Today, around 21,000 children died around the world. This daily tragedy, from poverty and other preventable causes, rarely makes headline news.

Latest World News

World

  1. Getting India's Construction Workers Their Entitlements

    MUMBAI, Aug 14 (IPS) - Basant Lal Chaudhary migrated from his village of 1,200 people in Madhya Pradesh, to a city of 90,000 people in Jammu and Kashmir in 2016. He last worked as a construction worker, before the COVID-19 lockdown forced him out of employment."I used to earn a daily wage of INR 350. That was my only source of income," he shares. During the lockdown, he along with others who worked with him, are finding it difficult to make the ends meet."I don't know whether I will be able to find work here anytime soon."

  2. COVID-19 Sharpens Caste Discrimination in Nepal

    KAILALI, Nepal, Aug 14 (IPS) - Across Nepal, it is the already under-served and vulnerable who have been affected by the prolonged lockdowns. But it is the Dalit returnees from India who have tested positive and their families who face double discrimination.

  3. The Beirut Blast: An Accident in Name Only

    Aug 13 (IPS) - The catastrophic explosion in Beirut's port is a manifestation of the Lebanese political elite's predation and dysfunction. Among the country's long-suffering citizens, shock is quickly yielding to fury. It may be the last chance for those in power to effect long-overdue structural reforms.

  4. Young South Africans are Shut Out From Work: They Need a Chance to Get Digital Skills

    Aug 13 (IPS) - Most young people from disadvantaged backgrounds in South Africa continue to be denied access to information and communications technology because of poor infrastructure and the digital divide.

  5. Debt Hawks Detract from Urgently Needed Fiscal Recovery Efforts

    SYDNEY and KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 13 (IPS) - Developing country debt has continued to grow rapidly since the 2008-2009 global financial crisis (GFC). Warnings against debt have been reiterated by familiar prophets of debt doom such as new World Bank chief economist, Carmen Reinhartonce dubbed the ‘godmother of austerity'.

  6. Crisis Management 101: Treating the Climate Crisis Like a Pandemic

    SEOUL, Aug 12 (IPS) - Yujin Kim is a member of Youth 4 Climate Action Korea, a movement of youth activists fighting for a safe future for allOn 23 February 2020, the South Korean government raised the national Crisis Alert Level to the highest tier in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Since then, we have witnessed what our society is capable of when faced with a crisis.

  7. Youth Rural-Urban Migration Hurts Malawi's Agriculture

    CHIRADZULU DISTRICT/BLANTYRE, Malawi, Aug 12 (IPS) - As households in Chiradzulu District in Southern Malawi start preparing their farms for the next maize growing season, Frederick Yohane, 24, is a busy young man.

  8. Impending Food Crisis in Lebanon will Affect Migrant Workers

    UNITED NATIONS, Aug 12 (IPS) - Migrant workers and refugees in Lebanon will "inevitably" suffer the most as food insecurity threatens the nation following last week's blast.

  9. To Stay Ahead of the Next Insect Outbreak, Harness Available Data Intelligence

    ILLINOIS, United States, Aug 12 (IPS) - Recently, the UK contributed £17 million pounds to support the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) to continue their efforts to combat the desert locust surge in East Africa and improve early warning and forecasting systems.

  10. COVID-19: Where to From Here For Efforts to Support Youth Economic Inclusion?

    JOHANNESBURG, Aug 11 (IPS) - As the world marks International Youth Day on August 12, it is difficult to ignore the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on young people - particularly on efforts towards youth economic inclusion in Africa. Meaningful and swift action is needed from African states to ensure the damage is not long-lasting.

  11. More stories…

Health

  1. COVID-19 Sharpens Caste Discrimination in Nepal

    KAILALI, Nepal, Aug 14 (IPS) - Across Nepal, it is the already under-served and vulnerable who have been affected by the prolonged lockdowns. But it is the Dalit returnees from India who have tested positive and their families who face double discrimination.

