Let us introduce you to some of the fascinating people we work with to help you make sense of the world’s most complex challenges. In this podcast we share our research, explore alternatives to the status quo and give a platform to scholars and activists who are at the forefront of the fight against the current neoliberal order. We believe there are alternatives to this world and hope you do too.
Despite causing the worst financial crisis in decades, the financial sector emerged even stronger. TNI's eighth flagship State of Power report examines through essays and infographics the varied dimensions and dynamics of financial power, and how popular movements might regain control over money and finance.
The Transnational Institute (TNI) in the Netherlands is issuing an open call for essays, accessible papers, infographics and artistic collaborations for its forthcoming State of Power report launched in late January 2020 to coincide with the World Economic Forum in Davos. The focus for our ninth annual edition is on 'The Corporation'.
The State is Dead! Long live the State! At the turn of the century, many commentators from the right and left seemed united in their analysis that the state as an economic player was dead or at least no longer relevant. The combined pressures of globalisation, liberalisation and marketisation unleashed by the market-driven dogmas of Thatcherism and Reaganomics had massively expanded the private sector and concurrently downsized the public sector. Corporate power was in the ascendancy and many state-owned companies had become little more than second-rate government departments, and the underlying assumption was that, as the economy evolved, the government would close or sell them to private investors.
The international bank transfer system, SWIFT, is a form of contemporary digital colonialism and surveillance capitalism as it is run by US firms and provides data to US government agencies. Drives by governments and philanthropists to increase use of digital money will only strengthen it further.
Biagio Quattrocchi, Vanessa Bilancetti , Francesco Silvi
23 January 2019
Rome’s municipality has accumulated enormous debt, creating an emergency used to close any sort of public space, both physical and discussion. The narrative regarding the debt has been used to attack what we call the city of solidarity – groups, associations, and occupied places that are working to build community as opposed to accumulating profit.
By the end of August 2019, African States had been hit by a total of 106 known investment treaty arbitration claims. This represents 11% of all known investor-state disputes worldwide. Between 2013 and 2018, there has been an unprecedented boom of claims against African governments. During these last six years, they received more investor claims than the previous 20 years combined. This paper exposes how the international investment regime affects African countries.
The construction of an Aung San statue has caused deep controversy in Kayah State during the past year. Dee De is a member of the Karenni State Farmers Union and Union of Karenni State Youth. He was arrested on 21 June, Karenni National Day, for his involvement in protests. In his commentary, Dee De argues why the construction of the statue is premature and a sensitive issue for the Karenni and other ethnic nationality peoples at this time.
"If farmers expect society to help protect them against the crushing effect of surpluses, they must be prepared to protect society by working out permanent arrangements for storing of reserve food supplies. Both farmers and non-farmers have a responsibility to each other, and any dodging of this responsibility by either group is likely to end in disaster.” Former US secretary of agriculture Henry A. Wallace
This report examines the role of the world’s largest arms (as well as a number of other security and IT) firms in shaping and profiting from the militarization of US borders. Through their campaign contributions, lobbying, constant engagement with government officials, and the revolving door between industry and government, these border security corporations and their government allies have formed powerful border–industrial complex that is a major impediment to a humane response to migration.
In 2012, citizens from Highland Park, Michigan came together to form Soulardarity in response to the repossession of over 1,000 streetlights from their city. Their goal is to organise for community-owned solar street lights, energy production and equitable development. Since its formation, Soulardarity has installed seven solar streetlights and deployed over US$ 30,000 worth of solar technology in Highland Park and the surrounding communities through the PowerUP bulk purchasing programme. The group has also organised advocacy at the city and state levels for regulation, policy and local political leadership to support community ownership, transparency and environmental responsibility.
Soulardarity also advocates for a Community Ownership Power Administration (COPA) as part of the growing call in the United States for a Green New Deal to tackle climate change, economic inequality and racial injustice.
How fair is the investment arbitration system in Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) countries? Are investor-state disputes balanced between national and corporate interests? LAC countries are among the most affected by the investment arbitration system, representing 28.6% of all known investor-state disputes around the world. In particular, Argentina, Venezuela, Mexico, Ecuador, Bolivia and Peru account for 77.3% of the total number of claims against LAC countries. Analysis shows that the system so far heavily favours corporate interests. Investors have won in 70% of the cases brought against LAC countries. As a result, LAC States have already had to pay foreign companies 20.6 billion USD, which could cover Bolivia’s budget for health and education for four whole years.
A briefing paper jointly published earlier this month by the Netherlands-based think tank groups has asserted that new ceasefires that have been signed since 2011 have further facilitated land grabbing in conflict-affected areas where large development projects in resource-rich ethnic regions have already taken place.
When the New York Times dubbed the global anti-war protesters of February 15, 2003, “the second super-power,” it challenged the decade-plus view of undisputed U.S. global reach that followed the demise of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War. The surging protests that brought 12–14 million people in 665 cities around the world were not enough to stop the U.S.-British wars against Iraq, Afghanistan and beyond. But in the decade since that extraordinary mobilisation, the U.S. empire’s reach is showing the effects of rising people’s movements, increasing multi-polarity in the world of nations and governments, declining influence in all international spheres other than military, stubbornly lasting economic crisis, and an extraordinary loss of legitimacy both at home and abroad.
Investment protection mechanisms give corporations the right to sue states if they take any measures – including public interest legislation – that might threaten profits. Wellknown versions of this is the Investor state-dispute mechanism (ISDS) which after rising controversy and critisism has been replaced by the Investment court system (ICS). Investment protection mechanisms are included in most new FTAs. Nevertheless, several governments are starting to reconsider their commitments to it as they recognize the danger that it poses to their sovereignty. TNI has produced extensive research highlighting how investment protection gives corporations far-reaching rights that curtail governments’ sovereignty and drain limited public budgets. It has also revealed the big stakes the legal industry has in these mechanisms.