climate emergency, it is high time for transformative policies at all levels.
This is the key message of the Spotlight on Sustainable Development Report 2021. The report is launched on the first day of the Global Week to #ACT4SDGS by a global coalition of civil society organizations and trade unions.
According to the report, economic justice based on human rights can be achieved, but the trend towards privatizing, outsourcing and systematic dismantling of public services must be reversed. To combat growing inequality and build a socially just, inclusive post-COVID world, everyone must have equitable access to public services, first and foremost to healthcare and education.
To prevent the COVID-19 pandemic being followed by a global debt and austerity pandemic, governments must be enabled to expand their fiscal policy space and properly tax multinational corporations and wealthy individuals, many of whom pay virtually no income tax at all. Fundamental reforms in the global financial architecture, including a debt workout mechanism beyond piecemeal relief measures for debt servicing, are long overdue.
With a virtual launching event, the key findings of the report will be presented on 17 September, 9am EDT. Lees verder
A much-anticipated report from UN Secretary-General António Guterres backs the call for a renewed social contract, setting out an ambitious plan for multilateral action to address the multiple crises facing the world.
Read the report
Vaccine costs have pushed many developing countries to the end of the COVID-19 vaccination queue, with most low-income ones not even lining up. Worse, less vaccinated poor nations cannot afford fiscal efforts to provide relief or stimulate recovery, let alone achieve Agenda 2030.
Developing countries now account for more than 85% of global pandemic deaths. By early September, The Economist estimated actual COVID-19 deaths worldwide at 15.2 million, rather than the official 4.6 million.
In six of the ten countries with the highest fatality rates, less than a tenth of their populations were fully vaccinated as of 10 August. In the other four, no more than a third were fully vaccinated.
Now, as rich nations buy up more vaccines for third shots, vaccination inequities are becoming starker. Buying up hundreds of millions of doses, they penalise poorer countries already doubly deprived. Rich countries will likely have about 1.2 billion extra doses by the end of 2021!
Read the article by Anis Chowdury and Jomo Kwame Sundaram
Source: South-North Development Monitor SUNS #9413 Tuesday 7 September 2021.
Currently, only 46.9 per cent of the global population are effectively covered by at least one social protection benefit, while the remaining 53.1 per cent, or as many as 4.1 billion people globally, are left wholly unprotected, the International Labour Organization (ILO) has said.
In its World Social Protection Report 2020-2022 (pdf version), the ILO said that countries spend on average 12.9 per cent of their gross domestic product (GDP) on social protection (excluding health).
However, it said high-income countries spend on average 16.4 per cent, or twice as much as upper-middle-income countries (which spend 8 per cent), six times as much as lower-middle-income countries (2.5 per cent), and 15 times as much as low-income countries (1.1 per cent).