  2. COVID Crisis Challenges in People with Disabilities and Hansen’s Disease

    NEW YORK, Aug 10 (IPS) - Even during the best of times, unfortunately members of the global community who have special needs are marginalized and often treated as social outcasts. The COVID crisis which has been raging for over the better part of the year 2020 has posed additional barriers and challenges for these already disenfranchised individuals.

  3. Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going?

    STOCKHOLM / ROME, Aug 10 (IPS) - COVID-19 has become a scourge affecting all levels of human society – morals, behaviour, human interaction, economy and politics. The pandemic has wrecked havoc on our way of being and its impact will remain huge and all-encompassing. It is not only affecting our globally shared existence, it is also changing what has been called "the little life", i.e. our own way of thinking and being, our personal life situation and the one of those close to us; people we love and depend upon – our friends and family.

  4. Building Resilience in Pacific Education

    Aug 10 (IPS) - Dr Michelle Belisle is the Director, Education Quality and Assessment Programme at The Pacific Community (SPC).School as we all know it hasn't changed that much in over a century. However, in the face of new threats to health and wellbeing, the future of those familiar structures that bring teachers and students together is starting to be questioned.

  5. Multilateral Bank Intermediation Must Help Developing Countries’ Recovery

    SYDNEY and KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 07 (IPS) - International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva has warned that developing countries would need more than the earlier estimated US$2.5 trillion to provide relief to affected families and businesses and expedite economic recovery.

  6. Will There Also Be a Post-Journalism?

    CARACAS, Aug 06 (IPS) - Every era brings its own buzzwords or catchphrases along with it. The term du jour is ‘pandemic', namely ‘coronavirus' and ‘COVID-19'; but alongside these words, speculation and forecasts over the post-pandemic world are flourishing. There is a proliferation of pieces and commentary on what our daily lives or the economy will be like once the epidemic is under control, that is, how we will live in the aftermath of the pandemic.

  7. Biodiversity Loss Could be Making Us Sick – Here's Why

    Aug 05 (IPS) - By 2050, 70% of the world's population is expected to live in towns and cities. Urban living brings many benefits, but city dwellers worldwide are seeing a rapid increase in noncommunicable health problems, such as asthma and inflammatory bowel disease.

  8. Mental Health and COVID-19 in India

    Aug 05 (IPS) - To fully realise the mental health crisis that India faces in relation to COVID-19, one has to begin with recognising the very serious situation that existed even before the pandemic.

  9. The UN General Assembly: A 75-Year Journey Towards the Future We Want

    NEW YORK, Aug 04 (IPS) - The United Nations came into existence at a time of great despair, when the penholders of its founding document dared to imagine a better world, one that would be defined by peace and equality. Visionary world leaders chose hope over cynicism, empathy over indifference and partnership over distrust when they came together in San Francisco on 26 June 1945 to sign the Charter of the United Nations. They embarked upon a new, rules-based world order, with an Organization of unrivalled legitimacy at its core.

  10. The New Poor Post-pandemic: Time for Cushioning the Most Vulnerable in Southeast Asia

    BANGKOK, Thailand, Aug 04 (IPS) - After decades of impressive growth, for the first time, Southeast Asia is experiencing a drop in measured human development. The economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic will likely take months to reveal itself and years to put right. Yet, a legacy of mobilizing under constraints is leading Southeast Asia's pandemic response.

  11. More stories…

Economy

  1. Debt Hawks Detract from Urgently Needed Fiscal Recovery Efforts

    SYDNEY and KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 13 (IPS) - Developing country debt has continued to grow rapidly since the 2008-2009 global financial crisis (GFC). Warnings against debt have been reiterated by familiar prophets of debt doom such as new World Bank chief economist, Carmen Reinhartonce dubbed the ‘godmother of austerity'.

