Resources: Globalisation, state and deregulation

33 results
Saturday, 1st November 2014, in London

1 November 2014

The People vs PFI conference will bring together those disturbed by the implications of the Private Finance Initiative (PFI) to brainstorm political and practical solutions; share stories of working for a PFI-run public service, or of living in or near one; and help build effective grassroots opposition to PFI across the UK.

Exploring the connections
Nicholas Hildyard

31 July 2014

The gap between rich and poor has widened massively over the past 30 years, within and between countries. Such inequality does not come about by accident or simple mismanagement. It is best understood as 'a proxy for how effectively an elite has constructed institutions that extract value from the rest of society.' This presentation argues that public-private partnerships are such a set of institutions, with important implications for activism to challenge them.

Shadow Bankers in London
Nicholas Hildyard

1 October 2012

In June 2010, the London Mining Network and The Corner House organized a "Hedge Fund Tour" through London's tony Mayfair district, home of many of the private financial institutions at the heart of the wave of dispossessions that followed in the wake of the 2008 crisis. 

Infrastructure as Asset Class: A Critical Look at Private Equity Infrastructure Funds
Nicholas Hildyard

1 September 2012

Public, state and taxpayers' money is now being channelled the world over toward private equity funds seeking turbo-charged profits from the construction of substantial new infrastructure. The adverse political and economic consequences for the public good are profound and urgently need challenging.

Nicholas Hildyard

13 September 2011

"What news on the Rialto?" one of Shakespeare's businessman characters asks another in "The Merchant of Venice", referring to the bridge where Venice's merchants met to trade. If such a scene were played out today on Wall Street, the topic of conversation might well be how to make money out of saving the Rialto itself. But those who have always lost out as a result of the goings-on on the Rialto may want to talk about something other than how to "fix" a system that has always disadvantaged them.
Variations on Polanyian Themes
Larry Lohmann

16 July 2010

One lesson the financial crisis teaches us is: beware of the new carbon markets that constitute today's main official response to climate change. These markets are startlingly similar to the financial derivatives markets that have thrown banking systems into a tailspin. (German version also available.)


Mercados de incertidumbres y mercados de carbono: variaciones en temas de Polanyi

Una de las lecciones que la crisis financiera nos enseña es a tener cuidado con los nuevos mercados de carbono que constituyen hoy la principal respuesta oficial al cambio climático. Este artículo de la revista New Political Economy argumenta que estos mercados son sorprendentemente similares a los mercados de derivados financieros que arrojaron a los sistemas bancarios al caos en 2008.

Refinancing through GEFCO raises questions about ECGD's financial losses

23 March 2010

In March 2010, The Corner House and Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) submitted a complaint to the European Commission alleging that the UK gives unlawful state aid to GEFCO, a special purpose vehicle used by the UK's export credit agency, the Export Credits Guarantee Department (ECGD), to refinance its loss-making interest-rate support scheme provided to UK exporters. After much correspondence, it emerged in March 2011 that the complaint should have been directed at the companies receiving the support rather than at GEFCO itself and should have cited a different clause in the WTO's Agreement on Subsidies and Countervailing Measures. The groups will submit a new complaint on this basis.

The Rise of Carbon Trading
Larry Lohmann

22 July 2009

Carbon permit prices flashing on electronic screens in Wall Street trading rooms reflect a complex political movement to reorganize and redistribute power and knowledge. The carbon markets associated with the Kyoto Protocol, the EU Emissions Trading Scheme and the US's Waxman-Markey Act constitute perhaps the last great class project of a waning neoliberal regime – the ill-fated attempt to privatize the climate itself.


El neoliberalismo y el mundo calculable: El ascenso del comercio de carbono

Los precios de los derechos de emisión de dióxido de carbono que aparecen en las pantallas de las computadoras de Wall Street reflejan un movimiento político complejo para reorganizar y redistribuir el poder y el conocimiento. Los mercados de carbono del Protocolo de Kioto y el Esquema del Comercio de Emisiones de la Unión Europea son uno de los últimos grandes proyectos del neoliberalismo – un intento malhadado de privatizar el clima. Este capítulo del libro, "El neoliberalismo y el mundo calculable: El ascenso del comercio de carbono", describe las contradicciones del intento de formar una mercancía con el clima.

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.

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.

The Corner House and Campaign Against Arms Trade

4 April 2008

Even before the judgement has been given on the landmark judicial review of the decision by the UK's Serious Fraud Office to halt its BAE-Saudi Arabia corruption investigation, the UK Government has introduced draft legislation whose effect would be to prevent in future such a judicial review -- and even such an investigation. The Corner House and CAAT are calling upon the public and parliamentarians to voice their concerns about the draft Constitutional Renewal Bill.

Dinah Rose QC, Ben Jaffey, Richard Stein and Jamie Beagent

31 March 2008

The UK Government's draft Constitutional Renewal Bill proposes to create a new power for a political appointee and member of the Government, the Attorney General, to stop a criminal investigation or prosecution on the grounds of 'national security' without explanation or accountability to Parliament, the Courts or international bodies.

The Political Economy of International Investments
Kavaljit Singh

18 April 2007

This book details the central role of transnational corporations in determining foreign direct investment (FDI) patterns. Using case-studies, statistical data and cogent analysis, it makes a critical appraisal of contemporary investment issues as it maps investment flows, trends and regulatory frameworks. It shows how FDI can lead not to economic growth but to an outflow of capital instead of an inflow, prompting a growing backlash against foreign investments in many Latin American and Asian countries, and Russia.

