Oxfam International Blogs - economic inequality http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/tags/economic-inequality en Historic vote in European Parliament for a Europe free from tax havens http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/19-04-09-historic-vote-european-parliament-europe-free-tax-havens <div class="field field-name-body"><p><em><strong>Last week, the European Parliament voted in favour of listing five EU countries as tax havens. Now, European Union governments and the European Commission must follow through to end tax havens, writes Oxfam’s tax expert, Johan Langerock.</strong></em></p><p>The European Union is home to some of the world’s worst and largest tax havens.</p><p>For years, academia, politicians, Oxfam and others have been calling on the EU to clean up its house. But when EU finance ministers published an <a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/pressroom/reactions/eus-tax-havens-blacklist-more-whitewash" rel="nofollow">update of their tax haven blacklist and ‘grey list’ recently</a>, once again EU member states were let off the hook.</p><p>Since the establishment of the tax haven blacklist in 2017, the EU has decided to only screen third countries in the blacklisting process.</p><p>In other words: European governments were not willing to hold themselves to the same standards by which they judge others. And until last week, no EU institution had dared to explicitly label EU countries as tax havens.</p><p><strong>Taking a stand against tax dodging</strong></p><p>This has now changed: last week, more than 300 parliamentarians from different political parties and countries took a stand and voted in favour of <a href="https://twitter.com/OxfamEU/status/1110572374875873280" rel="nofollow">a resolution that recognises the Netherlands, Malta, Cyprus, </a><br><a href="https://twitter.com/OxfamEU/status/1110572374875873280" rel="nofollow">Ireland and Luxembourg as tax havens</a>, referencing research conducted by Oxfam in our latest report “<a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/research/hook-how-eu-about-whitewash-worlds-worst-tax-havens" rel="nofollow">Off the Hook</a>”. A historic breakthrough, and a very important step towards tax justice.</p><p>It is estimated that in 2015 alone, <a href="https://voxeu.org/article/missing-profits-nations" rel="nofollow">multinational companies shifted $600 billion (EUR 526 billion) in profits</a> to tax havens, with a third of this going to tax havens in the EU.</p><p>This tax dodging deprives rich and poor countries alike of the money needed to invest in public services, such as healthcare and education.</p><p>Women and girls are worst affected since girls are the first to be left out of school when education fees rise, and women tend to fill the gaps in public services with hours of unpaid care to a greater extent than men.</p><p><strong>Time for the Commission to take the next steps</strong></p><p>Following the European Parliament vote, it is now up to the European Commission to implement concrete measures to tackle tax havens and aggressive tax practices inside the European Union.</p><p>Years of austerity and a faltering economic model have widened the gap between rich and poor in Europe, contributing to increasingly polarised societies and plunging the EU into crisis.</p><p>Ending the era of tax havens – including those on EU territory – is one key step in the creation of a world where all companies and individuals pay their fair share of tax, to the benefit of all people.</p><p><em>This entry posted on 9 April 2019, by Johan Langerock, Oxfam&nbsp;Policy Advisor for Tax and Inequality.</em></p><p><em>&nbsp;</em></p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>Historic vote in European Parliament for a Europe free from tax havens</h2></div> Tue, 09 Apr 2019 13:36:47 +0000 Guest Blogger 81929 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/19-04-09-historic-vote-european-parliament-europe-free-tax-havens#comments This Video on Inequality Has Gone Viral. So What Next? http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/19-02-01-video-inequality-has-gone-viral-so-what-next <div class="field field-name-body"><p><strong>"You are counting the wrong things. You are not counting the dignity of people.”</strong></p> <p>At last month's World Economic Forum in Davos, Oxfam’s Executive Director Winnie Byanyima spoke on dozens of different panels and interviews, banging the drum for action against global inequality.</p> <p>But one panel this year was different -- this TIME magazine panel '<a href="https://www.weforum.org/events/world-economic-forum-annual-meeting/sessions/the-price-of-inequality"><strong>The Cost of Inequality</strong></a>' went viral.</p> <p>We don’t expect (or even necessarily want) the billionaire elites there to try to change a system that empowers them over the billions of poor people – our political leaders have to do that.</p> <p>But we do expect them at least to pay their fair share of taxes.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr" xml:lang="en">Now this.<br />?? <a href="https://t.co/gaHKN2wybi">pic.twitter.com/gaHKN2wybi</a></p> <p>— Oxfam International (@Oxfam) <a href="https://twitter.com/Oxfam/status/1090583892774531073?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">January 30, 2019</a></p></blockquote> <script async="" src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><p><strong>First, the historian and author Rutger Bregman got fired up about taxes.</strong> “Almost no one raises the real issue of tax avoidance. And of the rich just not paying their fair share. It feels like I’m at a firefighters conference and no one’s allowed to speak about water.”</p> <p>In response to an argument that high personal taxation has never been successful throughout history, he noted that in 1950s America, it had been.</p> <p><strong>Later, to a question from the audience</strong> that capitalism should be lauded for growth and high employment, Winnie Byanyima gave examples in return of US poultry workers having to wear nappies on the production line because they were not allowed toilet breaks, and of Nairobi taxi drivers having to sleep in shifts, three to a room, in order to maintain cheap fares on poverty wages.</p> <p><strong>“These are not dignified jobs. It is the quality of jobs that matter.