  2. COVID-19: Where to From Here For Efforts to Support Youth Economic Inclusion?

    JOHANNESBURG, Aug 11 (IPS) - As the world marks International Youth Day on August 12, it is difficult to ignore the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on young people - particularly on efforts towards youth economic inclusion in Africa. Meaningful and swift action is needed from African states to ensure the damage is not long-lasting.

  3. The Growing Global Movement to End Outdoor Advertising

    LONDON, Aug 11 (IPS) - "With advertisements removed in Grenoble you can see the city's beauty and the mountains beyond. Adverts create obstacles. Without them you can breathe," explains Khaled Gaiji, national mobilisation coordinator of the French anti-advertising organisation Résistance à l'Agression Publicitaire (Resistance to Advertising Aggression, or RAP). "Advertising is like an iceberg: the largest impact is below the surface. Adverts colonise our imagination."

  4. CPTPP Trade Liberalization Charade Continues

    KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia, Aug 11 (IPS) - The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement should be dead and buried after President Trump announced US withdrawal immediately after his inauguration in January 2017. After all, most major US presidential candidates in the last election, including Hillary Clinton, had opposed the TPP.

  5. COVID Crisis Challenges in People with Disabilities and Hansen’s Disease

    NEW YORK, Aug 10 (IPS) - Even during the best of times, unfortunately members of the global community who have special needs are marginalized and often treated as social outcasts. The COVID crisis which has been raging for over the better part of the year 2020 has posed additional barriers and challenges for these already disenfranchised individuals.

  6. Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going?

    STOCKHOLM / ROME, Aug 10 (IPS) - COVID-19 has become a scourge affecting all levels of human society – morals, behaviour, human interaction, economy and politics. The pandemic has wrecked havoc on our way of being and its impact will remain huge and all-encompassing. It is not only affecting our globally shared existence, it is also changing what has been called "the little life", i.e. our own way of thinking and being, our personal life situation and the one of those close to us; people we love and depend upon – our friends and family.

  7. Building Resilience in Pacific Education

    Aug 10 (IPS) - Dr Michelle Belisle is the Director, Education Quality and Assessment Programme at The Pacific Community (SPC).School as we all know it hasn't changed that much in over a century. However, in the face of new threats to health and wellbeing, the future of those familiar structures that bring teachers and students together is starting to be questioned.

  8. Warming Temperatures & Decades of Oil Spills Cause Irreversible Damage to the Persian Gulf

    JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia, Aug 10 (IPS) - Rabiya Jaffery is a freelance journalist covering climate change, migration, and human rights in the Middle East and South Asia. She is currently a reporting fellow for Norvergence, an international climate communications NGO.The Persian Gulf is one of the most strategic waterways in the world and is also one of the most polluted.

    According to estimates by experts, pollution levels in the Persian Gulf are 47 times higher than the world's average and are steadily increasing.

  9. ​As Latin America Looks to a COVID Recovery, It Will Need to Tackle its Growing Middle-Class Angst

    Aug 07 (IPS) - While COVID-19 continues to wreak havoc across Latin America, its governments are developing policies which they hope will provide for a rapid economic recovery when the pandemic wanes.

  10. Multilateral Bank Intermediation Must Help Developing Countries’ Recovery

    SYDNEY and KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 07 (IPS) - International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva has warned that developing countries would need more than the earlier estimated US$2.5 trillion to provide relief to affected families and businesses and expedite economic recovery.

  11. More stories…

Climate

  1. Crisis Management 101: Treating the Climate Crisis Like a Pandemic

    SEOUL, Aug 12 (IPS) - Yujin Kim is a member of Youth 4 Climate Action Korea, a movement of youth activists fighting for a safe future for allOn 23 February 2020, the South Korean government raised the national Crisis Alert Level to the highest tier in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Since then, we have witnessed what our society is capable of when faced with a crisis.

  2. Understanding the Benefits of local Wetland Encourages Eswatini Community to Save it

    LAWUBA, Eswatini, Aug 10 (IPS) - Sibonisiwe Hlanze, from Lawuba in Eswatini's Shiselweni Region, lights up as she shows off her sleeping mat which she made from what she described as "the highest quality indigenous fibre".

