Briefly, the book addresses fifteen different reform proposals that are urgently needed to correct the fault lines in the international tax system as it exists today, and which deprive both developing and developed countries of critical tax resources. It offers clear and concrete ideas on how the reforms can be achieved and why they are important for a more just and equitable global system to prevail. The policy reforms outlined in this book not only advance tax justice but also protect human rights by curtailing illegal activity and making available more resources for development.
Tag: Thomas Pogge
ASAP President Thomas Pogge\’s short video on climate change and the Oslo Principles is now available below. The video uses graphics and explanations to argue that governments have a duty to avert the world\’s looming climate catastrophe. Special thanks to Hudson Brown who created the animation. More information on the Oslo Principles is available here.
Each year, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) published a State of Food Insecurity (SOFI) report. The 2015 report has just come out. In an accompanying letter, the FAO’s Coordinator for Economic and Social Development, Jomo Kwame Sundaram, summarizes its message as follows: “With the number of chronically hungry people in developing countries declining from 990.7 million in 1991 to 779.9 million in 2014, their share in developing countries has declined by 44.4 per cent, from 23.4 to 12.9 per cent over the 23 years, but still short of the 11.7 per cent target.” We may not quite achieve the halving of chronic undernourishment envisaged in the first Millennium Development Goal (MDG-1), but we will get quite close.
Two cross-cutting debates about development are preoccupying officials, academics and civil society groups in the middle of this decade. One concerns the evaluation of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), due to expire at the end of 2015. Some describe them as the most successful poverty eradication effort ever, others as a fraud or abysmal failure. The other debate is about the formulation of the MDGs’ successors, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), to be adopted by the UN General Assembly in September 2015 and meant to guide development efforts until 2030. What goals, targets and indicators should be included in the final document? Who should be involved in the drafting process and how?
ASAP President Thomas Pogge was featured in the WFUNA journal ACRONYM in a special issue titled Peaceful Societies: An Essential Element of Sustainable Development. Pogge\’s article focused on small-scale violence, including domestic violence and abuse in the workplace, which is a consistent presence in the lives of many poor people.
\”Small-scale violence and the continual threat thereof—just like the large-scale violence of wars, civil wars and local insurrections—is a terrible burden upon the poor and a grave impediment to efforts to improve their lives,\” Pogge writes.
His article draws on his recent investigation of how poor people conceive of poverty, a years-long study during which he, Scott Wisor, Sharon Bessell, and other collaborators developed the Individual Deprivation Measure.
In ACRONYM, Pogge argues that the violence and corruption that endanger the wellbeing of poor people are largely driven by forces outside the control of developing country governments, such as the arms trade, the control and sale of natural resources by repressive governments, and illicit financial flows.
\”A hugely important impediment to development, violence deserves a prominent place in the SDGs. But we must attack its root causes in systemic features of our global order, which only the more powerful countries can reform.\”
You can read Peaceful Societies online now. Pogge\’s article begins on page 32.
ASAP President Thomas Pogge is one of several authors of the Individual Deprivation Measure (IDM), a new, gender-sensitive poverty metric. The IDM was designed to avoid gender biases built into other poverty measures and to define poverty according to the values and experiences of poor people. Pogge and fellow author Allison Jaggar argue that the IDM should quickly be incorporated into development practice.
Pogge and Jaggar first began imagining a new poverty metric when they discovered that the statistics used to demonstrate the feminization of poverty were not truly convincing and may reflect cultural and gender biases. They set out to design a non-arbitrary metric for poverty that could capture its gendered dimensions.
Scott Wisor, Sharon Bessell, Fatima Castillo, Joanne Crawford, Kieran Donaghue, Janet Hunt, and Amy Liu led the project alongside Jaggar and Pogge. They initiated research in Angola, Fiji, Indonesia, Malawi, Mozambique, and the Philippines, interviewing poor men and women about what defines poverty for them and what escaping poverty would entail.
The people consulted lived in rural and urban communities, and were of different ages, ethnic groups, and religions. Based on these consultations, the researchers were able to develop the IDM, which is a survey-based tool that measures deprivation in 15 dimensions of life: food, water, shelter, sanitation health care, education, energy/cooking fuel, family relationships, clothing/personal care, violence, family planning, the environment, voice in the community, time-use, and respect and freedom from risk at work.
