Caribbean Political Economy

The CARICOM Regional Food and Nutrition Security Policy Explained, Sergia Garcia

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In December 2010, the FAO Global Food Price Index surpassed the previous high level reached in 2008 which had led to food riots and social instability in many countries. This is the context in which the CARICOM Regional Food and Nutrition Security Policy (RFNSP) has been prepared..

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Jamaica: debt, the IMF and economic stagnation; CEPR Report

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“The paper notes that Jamaica remains one of the most highly indebted countries in the world, and that its interest payments as a percent of GDP were higher than anywhere else in the world in 2011, including even crisis-stricken countries in the eurozone. Jamaica’s large debt burden has displaced most other public expenditures, taking up almost 50 percent of total budgeted spending over the last four fiscal years while health and education have been only around 20 percent combined.”

Click here for CEPR report

UNCTAD XIII: Victory for the South, or a Draw? Three Views

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At UNCTAD XIII recently held in Doha, a united front of the BRICS, the G77 and China, supported by intense NGO lobbying and a highly publicised letter from former senior UNCTAD staff (including several from the Caribbean), successfully resisted efforts by the Global North to retsrict the agency’s critical work linking trade, development and the global financial and economic crisis. Was it a victory for the South, or a draw?

Victory for the South Deborah James

Draw at Doha Vijay Prashad

South wins battle for new UNCTAD mandate Martin Khor

People-Centred Regional Integration: Answer to the Global Crisis (Video)

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In this half-an-hour YouTube video, people from Africa, Asia, Latin America and Europe talk about people-centred regional,  ,  integration as an answer to the interlocking crisis in global finance, economy, food, energy and climate; and its root cause, the neo-liberal development model. But where is the Caribbean?,  ,  

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Silencing the message or the messenger …. or both? Statement by former UNCTAD staff members

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Statement by former senior UNCTAD staff members including Secretary General Rubens Ricupero, Deputy Secretaries-General and Directors, regarding the pressure placed on UNCTAD and the G-77 by major developed countries in the preparations for UNCTAD XIII.

Since its establishment almost 50 years ago at the instigation of developing countries UNCTAD has always been a thorn in the flesh of economic orthodoxy. Its analyses of global macro-economic issues from a development perspective have regularly provided an alternative view to that offered by the World Bank and the IMF controlled by the west. Now efforts are afoot to silence that voice…

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Declaration CUUCED (Spanish version)

Battle for UNCTAD’s Future Mandate South Centre

North battles for ‘market’ supremacy, Vijay Prashad

Ex-UNCTAD Staff join battle on North Vijay Prashad

VIDEO: Global North VS South Over Financialization of Food Vijay Prashad

Five Challengers of the Neoliberal Jackboot, Vijay Prashad

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From CounterPunch

(At their recent meeting ) the BRICS states not only repeated their critique of the world economic order and North Atlantic financial hegemony, but they offered new policy guidelines and institutions as a counterpoint (and they) have taken some more steps toward the rejection of the North Atlantic’s political leadership over the planet..

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THE ‘MOTHER OF ALL BOMBS’ AND THE ROAD TO DISASTER Fidel Castro Ruz

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Webmaster’s note: let it not be said, when the monstruous events described in this commentary take place, that no one warned about what was about to happen.

This Reflection could be written today, tomorrow or any other day without the risk of being mistaken. Our species faces new problems. When 20 years ago I stated at the United Nations Conference on the Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro that a species was in danger of extinction, I had fewer reasons than today for warning about a danger that I was seeing perhaps 100 years away….