  3. Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going?

    STOCKHOLM / ROME, Aug 10 (IPS) - COVID-19 has become a scourge affecting all levels of human society – morals, behaviour, human interaction, economy and politics. The pandemic has wrecked havoc on our way of being and its impact will remain huge and all-encompassing. It is not only affecting our globally shared existence, it is also changing what has been called "the little life", i.e. our own way of thinking and being, our personal life situation and the one of those close to us; people we love and depend upon – our friends and family.

  4. Warming Temperatures & Decades of Oil Spills Cause Irreversible Damage to the Persian Gulf

    JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia, Aug 10 (IPS) - Rabiya Jaffery is a freelance journalist covering climate change, migration, and human rights in the Middle East and South Asia. She is currently a reporting fellow for Norvergence, an international climate communications NGO.The Persian Gulf is one of the most strategic waterways in the world and is also one of the most polluted.

    According to estimates by experts, pollution levels in the Persian Gulf are 47 times higher than the world's average and are steadily increasing.

  5. Biodiversity Loss Could be Making Us Sick – Here's Why

    Aug 05 (IPS) - By 2050, 70% of the world's population is expected to live in towns and cities. Urban living brings many benefits, but city dwellers worldwide are seeing a rapid increase in noncommunicable health problems, such as asthma and inflammatory bowel disease.

  6. Bangladesh Deals with Triple Disasters of Flooding, Coronavirus and Lost Livelihoods

    DHAKA, Aug 05 (IPS) - With nearly 5.5 million people people across Bangladesh affected by severe flooding -- the worst in two decades -- humanitarian experts are concerned that millions of people, already badly impacted by COVID-19, will be pushed further into poverty.

  7. Clean Cooking Transition: Pathways as Seen by Kenyan Villagers

    AMSTERDAM, Aug 04 (IPS) - The Sustainable Development goals on energy speak clear: universal access energy and clean cooking by 2030 (SDG7). But the current efforts are still lagging several steps behind the specific needs of the communities and are not enough to achieve energy access for all, especially clean cooking solutions.

  8. Kashmir Now Hotspot of Illegal Riverbed Mining

    Aug 03 (IPS) - Going against its own orders, the government in the Indian Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir has ordered the fast-tracking of environmental clearances despite manifest evidence of illegal sand mining.

  9. The COVID-19 Plastic Pandemic

    KATHMANDU, Aug 03 (IPS) - The coronavirus pandemic was a respite for nature everywhere. The air was cleanertrekking trails were pristine, the summit of Mt Everest was desertedand worldwide carbon emission dipped by -26%.

  10. Reflections on the Charter of the United Nations on its 75th Anniversary

    NEW YORK, Jul 29 (IPS) - This year we celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Charter of the United Nations, written and signed during a period of great global change. Today, the world is again shifting beneath our feet. Yet, the Charter remains a firm foundation for our joint efforts.

  11. More stories…

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Issues In depth

Latest

Action on climate change is cheaper than inaction

Many are afraid that tackling climate change is going to be too costly. But increasingly, studies are showing action will not just be cheaper than inaction, but could actually result in economic, environmental and even health benefits, while improving sustainability.

Read “Action on climate change is cheaper than inaction” to learn more.

Climate Change and Global Warming Introduction

The climate is changing. The earth is warming up, and there is now overwhelming scientific consensus that it is happening, and human-induced. With global warming on the increase and species and their habitats on the decrease, chances for ecosystems to adapt naturally are diminishing.

Many are agreed that climate change may be one of the greatest threats facing the planet. Recent years show increasing temperatures in various regions, and/or increasing extremities in weather patterns.

This section looks at what causes climate change, what the impacts are and where scientific consensus currently is.

Read “Climate Change and Global Warming Introduction” to learn more.

