Research and analysis to provoke public awareness and critical thinking

We contribute to the liberalisation of the democratic instituions of society, for they have been captured by the owners of the market. They work in tandem with their market agents, who, posing as public servants, are entrenched in the halls of government. The political class has betrayed its public mandate and instead operates to impose a marketocratic state to maximise the shareholder value of the institutional investors of international financial markets. They own the global corporations and think they own the world on behalf of their very private interest.

Our spheres of action: true democracy – true sustainability – living wage – basic income – inequality – ecological footprint – degrowth – global warming –human development – corporate accountability – civil, political, economic, social, cultural and environmental rights, responsible consumption, sustainable autonomous citizen cells...

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Parting from an ethos of true democracy and true sustainability, We, the citizenry, work to advance the paradigm whose only purpose is to go in pursuit of the welfare of People and Planet and NOT the market.

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Living-wage assessment – PPP Wage rate gaps for selected "developed and emerging" economies for all employed in manufacturing workers (1996 up to 2015).

 From an equalisation perspective, among East Asian countries, South Korea has not been able to sustain its growing trend and instead declined in 2014 and then stalled. Japan shows a similar equalisation trend and has been declining since 2014 as well. After strong gains since 1996, particularly for South Korea, both reached their best position in 2012 or 2013, but in 2015 both dropped back to the levels recorded in 2010 for South Korea and 2006 for Japan, with Eq-Idx of 66 and 67 respectively. Singapore in contrast has been able to sustain a growing Eq-Idx, and despite a drop in 2013, it has now been able to recover and reach its best position ever, with a 78 index in 2015.

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Living-wage assessment – New assessment of Argentina's wage rate gap 1996-2015

Despite high inflation and currency devaluations since 2010, real wages continued growing powerfully in US dollars. This allowed manufacturing wages to only lose two points in their Equalised Index (Eq-Idx) since 2013, when they reached their best index (56), the highest recorded in twenty years.

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Living-wage assessment – New assessment of Brazil's wage rate gap 1996-2015

Brazil has no longer sustained its Eq-Idx due to the deep recession that has ensued in the last years. Brazil’s government has continued
complying with its minimum wage appreciation law, but equalisation will not resume until economic growth also resumes.

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Living-wage assessment – Table T5: 1996-2015 Real wage-gap rates for twelve economies, in purchasing power parity (PPP) terms, for all employed in manufacturing. *(The base table used for all PPP real-wage gap analysis)

Beginning with the 2012 living-wage gap assessments, the purchasing power parities (PPPs) used refer to private consumption ~(i.e., household final consumption expenditure), as opposed to the PPPs for Gross Domestic Product previously applied. The PPP for GDP includes prices for the entire economy and not just for the private consumption of consumer households. This change enables Jus Semper to deliver a more accurate metric of all the indicators that we used in our methodology to assess the wage gaps between actual and equalised wage rates. The PPPs for private consumption have been therefore revised for all years beginning in 1996.

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Living-wage assessment – New assessment of Mexico's wage rate gap 1996-2015

Nothing has changed in 2015 except to get worse.. The Mexican State, which has been permanently challenged for the lack of legitimacy of its elections in 2006 and 2012, corroborates every year its vocation as a customary violator of the labour rights of its citizens.

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Living-wage assessment – New assessment of Spain's wage rate gap 1996-2015

To put Spain’s living wage rate position in a European perspective, only three economies recorded gains in 2015 vis-à-vis 2014, seven others recorded no change , whilst
Spain and nine others recorded a widening of their living-wage gap with equivalent U.S. wages. This is worse than when comparing 2015 versus 2012, when Spain and three others recorded no change but seven recorded gains in their equalisation. Overall, as with most countries, wage equalisation in Spain’s manufacturing sector has stagnated, but extremely high unemployment and the deliberate neoliberal job casualisation policy remain its most conspicuous features.

