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: 1996-2016 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)

Nominal wage rates in dollars continued to decrease in 2016 at the same rate as in 2014, averaging a drop of 12,5%, vis-à-vis 12,6% in 2014. This is due to a great extent to the devaluation of these currencies against the dollar. Furthermore, most wage rates in local currencies increased at a lower rate than the 5,4% increase of the U.S. hourly wage rate. As a result, most equalisation indices continued dropping. Only Italy and South Korea sustained their 2014 indices and Singapore was the only one of the twelve economies selected that was able to increase its index in 2016.

Since 2012 only three economies did not increase their equalisation gaps. Germany kept the same index and Italy and Singapore improved their equalisation. Of the twelve selected economies, four are worse off than in 1996, Brazil did not change and seven are better off than in 1996.

Overall, East Asia economies have fared far better than the rest.

 

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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: 1996-2016 Real wage-gap rates for twenty-one European economies.

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Living-wage assessment Table T5: 1996-2016 Real wage-rate gaps for eight Asia and Oceania economies.

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Living-wage assessmentTable T5: 1996-2016 Real wage-gap rates for the four largest economies in the Americas (Canada, Brazil, Mexico and Argentina).

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Human Rights: Advancing the Frontier of Emancipation

Amidst bleak prognostications about the future, the human rights movement offers a beacon of hope for securing a liveable world. The movement’s universality, supranationalism, and expanding emancipatory potential serve as inspiration and guide for the larger project of global transformation. The sweeping vision embodied in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights has experienced constant renewal and steadfast legitimacy in the tumultuous postwar world. It has been a foundation for the pursuit of supranational governance and an antidote to the notion that the ends justify the means. The human rights movement, despite its imperfections, has a key role to play in the transformational change in human values crucial to building a just, flourishing future.

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Basic Income as a fundamental Human Right in the People and Planet paradigm – Basic Income in a truly democratic and sustainable ethos

Commentary as part of the Roundtable discussion on Kathryn Sikkink’s piece on human rights: “Human Rights: Advancing the Frontier of Emancipation,” organised by the Great Transition Initiative. De Regil contributes the following brief, particularly from the perspective of a universal basic income as an economic right. In case you are not familiar with the concept, the universal basic income is a cash allowance, unconditionally granted to all on an individual basis, including children, without means test or work requirement to fulfil their basic needs for the simple reason of existing. Kathryn Sikkink’s main argument in her essay is that human rights play a key role in the transformation that we need to build a just and flourishing future. The author agrees, but argues that for human rights to play a key role in the transformation of societies, we must work to create a radical tectonic shift to build a completely new paradigm.

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Global Wage Report 2016/2017

The 2016/17 edition examines inequality at the workplace level, providing empirical evidence on the extent to which wage inequality is the result of wage inequality between enterprises as well as within enterprises. The report also includes a review of key policy issues regarding wages.

Over the past few years there has been a growing recognition of the need to monitor wage trends and implement sustainable wage policies that prevent wage stagnation, raise levels of pay for the millions of working poor around the world, ensure fair distribution, reduce excessive wage and income inequalities, and buttress consumption as a key pillar of sustainable economies. Where incomes have grown and income inequality has been reduced, this has frequently come about as the result of a combination of more jobs in paid employment for low-income households and a more equitable wage distribution. The role of labour markets and wages in reducing poverty and inequality has also been highlighted in the first edition of the World Bank’s annual flagship report, Poverty and shared prosperity (World Bank, 2016).

Second, wages matter for economic and political reasons. At the level of enterprises, the wages of paid employees represent a cost. But at the macroeconomic level, sustainable wage growth is central to maximizing aggregate demand. While excessive wage growth may lead to price inflation and declining exports or investment, weak wage growth can represent a drag on household consumption and domestic demand – a prospect that is particularly relevant in the current global economic context characterized by slow growth. Excessive inequality tends to contribute to lower economic growth and less social cohesion (Ostry, Berg and Tsangarides, 2014; d’Hombres, Weber and Elia, 2012). It can also lead to political polarization: a recent IMF report pointed out that in some countries the nature of political discussions had shifted as a result of “growing income inequality as well as structural shifts, some connected with globalization, that are seen as having favoured economic elites while leaving others behind” (IMF, 2016a, p. xiii).

Last but not least, wages are about more than money; they matter from the point of view of fairness and human dignity. The ILO has long emphasized that “labour is not a commodity” and that, this being so, the price of labour cannot be determined purely and simply through the application of the rule of supply and demand (see ILO, 1944 and 2014a). As pointed out by Piketty, “the price system knows neither limits nor morality” (2014, p. 6). Minimum wages play an important role in ensuring that workers are treated in a way that is fair and compatible with notions of human dignity and respect. Over and above minimum wage levels, policies in the areas of wages, hours and other conditions of work can contribute substantially to fostering social dialogue and collective bargaining, and ensuring a just share of the fruits of progress to all (ILO, 2008a). Fairness includes equal remuneration for work of equal value, and the elimination of pay discrimination between men and women, or between other groups.

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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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Debunking the myths behind US malice towards Mexico –The less than one percent bi-national agreement behind the myths supporting Trump’s Mexico bashing

The US has customarily conveyed an image of Mexico using blatant lies or manipulated facts that can only elicit disdain or hatred among US citizens. In this narrative, succinctly, Mexico is a perennially poor country with lots of violence and corruption that puts it on the brink of becoming a failed state, which is having a negative social and economic impact on the US. Yet the US has deliberately plundered Mexican socioeconomic structures and destroyed Mexico’s social fabric. This has been performed through a closely-concerted connivance with Mexico’s corrupt elites as part of the US so-called national interest: global imperialism. Through this evidently perverse and corrupt partnership the US has unambiguously and unrelentingly played a major role in the Machiavellian crafting of the root causes explaining Mexico’s disastrous situation. This has resulted in an increase of inequality, corruption and violence. However, the US narrative plays it as if Mexico’s northern neighbour has had nothing to do with this. Now Trump has vitriolically defamed Mexico by trying to exponentially exploit the worst and least sustainable stereotypes of Mexico and its people. This paper will debunk all the deliberately malicious myths advanced by the US’ equally-corrupt elites with a vested interest in denigrating its southern neighbour and present the true facts behind the lies.

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