Issue 524 of New Internationalist

Reader-owned global journalism

March-April 2020

How we make poverty

Poverty requires a system change against the undervaluing of everything that poor people do only to expand the fortunes of the already wealthy – a form of thievery that this edition lays bare. This argument for change is not new, but it acquires urgency because today there is no reason whatsoever why poverty should still exist and why inequality should be spiralling out of control.

Elsewhere, we share stories of people fighting the power: doughty indigenous human-rights defender Virginia Penares from Peru, Canadian youth taking a stand for the planet, and Sarawak islanders in Indonesia holding out for sustainable renewable power over destructive mega-dams.


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In this issue

  • Why is hunger growing in a country known as an agricultural powerhouse? Amy Booth reports from Buenos Aires.

  • Leonardo Sakamoto on the war against indigenous people.

  • In an era of planet-wide ecological breakdown, the conventional wisdom of the growth model is crashing to an end. Jason Hickel lays it on the line

  • The globalized garment industry is as ruthless as they come, creaming off huge profits while paying workers a pittance. Trade unionist Anannya Bhattacharjee speaks to Dinyar Godrej about the surprisingly small – yet vehemently resisted – changes needed for a living wage. 

  • Vanessa Martina Silva considers the track record of Brazil’s flagship Bolsa Família, the world’s largest conditional cash transfer scheme.

  • Tax havens in the Global North enable the systematic looting of the Global South. John Christensen explains how their activities impoverish the world.

  • Poverty between – and within – nations doesn’t just exist. It is created and needs constant maintenance. 

  • Poverty is not down to chance or bad choices. It’s hard wired into a deeply unequal economic system. But it doesn’t have to be that way, says Dinyar Godrej.

  • Louise Gray and Malcolm Lewis weigh up the eclectic sounds of Wild Wild East and the Karen Dalton Archives.

  • Malcolm Lewis on the latest in alternative cinema. 

  • Jo Lateu, Peter Whittaker, and JP O’Malley on the latest releases in Left publishing. 

  • Vanessa Baird makes the case for being true to our brains.

  • Yewande Omotoso reflects on why no-nonsense Johannesburg is the place that suits her best.

  • Ethical and political dilemmas abound these days. Seems like we’re all in need of a New Internationalist perspective. Enter stage: Agony Uncle.

  • An epic struggle has been playing out between islanders defending their land, rivers and livelihoods and the Malaysian government’s vision of ‘development’. 

  • Migration, identity, gender – Subi Shah tackles the big issues with filmmaker Kyla Simone Bruce.

  • Nanjala Nyabola on making amends for high-carbon lifestyles.

  • Nilanjana Bhowmick observes tolerance in India’s most holy city.

  • Luis Almagro, Secretary-General of the Organization of American States, shows off some nifty moves.
  • Another prisoner of conscience falls victim to Pakistan's draconian blasphemy laws.

  • Amy Booth on reports on why Bolivia's upcoming election is unlikely to be free and fair.