Tag Archives: Inequality

Open and hidden gender inequality

By: Lykke E. Andersen*

Economists distinguish between open and hidden unemployment, and I think it is possible to introduce a similar distinction in the area of gender inequality.

I will define open gender inequality as that which is reflected in all the traditional gender indicators, such as gender gaps in school enrolment, gender differences in labour market participation rates, gender pay gaps, etc. I would usually have referred to the World Bank’s World Development Indicators for such data, but they have been updating their website, and I can’t find anything anymore. The United Nations system for SDG indicators is even worse. Instead, Our World in Data has vastly improved, so that is my new go-to site for all kinds of development statistics, including gender inequality data (https://sdg-tracker.org/gender-equality).

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Five Ways in which South American Communities Feel the Impact of Climate Change

Valerie GiesenReports by the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the World Bank show that communities across South America are already feeling the impact of climate change today—and that these are likely to intensify in the future. According to the IPCC, the economies of most Latin American countries depend on agriculture, which means that climatic change and extreme weather events that affect farming also pose a tangible threat to economic prosperity and developmental goals in the region. A 2012 World Bank Report even predicts that South America will be one of the regions hit hardest if temperatures rose by more than the internationally recognised 2°C target. This post will highlight five of the central ways in which South Americans are experiencing the effects of climate change:

1. Temperature: In South America, climate change has led to a variety of temperature changes. While the widely-cited 2007 IPCC report observed an overall 1°C increase in temperature across South America over the past decade, there has been significant regional variation, leading to diverse effects. For instance, Bolivia’s highlands have actually cooled by 1°C over the past five decades, while there is some evidence for rising temperatures in the lowlands. In a 2009 World Bank Report, Drs. Lykke Andersen and Dorte Verner show that the contradictory trends of average temperatures have led to uneven social and economic effects of climate change in Bolivia. They estimate that the cooling experienced in the country’s highlands has reduced income in these areas by about 2–3 percent. In the country’s wealthier lowlands, no such negative trends were observed. This means that in Bolivia changes in temperature affect the population of the comparatively poor highlands disproportionately, compared to the wealthier lowland of the country. Read More »

Uncovering Undernutrition (Part I): Is there enough food?

In 1996 the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations (UN) estimated that the world was producing enough food to provide each person with 2,700 calories per day. Each day an average grown man needs around 2,500 calories per day, a grown woman around 2,000 calories, and children less. In other words, in the mid-nineties, there was more than enough food to keep everyone in the world adequately fed. Yet nearly 1 billion people, around 17 percent of the population at that time, were undernourished. What was happening?

According to the FAO, undernourishment occurs when, for at least a year, a person is unable to eat enough calories to meet the minimum energy needs of an inactive lifestyle. It does not take into account the needs of those who have a physically active life, such as farmers or manual laborers, and therefore need more calories to stay strong and healthy. Nor does it take into account deficiencies in essential vitamins and minerals which can have negative long-term effects on health, such as weak bones and skeletal deformities caused by a lack of vitamin D.

Based on the latest country data on population numbers, availability and distribution of food, and the ability of people to afford and physically access that food, the 2012 FAO report,’The State of Food Insecurity in the World‘ reveals a lot about undernourishment around the world over the past two decades.

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Opinion: Why happiness does not matter for the problem of poverty.

As shown in our post “Is there more to life than money? Mapping happiness of people and planet”, several attempts have been made to measure happiness and wellbeing globally. However, consensus proved elusive since different studies brought very diverse results. That is because happiness is a very hard thing to define – if it had a clear, objective definition, our lives would be a lot easier, wouldn’t they? Still, there are several working definitions, and most of them can be grouped in either of the following two categories. On one hand, there is a happiness that relates to one’s satisfaction with their lives. That often involves a feeling of having achieved one’s goals in life, having an option not to work in an extremely degrading job, having good relationships, etc. On the other hand, there is a more emotional happiness. That is much more momentary, it is the “state of mind of feeling good”. According to the latter definition, one’s happiness would be measured by how often, how intensely, and for how long one “feels good”.  Read More »

Theory Bites: Development, Underdevelopment and Dependency

The contemporary common language of development divides the world between developed and underdeveloped countries. This common-sensical classification also guides us to think of the two groups as rich and poor. Or even further, that the developed world, despite its imperfections, is “fine” and its people are happy—they represent the way human society should generally be—while the underdeveloped, for whichever reason, has just fallen behind—its people suffer and are not an example of what we’d like to see for humanity. The assumption is that everyone would prefer to live in a city, drive their car to work, and enjoy air conditioning and washing machines, since humans can and should “achieve” much more than washing their clothes by hand or farming for their own survival.

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Guest Roast: From Crisis to Resilience: Rethinking Macroeconomic Vulnerability

By Anuradha Seth

The frequency of global financial and economic crises has increased over the past decade and a half, and they appear to have become a systemic feature of the international economy. The risk of economic growth and human development achievements being undermined by such volatile international developments is fostering an overall re-think about the inner nature of crises, the growing vulnerability of developing countries and their capacity to be resilient in the face of these shocks. Read More »

Guest Roast: A Native Perspective on Gold Mining in Guatemala

By Cathy Gerrior

My name is Cathy Gerrior. My spirit name is white turtle woman and I am a Mi’kmaq Elder and Ceremony Keeper from TurtleIsland.  I was given an opportunity to visit Guatemala by a group called Breaking the Silence, an organization who works towards justice and fair treatment of the Mayan People in Guatemala.

We joined a delegation in Guatemala led by Grahame Russell with the Rights Action group to learn the truth about Canadian mining companies and what they are doing to our Mayan brothers and sisters in Latin America.  Grahame was very thorough in his teachings around this issue.  At one point I asked him if this work was his passion.  He thought about it for a moment and replied Read More »


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