COP20—Lima Climate Conference

An overview of the Climate Change Conference (also known as COP 20), held in Lima, Peru in December 2014.

While it seemed like it was a successful meeting, because developing nations were committed to drawing up their own plans for emissions reductions for the first time, a number of important issues were left undecided such as how financing would work.

This page is an overview of the Lima Climate conference.

Read “COP20—Lima Climate Conference” to learn more.

Ebola Outbreak in West Africa

An overview of the Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa that has been described by the World Health Organization as the largest, most severe and most complex outbreak in the history of the disease.

The epidemic began at the end of 2013, in Guinea. From there it spread to Liberia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria and Senegal. Many of the affected countries face enormous challenges in stopping its spread and providing care for all patients.

Thousands of people have died and many are at risk as the fatality rate from this virus is very high. As the crisis worsens, as well as the enormous health challenges involved, the social and economic consequences may set these countries back, reversing some gains a number of these countries have made in recent years.

Read “Ebola Outbreak in West Africa” to learn more.

Foreign Aid for Development Assistance

In 1970, the world’s rich countries agreed to give 0.7% of their gross national income as official international development aid, annually.

Since that time, billions have certainly been given each year, but rarely have the rich nations actually met their promised target.

For example, the US is often the largest donor in dollar terms, but ranks amongst the lowest in terms of meeting the stated 0.7% target.

Net ODA in dollars and percent of GNI

Furthermore, aid has often come with a price of its own for the developing nations. Common criticisms, for many years, of foreign aid, have included the following:

  • Aid is often wasted on conditions that the recipient must use overpriced goods and services from donor countries
  • Most aid does not actually go to the poorest who would need it the most
  • Aid amounts are dwarfed by rich country protectionism that denies market access for poor country products while rich nations use aid as a lever to open poor country markets to their products
  • Large projects or massive grand strategies often fail to help the vulnerable; money can often be embezzled away.

This article explores who has benefited most from this aid, the recipients or the donors.

Read “Foreign Aid for Development Assistance” to learn more.

Nature and Animal Conservation

Preserving species and their habitats is important for ecosystems to self-sustain themselves.

Yet, the pressures to destroy habitat for logging, illegal hunting, and other challenges are making conservation a struggle.

Read “Nature and Animal Conservation” to learn more.

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Poverty Facts and Stats

Most of humanity lives on just a few dollars a day. Whether you live in the wealthiest nations in the world or the poorest, you will see high levels of inequality.

80% of the world population lived on less than $10 a day in 2005

The poorest people will also have less access to health, education and other services. Problems of hunger, malnutrition and disease afflict the poorest in society. The poorest are also typically marginalized from society and have little representation or voice in public and political debates, making it even harder to escape poverty.

By contrast, the wealthier you are, the more likely you are to benefit from economic or political policies. The amount the world spends on military, financial bailouts and other areas that benefit the wealthy, compared to the amount spent to address the daily crisis of poverty and related problems are often staggering.

Some facts and figures on poverty presented in this page are eye-openers, to say the least.

Read “Poverty Facts and Stats” to learn more.

Global Financial Crisis

Following a period of economic boom, a financial bubble — global in scope — burst, even causing some of the world’s largest financial institutions have collapsed. With the resulting recession, many governments of the wealthiest nations in the world have resorted to extensive bail-out and rescue packages for the remaining large banks and financial institutions while imposing harsh austerity measures on themselves.

Some of the bail-outs have also led to charges of hypocrisy due to the apparent socializing of the costs while privatizing the profits. Furthermore, the institutions being rescued are typically the ones got the world into this trouble in the first place. For smaller businesses and poorer people, such options for bail out and rescue are rarely available when they find themselves in crisis.

Plummeting stock markets at one point wiped out 33% of the value of companies, $14.5 trillion. Taxpayers bailed out their banks and financial institutions with large amounts of money. US taxpayers alone have spent some $9.7 trillion in bailout packages and plans. The UK and other European countries have also spent some $2 trillion on rescues and bailout packages. More is expected. Much more.