Activism, Expertise, Commons
Larry Lohmann

27 September 2005

Seeing social or technical change as the application of new "theory" to "practice" is one of the hazards of 21st-century middle-class life. Middle-class activists could take a leaf from both expert elites and grassroots movements, who both tend to know better.

Constructing a New Population Threat
Anne Hendrixson

2 December 2004

34. 'Youth-bulge' theory refers to the large proportion of the world's population under 27 years old who are supposedly prone to violence. Images of angry young men of colour as potential terrorists and veiled young women as victims of repressive regimes support the theory. The implied threat of explosive violence and explosive fertility provides a rationale for US military intervention and population control initiatives in other countries and justifies government surveillance of Muslims and Arabs within US borders.

Lessons from the New Thailand
Dr Pasuk Phongpaichit

14 December 2003

29. Corruption in Thailand has been neither pervasive nor incompatible with economic growth. It is centred on a big business-politics complex whose rise has gone hand-in-hand with globalisation.

Sarah Sexton

11 May 2003

The World Trade Organisation's General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) could have a significant effect on human health, and health care services.

New Tensions and Resolutions over Land
Larry Lohmann

31 January 2002

Multilateral agencies have been promoting the commoditization of land in the Mekong region. How is this project being advanced and resisted?

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.

Privatisation, Multinationals and Bribery
Susan Hawley

30 June 2000

19. Growing corrpution throughout the world has resulted from the rapid privatisation of public enterprises. Multinationals, supported by Western governments and their agencies, are engaging in corruption on a vast scale in North and South alike. Donor governments and multilateral agencies such as the World Bank and International Monetary Fund frequently put forward ‘good governance’ agendas to combat corruption, but their other actions send different signals about where their priorites lie.

Alan Simpson MP and Nicholas Hildyard

2 February 1999

This article argues that companies seeking public money in the form of grants or subsidies should put forward proposals which can be subject to public scrutiny and accountability.

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.

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.

Free Market Ambiguities
Nicholas Hildyard

31 March 1998

5. The practical outcome of free-market policies has not been to diminish the state’s power -- but to redirect it in favour of transnational interests. Thus the power of many Northern states to intervene in the economic and social affairs of other countries has increased. Resistance to the “free market state” is growing, as is the demand that the state’s powers be used to protect the interests and rights of citizens, not corporations.

Dramatic U-Turn or Clever Repositioning?
Nicholas Hildyard

1 June 1997

The package of economic reforms that the World Bank has promoted in recent years -- from privatisation of state or public services and assets to deregulation of labour and environmental laws -- has, in theory, been intended to remove the state from all but a minimal role in the national economy. The best government is considered to be the least government. Yet the practical outcome of these free-market policies has been to increase and redirect the state’s power in favour of transnational interests. Resistance to the “free market state” is growing, as is the demand that the state’s powers be used to protect the interests and rights of citizens, not corporations.

Changing Landscapes of Corporate Control
Nicholas Hildyard

1 July 1996

In the drive to become “competitive”, companies are restructuring their operations on a global scale. It is not companies which are competing, however, but workers and communities, pitted against each other as companies relocate from one country to another in search of new markets, the weakest trade unions, the most flexible rules on working conditions and the largest subsidies. It is time to question the notion that export-led growth and enhanced corporate competitiveness is the route to employment and to press instead for an economy that protects people and the commons rather than corporations.

The World Bank and the Private Sector
Nicholas Hildyard

1 July 1996

Increasingly, multilateral development banks are funding private companies to undertake projects, underwriting the investments through guarantees or providing loans direct to the companies involved. Development is effectively being “privatised”. For companies, a raft of new “corporate welfare” programmes are on offer.

Nicholas Hildyard

1 June 1996

Transnational companies develop extensive networks so they can fashion the political infrastructure that permits them to capture subsidies, manage demand, create new markets, centralize power, enclose new environments, and evade, digest and regulate resistance.

Contention and Resistance in Intercultural Space
Larry Lohmann

1 September 1995

Different actors -- transnational corporations, political and technocratic elites, their opponents and others -- contend with and influence what is loosely called “globalization” in different ways. Constructive and engaged understanding of the power struggles between them all and their resources, motivations, dynamics, strategies, effectiveness, and capacities for alliances requires coming to grips with the ways in which they interpret and present their own struggles.

Approaching Thailand’s “Environmental” Struggles from a Western Starting Point
Larry Lohmann

1 April 1994

Westerners wanting to engage in effective international campaigning often will need to question their very conceptions of what social movements are.

Larry Lohmann

1 November 1993

This opinion piece shows how environmental activists, ecological economists, development experts and deep green theorists tell self-serving and one-sided stories about Noble Savages, Eastern religions, “traditional communities” and ordinary householders. This "Green Orientalism" both arises from and perpetuates power imbalances. It must be constantly challenged by stories told from other points of view.

Villagers, NGOs and the Thai Forestry Sector Master Plan
Larry Lohmann

1 July 1993

Disputes over a forestry master plan formulated for Thailand by Finnish consultants and others illustrate how environmental conflicts are often settled by translating concerns and suggestions in procedures acceptable to the more powerful.

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

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.