</strong> When you talk about low levels of unemployment, you are counting the wrong things. You’re not counting the dignity of people … you’re counting exploited people!”</p> <p><strong>This video now has more than 18 million views</strong>, and has been shared more than 270,000 times with more than 4,500 comments. “I gathered something had changed when I woke up this morning with 18,000 new followers on my Twitter account that I didn’t have the night before,” Winnie said.</p> <p>“I am happy that people seem to have been charged up by what they heard on this panel. But there's a serious message I’m seeing. People are fed up and are speaking out about such obscene inequality in our global economy. I see it here in Nairobi where I live, I see it in New York, I see it around the world. </p> <p><strong>People have lost patience with the super-rich elites</strong> and their friends in governments who are presiding over such injustice. Around the world a super-rich elite is rigging political and economic policy to serve their own interests and serve their own greed – and they’re taking a sledgehammer to workers’ rights, to taxes, pushing wages down – and they then have the audacity to repackage this as some sort of economic success story! </p> <p><strong><a href="https://www.cnbc.com/2018/01/19/who-are-davos-man-and-davos-woman.html">Davos man</a> is not going to solve these challenges.</strong> And people are getting angrier at the empty rhetoric of our political leaders. It is as if simply acknowledging the problem is enough to get everyone off the hook – it is becoming an excuse and even a reason for inaction. </p> <p><strong>What Rutger and I said in Davos isn’t so unique.</strong> It echoes what is being said around the world.</p> <p>And I tell you, change is coming. It’s coming from a chorus of active people from across society – young people, professionals, entrepreneurs, thinkers, workers, farmers, policymakers, activists– who are demanding a different, more human kind of economy.</p> <p>Now I’m out of Davos, I’m going back to joining them on the front-lines."</p> <p><strong>What you can do now</strong></p> <ul><li><a href="https://actions.oxfam.org/international/fight-inequality-2019/petition/"><strong>Join the movement to fight inequality and beat poverty now.</strong></a></li> <li><a href="https://oxfam.org/donate"><strong>Donate to Oxfam</strong></a></li> </ul><p><i>Photo: World Economic Forum / Sikarin Fon Thanachaiary</i></p> <p><strong><a class="twitter-moment" href="https://twitter.com/i/moments/1090627615394807810?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">The Cost of Inequality - the viral Davos video</a></strong></p> <script async="" src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>This Video on Inequality Has Gone Viral. So What Next?</h2></div> Fri, 01 Feb 2019 14:54:59 +0000 Guest Blogger 81853 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/19-02-01-video-inequality-has-gone-viral-so-what-next#comments Paradise Papers one year on: Five ways to stop such tax scandals http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/18-11-05-paradise-papers-one-year-five-ways-stop-such-tax-scandals <div class="field field-name-body"><p>Just one year ago, 13.4 million leaked files from offshore service providers and company registries were made public. This leak, known as the <a href="https://www.icij.org/investigations/paradise-papers/" rel="nofollow">Paradise Papers</a>, revealed the tax planning strategies of more than 100 multinational corporations, including Nike and Apple, as well as offshore activities by more than 120 politicians and world leaders.</p><p>Like always politicians were quick to react and promise reforms. But so far very little has happened. A new Paradise Papers is to be expected if no serious reforms are undertaken in the coming years. Just recently <a href="http://gabriel-zucman.eu/hidden-wealth/" rel="nofollow">Zucman estimated</a> that multinationals artificially shift almost half of their total overseas profits – 40 percent – to tax havens.</p><p><strong>Tax dodging is fueling an inequality crisis</strong> where <a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/research/reward-work-not-wealth" rel="nofollow">82% of the wealth generated last year</a> went to the richest 1% of the global population, while the 3.7 billion people who make up the poorest half of the world saw no increase in their wealth. When corporations and the super-rich dodge taxes, it is ordinary people, and especially the poorest, who pay the price as governments balance the budget by raising their taxes and cutting vital public services.</p><p><strong>Poor countries are particularly hard hit</strong> by corporate tax dodging as they are twice as dependent on corporate tax revenues as rich countries.</p><p>Governments must take five immediate steps to stop corporations and the super-rich cheating poor countries out of <a href="http://unctad.org/en/PublicationsLibrary/wir2016_en.pdf" rel="nofollow">over $100 billion</a> in tax revenues every year.</p><p>Stopping the tax scandals won’t be easy but it is not impossible if the political will is there.</p><h3>Oxfam's 5-point plan for tax justice</h3><p>Oxfam’s five-point plan shows how governments can stop the tax scandals if they put the interests of the public over the demands of the super-rich and big business:</p><p><strong>1. Agree a global <a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/even-it/full-disclosure-eus-blacklist-tax-havens" rel="nofollow">blacklist of tax havens</a></strong> based on comprehensive objective criteria and take strong countermeasures including sanctions to limit their use. Governments have yet to agree an objective global list of tax havens.</p><p>A farcical OECD - G20 blacklist published in June 2017<a href="https://www.ft.com/content/94d84054-5bf0-11e7-b553-e2df1b0c3220" rel="nofollow"> features just Trinidad and Tobago</a>. The more comprehensive European Union list, published last December, omits European tax havens such as the Netherlands and Ireland that have been key players in the Paradise Papers scandal.</p><p><strong>2. Create a global tax body</strong> where all countries can work together on an equal footing to agree the fundamental tax reforms that are needed to ensure the tax system works for everyone.