Background Papers

The Geoengineering Fallacy

Geoengineering technologies are not yet deployable globally, but support for them is advancing fast, thanks to backing by powerful advocates eager to start experiments. But no silver bullet for climate change exists, and we must not abandon proven methods for the sake of a promise that one will be found, says Barbara Unmüßig.
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The Economic Rationale for Int. Labour Rights

While international trade has resulted in great affluence for advanced capitalist countries, the ongoing liberalization of trade has not been accompanied by increases in prosperity everywhere. In many emerging market economies, working conditions, wages, and environmental standards have deteriorated, particularly in plants producing for export. Every year, the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) documents widespread abuses of workers’ rights. As countries in the global South operate on the same level of industrial development and similar market positions by offering cheap labor, the strict adherence to core workers’ rights will put them at a comparative disadvantage vis-à-vis its competitors. This situation is the very reason why developing countries are limited in their ability to raise labor standards on their own. Christoph Scherrer argues that developing countries cannot raise their social standards in isolation but only in conjunction with other countries, by multilateral agreement.
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BRICS: Ambiguous - but anti-hegomonial potential

* A European view
With the rise of China, the come back of Russia as a major player, the emergence of countries such as Brazil and India as important actors and the formation of new coalitions and alliances, such as the BRICS, the Eurasian Union, the Shanghai Cooperation etc. the world is heading towards a multipolar system – perhaps with a bipolar element (US-China) in its core, writes Peter Wahl in a paper.
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The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership

* Implications for Labor
The United States of America and the European Union are currently negotiating a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). It is one of the most ambitious free trade and investment initiatives, going much further than eliminating tariffs. TTIP mainly aims at reducing “non-tariff barriers”. While tariffs on goods have been imposed with an eye to foreign competition, most of the non-tariff barriers are the laws and regulations that are the result of social struggles for the protection of consumers and workers. It is therefore certain that TTIP will impact workers. This new book, edited by Christoph Scherrer provides a preliminary assessment of the likely consequences for labor by providing an overall introduction to the TTIP negotiations; assessing the reliability of the studies claiming employment gains; highlighting specific problematic proposals such as the investor-to-state dispute settlement mechanism; presenting the position of organized labor from both sides of the Atlantic.
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Bioeconomy A dead end

The bioeconomy above all focuses on technological innovation to make better use of available resources. In principle, this is not a bad idea, says Barbara Unmüßig. The question though is for the benefit of whom and at whose expense these innovations are implemented, and also what the undesirable side-effects are like. A plea against focusing on growth.
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Occupy Development

* Towards a caring economy
We have to radically change development to make the rationale of care and sustenance development central. She explores some of the transformation strategies on a conceptual and practical level in a democratic, inclusive and gender-just way. She asks that feminists stress the emancipatory potential of a development based on a caring economy, of commons and sufficiency, argues Christa Wichterich.
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Corporate Influence...

... on the Business and Human Rights Agenda of the UN
Efforts to create an international legally binding instrument to hold transnational corporations accountable for human rights abuses have recently gained new momentum. They started in the 1970s with the discussions about a Code of Conduct for Transnational Corporations (TNCs) and continued in the late 1990s with the attempt to adopt the UN Norms on the Responsibilities of Transnational Corporations and Other Business Enterprises with Regard to Human Rights. All these efforts met with vigorous opposition from TNCs and their business associations, and they ultimately failed. At the same time, corporate actors have been extremely successful in implementing public relations strategies that have helped to present business enterprises as good corporate citizens seeking dialogue with Governments, the UN and decent concerned ‘stakeholders’, and able to implement environment, social and human rights standards through voluntary Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives. The UN Global Compact and the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights became prime examples of an allegedly pragmatic approach based on consensus, dialogue and partnership with the corporate sector – in contrast to regulatory approaches to hold corporations accountable. A Working Paper by Jens Martens.
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The end of democracy as we knew it

This paper starts with summarizing the major theoretical elements in the definition of a global ruling class. It then examines how neoconservatives in the US took power and used regime change to create chaos in other regions. A strategy of tension is used to press the population into conformity. But the real revolution is to what extent factual politics escape any attempt to democratic control. Three case studies show how far the Deep State already goes. Democracy is on the brink of survival. This paper by Bernd Hamm is currently being considered for publication in a special issue of FORESIGHT on Who Rules the World? ed. by Dennis Morgan.
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Chinas role in the post-2015 agenda

* A strong voice for global sustainable development
To the surprise of many, China has taken a pro-active stance in negotiations on the post-2015 agenda for global development at the United Nations (UN). In September 2013, the government issued a comprehensive position paper that aptly addresses a wide range of global challenges, from poverty eradication, inclusive growth and ecological conservation to international trade and the reform of global economic governance. The statement also impresses with a candid assessment of domestic advances and deficiencies, for example, income disparities and environmental degradation. China’s position converges with major UN reports in key aspects, such as the overriding concern for poverty eradication and sustainable development. The paper diverges from these documents by rejecting the integration of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and by excluding political factors such as good governance and human rights. A Briefing Paper by Ye, Jiang and Thomas Fues.
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Post-2015 Debate

