Resources: Economics and finance, Corner House Briefing Paper

14 results
Financial Bricolage, Derivatives and Power
Nicholas Hildyard

9 October 2008

39. Financial entrepreneurs created a 'shadow banking system' over the past 30 years to circumvent regulation and to offload risk onto others, relying on 'derivatives' and 'securitisation'. They generated easy credit that fuelled a boom in corporate mergers and acquisitions across the United States and Europe, and that enabled companies involved in mining, biofuels, private health care, water supply, infrastructure and forestry to expand their activities significantly. When the pyramid of deals came tumbling down, however, the public had to bear the costs.

Some Frequently Asked Questions
Kavaljit Singh

8 October 2008

38. The current protectionist backlash against state-owned sovereign wealth funds (SWFs), particularly from the Middle East and China, stems from Western policy makers' fears that SWFs follow strategic political objectives rather than commercial interests, investing in Western companies and banks to secure control of strategically important industries such as telecommunications, energy and banking. This paper examines these fears in order to understand the potential impact and implications of sovereign wealth funds in a rapidly-changing global political economy.

The Global Consequences of Private Equity
Kavaljit Singh

17 September 2008

37. Private equity has become an integral part of the world's financial system, creating a new type of corporate conglomerate that is reshaping the way business is conducted. It poses new challenges to labour unions, NGOs and community groups because of its influence on taxation policy, corporate governance, labour rights and public services. These challenges are especially clear in Asia, which private equity firms are targeting since the "credit crunch" took hold. Private equity's vulnerabilities, however, may provide opportunities to address public concerns.

Private Pensions, Corporate Welfare and Growing Insecurity
Richard Minns with Sarah Sexton

1 May 2006

35. This briefing outlines the different ways in which countries have financed both social security for older people and economic production. It describes the rise of the private model of pensions and the influence of pension funds on capital flows around the world. It then summarises and critiques the main justifications given for expanding private pension schemes, and analyses the motivations of the groups that perpetuate this model.

A New Political Space for Activists
Mark Mansley and Nicholas Hildyard

30 January 2002

25. Lobbying financial markets has become a major way of halting or lessening the impact of environmentally-damaging and socially-inequitable projects. This briefing provides several case studies, traces the rise of ethical shareholding, and explores the limits and potential pitfalls of financial market activism.

Intellectual Corruption and the Future of the Climate Debate
Larry Lohmann

30 October 2001

24. The “carbon market” approach of international agreements to tackle climate change is incoherent. No one knows how to value the goods in this market, nor to whom they belong. As a result, the market, backed by a growing, well-funded, global climate technocracy, will subsidise further climate change. Democratic challenges to this “carbocracy” will be crucial in opening up the climate debate and combating the scientific fraudulence now rife in mainstream discussions.

Export Credit Agencies, Corporate Welfare and Policy Incoherence
Nicholas Hildyard

30 June 1999

14. Projects backed by export credit agencies (ECAs) are frequently environmentally destructive, socially oppressive or financially unviable. It is the poorest people in the countries where the projects are located who end up paying the bill. With rare exceptions, the major ECAs lack mandatory environmental and development standards, and are secretive and unaccountable.

Racial Oppression in Scientific Nature Conservation
Larry Lohmann

31 January 1999

13. Some strains of environmentalism treat “cultures” as fixed, closed systems with impermeable boundaries. Racism is neither a theory nor a collection of beliefs, sentiments or intentions, but rather a process of social control which functions to block inquiry and attempts to live with difference. Illustrated with a case study from Northern Thailand.

Adaptation and Reaction to Globalisation
Mark Duffield

31 January 1999

12. Many internal wars in Africa, Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, far from representing societal breakdown, can be seen as a rational response on the part of rulers (and would-be rulers) to ensure their economic and political survival in a context of globalisation and the changing nation-state.

Les Conflits Ethniques Seraient ils Naturels?
Nicholas Hildyard (traduction: C. Bertrand)

30 January 1999

11. Au sein du mouvement écologiste occidental une aile conservatrice importante a développé, dans un souci de stabilité sociale, des conceptions sur la "culture" qui placent la cause profonde des "conflits ethniques" dans des antagonismes anciens, définitifs, implacables et invétérés entre populations. Ces conceptions sont très proches de celles de la Nouvelle Droite qui, de plus en plus, s'approprie le langage de la "différence" culturelle pour promouvoir un "racisme différencialiste". Il est important que les groupes progressistes s’opposent à cette manupulation politique d'éthnicité des environnementalistes conservateurs, ou de la Nouvelle Droite.

Ethnic Conflict and the Authoritarian Right
Nicholas Hildyard

29 January 1999

11. “Ethnic conflicts” are not rooted in ancient antagonisms or fixed cultural differences. Yet the authoritarian Right in Europe is increasingly framing its racist agenda in terms of “cultural differences” -- a discourse that chimes in disturbing harmony with that of many Greens, whose preoccupation with “tradition” can lend itself to a politics of exclusion. The need for progressive groups to distance themselves -- in actions as well as words -- from the Right’s “cultural” agenda is urgent.

Reflections for Activists
Larry Lohmann

31 August 1998

9. “Third World development” seldom achieves its stated objectives and is repeatedly discovered to be based on false assumptions. Although discredited, however, it has survived and flourished. This briefing asks to what extent development’s critics have inadvertently increased both its longevity and its capacity to produce falsehoods and failure. Forging an effective critical activism requires reexamining the dynamic between development projects and their opponents, helpers and beneficiaries.

How Opinion Polls and Cost-Benefit Analysis Synthesize New “Publics”
Larry Lohmann

31 May 1998

7. Opinion polls and cost-benefit analysis, like public relations, attempt to construct new, simplified “publics” which are friendly to bureaucracies, politicians and corporations. The success of these attempts is limited by popular resistance at many levels.

Uncovering Corporate PR Strategies
Judith Richter

31 March 1998

6. Corporations use public relations techniques to limit campaigns against the socially-irresponsible or environmentally-destructive practices of transnational companies. Taking the infant food industry as a case study, this briefing discusses the risks of ‘dialogue’ with company or industry organizations.