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Integrating Fiscal and Finance Issues into a Transformative Post-2015 Development Agenda

Rick Rowden’s essay “Integrating Fiscal and Finance Issues into a Transformative Post-2015 Development Agenda” describes ways civil society groups and social movements are linking up to advocate for more just and stable financial systems. Rowden describes what he considers the two most important problems these groups have identified with the previous MDG’s: (1) they neglected the importance of finance in development; and (2) the role of nation-states in regulating finance is downplayed. These problems are due largely to the desire for free markets. Since the 2008 crisis, there has been an increase in civic activism calling for a state that is more inclusive, participatory, democratic, accountable, and responsive as well as getting better at regulating finance. Rowden argues that a stronger state is needed in the post-2015 MDG’s in order to effectively regulate financial issues.

Rowden lists numerous proposals that have been made by these groups, which involve various increases in regulations, breaking apart “too big to fail” banks, rethinking the “export led” model, and giving greater “policy space” to developing countries. Rowden argues that the post-2015 MDG’s should be informed by the work of UNCTAD to overhaul the system, as UNCTAD has been ahead of the curve on the political nature of global finance, calls for the use of strong “developmental state,” and was the first to call for orderly workouts of sovereign debt. Most of these proposals are now being supported by BRICS nations and to an extent the IMF is even coming around. Such proposals, however, are mostly opposed by the biggest donor nations. Rowden also argues that the post-2015 should be more informed by the voices of developing countries for the sake of improving food security and also include the NAMA 11 group to help prevent cuts to trade protections.

Rowden’s essay then goes into greater detail with respect to various policy issues. On FDI, Rowden points out that not only is it clear that certain types of FDI can be destructive to the environment, human rights, etc. while stronger regulation of finance and FDI can promote the success of domestic industries. Lack of financial regulation, Rowden argues, keeps developing countries locked into dead-end primary commodities and extractive industries and also will draw needed investment away from creating jobs and productive investments and into the global casino. Reforms must not only go further than those in Basel III, the Liikanen Report, etc. while focusing on economic and social rights, but the reforms must also avoid promoting austerity measures which have failed to protect such rights and failed to achieve their stated aims, as even the IMF is beginning to agree. New reforms must not only focus on creating regulatory frameworks, but he also argues that they must work to protect food security by cutting down on speculation and they should also focus on raising wages as that has been proven to help stimulate domestic growth.

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August 2017
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