economy

On being sworn into power on January 15, 2007, Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa said: “Latin America is not living through an era of change, it is living through a genuine change of eras.”

His enthusiasm was shared by many, and with good reason: after years of intense social struggles against right-wing neoliberal governments, new left forces were winning elections across the region.


Caracas, September 7.

Thousands of Venezuelans took to the streets of Caracas and other major cities across the country on September 7, calling for peace in their country and rejecting right-wing opposition plans to destabilise the government of President Nicolas Maduro.

The march was called by the ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) and joined by civil society groups and grassroots movements.

Parliament resumed on August 30 and the government's agenda was simple: delay marriage equality; justify the double dissolution; and argue the case for a renewed assault on living standards — I mean: “budget repair”.

The “budget repair” project was contained in a centrepiece “omnibus” bill that combines 24 measures from this year's budget that have not yet passed the Senate. It is an attack on students, welfare recipients, ordinary workers and the environment.

The responsibility of governments to help with the costs of child-rearing has been a part of Australian social policy since the early 1920s, when the first widows’ pension (1926) and child endowment (1927) schemes were introduced.

Australia has recognised this principle since the Harvester judgment of 1907, which raised the issue of how much income was appropriate for a family with child-rearing responsibilities. For most of the 20th century, this was recognised in taxation policy, as well as in income support policies.

More than 2 million Bolivians have been lifted out of extreme poverty in the past decade since President Evo Morales's government came to power. Bolivia's economy is on course to grow by 5% this year, placing it among the top performers in Latin America. It is one sign of Bolivia's rapid economic transformation. Another indicator is falling poverty rates. When Morales took office in 2006, the rate of extreme poverty was 38.2%. This year, the figure is 16.8%.
Tens of millions of public sector workers in India went on strike to protest Prime Minister Narendra Modi's push for privatisation and other right-wing economic policies. “This strike is against the central government, this strike is for the cause of the working people,” Ramen Pandey of the Indian National Trade Union Congress told Al Jazeera.
Last month I read an article that first appeared in the Huffington Post titled "X Marks the Spot Where Inequality Took Root: Dig Here". It explains how real wages in the US shadowed growth in productivity in the years after World War II. But in the mid-1970s wages growth completely stalled. If wages had continued to shadow productivity growth they would now be double what they are today. This explains a lot about contemporary US society: all the gains of increased productivity have been absorbed by the rich.
Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz has reiterated his opposition to the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), saying on August 23 that United States President Barack Obama’s push to get the trade deal passed during the upcoming lame-duck session of Congress is “outrageous” and “absolutely wrong”. The TPP is a huge proposed trade deal involving 12 Pacific Rim nations, including Australia. It encompasses 40% of the world’s GDP. It was negotiated in secret, but draft chapters published by WikiLeaks confirmed anti-TPP campaigners’ worst fears of a huge power grab by corporations.
Residents of the favela of Horto protest against the imminent demolition of their community. “I am absolutely convinced that history will talk of the Rio de Janeiro before the Games and the much better Rio de Janeiro after the Olympic Games,” said Thomas Bach, president of the International Olympic Committee.
One of the less prominent aspects of Malcolm Turnbull's federal budget is the plan to shift another 30,000 Disability Support Pension (DSP) recipients onto Newstart umemployment benefits. This move has been defended as a cost-saving measure to help fund the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). It follows the tightened of the eligibility criteria for DSP that occurred in 2011 under a federal Labor government. Since then, the number of DSP recipients has flatlined at around 800,000.

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