Such numbers, made quickly available, are enough to wipe many individual’s mortgages, or clear out third world debt many times over. Even the high military spending figures are dwarfed by the bailout plans to date.

Taxpayers are paying for some of the largests costs in history

This problem could have been averted (in theory) as people had been pointing to these issues for decades. However, during boom, very few want to hear such pessimism. Does this crisis spell an end to the careless forms of banking and finance and will it herald a better economic age, or are we just doomed to keep forgetting history and repeat these mistakes in the future? Signs are not encouraging as rich nations are resisting meaningful reform…

Read “Global Financial Crisis” to learn more.

Causes of Poverty

Poverty is the state for the majority of the world’s people and nations. Why is this? Is it enough to blame poor people for their own predicament? Have they been lazy, made poor decisions, and been solely responsible for their plight? What about their governments? Have they pursued policies that actually harm successful development? Such causes of poverty and inequality are no doubt real. But deeper and more global causes of poverty are often less discussed.

Read “Causes of Poverty” to learn more.

Climate Change and Global Warming

The climate is changing. The earth is warming up, and there is now overwhelming scientific consensus that it is happening, and human-induced. With global warming on the increase and species and their habitats on the decrease, chances for ecosystems to adapt naturally are diminishing. Many are agreed that climate change may be one of the greatest threats facing the planet. Recent years show increasing temperatures in various regions, and/or increasing extremities in weather patterns.

This section explores some of the effects of climate change. It also attempts to provide insights into what governments, companies, international institutions, and other organizations are attempting to do about this issue, as well as the challenges they face. Some of the major conferences in recent years are also discussed.

Read “Climate Change and Global Warming” to learn more.

Environmental Issues

Environmental issues are also a major global issue. Humans depend on a sustainable and healthy environment, and yet we have damaged the environment in numerous ways. This section introduces other issues including biodiversity, climate change, animal and nature conservation, population, genetically modified food, sustainable development, and more.

Read “Environmental Issues” to learn more.

Racism

Racism is the belief that characteristics and abilities can be attributed to people simply on the basis of their race and that some racial groups are superior to others. Racism and discrimination have been used as powerful weapons encouraging fear or hatred of others in times of conflict and war, and even during economic downturns. This article explores racism from around the world.

Read “Racism” to learn more.

More articles

Topical

Global Financial Crisis

Following a period of economic boom, a financial bubble — global in scope — burst, even causing some of the world’s largest financial institutions have collapsed. With the resulting recession, many governments of the wealthiest nations in the world have resorted to extensive bail-out and rescue packages for the remaining large banks and financial institutions while imposing harsh austerity measures on themselves.

Some of the bail-outs have also led to charges of hypocrisy due to the apparent socializing of the costs while privatizing the profits. Furthermore, the institutions being rescued are typically the ones got the world into this trouble in the first place. For smaller businesses and poorer people, such options for bail out and rescue are rarely available when they find themselves in crisis.

Plummeting stock markets at one point wiped out 33% of the value of companies, $14.5 trillion. Taxpayers bailed out their banks and financial institutions with large amounts of money. US taxpayers alone have spent some $9.7 trillion in bailout packages and plans. The UK and other European countries have also spent some $2 trillion on rescues and bailout packages. More is expected. Much more.

Such numbers, made quickly available, are enough to wipe many individual’s mortgages, or clear out third world debt many times over. Even the high military spending figures are dwarfed by the bailout plans to date.

Taxpayers are paying for some of the largests costs in history

This problem could have been averted (in theory) as people had been pointing to these issues for decades. However, during boom, very few want to hear such pessimism. Does this crisis spell an end to the careless forms of banking and finance and will it herald a better economic age, or are we just doomed to keep forgetting history and repeat these mistakes in the future? Signs are not encouraging as rich nations are resisting meaningful reform…

Read “Global Financial Crisis” to learn more.