</p><p>International tax reforms have done little to prevent tax dodging in rich countries and even less in poor countries which were denied any real say in the reform process. Yet OECD and G20 member countries have blocked attempts by poor countries to create an independent tax body where all countries can work together to agree a second round of more fundamental reforms. This would include action to combat damaging tax competition.</p><p><strong>3. Rebalance tax deals</strong> by making sure tax treaties do not exploit developing countries tax bases.</p><p>Poor countries often lose out from unfair tax agreements because they allow multinational companies to avoid paying tax in the country.&nbsp; Yet, international tax reforms led by the G20 and OECD ignored this issue – in part because poor countries were denied any real say in the process.</p><p><strong>4. End tax secrecy for the super-rich</strong> by establishing a centralized public register of the individuals who own and benefit from shell companies, trusts and foundations publicly available.</p><p>Many countries have established registers of ‘beneficial owners but few have made the information publicly available. This means poor countries are unable to access the information to identify tax dodgers.</p><p><strong>5. End corporate tax secrecy</strong> by ensuring all multinational companies make financial reports publicly available for every country where they operate.&nbsp;</p><p>The OECD initiative on country-by-country reporting falls well short of the mark as it does not cover all multinational corporations and it does not require companies to make their financial reports publicly available. This means poor countries are unable to access the information to identify tax cheats.&nbsp;</p><p>Stronger European proposals on public country-by-country reporting, were due to be agreed this year, but are being blocked by EU member states such as Germany, Ireland, and Luxembourg.</p><p><em>This entry posted on 5 November 2018, by Johan Langerock, Oxfam's EU Policy Advisor for Tax and Inequality.</em></p><p><a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/even-it/full-disclosure-eus-blacklist-tax-havens" rel="nofollow"><strong>Map of the EU's blacklist of tax havens</strong></a></p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>Paradise Papers one year on: Five ways to stop such tax scandals</h2></div> Mon, 05 Nov 2018 18:35:32 +0000 Guest Blogger 81770 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/18-11-05-paradise-papers-one-year-five-ways-stop-such-tax-scandals#comments A day at work: Latin America and the Caribbean http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/18-01-29-day-work-latin-america-and-caribbean <div class="field field-name-body"><p><span><span>TRABAJO ('Work') is a collaborative film shot by ordinary people for the ordinary people. The film is the result of hundreds of videos shot in more than 10 countries in Latin America back in October 2017. 'Work' is a dialogue between, let’s say,&nbsp;</span><i>normal routine</i><span>&nbsp;such a wake up, get ready in the morning and go to work, with, let’s say,&nbsp;</span><i>normalized</i><span>&nbsp;circumstances, such as very poor public services, lack of opportunities, deep rooted inequality. </span></span></p><p><span><span>The film also reflects perseverance and tenacity of women and men that work very hard to get ahead, to feed their families.</span></span></p><p><span><span><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Rzczjj9J7qs?rel=0" allowfullscreen="" width="640" height="360" frameborder="0"></iframe><br></span></span></p><h3>Work in Latin America: a much needed discussion</h3><p>Going to work is the essence of our routine, every day. Most of us spend more hours at work than in any other daily activity. However, for many workers, their income is not enough to cover basic needs. Moreover, many people, mostly women, go straight from their workplace on to spend untold hours doing unpaid housework.<br><br>People are fully aware and express themselves emphatically: we live in a system of privilege, a rigged system that benefits primarily those who hold the power.<br><br>It is a system of exclusion of opportunities due to race, nationality or gender, with the burden of unpaid care in most cases on women's shoulders. And critically,&nbsp; workers’ income is simply not enough to cover basic needs despite long hours of work and effort.</p><h3>'Work', the collaborative short movie</h3><p>'Work' is a documentary style film that shows us the daily reality for many workers in an&nbsp; open and spontaneous way. This short film narrates, without judgement, the typical workday in Latin America and the Caribbean, from dawn to midnight. <br><br>Some of the most compelling and captivating scenes&nbsp; come from conversations, fragments of genuine and direct emotions of those wonderful people who shared a little moment of their routines and wisdom.<br><br>The film TRABAJO ('Work') is a conversation, a dialogue with many people. It is not about number-crunching and <a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/research/reward-work-not-wealth" rel="nofollow">data on inequality</a>. There is no <a href="https://actions.oxfam.org/international/fight-inequality-2018/petition/" rel="nofollow">call to action</a>. Rather, it is a walk on the streets, through the fields, through the eloquence and wisdom of ordinary hard-working people who understand the system very well -- a system of privilege for a few -- but who are not willing to give up the fight.</p><p>This project presents how Latin Americans work. Share it!</p><p><em>This entry posted by Pablo Rivero, Campaigner, Oxfam Bolivia, on 29 January 2018.</em></p><p><em>Photo: Maria Cristina Lopez, working in Mexico. Credit: Oxfam</em></p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>A day at work: Latin America and the Caribbean</h2></div><ul class="links inline"><li class="translation_es first last"><a href="http://l.blogs.oxfam/es/blogs/18-01-29-trabajo-un-cortometraje-que-cuenta-c%C3%B3mo-se-buscan-la-vida-los-latinoamericanos" title="Trabajo: un cortometraje que cuenta cómo se buscan la vida los latinoamericanos" class="translation-link" xml:lang="es">Español</a></li> </ul> Mon, 29 Jan 2018 13:13:45 +0000 Pablo Rivero 81377 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/18-01-29-day-work-latin-america-and-caribbean#comments Latin America remains the most unequal region in the world http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/17-12-18-latin-america-remains-most-unequal-region-world <div class="field field-name-body"><div><div><div><div><div><div><div><div><div><div><div><em>This entry posted by Oxfam's Communication Team in Latin America on 19 December 2017.