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Showing posts for "Economic Growth"

This Week in Markets and Democracy: Protectionism Rises, Mexico Anticorruption Bill Delayed, How Corruption Affects Business

by Shannon K. O'Neil
Protesters demonstrate against Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) free trade agreement ahead of U.S. President Barack Obama's visit in Hannover, Germany April 23, 2016 (Reuters/Kai Pfaffenbach). Protesters demonstrate against Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) free trade agreement ahead of U.S. President Barack Obama's visit in Hannover, Germany April 23, 2016 (Reuters/Kai Pfaffenbach).

Protectionism by the Numbers
It is not just anti-trade rhetoric spreading on both sides of the Atlantic; it is also policies. The Global Trade Alert, an online index that monitors trade policy, reports a rapid rise in protectionist measures worldwide since 2008. The database documents over 5,000 new barriers to trade, including import quotas, stricter rules for migrant workers, and local content requirements. The United States leads this turn toward protectionism, creating more than eighty new rules in the last year alone. These measures are one of the main causes slowing global trade.

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This Week in Markets and Democracy: Rana Plaza Anniversary, Press Freedom Declines, Haiti Election Troubles

by Shannon K. O'Neil
A relative holds up a picture of a garment worker in front of the rubble of the collapsed Rana Plaza building (Reuters/Andrew Biraj). A relative holds up a picture of a garment worker in front of the rubble of the collapsed Rana Plaza building (Reuters/Andrew Biraj).

Labor Standards Three Years After Rana Plaza
Three years after Bangladesh’s Rana Plaza garment factory collapse killed or injured over 3,000 people, labor rights remain tenuous. In the wake of the disaster apparel brands, suppliers, and the Bangladeshi government created the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety, a partnership to improve conditions by setting standards and increasing inspections. The Alliance has worked with factories to build emergency exits, install fire hydrants, and rewire electrical systems. It has also blacklisted the worst offenders. Yet it only encompasses those operating under formal contracts. Over half of the nation’s 7,000 factories work in the informal economy. Here, the Bangladeshi government doesn’t enforce Alliance standards, leaving these workers vulnerable.

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Five Questions on Sustainable Investing With Morgan Stanley’s Audrey Choi

by Guest Blogger for Shannon K. O'Neil
A man fills a glass with water from a spring in Chiffa in Medea Governorate, Algeria (Reuters/Ramzi Boudina). A man fills a glass with water from a spring in Chiffa in Medea Governorate, Algeria (Reuters/Ramzi Boudina).

This post features a conversation with Audrey Choi, chief executive officer of Morgan Stanley’s Institute for Sustainable Investing and managing director of its Global Sustainable Finance Group. Choi talks about the evolving $20 trillion sector, including important U.S. policy changes and her thoughts on where sustainable investing is headed. Read more »

CSMD Spring Break Reading List

by Shannon K. O'Neil
People walk on the rock at the Trou aux Biches beach on the Indian Ocean island Mauritius (Reuters/Jacky Naegelen). People walk on the rock at the Trou aux Biches beach on the Indian Ocean island Mauritius (Reuters/Jacky Naegelen).

As Civil Society, Markets, and Democracy (CSMD) heads into spring break, here is what we will be reading.

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Tackling Climate Change Through Agriculture

by Guest Blogger for Shannon K. O'Neil
A farmer burns a paddy field in Thailand's Nakhonsawan province, north of Bangkok, Thailand, August 14, 2015 (Reuters/Chaiwat Subprasom). A farmer burns a paddy field in Thailand's Nakhonsawan province, north of Bangkok, Thailand, August 14, 2015 (Reuters/Chaiwat Subprasom).

Emerging Voices highlights new research, thinking, and approaches to development challenges from contributing scholars and practitioners. This post is from Dr. D. Michael Shafer, president and founder of Warm Heart Worldwide and professor emeritus of political science at Rutgers University. Warm Heart is a community-based development organization dedicated to building socially- and economically-sustainable communities in rural areas of northern Thailand.

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This Week in Markets and Democracy: Brazil’s Crisis Snowballs, Deferred Corruption Prosecutions, U.S. Bets on Cuba

by Shannon K. O'Neil
Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff (R) greets former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva during the appointment of Lula da Silva as chief of staff, at Planalto palace in Brasilia, Brazil (Reuters/Adriano Machado). Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff (R) greets former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva during the appointment of Lula da Silva as chief of staff, at Planalto palace in Brasilia, Brazil (Reuters/Adriano Machado).

Brazil’s Corruption Crisis Snowballs
Brazil’s corruption investigations expanded to encompass the former and current president. Federal police detained and questioned former President Luíz Inácio Lula da Silva (“Lula”) over whether he personally benefited from the Petrobras bribery scheme. São Paulo state prosecutors then separately filed to arrest him on money-laundering charges. In a plea bargain, Senator Delcídio do Amaral claimed current President Dilma Rousseff knew about Petrobras bid-rigging and tried to stop the criminal probe. Abroad, Argentine prosecutors are investigating if their own officials received kickbacks, and my colleague Matt Taylor predicts the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) could bring FCPA charges against Petrobras. And in what most perceive as a cynical move to defy justice, Lula joined Rousseff’s cabinet as chief of staff, removing him from the jurisdiction of both state and federal courts (only the Supreme Court can now try his case). As millions take to the streets in outrage, the political consequences may come more quickly than the legal ones.

