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Weekly wire: The global forum

Darejani Markozashvili's picture
These are some of the views and reports relevant to our readers that caught our attention this week.

2017 edition of Attacks on the Press
Committee to Protect Journalists
Despite the promise of new information technologies, governments, non-state actors, and corporations worldwide are censoring vast amounts of information using complex and sophisticated tactics. The 2017 edition of Attacks on the Press, published today [Tuesday] by The Committee to Protect Journalists, chronicles singular methods of controlling the flow of information, including financial pressure on journalists and news outlets, exploitation of legal loopholes to avoid disclosure, and wielding copyright laws and social media bots to curb criticism.

How Better Governance Can Help Rebuild Public Trust
OECD Public Governance Reviews
Trust plays a very tangible role in the effectiveness of government. Few perceptions are more palpable than that of trust or its absence. Governments ignore this at their peril. Yet, public trust has been eroding just when policy makers need it most, given persistent unemployment, rising inequality and a variety of global pressures. This report examines the influence of trust on policy making and explores some of the steps governments can take to strengthen public trust.

The solution to (nearly) everything: working less
Rutger Bregman, The Guardian
Had you asked John Maynard Keynes what the biggest challenge of the 21st century would be, he wouldn’t have had to think twice. Leisure. In fact, Keynes anticipated that, barring “disastrous mistakes” by policymakers (austerity during an economic crisis, for instance), the western standard of living would multiply to at least four times that of 1930 within a century. By his calculations, in 2030 we’d be working just 15 hours a week. In 2000, countries such as the UK and the US were already five times as wealthy as in 1930. Yet as we hurtle through the first decades of the 21st century, our biggest challenges are not too much leisure and boredom, but stress and uncertainty. What does working less actually solve, I was asked recently. I’d rather turn the question around: is there anything that working less does not solve?

Defending Digital Globalization
Foreign Affairs
Over the last 25 years, the Internet has become a conduit for trillions of dollars in commerce, transforming industries, national economies, and the nature of globalization itself. Today, as global trade in goods and services has plateaued and global financial flows have declined dramatically, cross-border data flows are exploding in volume. Data flows in and out of the United States alone are estimated at 80 terabytes per minute—eight times the size of the entire print content of the Library of Congress. Since 2005, they have increased by a factor of 80, from just 5 terabits per second to an estimated 400 per second. International data flows take many forms. Individuals generate them through e-mails, Skype calls, e-commerce transactions, social media posts, and Internet searches, as well as through the consumption of digital goods from around the world. By 2020, consumers are expected to spend $1 trillion on cross-border e-commerce. But these flows are more than just consumer transactions and social media posts. They are an integral part of the way companies now operate.

Power and inequality in the global political economy
Chatham House
Inequality in all its forms is the defining global problem and increasingly the defining political problem of our age. A monumental body of scholarly research seeks to understand the drivers behind the vast and accelerating patterns of socioeconomic inequality in the global political economy. This article, an adapted version of the 2016 Martin Wight Memorial Lecture, contributes to this effort by focusing on a dimension of the picture which has received surprisingly little attention, namely, the implications for socio-economic inequality of the particular form of industrial organization that has come to underpin the contemporary global economy—one organized around global value chains and global production networks. It proposes an approach which sees inequality as arising at the intersections of three dimensions of asymmetry—asymmetries of market power, asymmetries of social power and asymmetries of political power—which underpin and crystallize around global value chains. It explores these dynamics in the particular arena of labour and labour exploitation in global value chains, as a means of shedding a valuable wide-angle beam on the big questions of power and inequality in the contemporary global political economy.

UNDP's Strategy for Inclusive and Sustainable Growth
This UNDP strategy on inclusive and sustainable growth presents the organization’s offer of services to support programme countries as they formulate and implement national plans for achieving inclusive and sustainable growth and full and productive employment. Four broad priorities have been identified as critical for enabling countries to achieve this goal:

  • Integrated planning for inclusive and sustainable growth

  • Supporting employment creation, decent work and redistributive programmes to address poverty, inequality and exclusion

  • Managing risks of globalization and building economic resilience

  • Mobilizing and scaling up financing for enabling transition to inclusive and sustainable growth

Photo credit: Flickr user fdecomit

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