</em></div></div></div></div></div></div></div></div></div></div></div><p><span>Although income inequality has fallen in recent years, Latin America remains the most unequal region in the world. In 2014 the richest 10% of people in Latin America had amassed 71% of the region’s wealth. If this trend continues, according to Oxfam’s calculations, in just six years’ time the richest 1% in the region will have accumulated more wealth than the remaining 99%.</span></p><p>From 2002 to 2015, the fortunes of Latin America’s billionaires grew by an average of 21% per year —an increase that Oxfam estimates is six times greater than the growth of the whole region’s GDP.</p><p>Much of this wealth is held offshore in tax havens, which means that a sizeable portion of the benefits of Latin America’s growth are being captured by a small number of very wealthy individuals, at the expense of the poor and the middle class. This extreme income concentration and inequality is also confirmed by analysis of the tax data available on personal income in selected countries of the region.</p><p><strong>Gender inequality: a cause and a consecquence of income inequality</strong></p><p>And yes, there are more poor women than men in Latin America and the Caribbean. Women make up the majority of low-paid workers and those in the most precarious forms of work and who face disproportionate responsibilities for unpaid care work, which restricts their chances of taking up leadership positions or professional or technical jobs.</p><p>On average worldwide, women spend nearly 2.5 times more time on unpaid work than men each day and studies have shown that their responsibilities for unpaid care work do not reduce as they increase their participation in the labor market.</p><p><span>Gender inequality is both a cause and a consequence of income inequality. The IMF recently found that in countries with higher levels of income inequality, gender inequalities across health, education, labor market participation and representation were also higher. The gender pay gap, where women earn less than men for doing the same jobs, is also found to be higher in more unequal societies and this is compounded by occupational segregation and unpaid care responsibilities. Women get much less of the </span>economic pie than men do, and the very highest incomes are reserved almost exclusively for men – 445 of the 500 richest people in the world are men.</p><p><img alt="Photo: Percy Ramírez-Oxfam" title="How would the holiday season be without any discrimination towards women? 66% of Latin Americans believe the greatest challenge in the region is inequality between women and men. #HolidaysForChanging and sharing the chores. Photo: Percy Ramírez-Oxfam" height="827" width="1240" class="media-element file-default" data-delta="4" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/cred_-_percy_ramirez_interna_1.jpg" /></p><p><strong>Youth suffer most from economic crisis&nbsp;</strong></p><p><b><span></span></b><span>‘We shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that recovery is not universal and that almost 43 percent of the global youth labor force is still either unemployed or working yet living in poverty. It’s still not easy to be young and starting out in today’s labor market.’&nbsp;</span></p><p>Although the effects of the 2008 global recession have varied widely, youth are consistently the most affected. Moreover, youth have been hit harder than in previous recessions. A study of 17 middle-income countries found that youth experienced the largest rise in unemployment rates, which was even higher for young women, youth members of another marginalized group, and those living in rural areas. In 15 of the 17 countries included in the study, wage rates also decreased for youth.&nbsp;</p><p>In Latin America, despite relatively low overall unemployment rates over the past decade, youth represent over 40 percent of all unemployed people, despite comprising only 18 percent of the population.</p><p><strong>How to tackle inequality<br></strong></p><p>What is needed is a multi-pronged strategy to rebalance power within global and national economies, empowering people who are currently excluded and keeping the influence of the rich and powerful in check.</p><p>This is necessary for economies to work better in the interests of the majority and in particular in the interests of the poorest people, who have the most to gain from a fairer distribution of income and wealth. Governments in particular must work for citizens, representing the will of the people rather than the interests of big business, and must tackle extreme inequality.</p><p>This goes hand in hand with effective governance. The public interest should be the guiding principle of all global agreements and national policies and strategies.&nbsp;</p><p><img alt="Photo: Jesús Aurazo Dávila - Oxfam" title="Imagine if Santa Claus only had presents for 1 out of every 4 children. 75% of Latin Americans think authorities govern only for the most powerful. #HolidaysForChanging the rules and counting on public policies for all, not just the few." height="2550" width="4207" class="media-element file-default" data-delta="5" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/cred_-_jesus_aurazo_davila_interna_2_0.jpg" /></p><p><em>Photo: Jesús Aurazo Dávila - Oxfam</em></p><p><b>References: </b></p><ul><li><em>Alicia Bárcena y Winnie Byanyima (2016),</em> <i>América Latina y el Caribe es la región más desigual del mundo.</i> <i>¿Cómo solucionarlo? <em>(https://blogs.oxfam.org/es/blogs/16-03-16-america-latina-y-el-caribe-region-mas-desigual-mundo).</em></i></li><li><i><em></em></i>Rosa María Cañete Alonso (2015), <i>Privilegios que niegan derechos, Desigualdad extrema y secuestro de la democracia en América Latina y el Caribe</i>. (https://www.oxfam.org/es/informes/privilegios-que-niegan-derechos).</li><li>Jennifer Glassco y Lina Holguin (2016), BOLETÍN INFORMATIVO DE OXFAM, <i>JOVENES Y DESIGUALDAD, Es tiempo de apoyar a los jóvenes como actores de su propio futuro. </i>(https://peru.oxfam.org/sites/peru.oxfam.org/files/file_attachments/J%C3%B3venes%20y%20desigualdad_2_0.pdf).