The challenges facing Brazil’s left

Brazil, Demographic

The challenges facing Brazil’s left

For those who follow Brazilian politics, even superficially, it should not be news that the country is living through its biggest crisis since the civic-military dictatorship ended in the 1980s, or even – according to some–in the entire history of the Brazilian Republic since the deposition of Emperor Pedro II in 1889. Brazil is facing tremendous political and social setbacks led by its far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro, who has not been formally affiliated with a political party since 2019 but still relies on the social support and approval of the country’s ruling classes and Armed Forces.

If the social consequences of adopting an ultra-neoliberal project weren’t enough already, the emergence of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020 and the gross mismanagement and negligence in combatting the virus have led to the worst-case social, economic, and health scenarios.

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Why Do We Eat Bad Food?

Agriculture, Policies

Why Do We Eat Bad Food?

Mark Bittman writes the way he cooks: The ingredients are wholesome, the preparation elegantly simple, the results nourishing in the best sense of the word. He never strains; there’s no effort to impress, but you come away full, satisfied, invigorated.

From his magnum opus, How to Cook Everything, and its many cookbook companions, to his recipes for The New York Times, to his essays on food policy, Bittman has developed a breeziness that masks the weight of the politics and economics that surround the making and consuming of food. In Animal, Vegetable, Junk, his latest book, he offers us his most thoroughgoing attack on the corporate forces that govern our food, tracking the evolution of cultivation and consumption from primordial to modern times and developing what is arguably his most radical and forthright argument yet about how to address our contemporary food cultures’ many ills. But it still goes down easy; the broccoli tastes good enough that you’ll happily go for seconds.

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Globalisation of HE: the good, the bad and the ugly

Economy, Policies

Globalisation of HE: the good, the bad and the ugly

Globalisation – the tendency to global convergence and integration – has wonderful potential in the abstract. It offers the possibility that we can work our way out of the national container blocking collaborative action, for example, on climate change.

Global convergence suggests a full and formative encounter with the diversity of human ideas, knowledge, imagination, government, institutions, social habits, on the basis of unity in diversity, heer butong, in tianxia, all under heaven, the Chinese terms.No one country or culture has all the answers and we have much to learn from each other. That is the ideal.

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Latin America and the Caribbean are facing a serious debt crisis

Economy, Policies

Latin America and the Caribbean are facing a serious debt crisis

In the previous three parts we have observed the evolution of the DCs’ external debt over the last twenty years. The first part shows a dramatic increase of indebtedness, which multiplied by 2.5 with a steep acceleration from 2008 onward. The second part highlights the main threats on the DCs’ external debt, among which the growing significance of bonds, the evolution of interest rates and the depreciation of their currencies against the U.S. dollar. The third part examines the various factors that lure DCs into the debt trap: dependence on commodities, drop in foreign exchange reserves, inflating repayments, conjuncture of a multi-dimensional crisis aggravated by the COVID-19 pandemic, etc.

We deepen our analysis by focusing on various regions, starting with Latin America and the Caribbean.

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Why Brazil Still Matters

Brazil, Demographic

Why Brazil Still Matters

While many in the West lamented Jair Bolsonaro’s stunning ascension to the presidency of the world’s fifth most populous country in 2018, the election outcome was sealed roughly a year earlier. That was when Brazil’s two-term center-left president, Lula da Silva, who had been legally barred from a third consecutive term in 2010 despite an 86 percent approval rating—and who was leading in all the polls for a comeback in the 2018 presidential race—was convicted on dubious corruption charges and then declared ineligible to run. With his primary obstacle out of the way, Bolsonaro cruised to victory.

The stench of those events intensified greatly when Bolsonaro appointed the judge who’d found Lula guilty, Sergio Moro, to the newly enhanced position of minister of justice and public security. Even Moro’s closest allies in the sprawling anti-corruption probe known as Operation Car Wash (Lava Jato in Portuguese) were outraged by this blatant quid pro quo, which they realized would forever tarnish their legacy.

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“A threat to the world”: Brazil’s Covid-19 tragedy

Brazil, Demographic

“A threat to the world”: Brazil’s Covid-19 tragedy

Brazil now has the highest number of daily coronavirus deaths anywhere in the world, with over 4,000 fatalities per day recorded twice this month, according to figures collated by Our World in Data, a project by Oxford University.

The country’s total confirmed death toll from coronavirus now stands at over 350,000, the world’s second-highest, behind the US, which has a larger population.

In March, the country recorded 89,984 excess deaths above the death-toll average during the same month from 2015 to 2019. That figure is over four times that recorded in the United States, a country with a population one and a half times the size. The number in neighbouring Peru was 3,740, a rate per capita nearly four times lower.

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The US food system creates hunger and debt – but there is another way

Agriculture, Policies

The US food system creates hunger and debt – but there is another way

The Covid-19 pandemic has not only been a public health crisis, it has also been a hunger crisis. When millions of Americans lost their jobs, they no longer had enough money to feed themselves and their families. Hunger predictably struck people who were already marginalized. As was evidenced by long lines at food banks, it also struck middle-class families and exacerbated inequality. Even with vaccines, people continue getting weak and sick during the pandemic and the burden is disproportionately landing on women to work harder to ensure everyone stays healthy and alive.

To add injury upon injury, parts of the food system are also a public health hazard. For example, meatpacking plants in the US and around the world have fostered the pandemic, spreading the virus to nearby communities due to poor working conditions and environmental abuses.

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Coronavirus, Capitalism and Eco-communitarianism

Economy, Policies

Coronavirus, Capitalism and Eco-communitarianism

In this article, the author takes stock of the capitalist response during the pandemic to the educational and health challenge in contrast to the eco-communitarian response.

Around the world, and especially in Latin America, the coronavirus pandemic revealed a major fact of capitalist society: businesspersons and governments have prioritized the slogan “the economy cannot stop”, to the detriment of people’s health. This led to the fact that by not taking the almost total lockdown of economic activities demanded by various medical and scientific institutions, such prioritization contributed to the progressive worsening of the pandemic.

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Millions Spend Easter Weekend Under COVID-19 Lockdowns

Policies, Society

Millions Spend Easter Weekend Under COVID-19 Lockdowns

India’s health ministry said Sunday that it recorded 93,249 new COVID cases in the previous 24-hour period, the highest daily tally this year in the South Asian nation.

Only two other nations have more coronavirus infections than India’s 12.4 million cases, according to Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center. The U.S has 30.6 million cases, while Brazil has 12.9 million. Millions of people worldwide are under new lockdown restrictions this Easter weekend thanks to coronavirus infections that have surged despite the continued rollout of vaccination campaigns.

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The Politics of Stopping Pandemics

Disease, Threats

The Politics of Stopping Pandemics

Even before the COVID-19 crisis, global instability had caused a worrying rise in epidemics. Medical science alone won’t be able to turn the tide.

“Just a few years ago, many of us in the global health policy community were thrilled at the prospect of eliminating catastrophic infectious and tropical diseases,” Peter Hotez writes in his new book, “Preventing the Next Pandemic” (Johns Hopkins). He dates this high point of optimism to the start of 2015, when the success of vaccination campaigns had become dramatically evident. Polio, once endemic in more than a hundred countries, had been limited to three—Afghanistan, Nigeria, and Pakistan. Measles deaths were down by eighty per cent, from half a million children worldwide in 2000 to a fifth of that number.

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