This infographic illustrates some dimensions about why we believe the World Economic Forum is fundamentally about increasing corporate profits and rewarding political elites rather than “improving the state of the world.” It is an undemocratic, unaccountable and illegitimate institution that, far from improving the world, has over decades reinforced the global crisis of inequality, poverty, and environmental destruction.
The annual gathering in Davos has certainly cemented the power of a tiny global elite, but its real power has been as a spawning ground for neoliberalism's major advances - the rise of the financial sector, the spread of corporate trade agreements and the integration of emerging economic powers into the global economy.
Carbon trading, or the trading of permits to pollute, is a market-based approach for reducing carbon emissions which is deeply flawed, ineffective and unjust. Seeking to turn carbon in the atmosphere into a privatised commodity has created markets susceptible to corporate pressure, distracted from the systemic changes needed to convert our economies, and inflicted injustices on marginalised communities in North that become trapped in pollution hotspots and peasant communities in the South who have been dispossessed of land and livelihoods in the name of climate action.
TNI hosted the International Network for the Abolition of Foreign Bases in the early 2000s until funding ran out. However movements against foreign bases around the world continue to actively resist the occupation of their lands. This collection archives some relevant research and materials.
The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is a proposed free trade agreement, in negotiation, between the United States and the European Union. Its proponents claim that the agreement will benefit consumers with lower prices, increased competition and more jobs.
However, very little of the TTIP deals with trade; the vast majority of the agreement relates to government regulations and will therefore have huge implications in matters such as food sovereignty, digital rights and the environment. It will limit the capacity of governments and local groups to regulate and increase the capacity of transnational corporations to act with impunity. TNI’s focus for TTIP and other free trade agreements is on the investment chapter, and particularly the problems caused by Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) mechanisms that allow corporations to sue governments for actions that affect their profits.
The UN has held almost annual climate talks since the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change was signed in 1992, however these have failed to deliver the radical and justly-distributed emission cuts that are required largely due to the failure of industrialised nations to accept their historic responsibility, the corporate capture of the talks by fossil-fuel interests, and the false market-based solutions pursued by many nations.
In recent years, various actors, from big foreign and domestic corporate business and finance to governments, have initiated a large-scale worldwide enclosure of agricultural lands, mostly in the Global South but also elsewhere. This is done for large-scale industrial and industrial agriculture ventures and often packaged as large-scale investment for rural development. But rather than being investment to benefit the majority of rural people, especially the poorest and most vulnerable, this process constitutes a new wave of land and water ‘grabbing’. It is a global phenomenon whereby the access, use and right to land and other closely associated natural resources is being taken over - on a large-scale and/or by large-scale capital – resulting in a cascade of negative impacts on rural livelihoods and ecologies, human rights, and local food security.
Juan Carlos Monedero is Professor of Political Sciences at the Complutense University of Madrid and Research Co-ordinator at the Centro Internacional Miranda in Caracas, and a collaborator with the New Politics Programme.
Chaohua Wang was a member of the standing committee of the Beijing Autonomous Association of College Students in the spring of 1989, and after 4 June was on the Chinese government’s most-wanted list. She has frequently participated in TNI events on the emergence of China onto the global stage.
Brian Ashley has been an activist for many years in South Africa and is editor of Amandla magazine. He was former director of the Alternative
Information and Development Centre, a partner organisation of TNI.