</li><li>Deborah Hardoon (2017), <i>Una economía para el 99%, Es hora de construir una economía más humana y justa al servicio de las personas</i>. (https://www.oxfam.org/sites/www.oxfam.org/files/file_attachments/bp-economy-for-99-percent-160117-es.pdf).</li></ul><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>Latin America remains the most unequal region in the world</h2></div> Mon, 18 Dec 2017 19:11:37 +0000 Guest Blogger 81334 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/17-12-18-latin-america-remains-most-unequal-region-world#comments Why tax dodging is a human rights issue http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/17-11-21-why-tax-dodging-human-rights-issue <div class="field field-name-body"><p><strong>Last week in the wake of the Paradise Papers scandal we saw how <a href="https://views-voices.oxfam.org.uk/inequality/tax/2017/11/cracking-down-on-tax-dodging" rel="nofollow">tax dodging deprives already deprived people</a> of basic services like access to water, education and healthcare. But, how does tax affect human rights? Here, Alex May argues that tax dodging can also be seen as a human rights violation.</strong></p><h3>What is tax dodging?</h3><p>Corporations and wealthy people dodge a lot of tax, whether that is by moving money offshore and out of one tax jurisdiction into another where they will pay less in tax, or through <a href="http://www.taxjustice.net/topics/corporate-tax/transfer-pricing/" rel="nofollow">transfer (mis)pricing </a>whereby the value of goods exchanged is mis-represented, or by making deals with governments to pay less tax.</p><p>It is understandable to want to pay less tax. <strong>‘Tax avoidance’</strong> is the term for legal (at least technically legal) reductions of tax liabilities.<strong> ‘Tax evasion’</strong> describes the illegal (and usually also deeply immoral) version of breaking the law to not pay tax. This distinction is messy and unclear, and just because something is technically lawful does not make it fair or ethically acceptable, especially given imbalances of power in negotiating tax deals.</p><p>The International Bar Association’s report on <a href="https://www.ibanet.org/Article/NewDetail.aspx?ArticleUid=4A0CF930-A0D1-4784-8D09-F588DCDDFEA4" rel="nofollow">Tax Abuses, Poverty and Human Rights</a> talks of ‘tax abuses’. This recognizes that particularly aggressive tax avoidance, while technically lawful, is nonetheless morally wrong. One of the companies implicated in the Paradise Papers, <a href="https://www.applebyglobal.com/media-statements/appleby-reaction-to-media-coverage.aspx" rel="nofollow">Appleby said</a> that they ‘are a law firm which advises clients on legitimate and lawful ways to conduct their business.’ But what about fair ways to conduct a business?</p><p>Business activity and other incomes should contribute fairly to society, not just leech from it.</p><h3>The role of the State: taxation and realizing human rights</h3><p><a href="http://www.christianaid.ie/images/tax-policy-is-human-rights-policy-alston-philip.pdf" rel="nofollow">Tax policy is human rights policy</a>. Tax is not just an economic issue of GDP and deficits, but also about public services and redistribution. A human rights approach helps to bring the moral dimension clearly to the surface, as part of an internationally recognized framework.</p><p><strong>States have an obligation</strong> under the <a href="http://www.ohchr.org/EN/ProfessionalInterest/Pages/CESCR.aspx" rel="nofollow">Convention on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights</a> to work towards greater realisation of human rights. The rights under this convention include an adequate standard of living, education, housing, food, healthcare and cultural activities. Unfortunately, Western culture tends to focus on civil and political rights and overlook the other aspects of human rights.</p><p>Article 2(1) says that states must take steps, ‘to the maximum of [their] available resources’, to achieve progressively the full realization of the recognized human rights. This is a strong obligation, although it includes the recognition that it is a process over time. The achievement of most economic and social rights requires significant resources, so the amount of tax income available to governments affects how much this can be done.</p><p><strong>Tax policies can be assessed</strong> by the ‘maximum available resources’ standard: is the state doing the best it can to realize human rights, or is it giving tax breaks to corporations and the rich while cutting public services? The <a href="http://docstore.ohchr.org/SelfServices/FilesHandler.ashx?enc=4slQ6QSmlBEDzFEovLCuW3XRinAE8KCBFoqOHNz%2FvuCC%2BTxEKAI18bzE0UtfQhJkxxOSGuoMUxHGypYLjNFkwxnMR6GmqogLJF8BzscMe9zpGfTXBkZ4pEaigi44xqiL" rel="nofollow">UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights</a> commented on the UK’s tax policy in 2016, as part of the periodic review under the Convention. It expressed concern over the adverse impact that tax changes, such as reducing corporation tax and increasing VAT, had on the UK’s ‘ability to address persistent social inequality and to collect sufficient resources to achieve the full realization of economic, social and cultural rights for the benefit of disadvantaged and marginalized individuals and groups.’</p><p>As well as the general tax policy, we can also ask whether the State’s actions to tackle tax evasion and tax avoidance are sufficient to count as ‘maximum available resources’.</p><h3>Business and human rights</h3><p>Business enterprises also have a responsibility to respect human rights. The UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) make it explicit: ‘Business Enterprises should respect Human Rights’ (Article 11).</p><p>Though not legally binding, it is an international instrument which has been endorsed by the UN Human Rights council. This is a significant recognition of the moral responsibilities which corporations have.</p><p><strong>The responsibility to respect human rights</strong> is a ‘do no harm’ responsibility to not infringe upon the human rights of others or do things which have ‘adverse human rights impacts’.