Tag Archives: Brazil

Neoliberalism and Inequality: A Recipe for Interpersonal Violence?

(If you are interested in this post, please see my earlier post on neoliberalism)

Source: Microsoft Clip Art

Based on recent research, there appears to be a link between the ideals of neoliberalism and increasing rates of inequality. Navarro (1998) argues, for instance, that neoliberal policies have contributed to growing inequalities around the globe and to worsening living conditions for the majority of the world’s people. For her part, George (1999) agrees and blames increasing inequality on the common neoliberal practices of placing public wealth into private hands, approving tax cuts for the wealthy, and pushing wages down for the non-elite. And, unfortunately, evidence suggests that inequality may mediate the relationship between neoliberalism and a third variable: interpersonal violence. In this regard, Krug et al. (2002:1086) write that “economic conditions [i.e., inequality] are both the causes and the effects of violence” with those on the poorer end of the spectrum experiencing the most violence. Other scholars, too, have found that inequality is positively correlated with violent crime rates (see Fajnzylber, Lederman, and Loayza 2002). Considering these findings, it appears that as neoliberalism becomes more prominent in a country, it can be expected that inequality and, as a result, interpersonal violence within that country will increase. In an attempt to demonstrate this argument, I will review these relationships before providing a brief case study to demonstrate how these variables may be interrelated. (more…)

Weak Agreement Better Than No Agreement?

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and United States President Barack Obama at the United Nations Climate Change Conference

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and United States President Barack Obama at the United Nations Climate Change Conference

Last month, world leaders participated in the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark. At this conference, President Barack Obama of the United States and leaders of the BASIC Group (President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva of Brazil, President Jacob Zuma of South Africa, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of India, and Premier Wen Jiabao of China) created the Copenhagen Accord.

The Copenhagen Accord acknowledged the continuation of previous agreements such as the Kyoto Protocol. Moreover, it established a maximum increase in global temperature of two degrees Celsius and welcomed future reviews to consider whether the global temperature increase should be limited to 1.5 degrees Celsius. Furthermore, it committed developed countries to providing additional funding for developing countries.

International organizations criticized the Copenhagen Accord for not being a legally binding agreement and for not specifying targets for reducing carbon emissions. According to representatives from Oxfam International, the Copenhagen Accord is “a triumph of spin over substance. It recognizes the need to keep warming below two degrees but does not commit to do so. It kicks back the decisions on emissions cuts and fudges the issue of climate cash.”

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