Archive for the tag “poverty”

Dunu Roy: A Subaltern View of Climate Change

Dunu Roy, EPW

(Note: In the context of the ongoing debate on climate change and the policies that nation states need to adopt to limit the accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, the author poses a relevant question: instead of asking what would happen to the world if everyone were to consume energy at the level of the rich “developed” American, we can now enquire why everyone is not consuming at the level of the above-poor “developing” Indian? He also suggests that the way the poor adapt, migrate and progress provides not just a sustainable approach to climate change but also one that addresses resource use.)

Climate change takes place when the carbon cycle is disturbed. One can address this imbalance either by using more effi cient technologies, or by changing the exploitative nature of development. A worldwide analysis shows that it is possible to achieve quality of life indicators at low levels of energy consumption.

India’s per capita emissions are three times lower than the world average, but what reduces India’s average is the very low energy use of the bottom seven deciles of the population. Therefore, theoretically, global climate change would be mitigated if everyone on the planet adapted to consume energy at the level of the working Indian.

Microstudies from Delhi, Visakhapatnam, Jaipur, Allahabad and Kolkata illustrate that at a practical level the poor are demonstrating the “best practice” for mitigating and adapting to climate change. And if resource restoration by the poor through their labour is taken into account, then the difference would be even higher.

Download PDF of article:  A Subaltern View of Climate Change

Growth and Inequality in a Carbon-Constrained World

Incrementum ad Absurdum:
Growth and Inequality in a Carbon-Constrained World

David Woodward

The paper seeks to assess the timeframe for eradication of poverty, defined by poverty lines of $1.25 and $5 per person per day at 2005 purchasing power parity, if pre-crisis (1993-2008) patterns of income growth were maintained indefinitely, taking account of the differential performance of China. On the basis of optimistic assumptions, and implicitly assuming an indefinite continuation of potentially important pro-poor shifts in development policies during the baseline period, it finds that eradication will take at least 100 years at $1.25-a-day, and 200 years at $5-a-day. While this could in principle be brought forward by accelerating global growth, global carbon constraints raise serious doubts about the viability of this course, particularly as global GDP would need to exceed $100,000 per capita at $1.25-a-day, and $1m per capita at $5-a-day. The clear implication is that poverty eradication, even at $1.25-a-day, and especially at a poverty line which better reflects the satisfaction of basic needs, can be reconciled with global carbon constraints only by a major increase in the share of the poorest in global economic growth, far beyond what can realistically be achieved by existing instruments of development policy – that is, by effective measures to reduce global inequality.

Download PDF

Oxfam Report on Extreme Inequality


*In 2014 the richest 85 people on the planet owned as much as the poorest half of humanity.
*The net worth of India’s billionaires is enough to eliminate absolute poverty in the country twice over.
*A few Indians have enough money for several lifetimes while millions struggle for 1 sq meal/day

Even It Up: Its Time To End Extreme Inequality
Click here to download the report

Today, global outrage against this has become raucous—the Occupy movements, Arab Spring, street protests by millions of Brazilians demanding increased spending on basic entitlements reflect the anger. This narrative of obscene inequality based on injustice and denial of basic rights calls for urgent action if we want to live socially-just, inclusive and equal world.

Since the global financial crisis the number of billionaires has doubled. A tax, of just 1.5 percent, on their wealth in that period could have raised enough money to save 23 million lives in the poorest countries.

Oxfam’s latest research has found that if India stopped inequality from rising, they could lift 90 million more people out of extreme poverty by 2019.

Inequality is not inevitable; it is the result of deliberate political and economic choices. Market fundamentalism and the capture of power by elites are two powerful drivers of inequality that go a long way to explaining the extremes we see today.

Recent mass demonstrations from Chile and Brazil to Iceland and Hungary have shown that people around the world are unwilling to stand for unfair tax systems and a lack of quality services. People are concerned that their governments are acting not in their interests, but on behalf of national and international elites. Governments must be forced to listen to the people not the plutocrats. This is why Oxfam is joining a growing movement campaigning for an end to extreme inequality, and asking decision-makers everywhere what they will do to make this a reality.

Unequal numbers

  • The top 1% globally controls 46% of the world’s wealth.

  • Seven out of 10 people live in countries where the gap between rich and poor is greater than it was 30 years ago.

  • The richest 85 people on the planet own as much as the poorest half of humanity.

  • These 85 people grew $688m richer each day in 2013-14.

Did you know?

  • In India, billionaires increased from two in the 1990s to 65 in 2014.

  • Net worth of India’s billionaires is enough to eliminate absolute poverty in the country, twice over.

  • More than half of the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in India is channelled through tax havens.

  • The Indian government spends almost twice as much on its military as on health.

  • Money that can be invested to tackle inequality is diverted by tax breaks & public-private partnerships.

  • If India stops inequality from rising, it can end extreme poverty for 90 million people in just five years.

The India solution

  • If India stops its rising inequality, we can rescue 90 million people from extreme poverty by 2019.

  • Reducing inequality by 36 percent reduction can eliminate extreme poverty and save another 83 million people.

What our government can do

  • Prioritise policies that redistribute money and power.

  • Reject market fundamentalism and oppose the special interests of powerful elite.

  • Provide living wages and decent working conditions.

  • Protect the rights of workers and give them a say in decision-making.

  • Ensure fair taxation, so those most able to pay contribute more.

  • Provide free public services such as health and education to help tackle inequality.

  • Universal child benefits, old-age pensions, unemployment protection etc have an equalising effect.

  • Economic policies must tackle economic and gender inequality together.

    To read more and to download the report, click here.

Post Navigation