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WAR PLAN IRAN by Finian Cunningham and Michel Chossudovsky

Civilisation faces ‘perfect storm of ecological and social problems’

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Celebrated scientists and development thinkers have warned that civilisation is faced with a perfect storm of ecological and social problems driven by overpopulation, overconsumption and environmentally malign technologies. In the face of an “absolutely unprecedented emergency”, say the 18 past winners of the Blue Planet prize – the unofficial Nobel for the environment – society has “no choice but to take dramatic action to avert a collapse of civilisation…

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EU in Crisis: analysis, resistance and alternatives to Corporate Europe, CEO

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The EU’s response to the financial crisis and the escalating eurocrisis has exposed more clearly than ever the disastrous dominance of neoliberal ideology. Obsessed with budgetary discipline, EU decision-makers are imposing sweeping austerity measures, privatising public services and cutting welfare…(but) There are encouraging signs of resistance. The indignados and occupy movements, union strikes and demonstrations, mark a growing rejection of the EU’s free-market fundamentalism..

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The Way Forward for the Caribbean, Michael Witter

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Also published in Stabroek News 2 January 2012

The generation of young Caribbean adults who did not live under colonialism, nor the dictatorships of Batista and Duvalier, must play a leading role in the re-thinking of our region and its identity. It must be a collective reflection on many levels: regionally, nationally,,   locally, and across generations…

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U.S. War on Venezuela: False Accusations Against the Chavez Government, Eva Golinger

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Ever since the US-supported coup attempt against President Hugo Chavez in Venezuela failed in April 2002, Washington has been pursuing a variety of strategies to remove the overwhelmingly popular South American head of state from power. Multimillion-dollar funding to anti-Chavez groups in Venezuela … has increased exponentially over the past ten years, as has direct political support through advisors, strategists and consultants- all aiming to help an unpopular and outdated opposition rise to power..

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Durban Climate Talks: Disastrous Outcome For Poor People, Christian Aid

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CARICOM nations and Small Island Developing States (SIDS) have concluded that an average rise in global temperature of more than 1.5 degrees C will spell disaster for them. But according to this report from Christian Aid,,   ‘By giving themselves until 2015 to agree a new deal which only takes effect in 2020″ (as decided at the Durban talks that ended December 11) , “governments are delaying desperately needed action and condemning us all to dangerous warming of much more than 2 degrees.”

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South Centre Report on Durban Meeting


WTO defending an outdated vision of food security, Olivier de Schutter

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Olivier De Schutter is the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food

Globalization creates big winners and big losers. But where food systems are concerned, losing out means sinking into poverty and hunger. A vision of food security that deepens the divide between food-surplus and food-deficit regions, between exporters and importers, and between winners and losers, simply cannot be accepted…

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The Best ‘Occupy Wall Street’ Video: Hypocrisy Exposed

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This dramatic video juxtaposes pronoucements by Obama and Clinton on Libya, Egypt and Syria with police action against protestors in New York City.

Wath this video on YouTube by clicking here

Debtocracy Video: The Greek Debt Crisis

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For the first time in Greece a documentary produced by the audience. Debtocracy seeks the causes of the debt crisis and proposes solutions, hidden by the government and the dominant media.

Click here to view the ‘Debtocracy’ video

Occupy Wall Street Coming to Jamaica, Lloyd D’Aguilar

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The Marcus Garvey People’s Political Party (MGPPP) is calling for a demonstration in front of the Bank of Jamaica on Thursday at 1 PM to express sentiments similar to those being made in America by the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement or the 99% Movement and which has now spread to many other countries especially in Europe…

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The Ideological Roots Of The Global Financial Crisis: Lessons For The Caricom Caribbean, Sir Courtney N. Blackman

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Webmaster’s note: this is a revised version of Sir Courtney’s paper published on this blog in . It is being posted in the light of the current Eurozone debt crisis as well as the controversy over Blackman’s remarks on recent Nobel awards in Economics.

There is general consensus that the current global financial crisis, which originated in the USA, is the most devastating since the Great Depression of the 1930′s. Martin Wolf described the unfolding events as the “disintegration of the financial system, without which, no modern economy could survive.” (1) ..

