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Here we go again …

I’m feeling outraged, with a strong sense of déjà-vu. From my vantage point in the United Kingdom—where inequality and social injustice are in particularly sharp focus—we’re on the brink of yet another social and economic crisis. Even more so than in the rest of Europe, energy prices and the cost of living are rocketing.

Yet what is happening at the top? What are our leaders doing? Why are some people, yet again, making eye-watering financial gains while others face destitution and a real fear of being cold and hungry this winter?

Read the article by Kate Picket

Fifty Million in Slavery worldwide

Fifty million people were living in modern slavery in 2021, according to the latest Global Estimates of Modern Slavery . Of these people, 28 million were in forced labour and 22 million were trapped in forced marriage.

The number of people in modern slavery has risen significantly in the last five years. 10 million more people were in modern slavery in 2021 compared to 2016 global estimates. Women and children remain disproportionately vulnerable.

Most cases of forced labour (86 per cent) are found in the private sector. Forced labour in sectors other than commercial sexual exploitation accounts for 63 per cent of all forced labour, while forced commercial sexual exploitation represents 23 per cent of all forced labour. Almost four out of five of those in forced commercial sexual exploitation are women or girls.

Modern slavery occurs in almost every country in the world, and cuts across ethnic, cultural and religious lines. More than half (52 per cent) of all forced labour and a quarter of all forced marriages can be found in upper-middle income or high-income countries.

State-imposed forced labour accounts for 14 per cent of people in forced labour.

Read the ILO Report Forced Labour and Forced Marriage

The New Human Development Report

This new uncertainty complex and each new crisis it spawns are impeding human development and unsettling lives the world over. In the wake of the pandemic, and for the first time ever, the global Human Development Index (HDI) value declined—for two years straight. Many coun­tries experienced ongoing declines on the HDI in 2021. Even before the pandemic, feelings of insecurity were on the rise nearly everywhere. Many people feel alienated from their political systems, and in another reversal, dem­ocratic backsliding has worsened.

Read the UNDP Report

Trade Unions at the Frontline in the cost of living crisis

As the cost of living soars, defending the living standards of workers and their families has become the primary concern of trade unions.

EU Energy Ministers meeting to-day!

Read the ITUC article

How France Underdevelops Africa

Most sub-Saharan African French colonies got formal independence in the 1960s. But their economies have progressed little, leaving most people in poverty, and generally worse off than in other post-colonial African economies.

Decolonization?
Pre-Second World War colonial monetary arrangements were consolidated into the Colonies Françaises d’Afrique (CFA) franc zone set up on 26 December 1945. Decolonization became inevitable after France’s defeat at Dien Bien Phu in 1954 and withdrawal from Algeria less than a decade later.

France insisted decolonization must involve ‘interdependence’ – presumably asymmetric, instead of between equals – not true ‘sovereignty’. For colonies to get ‘independence’, France required membership of Communauté Française d’Afrique (still CFA) – created in 1958, replacing Colonies with Communauté.

CFA countries are now in two currency unions. Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo belong to UEMOA, the French acronym for the West African Economic and Monetary Union.

Read the article by Anis Chowdhury and Jomo Kwame Sundaram

World Day of Decent Work: Wage Justice!

Rampant inflation, driven by profit-gouging by powerful corporations that control energy, transport, food and other vital commodities is sending yet more workers and their families into poverty.

More than half of households are struggling to get by and 10% are unable to meet the cost of essentials.

The COVID-19 pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine have had dramatic impacts on supply of goods, and corporate profiteering from these crises continues unchecked.

This comes on top of a decades-long decline in the share of prosperity…

Read ITUC’s article

A troubling history of IMF loans around the world

The strings attached to an IMF loan, which officially go by such deceptively innocuous-sounding names as “conditionalities” and “structural adjustment programs,” have in the past created such social chaos across the globe, all the while making claims that it develops the economy of whatever host country it attaches itself to.

Read the article

Hope: trade unions!

Inflation’s causes are structural. The immediate driver is profiteering and speculation — and a set of rules that encourage and protect such anti-social behaviour. But this opportunism rests on three underlying factors.

Read this brief from Progressive International

Continue reading

Millions go hungry … and food goes into landfills

The ominous warnings keep coming non-stop: some of the world’s developing nations, mostly in Africa and Asia, are heading towards mass hunger and starvation.

The World Food Programme (WFP) warned last week that as many as 828 million people go to bed hungry every night while the number of those facing acute food insecurity has soared — from 135 million to 345 million — since 2019. A total of 50 million people in 45 countries are teetering on the edge of famine.

But in what seems like a cruel paradox the US Department of Agriculture estimates that a staggering $161 billion worth of food is dumped yearly into landfills in the United States.

Read the article by Thalif Deen

End of summer: Plan your next vacation!

But take care: some countries do not want backpackers anymore, they are looking for the High Net Worth Tourist – if you are looking for a nice place to hide next year, look at this:

Only rich tourists welcome as these 6 countries take controversial step to stamp out overtourism | Euronews

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