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Cleaning Up Global Supply Chains

by Shannon K. O'Neil
Workers are seen inside a Foxconn factory in the township of Longhua in the southern Guangdong province May 26, 2010. A spate of nine employee deaths at global contract electronics manufacturer Foxconn, Apple's main supplier of iPhones, has cast a spotlight on some of the harsher aspects of blue-collar life on the Chinese factory floor (Reuters/Bobby Yip). Workers are seen inside a Foxconn factory in the township of Longhua in the southern Guangdong province May 26, 2010. A spate of nine employee deaths at global contract electronics manufacturer Foxconn, Apple's main supplier of iPhones, has cast a spotlight on some of the harsher aspects of blue-collar life on the Chinese factory floor (Reuters/Bobby Yip).

The UK’s Modern Slavery Act now requires companies to report efforts to prevent human trafficking and slavery in the making of every part and every process of production, from headquarters down to individual suppliers along production chains. In the United States, the Dodd Frank Act’s disclosure rules for conflict minerals hold mining and technology companies to similar standards. But surveys and reports show companies still fail to monitor their suppliers, let alone prevent abuses.

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The Long Arm of U.S. Law and Latin America’s Corruption Malaise

by Matthew Taylor
A demonstrator holds inflatable dolls depicting Brazil's former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva (R) and Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff during a protest calling for the impeachment of Rousseff near the National Congress in Brasilia, Brazil, December 13, 2015 (Ueslei Marcelino/Reuters). A demonstrator holds inflatable dolls depicting Brazil's former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva (R) and Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff during a protest calling for the impeachment of Rousseff near the National Congress in Brasilia, Brazil, December 13, 2015 (Ueslei Marcelino/Reuters).

Latin America’s corruption scandals of the past two years are moving slowly toward resolution. As they move forward, it is interesting to note that in a region that has been particularly protective of its sovereignty, foreign cooperation has played a significant role, whether it is via bilateral exchanges between prosecutors, mutual legal assistance treaties, or even United Nations support, as in the case of Guatemala’s International Commission Against Impunity (CICIG). But these various forms of international cooperation may soon be joined by another international anti-corruption effort that is less well understood in Latin America: prosecution by U.S. attorneys.

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This Week in Markets and Democracy: Central America’s Anticorruption Support, UNDP at Fifty, Foreign Bribery Action

by Shannon K. O'Neil
Demonstrators hold candles as they sing the national anthem during a march to demand the resignation of Honduras' President Juan Orlando Hernandez, in Tegucigalpa, September 11, 2015. The protesters are calling for the resignation of Hernandez over a $200-million corruption scandal at the Honduran Institute of Social Security (Reuters/Jorge Cabrera). Demonstrators hold candles as they sing the national anthem during a march to demand the resignation of Honduras' President Juan Orlando Hernandez, in Tegucigalpa, September 11, 2015. The protesters are calling for the resignation of Hernandez over a $200-million corruption scandal at the Honduran Institute of Social Security (Reuters/Jorge Cabrera).

Central America’s Anticorruption Support
The presidents of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras were in Washington to discuss plans for the $750 million that Congress authorized to help their nations take on violence and boost economic development. The outlay comes in the wake of a record uptick in Central American migration to the United States. Nearly 3 million people have fled their homes and neighborhoods, including 100,000 unaccompanied minors who arrived at the southern border between October 2013 and July 2015. The U.S. funding requires Northern Triangle governments to address myriad domestic problems, including strengthening legal systems, protecting human rights, and rooting out corruption. U.S. anticorruption efforts will be met with broad civil society and multilateral support, dovetailing with grassroots campaigns against graft and high-level impunity in Honduras and Guatemala, and furthering the resolve of multilateral-backed bodies such as Honduras’s new Mission Against Corruption and Impunity (MACCIH).

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This Week in Markets and Democracy: India’s Growth, U.S. Development Seeks Private Investment, and Ugandan Elections

by Shannon K. O'Neil
Workers erect scaffolding at the construction site of a metro station in Greater Noida on the outskirts of New Delhi, India, September 30, 2015. India's annual infrastructure output growth picked up in August to 2.6 percent from a year ago, mainly driven by higher cement and electricity generation, government data showed on Wednesday (Reuters/Anindito Mukherjee). Workers erect scaffolding at the construction site of a metro station in Greater Noida on the outskirts of New Delhi, India, September 30, 2015. India's annual infrastructure output growth picked up in August to 2.6 percent from a year ago, mainly driven by higher cement and electricity generation, government data showed on Wednesday (Reuters/Anindito Mukherjee).

Can India Avoid Emerging Market Slump?
India outpaced China as the world’s fastest growing economy in 2015, with gross domestic product (GDP) rising 7.5 percent. Consumption by the nation’s 1.3 billion citizens drove the gains, along with public infrastructure spending to upgrade the nation’s roads, railways, ports, and power grids. India’s government is on track to spend over a trillion dollars on infrastructure as part of a 2012-2017 five year plan, as one of the emerging markets able to borrow at low international rates (debt to GDP is for now a manageable 50 percent). Yet private sector investment hasn’t followed suit. Bureaucratic difficulties in acquiring land and permits and financing snafus show how difficult it is to do business – India is ranked 130 of 189 in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Report. A tough external environment led to a decline in exports and an outflow of portfolio investments. To attract the private investment needed for long term growth, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will have to tackle issues including labor regulations, taxes, and onerous import and export documentation.

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