Still alive: The politics of structural adjustment
After some hesitations, the Portuguese government announced that it would seek support from the EU and the IMF. It did so in the face of systematic downgrading of Portugal’s creditworthiness by US rating agencies and rapidly mounting interest rates. The increasing pressures from the financial sector can be seen as part of the right wing election campaign. The Portuguese right wing parties have advocated harsh neo-liberal policies for a long time. Their position will be bolstered by the conditionalities of the EU/IMF programme. By Joachim Becker
The pressures on the Portuguese government to seek an EU/IMF programme mounted recently in a context of increasing political and social polarisation. The debt situation of the country did not deteriorate in any spectacular way. The share of public debt/GDP increased from 74.1% in 2008 to 92.9% in 2010. This is in line with average changes during the crisis years in the euro area where this ratio increased from 76.0% to 91.6% during the same period. According to OECD data, the Portuguese budget deficit of 7.3% of the GDP was not much higher than the average of the euro zone (6.3%) in 2010. Portugal’s debt situation is not exceptional ...
Weakening of workers' rights in most regions is being aggravated by severe crackdowns on freedom of speech and assembly, according to the 2016 Global Rights Index. Restrictions on freedom of speech and assembly, including severe crackdowns in some countries, increased by 22%, with 50 out of 141 countries surveyed recording restrictions.
The year 2015 was marked on the one hand by the inability of the European Union (EU) to emerge from the crisis, and on the other by a dramatic rise in the number of people taking flight from their homes and from their homelands, because of wars and terrorist attacks, in many cases caused by the destructive policies of the EU and of its member states.
The world economy stumbled in 2015 and only a modest improvement is projected for 2016/17 as a number of cyclical and structural headwinds persist, says the United Nations World Economic Situation and Prospects (WESP) 2016 report. Global growth is estimated at a mere 2.4% in 2015.
Within a few weeks leftwing governments in Latin America have experienced a breath-taking decline. The Latin American (centre-) left forces suffered several strategic defeats. They occurred in the biggest Latin American economies. First in Argentina, than in Venezuela, and also in Brazil the days of an uncontested majority of left forces are definitely over now.
14 years after their previous strategy on gender mainstreaming, the WBG has decided to develop a new Gender Equality (GE) Strategy. This briefing document presents WIDE+ critical reflections and key recommendations to enhance the new World Bank Group's (WBG) strategy on Gender Equality.