</p><p>By depriving states of tax revenues which they ought to have, tax abuses infringe on the human rights of those who would and should have benefited. The question remains of how much tax this is. The <a href="http://www.oecd.org/investment/mne/1903291.pdf" rel="nofollow">OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises</a> are helpful here: they say that enterprises should comply with ‘both the letter and spirit of the tax laws’. Complying with the spirit of the law means ‘<a href="http://acts.oecd.org/Instruments/ShowInstrumentView.aspx?InstrumentID=241&amp;Lang=en&amp;Book=False" rel="nofollow">discerning and following the intention of the legislature</a>’. This shifts us away from technical legality to look at whether the tax system is being abused.</p><p>Arguments based on human rights can also be made which go beyond the UNGP’s ‘do no harm’ approach. Once we look at moral obligations it ought not be uncontroversial to say that corporations should pay a fair share of tax in every country in which they benefit from economic activity. What a ‘fair share’ amounts to is open to debate, but in many cases may well be higher than the amount required by law.</p><p><em>This entry posted on 21 November 2017, by Alex May, a freelance researcher, activist and writer. He has previously interned for Oxfam and worked as a research consultant on Business and Human Rights issues.<br></em></p><h3>What you can do now</h3><p><strong>Share this film:</strong><em><br></em></p><p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/rYIhuREYEIQ?rel=0" allowfullscreen="" width="640" height="360" frameborder="0"></iframe></p><p><strong>Find out &gt; <a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/even-it/paradise-papers-hidden-costs-tax-dodging" rel="nofollow">What are the Paradise Papers?</a><br></strong></p><p><strong>Read the report &gt; <a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/research/stopping-scandals-five-ways-governments-can-end-tax-avoidance" rel="nofollow">Stopping the Scandals: five ways governments can end tax avoidance</a></strong></p><p><strong>Act now &gt; <a href="http://endtaxhavensnow.org" rel="nofollow">Join the movement to End Tax Havens</a></strong></p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>Why tax dodging is a human rights issue</h2></div> Tue, 21 Nov 2017 16:09:47 +0000 Guest Blogger 81308 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/17-11-21-why-tax-dodging-human-rights-issue#comments It's not really about Oxfam's shocking inequality stat—or is it? http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/17-02-21-its-not-really-about-oxfams-shocking-inequality-stat-is-it <div class="field field-name-body"><p>Oxfam’s recent assessment on the growing global gap between the rich and the poor is shocking: <a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/pressroom/pressreleases/2017-01-16/just-8-men-own-same-wealth-half-world">just 8 men now have as much wealth</a> as the poorest 3.6 billion people. This is a sobering and eye-opening estimate that we have calculated and released to sound the alarm yet again on the global problem of income and wealth inequality.<br /><br />Our report has received a lot of media attention here in the US and around the world, but there’s also been a critic or two. In the piece last week, “<a href="https://www.globalcitizen.org/en/content/oxfam-report-inequality-flawed-data/">Inequality Is Bad, But Not as Bad as Recent Report Claims</a>,” Global Citizen staff suggested that Oxfam’s methodology for calculating global wealth “is flawed in a few significant ways.” We beg to differ.</p> <p> </p><h3>Digging into inequality data</h3> <p>For our calculation, Oxfam relied on the analysis of renowned economists who lead Credit Suisse’s team charged with calculating the global wealth distribution. These guys are the experts to ask: <em>how bad is global wealth inequality?</em><br /><br />Global Citizen also claims that <a href="https://www.oxfam.org/sites/www.oxfam.org/files/file_attachments/tb-economy-99-percent-methodology-160117-en.pdf">our methodology</a> is flawed – because we omit healthcare, education, housing and income from our measurement of wealth.</p> <p>While healthcare and education are pertinent considerations in a holistic assessment of wellbeing, they are outside the scope of what we explicitly claim to be comparing – wealth. Wealth, according to Credit Suisse, includes the value of financial assets plus real estate owned by households, minus their debts. That includes housing.</p> <p>As far as income is concerned, well, that’s not the same thing as wealth. Wealth is the amount an individual owns at a given point, made up of all their financial and non-financial assets, including property, minus any debts. It is possible for someone with high net wealth to have a low income – for example a retiree who owns a house and has investments – and vice versa. Usually wealth and income are correlated – so that those with the highest incomes tend to have the greatest wealth.</p> <p> </p><h3>Celebrating falling poverty</h3> <p>Global Citizen staff also claim that <a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/research/economy-99">our most recent report</a> “fails to stress the scope of poverty reduction around the world.” But here’s a quote from the first page: “Hundreds of millions of people have been lifted out of poverty in recent decades, an achievement of which the world should be proud.”</p> <p>Indeed, it’s great news that the number of people living in extreme poverty (on less than $2 a day) halved between 1990 and 2010. Yet many of those who escaped extreme poverty –maybe they earn $2.10 a day now rather than $1.90 – still face a daily struggle to put food on the table, pay for their children’s education or buy medicine when they are sick.</p> <p><strong>In a world where 1 in 10 people live on less than $2 a day</strong> and 1 in 9 of us goes to bed hungry every night there is can be no room for complacency. Extreme inequality traps people in poverty and must be stopped - 700 million more people would not be living in poverty today if action had been taken to reduce the gap between rich and poor.</p> <p>The World Bank agrees – it has said that eliminating poverty will be impossible unless we simultaneously act to close the gap between rich and poor. The bottom line is that we cannot end poverty if inequality is not tackled. 700 million more people would not be living in poverty today if action had been taken to reduce the gap between rich and poor.