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Living-wage assessment Table T5: 1996-2015 Real wage-gap rates for twenty-one European economies.

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Living-wage assessment Table T5: 1996-2015 Real wage-rate gaps for eight Asia and Oceania economies.

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Living-wage assessmentTable T5: 1996-2015 Real wage-gap rates for the four largest economies in the Americas (Canada, Brazil, Mexico and Argentina).

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True Sustainbility and Degrowth in the citizens' Imaginary – The People and Planet paradigm in a truly democratic ethos unburdened by capitalism

The world is steadily going back to stages that we thought we had overcome. Democracy and its so-called democratic institutions are, for the most part, a complete mockery. In lieu of a democratic ethos, the market dictates the rules by which everyone must attempt to live, in complete contradiction with the most basic premise of democracy: to procure the welfare of every rank of society, and with special emphasis on the dispossessed.

Parting from this context, the premise of this work is that we must start today to radically change our life styles to put them in harmony with what Mother Earth can provide in food, water, energy and other natural resources in a truly sustainable manner for us and for all living beings. This means that we must embark on a quantum leap paradigmatic change that puts an end to marketocracy.

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AnthropoceneCrisispdfSECUREDAcrobathoyat122406

The Anthropocene Crisis

The Anthropocene, as explained by Bellamy Foster, is viewed as a new geological epoch displacing the Holocene epoch of the last 10,000 to 12,000 years, to represent what has been called an “anthropogenic rift” in the history of the planet. He explains: "formally introduced into the contemporary scientific and environmental discussion by climatologist Paul Crutzen in 2000, it stands for the notion that human beings have become the primary emergent geological force affecting the future of the Earth system. Although often traced to the Industrial Revolution in the late eighteenth century, the Anthropocene is probably best seen as arising in the late 1940s and early 1950s. Recent scientific evidence suggests that the period from around 1950 on exhibits a major spike, marking a Great Acceleration in human impacts on the environment, with the most dramatic stratigraphic trace of the anthropogenic rift to be found in fallout radionuclides from nuclear weapons testing."

Bellamy Foster points at the rather evident and urgent need to replace and not fix capitalism, so that we can aspire to "rebuild the house of civilization under different architectural principles, creating a more sustainable metabolism of humanity and the earth. The name of the movement to achieve this, rising out of the socialist and radical environmental movements, is ecosocialism, and Facing the Anthropocene is its most up-to-date and eloquent manifesto." Yet he ponders on the possiblility that many would rather err on the side of denialism than on the side of “catastrophism” and hesitate to take action at this level until we know more. For such possibility he offers very concrete advice quoting Bertolt Brecht’s didactic poem “The Buddha’s Parable of the Burning House”:

The Buddha still sat under the bread-fruit tree and to the others,

To those who had not asked [for guarantees], addressed this parable:

“Lately I saw a house. It was burning. The flame

Licked at its roof. I went up close and observed

That there were people still inside. I entered the doorway and called

Out to them that the roof was ablaze, so exhorting them

To leave at once. But those people

Seemed in no hurry. One of them,

While the heat was already scorching his eyebrows,

Asked me what it was like outside, whether it wasn’t raining,

Whether the wind wasn’t blowing, perhaps, whether there was

Another house for them, and more of this kind. Without answering

I went out again. These people here, I thought,

Must burn to death before they stop asking questions.

And truly, friends,

Whoever does not yet feel such heat in the floor that he’ll gladly

Exchange it for any other, rather than stay, to that man

I have nothing to say.” So Gautama the Buddha.

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Global Wage Report 2014/2015

The Global Wage Report 2014/15 presents both the latest trends in average wages and an analysis of the role of wages in income inequality. The first part of the report shows that global wage growth in recent years was driven by emerging and developing economies, where real wages have been rising since 2007 although wage growth slowed in 2013 compared to 2012. In developed economies, wages generally remained stagnant in 2012 and 2013, and in a number of countries wages remained below their 2007 level. These trends are a matter of concern.