Climate Change and Global Warming

The climate is changing. The earth is warming up, and there is now overwhelming scientific consensus that it is happening, and human-induced. With global warming on the increase and species and their habitats on the decrease, chances for ecosystems to adapt naturally are diminishing. Many are agreed that climate change may be one of the greatest threats facing the planet. Recent years show increasing temperatures in various regions, and/or increasing extremities in weather patterns.

This section explores some of the effects of climate change. It also attempts to provide insights into what governments, companies, international institutions, and other organizations are attempting to do about this issue, as well as the challenges they face. Some of the major conferences in recent years are also discussed.

Read “Climate Change and Global Warming” to learn more.

Food and Agriculture Issues

Food and agriculture goes to the heart of our civilizations. Religions, cultures and even modern civilization have food and agriculture at their core. For an issue that goes to the heart of humanity it also has its ugly side.

This issue explores topics ranging from the global food crisis of 2008, to issues of food aid, world hunger, food dumping and wasteful agriculture such as growing tobacco, sugar, beef, and more.

Read “Food and Agriculture Issues” to learn more.

Foreign Aid for Development Assistance

In 1970, the world’s rich countries agreed to give 0.7% of their gross national income as official international development aid, annually.

Since that time, billions have certainly been given each year, but rarely have the rich nations actually met their promised target.

For example, the US is often the largest donor in dollar terms, but ranks amongst the lowest in terms of meeting the stated 0.7% target.

Net ODA in dollars and percent of GNI

Furthermore, aid has often come with a price of its own for the developing nations. Common criticisms, for many years, of foreign aid, have included the following:

  • Aid is often wasted on conditions that the recipient must use overpriced goods and services from donor countries
  • Most aid does not actually go to the poorest who would need it the most
  • Aid amounts are dwarfed by rich country protectionism that denies market access for poor country products while rich nations use aid as a lever to open poor country markets to their products
  • Large projects or massive grand strategies often fail to help the vulnerable; money can often be embezzled away.

This article explores who has benefited most from this aid, the recipients or the donors.

Read “Foreign Aid for Development Assistance” to learn more.

Tax Avoidance and Tax Havens; Undermining Democracy

Through tax havens, transfer pricing and many other policies — both legal and illegal — billions of dollars of tax are avoided. The much-needed money would helped developing (and developed) countries provide important social services for their populations.

Some tax avoidance, regardless of how morally objectionable it may be to some people, is perfectly legal, and the global super elite are able to hide away trillions of dollars, resulting in massive losses of tax revenues for cash-strapped governments who then burden ordinary citizens further with austerity measures during economic crisis, for example. Yet these super elite are often very influential in politics and business. In effect, they are able to undermine democracy and capitalism at the same time.

As the global financial crisis has affected many countries, tackling tax avoidance would help target those more likely to have contributed to the problem while avoid many unnecessary austerity measures that hit the poorest so hard. But despite rhetoric stating otherwise, it does not seem to high on the agenda of many governments as you might think.

Read “Tax Avoidance and Tax Havens; Undermining Democracy” to learn more.

World Military Spending

World military spending had reduced since the Cold War ended, but a few nations such as the US retain high level spending.

In recent years, global military expenditure has increased again and is now comparable to Cold War levels. Recent data shows global spending at over $1.7 trillion. 2012 saw the first dip in spending — only slightly —since 1998, in an otherwise rising trend.

After a decline following the end of the Cold War, recent years have seen military spending increase

The highest military spender is the US accounting for almost two-fifths of the world’s spending, more than the rest of the G7 (most economically advanced countries) combined, and more than all its potential enemies, combined.

Read “World Military Spending” to learn more.

More issues

“If a man is offered a fact which goes against his instincts, he will scrutinize it closely, and unless the evidence is overwhelming, he will refuse to believe it. If, on the other hand, he is offered something which affords a reason for acting in accordance to his instincts, he will accept it even on the slightest evidence.” — Bertrand Russell, Roads to Freedom