After two years of declining world aid, last Tuesday, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) released new figures that demonstrated that aid had reached a record high in 2013 and increased by over 6.1%. In the face of what appears to be a gratifying headline, beneath the surface lies a far more depressing state of affairs.
In recent years, America's technology giants have increased profits to epic levels. So you'd think this good fortune would prove a boon to the fragile American economy. A river of tax dollars from America's cash-rich technology firms ought to contribute towards a significant reduction of the US $17.5trillion debt mountain. Only it hasn't quite worked out that way...
Just think, if the money lost to tax evasion was available for governments to allocate according to current spending patterns, the amount going towards health services could save an estimated 1.9 million children a year. That's approximately 21 fewer children dying in the time it took you to read this article.
At face value, the results of the OECD's PISA survey out this week are concerning. Overall the UK ranked 26th out of 65 countries. We were 26th for maths, 23rd for reading and 21st for science. The results have led to political bickering between the Coalition and Labour, each blaming the other for the UK's results.
Multidimensional poverty, as participatory work of late has shown, includes poor health, lack of education, inadequate living standards, environmental degradation, lack of income, gender discrimination, poor quality of work and violence. Ending $1.25/day poverty is unlikely to mean the end of these many overlapping disadvantages.
Poverty has always been with humanity - even Jesus said that the poor would always be with us. Yet while nothing short of a miracle would have made poverty eradication possible 2,000 years ago - neither emperors nor kings had the knowledge or resources to do it - today, we have what it takes to tackle poverty.
George Osborne may be right to boast that opposition to what he's doing is "crumbling", after Ed Balls agreed to work within the coalition's spending limits. The Chancellor would enjoy further clout after the IMF and OECD rallied behind his deficit reduction plan. But such groups have tended to be rather fickle in their support for the Chancellor. Osborne should beware relying on fairweather friends as justification for his economic agenda, as they can easily turn against him.
George Osborne has renewed his call for international action in tackling tax avoidance and the so-called "profit shifting" by multinational giants as ...