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Issue 6/Nov-Dec 2008


* The Race to a New Bretton Woods. World financial summits in series
For years, only a small and enlightened elite and some NGOs looking beyond their tiny projects have been calling for a New Bretton Woods – a global conference to restructure the global economic and financial system. Yet suddenly such demands have become almost mainstream, and developments have accelerated tremendously. However, the World Financial Summit to be held in Washington DC on 15 November will be at best be a starting point of a process, at worst we will observe another public relations exercise. By Rainer Falk

* Another Bretton Woods Moment: Time for UN to Act. Panel on global financial crisis in New York
The United States and the Bretton Woods institutions, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, had failed to adequately address the international financial crisis. The only realistic way out of the global crisis was to proceed democratically, in an inclusive manner, and there was no better place to do that than in the framework of the United Nations. A panel held at the UN headquarters in New York on 30 October 2008 concluded that quick-fixes and half-measures behind closed doors were not enough. A WDEV summary of the event with Joseph Stiglitz and others

* Towards A New Global Economic Compact. The Stiglitz principles for a new financial order
The Nobel Laureate in Economics, former Chief Economist of the World Bank and Professor at Columbia University, Joseph E. Stiglitz has been appointed as President of the United Nations High-level Task Force to review the global financial system. In the following points Joseph Stiglitz has summarised his personal views, as well as the views of the Initiative for Policy Dialogue, on key elements of a response to the current global financial crisis.

* China: Construction of a Socialist Countryside. Agrarian reform in times of financial crisis
The timing has been perfect: In the middle of October, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China approved a reform proposal that will allow farmers to lease or transfer their land rights. Called a “historic” decision by some observers, the Chinese government announced it as Chinas contribution to counter the financial crisis and to stabilise the global system by giving a fresh stimulus to economic growth. But the more important driving forces for it are the growing rural-urban inequalities, the widespread protests by farmers about alienation of land by officials and the need to modernise Chinese agriculture. A report by Uwe Hoering

* IMF and World Bank Need to Bolster Transparency Measures in the Extractive Industries
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank Group are falling short of fostering fundamental measures of transparency in the oil, gas, and mining industries, a report released today by the Bank Information Center and Global Witness found. A WDEV summary

WDEV 6/Nov-Dec 2008
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