* The danger of consultation overkill
The UN has launched an extensive worldwide discussion on the new development agenda that is to succeed the Millennium Development Goals in 2015. Jens Martens, long-time observer of international development and environmental policy, cautions in an interview against consultation overkill and calls on NGOs to develop alternatives that go beyond what is currently politically feasible.
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New dynamics in South-South cooperation

* Challenge for the OECD-DAC
Two major trends can be identified: Firstly, governments are willing to treat financial support to fellow developing countries as a distinct policy area, separate from other dimensions of South-South cooperation such as trade and investment. Secondly, Southern providers have begun to realise the benefits of policy dialogue among themselves. Such dynamics have begun to erode the dominance of traditional donors and raise fundamental questions about the future of the OECD's Development Assistance Committee (DAC). Thomas Fues comments.
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Green Sins

* How the Green Economy Became a Subject of Controversy
The idea that ecology and the economy belong together – are in fact inseparable – has long been promoted by many ecologists as well as some economists. Even so, the “green economy” is increasingly becoming an arena for political battles...
By Barbara Unmüßiig
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The Green Economy - The New Magic Bullet?

Expectations from the Rio+20 Conference

By Barbara Unmüßiig

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The EU at the Crossroads

The multiple crises of the EU and perspectives of emancipatory solutions
weed briefing paper

By Peter Wahl

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A Fututre for International Climate Politics

A discussion paper by Heinrich Böll Foundation

By Lili Fuhr and Barbara Unmüßig

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The Other Financial Crisis

Poor Woman, Small Credits, Big Businesses

By Christa Wichterich
Paper for WIDE

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Thinking Ahead

Development Models and Indicators of Well-being Beyond the MDGs

By Jens Martens

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Fighting Fire with Buckets

A Guide to European Regulation of Financial Markets

By Peter Wahl

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Steps Out of the Global Development Crisis

Towards an Agenda for Change

By Jens Martens

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The Stress Test for Global Financial Governance

Economic governance under conditions of crisis. Problems, trends, and alternatives

By Peter Wahl

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European Civil Society for the FTT

Remarks at the IMF Video-Conference on 22 Feb 2010

By Peter Wahl

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What 'capitalism' is, what it means to be against,

and what it takes to end it

By Frieder Otto Wolf

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Women peasants, food security and biodiversity

in the crisis of neoliberalism

By Christa Wichterich

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Postneoliberalism or postcapitalism?

The failure of neoliberalism in the financial markets

By Elmar Altvater

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With Realistic Radicalism

Which approach to the upcoming era of reforms?

By Peter Wahl

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The MDG Project in Crisis

Midpoint Review and Prospects for the Future

By Jens Martens and Tobias Debiel

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Superstars in the Emperor's New Clothes

Hedge Funds and Private Equity Funds: What is at stake?

By Peter Wahl

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Problematic Pragmatism

The Ruggie Report 2008: Background, Analysis and Perspectives

By Jens Martens (edited by Elisabeth Strohscheidt)

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Economic Growth without Social Justice

EU–India trade negotiations and their implications for social development and gender justice

By Christa Wichterich

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Global Governance Beyond the G8

Reform Prospects for the Summit Architecture
Essay in 'Internationale Politik und Gesellschaft/International Politics and Society'

By Thomas Fues

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Fair and Unfair Competition

The EU-China Trade Race and its Gender Implications
WIDE Briefing Papers

By Christa Wichterich

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Multistakeholder Partnerships

Future Models of Multilateralism?
FES Dialogue on Globalisation: Occasional Papers

By Jens Martens

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China's Africa Policy

Opportunity and Challenge for European Development Cooperation

By Thomas Fues/Sven Grimm/Denise Laufer

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IMF: Half-heartedly wooing emerging economies

Article for "Development and Cooperation" (D+C)

By Barbara Unmüßig and Liane Schalatek

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The United Nations and Transnational Corporations

Paper for the conference "Global Governance and the Power of Business"

By Hartwig Hummel

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Water for Food - Water for Profit

The World Bank's policy in the agricultural water sector
Brot für die Welt Background paper 15

By Uwe Hoering

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The Future of NGO Participation at the UN

After the 2005 World Summit
Briefing Paper of Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung and Global Policy Forum

By Jens Martens

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On the Road to Hong Kong

Towards a Sustainable, Gender-Fair, Just Governance
Presentation at the Public Hearing "The EU Responsibility at the WTO: Environment, Gender, and Development" in Brussels, 9 November 2005

By Christa Wichterich

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International Taxation

International Taxation. Regulating Globalisation - Financing Development

By Peter Wahl

International taxes are a completely new paradigm. Their realisation is an innovation of historical significance because until now, taxes have been firmly linked to the nation state.

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The Neoliberal Offensive

Introduction from the book Devastating Society. The Neo-Conservative Assault on Democracy and Justice

Edited by Bernd Hamm

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Precarious "Partnerships"

Six Problems of the Global Compact between Business and the UN

By Jens Martens

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The Post-Cancún Debate

Options, Views, and Perspectives From South and North

Ed. by Rainer Falk
(=Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung: Global Issue Papers, No. 6, Feb. 2004)

English Version >>> download
Versión Castellana >>> download


The Reform of the IMF

The Reform of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). A Provisional Appraisal and Perspective on the International Debate
By Rainer Falk

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