</p> <p> </p><h3>Inequality fuels poverty</h3> <p>Extreme inequality actually undermines efforts to help reduce poverty. And the power concentrated in the hands of the wealthy prevents the necessary policy changes that would push our economy to be more equitable.</p> <p>That’s what our stat shows. It is indeed meant to shock, to spark conversation, and to enable us to be heard when we push for specific changes in our political system and economy that will reduce poverty. And the evidence is that this stat is extremely effective at accomplishing its goal. It is by far the most attention-getting single piece of information that Oxfam publishes, and it helps mobilize hundreds of thousands of people to take-action around the world.</p> <p>Oxfam also puts out hundreds of thousands of words of research in gloriously wonky detail every single year about the underlying causes and solutions to poverty and inequality, but this single stat dwarfs them all when it comes sparking discussion. That’s probably why some critics are more apt to focus on it than the other 36 pages in the report, or anything else we publish.</p> <p> </p><h3>Shocking but true</h3> <p>No stat is perfect, this one is no exception. But it happens to be immensely powerful in pushing people to pay attention and act. It’s also factually correct.</p> <p>Inequality is not inevitable. It is a political choice our leaders make every day, with every law they pass and every regulation they write or dismantle.</p> <p>Here’s hoping Global Citizen staff and every one of you will join us to <a href="https://actions.oxfam.org/international/davos-international/petition/">urge our leaders to take urgent action</a> against extreme inequality.</p> <iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="385" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/2x4jbN6_q5Q?list=PL6aUYrLXCUPSe7c1V56IdX4ZlVn-IBU8m" width="690"></iframe><p> </p><h3>What you can do now</h3> <p><a href="https://actions.oxfam.org/international/davos-international/petition/"><strong>Join the movement to end extreme inequality</strong></a></p> <p><em>This entry posted by Nick Galasso (<a href="https://twitter.com/vngalasso">@vngalasso</a>), Oxfam International’s Head of Office in Washington, DC on 21 February 2017. Originally published by <a href="https://www.globalcitizen.org/en/content/inequality-is-worse-than-you-think-and-yes-we-have/">Global Citizen</a>.</em></p> <p><em> </em></p> <p><em> </em></p> </div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>It&#039;s not really about Oxfam&#039;s shocking inequality stat—or is it?</h2></div> Tue, 21 Feb 2017 17:25:43 +0000 Nick Galasso 80943 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/17-02-21-its-not-really-about-oxfams-shocking-inequality-stat-is-it#comments Seven brilliant questions you asked about Oxfam’s Inequality report http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/17-01-16-seven-brilliant-questions-you-asked-about-oxfam-inequality-report <div class="field field-name-body"><p>Oxfam’s new <a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/research/economy-99">inequality report</a>, which found that just 8 men own the same wealth as half the world, is making <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2017/jan/16/worlds-eight-richest-people-have-same-wealth-as-poorest-50">headlines</a> around the globe.  Since we launched we have been inundated with questions from people who want to know a bit more.  Here we reply to five of the most frequently asked questions.</p> <h3>1. Why is Oxfam making such a fuss about the super-rich? It’s the numbers of people living in poverty that matter and poverty is on the decline.</h3> <p>Oxfam is not anti-wealth but we are anti-poverty. Extreme inequality is trapping millions of people in poverty because the same economic rules that allow extreme wealth also cause poverty – think of tax dodging or companies choosing profits over wages. In fact, 700 million fewer people would have been living in poverty at the end of the last decade, if action had been taken to reduce the gap between rich and poor.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr" xml:lang="en">If we don't end neoliberalism we'll see more of what happened in the last 25 years, warns Oxfam. <a href="https://t.co/i1CH3dswFY">pic.twitter.com/i1CH3dswFY</a></p> <p>— Johan Norberg (@johanknorberg) <a href="https://twitter.com/johanknorberg/status/821301218890891265">January 17, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script async="" src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><p>It is true that there has been great progress in reducing poverty in recent years - which is <strong>great news</strong> – but now experts like the <a href="http://www.worldbank.org/en/news/press-release/2016/10/02/tackling-inequality-vital-to-end-extreme-poverty-by-2030">World Bank</a> are warning that this progress is under threat because of extreme inequality. The World Bank stated quite clearly in their most recent report that we can’t end poverty if we don’t end the inequality crisis.</p> <h3>2. Why is Oxfam criticising people like Bill Gates who give away huge amounts of money to charity?</h3> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p dir="ltr" lang="en" xml:lang="en">Seriously <a href="https://twitter.com/Oxfam">@Oxfam</a> why do you care about their wealth? Especially as some of the are world's biggest charitable donors <a href="https://t.co/blQa8D2bKX">https://t.co/blQa8D2bKX</a></p> <p>— James Clark (@mr_james_c) <a href="https://twitter.com/mr_james_c/status/820927251101446144">January 16, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <p>Oxfam isn’t criticising these men.  We are simply pointing out that our broken economies have created such extreme levels of inequality that just 8 men own the same amount of wealth as 3.6 billion people.</p> <p>Many big corporations and super-rich individuals are helping to fuel this inequality crisis – by dodging taxes, or using their money and connections to ensure government policy works for them at any cost.  Big corporations, keen to maximise profits for their wealthy shareholders, are also driving down wages and the prices paid to their producers and failing to invest properly in the future of their businesses.