A new report shows New Zealand’s economy has been most affected by inequality out of all the OECD nations. How did the land of the fair go end up in such a state?
In the 1940s, New Zealanders hated inequality so much that one visiting academic suggested they should erect a statue of equality in Auckland harbour, as a counterpart to the United States’s celebrated sculpture. And that image lingers: many people still think of New Zealand as an egalitarian paradise, a friendly and accommodating country where “a fair go” is the national phrase.
Those observers, and indeed many New Zealanders, might have got a shock this week when the OECD published a landmark report, showing that economies the world over are being hamstrung by growing inequality – and that New Zealand was the worst affected. A stark rich-poor divide, the OECD argued, had taken over a third off the country’s economic growth rate in the last 20 years. But how could this be?
Source: How New Zealand’s rich-poor divide killed its egalitarian paradise | Max Rashbrooke | Opinion | The Guardian
Bernie Sanders sat down on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day with Dr. Cornel West, rapper and activist Killer Mike, and Nina Turner, the former minority whip for the Ohio Senate, to discuss Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legacy. The four discussed his life, his legacy, and the effects he had on the struggles still happening today. Several times the discussion comes back to how Dr. King’s legacy is frequently sanitized, obscuring how truly radical and outspoken his views were. Bernie sanders reflected on Dr. King’s path and how his aims expanded far beyond racial justice alone in the months leading to his death. “This is what courage is about. He said, ‘Enough.’ If he was going to be consistent with his own inner soul, he had to ask other questions. And the questions he asked, he says, I’m a man of nonviolence, but we’re living in a time of Vietnam War.” He then links Dr. King’s struggle against Vietnam and civil rights to his Poor People’s Campaign, a grassroots movement that fought for economic rights and against income inequality. Dr. Cornel West echoed this sentiment, explicitly linking this to Sander’s campaign. “I was sitting in church today, Mother Emanuel Church, and we were reading the words of Martin Luther King, Jr.,” said West. “And I said to myself, ‘This is what the Sanders campaign is about. This is what it’s about. It’s about the poor, working people. It’s about keeping track of the weak and the vulnerable. It’s about mustering the courage to tell the truth about Wall Street, about wealth inequality.”
Source: Bernie Sanders Reflects on Dr. King’s Legacy with Cornel West, Killer Mike, and Nina Turner
The World Bank will invest heavily in clean energy and only fund coal projects in “circumstances of extreme need” because climate change will undermine efforts to eliminate extreme poverty, says its president Jim Yong Kim.
Talking ahead of a UN climate summit in Peru next month, Kim said he was alarmed by World Bank-commissioned research from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany, which said that as a result of past greenhouse gas emissions the world is condemned to unprecedented weather events.
“The findings are alarming. As the planet warms further, heatwaves and other weather extremes, which today we call once-in-a-century events, would become the new climate normal, a frightening world of increased risk and instability. The consequences for development would be severe, as crop yields decline, water resources shift, communicable diseases move into new geographical ranges, and sea levels rise,” he said.
via World bank to focus future investment on clean energy | Environment | The Guardian.
As the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department moves to shut off water to thousands of residents who are delinquent on their bills, a coalition of activists is appealing to the United Nations High Commission for Human Rights to intervene on behalf of the bankrupt city’s most vulnerable citizens.Their report, filed Wednesday with the UN’s Special Rapporteur on the Human Right to Safe Drinking Water and Sanitation, alleges that the DWSD crackdown is part of an effort “to sweeten the pot for a private investor” to take over the city’s heavily-indebted water and sewer system as part of Detroit’s broader bankruptcy proceedings.One of the activist groups behind the report, the Detroit People’s Water Board, notes that city residents have seen water rates more than double over the past decade at the same time that the city’s poverty rate rose to nearly 40 percent, putting the cost of basic running water beyond reach for tens of thousands of households. Earlier this week, city lawmakers voted to raise water rates by a further 8.7 percent.Almost exactly 50 percent of the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department’s 323,900 total accounts were delinquent as of March, according to the Detroit News via Nexis, with a combined $175 million in unpaid water bills outstanding. The department announced at that time that it would begin an aggressive campaign of water shutoffs, and a DWSD spokesman said that it has shut off water to nearly 7,000 separate clients since the beginning of April. DWSD mailed warnings about the shutoffs in March, but the People’s Water Board report says that some residents it interviewed either never received a warning notice or had their water shut off before the payment deadline printed in the notices had passed.
via Activists Call For UN Intervention As Government Moves To Shut Off Water In Detroit.
The original mercantilists were advocates of the “utility of poverty” thesis, believing that there was a positive side to poverty and that the State should create and maintain poverty as a way to increase the volume of exportable output. David Spencer argues that echoes of mercantilist thinking can be seen today. There is a persistent stigmatising of those on benefits who are seen as “scroungers” living a good life at the expense of tax payers, and an acceptance of low wages as a way to restore and increase economic growth.
via Six centuries of vilifying the poor: Stigmatisation of welfare recipients and a lack of concern about low wages has origins in early mercantilist thought | British Politics and Policy at LSE.
reblogged from Centre for Globalization and Cultural Studies