economy

Ecuador: Democracy on display as Amazon oil debate to go to vote

Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa’s decision to drill for oil in the ITT block of Yasuni National Park looks set to be reviewed at a referendum. Environmental groups delivered hundreds of thousands of signatures to the National Electoral Commission on 11–12 April petitioning against the decision.

United for Yasuni (Yasunidos) collected 856,704 signatures. Kichwa indigenous federation Ecuarunari delivered more than 200,000 and Amazon Total Defence Front (FDTA) provided 584,008.

Venezuela: Chavistas debate pace of change

The violent anti-government protests that shook Venezuela in February have again thrust the issue of the pace of change into the broader debate over socialist transformation.

Radical Chavistas, reflecting the zeal of the movement’s rank and file, call for a deepening of the “revolutionary process”. Moderate Chavistas favour concessions to avoid an escalation of the violence.

Australian-pushed 'free trade' screws Pacific Islands

Despite its secrecy and lack of appropriate media coverage, many people have heard about the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the huge free trade agreement being negotiated by some of the biggest economies on the Pacific rim.

Some of it details have been leaked by WikiLeaks, exposing the behind-closed-doors machinations of governments and large corporations.

But very few people have heard about PACER-Plus, a free trade agreement that will include the small island states at the heart of the Pacific.

Inside China's economic miracle

China’s Rise: Strength & Fragility
By Au Loong Yu
Resistance Books, IIRE
Merlin Press, 2012
316 pages

The transformation of the Chinese economy a 20-fold rise in the size of the economy between 1979 and 2010 and huge development of private enterprise has been one of the most significant and remarkable phenomena in recent history.

However, neither the Western media and academia, nor the Chinese regime itself, provide much credible analysis on what is involved in this transformation.

Italy: New gov't gives fresh face to austerity

Italy’s new centre-left Prime Minister Matteo Renzi has proclaimed his intention to end corruption and economic woe. But there are doubts as to whether his government's actions will benefit the country's working people.

At 39, Renzi, a member of Italy’s Democratic Party, is the youngest PM in Italy's history. His youth and optimistic rhetoric have earned him the title of “Italy’s Obama”.

Unemployment as bad as during financial crisis

The preparations for the federal budget, due to be handed down by Treasurer Joe Hockey on May 13, began on October 22 last year. This is the date on which Hockey announced a National Commission of Audit.

The commission is chaired by Tony Shepherd, who just happens to be the President of the Business Council of Australia, the organisation representing Australia’s 100 largest companies. Shepherd’s appointment amounts to an invitation to big business to tell the government how it wants the economy to function in its favour during the Coalition’s term of office.

Greens winners as Labor, Liberals slump in WA poll

The Western Australia senate election re-run has resulted in a big drop in support for the major parties and significant swings to the Greens and the Palmer United Party (PUP).

Greens, PUP and Labor have won one seat each while the Liberals have won two seats. The final seat will be decided by preferences and is expected to go to either Liberal or Labor.

Tax office offers amnesty to tax cheats

The Australian Tax Office (ATO) said it is taking part in a “global crackdown” on tax cheats. The project is aimed at recovering billions in tax revenue held in bank accounts in offshore tax havens.

It is part of what is said to be a "global war" against tax evasion following recent work by the OECD and G20 finance ministers on automatic exchanges of tax information.

In an address to the Tax Institute on March 29, tax commissioner Chris Jordan set out the terms of Australia’s involvement with a tax office disclosure initiative called Project DO IT.

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Millions-strong March for Dignity shakes Spain

All political forces in Spain are now straining to adjust to the huge 1 million to 2 million-strong March for Dignity demonstration in Madrid. On March 22, the march greeted the protest columns that had converged on Spain's capital from 12 outlying cities and towns over the previous week.

The enormous success of this initiative is still sinking in. How come an initiative that began outside the mainstream union confederations, the Workers Commissions (CCOO) and the General Workers Union (UGT), could mobilise so many people and eventually force them to declare their support?

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