According to the report, administering the survey is easy and less costly than other commonly used poverty metrics. It is appropriate for use by governments, development agencies, NGOs, and communities. The IDM was piloted in the Philippines, where it was shown to yield significantly different results than the UN\’s Multidimensional Poverty Index. The team is exploring other piloting opportunities, for example in Fiji and Costa Rica, and is planning to develop a new technology that will make it easier to record, upload and store survey data. The IDM has also been adapted for use in Israel, where the results it produced have caused a lively media debate.
Despite some clear positives, the draft text of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) does not fulfill its self-proclaimed purpose of inspiring and guiding a concerted international effort to eradicate severe poverty everywhere in all its forms. We offer some critical comments on the proposed agreement and suggest eight ways to embolden the goals and amplify their appeal and moral power.
Concerns over extreme poverty and inequality have led to a number of proposals for the reform of global taxation policy. Such proposals are enjoying serious analysis and, in some cases, implementation. While issues concerning national taxation have long concerned philosophers — invoking core questions about the legitimacy of governments and their appropriate functions as well as about the nature of freedom, coercion, and property rights — issues of global taxation and international tax fairness have not received anything like the same attention. Through a special issue of the journal Moral Philosophy and Politics, co-editors Gillian Brock, Professor of Philosophy at the University of Auckland, and Thomas Pogge, ASAP President and Leitner Professor of Philosophy and International Affairs at Yale, aim to remedy such neglect, stimulating further interest especially among moral and political philosophers who we hope will be motivated to turn their attention to many of the important normative questions that deserve more sustained analysis.
An audience of nearly 500 joined the conversation with political theorists and philosophers, development scholars, journalists, physical scientists and NGO practitioners at the launch conference for Nyaya: The Global Justice Programme at the University of Delhi.
The conference, \”Global Justice and the Global South,\” featured more than 40 presentations by researchers from around the world, including South Africa, Mexico, the United States, Canada, the UK, Germany and China. About half of those presenting were Indian academics, from the Delhi area and universities around the country.
The conference was organized by Academics Stand Against Poverty global Board of Directors Member Ashok Acharya, with assistance from ASAP President Thomas Pogge and Board Member Luis Cabrera, as well as a large team of Delhi University volunteers.
\”We couldn’t have expected more from this conference,\” Acharya said. \”It certainly has brought issues surrounding global justice to the centre of academic dialogue in India. This augurs well for the Nyaya initiative at the University of Delhi and the future of research and advocacy on global justice in India. Everyone who attended this conference has remarked that both in terms of the quality of scholarship and the diversity of issues covered, the deliberations were extraordinary and inspiring.\”
The conference also served as an important learning experience for participants from outside South Asia, Cabrera said.
\”Many participants had never visited India before, and the early feedback indicates that they have come away with a much better understanding not only of the daily challenges so many people face in large South cities such as Delhi, but also what a rich tradition of social justice theorizing and research there is in India,\” he said. \”Hopefully we’ve started a fruitful, ongoing exchange amongst justice theorists and researchers in many countries.\”
Keynote speakers at the opening session, April 25, included Pogge, who at his opening session offered recent figures on global poverty and shared new data for his argument that large poverty reductions publicized by the Millennium Development Goals campaign are mostly sleight of hand, achieved through changing methods of counting the poor in mid-stream.
Delhi University Vice Chancellor Dinesh Singh then shared insights from his own study of Indian figures such as former Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and Mahatma Gandhi. He cautioned the audience to conceptualize global justice carefully, and proposed that they approach international moral issues from a standpoint firmly rooted in the local.
Journalist P. Sainath, author of the influential book Everybody Loves a Good Drought: Stories from India’s Poorest Districts, then offered a rousing, impassioned critique of political and economic trends in the country. He drew links between the liberalizing, freer-trade economic policies India has followed since the early 1990s and increasing inequality, farmer suicides and access to basic resources.
On Day 2, globally prominent biotechnologist V. Sitaramam, retired of the University of Pune, offered detailed empirical evidence challenging rigid poverty lines and arguing for a more nuanced view of poverty that takes multiple variables into account. Prof. Brooke Ackerly of Vanderbilt University delivered the closing keynote on Day 3. She shared recent field work in Bangladesh and argued for a conception of human rights focused not on distribution of goods but on a relational approach. Until the rights of all persons are secured, Ackerly argued, none are.
The conference was supported by a grant from the British Council’s UKIERI programme and by the School of Open Learning at the University of Delhi. A number of conference participants will be contributing instructional videos for classroom use at the School of Open Learning, which serves students mostly from deprived backgrounds.
Future conferences and collaborations are in the planning stages. For details on those or other ways to contribute to the developing Nyaya Global Justice Programme, please contact Dr. Ashok Acharya at email@example.com.