At the level of the individual worker or firm, the immediate impacts of higher or lower wages are self-evident. At the national level, the effects of higher or lower wages on aggregate demand and employment are context-specific and cannot be predicted or evaluated without taking into account the level of wages relative to productivity, the degree of openness of the country under consideration and the relative size of the different components of aggregate demand. At the international level, if too many countries pursue wage moderation policies, the outcome is likely to be negative. In the current environment, in which the global economy risks sliding back into a low-growth trap, higher wage growth would be desirable in those countries where wages in the past have lagged behind productivity growth. As the report demonstrates, in some countries policies have already started to shift in that direction.

The second part of the report turns to the role of wages in income in- equality. Inequality has become the subject of growing interest in recent years across the world, and there has been a realization that growing inequality not only undermines social justice objectives, but can also have adverse economic conse- quences. Through the adoption of the 2008 Declaration on Social Justice for a Fair Globalization, ILO Members renewed their commitment to pursue policies with regard to wages and earnings designed to ensure a just share of the fruits of pro- gress to all and recognized that for a fair outcome for all, it has become even more necessary to achieve social cohesion and to combat poverty and rising inequalities.

In many countries, the distribution of wages and paid employment has been a key factor in recent inequality trends. This highlights the importance of labour market institutions and policies – including minimum wages and collective bar- gaining – that have an effect on income distribution.

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Human Development Report 2015

Work enhances human development, but some work damages human development and some work puts workers at risk.

When positive, work provides benefits beyond material wealth and fosters community, knowledge, strengthens dignity and inclusion. Nearly a billion workers in agriculture, 450 million entrepreneurs, 80 million workers in health and education, 53 million domestic workers, 970 million voluntary workers contribute to human progress.

When negative, in the form of forced labour, child labour and human trafficking, work can violate human rights, threaten freedom and shatter dignity. An estimated 21 million people are currently in forced labour of whom 14 million (67 percent) were exploited for labour and 4.5 million (22 percent) sexually exploited. There are still 168 million child labourers worldwide. And some work e.g. work in hazardous industries may put workers in risk. There are 30 million workers in mining and their face risks every day.

Over the years work has contributed considerably to impressive progress in human development. However the progress has been uneven with significant human deprivations and large human potentials remain unused.

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The Degrowth Alternative

Both the name and the theory of degrowth aim explicitly to repoliticize environmentalism. Sustainable development and its more recent reincarnation “green growth” depoliticize genuine political antagonisms between alternative visions for the future. They render environmental problems technical, promising win-win solutions and the impossible goal of perpetuating economic growth without harming the environment. Ecologizing society, degrowthers argue, is not about implementing an alternative, better, or greener development. It is about imagining and enacting alternative visions to modern growth-based development. This essay explores such alternatives and identifies grassroots practices and political changes for facilitating a transition to a prosperous and equitable world without growth.

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Capitalism Sucks our Blood and Kills Us

Alejandro Teitelbaum directly addresses the most relevant features of the system of domination the world endures, exposing its most harmful aspects. The author shows the predatory and unsustainable essence of capitalism and the crass paradox that exists between its enormous technological and scientific development and the increasing inequality, the deliberate breakdown of social welfare systems, the precariousness of employment and the general collapse of capitalism’s quality of life in the face of an uber-concentration of wealth in a microscopic fraction of humanity. Teitelbaum illustrates this paradox with incontrovertible examples of the policies that have been applied for decades, both in the metropolises of the system and in its periphery, to materialise this uber-concentration. Finally, the author poses that the only alternative is the effort that ordinary citizens must undertake to understand the unjust and unsustainable framework of the dominant system. This is absolutely necessary in order to take consciousness about the great need to organise to pursue a radical and paradigmatic change. Otherwise we run the great risk of allowing capitalism to lead humanity, in the medium term, towards its extinction.

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