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Of Corporate Gangs and Gang Leaders–2, Cecil Paul

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The politico/business elite’s parasitic and corrupted modus operandi is an impediment to both national and Caricom development.Trinbago’s ruling elites of parasitic corporate leaders and politicians have demonstrated by their actions and relationships over the last 20 years that all our political parties are inter-woven into a corrupted web of mutual money interests with major business elites…

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TO THE PEOPLE OF THE WORLD: Declaration of the Occupation of New York City

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As we gather together in solidarity to express a feeling of mass injustice, we must not lose sight of what brought us together. We write so that all people who feel wronged by the corporate forces of the world can know that we are your allies…

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Keith Olbermann Reads The Statement Released By The Wall Street Protesters – 2011-10-05 YouTube

Occupy Wall Street: Map and list of over 200 U.S. and Canada Solidarity Events and Facebook pages

Confronting the Malefactors Paul Krugman New York Times

The Moral Clarity of Occupy Wall Street Robert Borosage OurFuture.Org

Statetmen of Support from the American Association of Universty Professors

Financialisation and world food prices: what’s CARICOM doing? Norman Girvan

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An article I recently received from Patricia Khan (How Global Investors Make Money Out of Hunger, by Horand Knaup, Michaela Schiessl and Anne Seith, published by Speigel Online) is an excellent treatment of the effects of financialisation of world food commodity markets on driving up food prices. It marshals evidence from several authortitative sources to show that the recent spikes in food prices have little to do with the reasons one often sees in the media, like population growth, demand fron China and India, biofuels, climate change etc. but rather to the entry of the banks and other financial entities to the futures markets following deregulation in 1999 and relaxation of banks’ equity requirements in 2004.

I was particularly struck by the statistic from FAO that 98% of futures contracts do not lead to actual deliveries, that the bulk of the contracts are sold by the banks etc prior to maturation, and by the UNCTAD finding that futures prices are driving up present prices, rather than vice versa as it ought to be. I am also struck by the emergence of “land grabbing” in resource-rich African countries by investors exporting food to the rich countries, and by the way in which commercial industrial agriculture has several deleterious effects and that the technical consensus is that food security for the world’s hungry should be based on sustainable agricultural practices carried out by small farmers–an issue which has been addressed by several writers on this blog.

While this is probably familiar to many readers, I am concerned as to whether it has percolated into the thinking of our key decision-makers and the general regional public. Earlier this year we were informed that a CARICOM Common Agricultural Policy has been adopted, but there are,   several questions that arise:

1. What is the status of the Caricom Common Agricultural Policy? Is it receiving the urgency it deserves from decision-makers? Are stakeholders satisfied that the implementation arrangements and mechanisms will result in its timely and effective implementation?

2. How has the recent (2011) spike in global food commodity prices impacted the cost and availabilty of food in CARICOM countries? How many people in CARICOM have been pushed below the poverty line, or the hunger line (if there is such a concept) by the rise in food prices since the beginning of 2011?

3. What steps have CARICOM governments taken to support internationally the calls for (a) regulation of global commodity markets and (b) a transactions tax, to curb speculation? (see article).

4. What steps have CARICOM governments taken, or are taking, or should be taking, to prevent “land-grabbing” in countries like Guyana and Belize, to ensure that the food needs of the people of the region are the first call on the land resources of the region?

5. What steps have CARICOM governments taken, or are taking, or should be taking, to provide land, credit, R&D and other incentives to small farmers to carry out sustainable agricultural practices for domestic food production in the region?

6. And finally, who is championing these issues in the Caribbean media? Is it getting the attention it deserves and is the regional public sufficiently seized of its importance? Anf if the answer is “no”, what can be done to remedy this situation?

Norman

In recent years, the financial markets have discovered the huge opportunities presented by agricultural commodities. The consequences are devastating, as speculators drive up food prices and plunge millions of people into poverty. But investors care little about the effects of their deals in the real world.

More at http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,783654,00.html,  

Regional Food and Nutrition Security Policy Brief No 2 2011 CARICOM Secretariat

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