What’s New July 2005

This page lists changes to this site for July 2005.

See below for other updates and to get notified of changes to the site.

The G8 Summit in July 2005 looks to be historic because of promised debt relief for some poor countries in Africa as well as action on climate change. But behind the media and government spin, is this really the case? The proposed $40 billion debt write-off does not look as historic as described, as it is attached with many harsh economic conditions that have contributed to much of the poverty and debt woes these countries already face. In addition, only a few countries get this write-off, and in return, they will get as much reduced from future aid. The $40 billion is to be spread over 40 years, which means it is worth about $17 billion in net present value. Climate change is also under discussion, but leaked drafts have revealed an extremely watered down text that suggests limited or no responsibility on rich countries to take leadership, and even questions the science of climate change. The Live 8 concerts, some of its criticisms as well as successes, the media coverage, and more, are also discussed. A new page had been added to explore some of these issues. But this page grew rapidly and so has already been split into a number of smaller pages. The link here is to the first page in the collection.

Industrial monoculture agriculture reduces ecological and food diversity while actually being less productive than smaller scale farming. Climate change impacts will further reduce the resilience of crops, thus potentially affecting food security and further increasing dependency on a few wealthy companies and countries, which can come at an economic, political and social cost (e.g. lost jobs, and more hunger). Famine has also been used as a commercial opportunity in recent times, with an example of Malawi being added here, whereby the IMF required the Malawi government to sell its surplus grain in favor of foreign exchange just before a famine struck. Subsequent relief from some wealthy countries was given on condition that only genetically modified food be purchased from them. Added updates in these areas of climate change impacts and the Malawi case.

It is quite well known that a lot of large companies and some countries have been against tackling climate change and global warming due to economic fears (that is, impacts to profit). However, recently a number of large companies have urged world leaders to tackle climate change as some are beginning to feel the impact already. Others have invested in renewables and believe real emission reductions are possible. Updates have been added to the page on climate change actions and reactions.

Tax shelters, typically used by the mega rich and many big corporations, could be costing the US Treasury tens of billions of dollars per year. Aggressive marketing of tax avoidance products by accounting, law, and tax investment firms makes this a lucrative industry.

That is, the total wealth of the top 8.3 million people around the world rose 8.2 percent to $30.8 trillion in 2004, giving them control of nearly a quarter of the world’s financial assets. This additional fact was added to the poverty facts and statistics page

This web site has continued to grow. From July 2004 to now, there were over 6.5 million page views to the site (a few weeks of logs were corrupted so hard to be more precise). During peak periods of the year, the site was getting, on average, some 30-40,000 page views per day. The site continues to grow and be developed without any additional sponsorship, advertising, or funding (other than what comes out of my pocket). I am quite surprised that given I have had even less time this year to spend on the site, that it has continued to grow like this. Thank you so much for your continued support and please do tell your friends and colleagues about the global issues web site if you find it useful.

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