New Internationalist

No we can’t

 The UN Finance for Development conference in Doha has come and gone in a puff of hot air, unreported by the corporate media. 

The same irresponsible people who presided over the credit crunch, the financial meltdown, the grotesque inequities of human welfare and the prospect of an immanent climate catastrophe have sat on their hands - yet again. 

So here is a short but sharp list of what is urgent and vital but will not be done - even to achieve the meager goal of halving world poverty by 2015:

NO immediate and unconditional write-off of the Global South's 'odious' financial debts to the North

NO recognition of the Global North's historic environmental debt to the South

NO action to close down tax havens

NO move towards 'innovative' sources of finance, such as a 'Tobin Tax' on currency speculation

All that's suggested is that the UN should convene another conference at some unspecified date - even if the 'modalities' have to be agreed by March 2009.

In principle, this could be a small step forward. The UN is the only halfway representative world body we have. If such a conference were to set about replacing the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the World Trade Organization, which have fouled up so spectacularly, that would be another step forward.

In practice, however, our feckless 'world leaders' are most likely to do what comes most naturally to them, and simply fail to turn up.

To get some idea of how dreadful all this looks from the Global South, take a look at Jubilee South. Or, if you live within striking distance of London and are in search of positive inspiration, come to our Clean Start gathering on 15 December.

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About the author

David Ransom a New Internationalist contributor

David Ransom joined New Internationalist in 1989 and wrote on a range of issues, from green justice to the current financial crisis, before retiring in 2009. He was a close friend of Blair Peach, once worked as a banker in Uruguay and continued to contribute to New Internationalist as a freelancer until shortly before his death in February 2016. He lived on a barge on the waterways of England’s West Country.

His publications include License to Kill on the death of Blair Peach in 1979 and The No Nonsense Guide to Fair Trade. He also co-edited, with Vanessa Baird, People First Economics.

Read more by David Ransom

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