Over the last four decades, growing concentration of market power in the hands of oligopolies, if not monopolies, has been greatly enabled by ostensibly neo-liberal reforms, worsening wealth concentration and gross inequalities in the world.
The ‘counter-revolution’ against Keynesian and development economics four decades ago, which inspired the Washington Consensus, claimed to promote economic liberalization, including market competition, but strengthening property rights entitlements, especially for intellectual property, has been far more important.
Such oligopolistic and monopolistic trends have recently accelerated in much of the world, while already feeble anti-trust efforts have lagged far behind. Over a century after US President Teddy Roosevelt’s anti-trust initiatives, with the neoliberal rhetoric of recent decades, many all over the world still have great expectations of similar US reform initiatives.
(Jomo Kwame Sundaram, Anis Chowdhury)
April was a month for some international institutions to publish data and forecasts to revise or confirm their economic projections made at the beginning of the year. So far, it has been bad news after bad news. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has repeatedly cut its projections for world gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 2019. The World Bank and IMF revealed further worsened accumulation of public and private debt. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) reported declining official development assistance (ODA). The World Trade Organization (WTO) worried about decelerating international trade and intensified trade tension. The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) highlighted consecutive drops of foreign direct investment (FDI) flows. When so many dark clouds are gathering together at the same time, one can only say that the world economic prospects for 2019 are indeed gloomy. A closer examination of the performance of developing countries in these datasets would clearly show the economic conundrum that developing countries are facing.
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