</p> <p>Wealthy individuals who use their money to help others should be congratulated. But charitable giving does not replace a company or individual's responsibility to pay their fair share of tax or ensure their workers are paid a decent wage. Billionaire Bill Gates agrees – he says the first responsibility of the super-rich is to pay their taxes.</p> <h3>3. Oxfam’s inequality stats are hugely exaggerated. Many of the people in the ‘bottom half of humanity’ are not poor – they are graduates with student debts.</h3> <p>This is the case for a tiny fraction of people. The vast majority of people in the bottom half of humanity are very poor people, who are struggling to get by.  People like <a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/campaigns/even-it-vietnam/healthcare-inequality-vietnam-price-kidney">Oanh in Vietnam</a>, who is trapped in a cycle of debt because her health insurance doesn’t cover the cost of her medical bills.</p> <p>Even if you recalculate the wealth of the bottom half to exclude everyone in net debt their combined wealth is equal to that of just 56 billionaires – this is still a huge and shocking disparity.</p> <h3>4. Oxfam talks about inequality but you pay your bosses’ fat-cat salaries – isn’t that hypocritical?</h3> <p>Oxfam is a confederation of <a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/about">19 member organizations</a>. The salary that each Oxfam pays to its own Executive Director differs - reflecting the size of the organisation as well as national market realities. In each case, the salary paid is entirely consistent with the individuals’ responsibility for running an organisation that is part of a major international humanitarian and development campaigning NGO.</p> <h3>5. Oxfam is anti-capitalism</h3> <p>This is not about ideology – it’s about common sense. A <a href="https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/my-big-idea-2017-time-build-human-economy-winnie-byanyima">healthy market economy</a> is key to tackling poverty and inequality but we don’t have that today. We have an extreme form of capitalism that only works for those at the top. That is why <a href="https://actions.oxfam.org/international/davos-international/petition/">Oxfam is calling for governments</a> to manage our economies so that they work for everyone and not just the fortunate few.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p dir="ltr" lang="en" xml:lang="en">'Shocking? Yes. Unfair? Yes. Inevitable? No.' <a href="https://twitter.com/DeborahHardoon">@DeborahHardoon</a> on the research for 'An Economy for the 99%' <a href="https://t.co/s1bd8jY9Xd">https://t.co/s1bd8jY9Xd</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/wef2017?src=hash">#wef2017</a> <a href="https://t.co/NGsCA1fFIV">pic.twitter.com/NGsCA1fFIV</a></p> <p>— Oxfam International (@Oxfam) <a href="https://twitter.com/Oxfam/status/820965296429301760">January 16, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <h3>6. Would the poor benefit if a few tycoons were less rich?</h3> <p>Yes – in a more human economy they would.   </p> <p>In a more human economy, the richer you are, the more tax you would pay - and this money would be spent on strengthening health care and education, infrastructure and investments in technology and medicines that can dramatically improve all our lives – and particularly the poorest.   </p> <p>In a more human economy, the tycoons would have a little less cash because they would have to pay their employees a decent wage – whether that’s the people who work in their factories, or the people who clean their homes.   </p> <p>In a more human economy, big business and the super-rich would not be able to accumulate such vast fortunes because they would not be able to use their money and connections to ensure the rules work in their favor no matter the cost to others.   </p> <h3>7. Many commentators have highlighted how free market capitalism has lifted millions of people out of poverty – particularly in countries such as India and China. Isn’t capitalism working for the poor?   </h3> <p>Describing free market capitalism as the magic medicine behind the decline in poverty over recent years is naïve and ignores the crucial role played by governments to improve health, education and jobs in these countries - which are key for lifting people out of poverty. For example, China introduced a minimum wage in 2004 and India has a hugely ambitious social security program that aims to guarantee at least 100 days of work a year to every household.   </p> <p><strong>We celebrate the progress that has been made</strong> in lifting hundreds of millions of people out of poverty but we also recognize that there have been many missed opportunities along the way.  If action had been taken to ensure that all sections of society benefited from economic growth, 700 million fewer people would have been living in poverty at the end of the last decade. The World Bank agrees – it has says we will not eliminate extreme poverty unless countries begin to close the gap between the richest and the rest by tackling inequality.   </p> <p>Oxfam is not the only one to recognize that a different approach is needed. An increasing number of voices from the <a href="http://www.worldbank.org/en/news/press-release/2015/10/01/governments-focus-shared-prosperity-inequality-world-bank-group-president">World Bank</a>, the <a href="http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/fandd/2016/06/ostry.htm">International Monetary Fund</a>, and the <a href="https://www.weforum.org/reports/the-global-risks-report-2017">World Economic Forum</a>, as well as <a href="http://www.sida.se/English/press/current-topics-archive/2016/stockholm-statement">many leading economists</a> agree that we need a better way of managing our economies.     </p> <p>Oxfam's <a href="https://www.oxfam.org/en/research/economy-99">vision for a human economy</a> lays down some of the principles of an economy that works for everyone and not just a fortunate few.</p> <p><strong>Keep the questions coming! Follow us at <a href="http://twitter.com/Oxfam">@Oxfam</a>.</strong></p> <h3><a href="https://actions.oxfam.org/international/davos-international/petition/">Join the movement now to end extreme inequality.</a></h3> <p><em>This entry posted by Deborah Hardoon (<a href="https://twitter.com/DeborahHardoon">@DeborahHardoon</a>), Oxfam's Deputy Head of Research, on 17 January 2017.</em></p> <p>N.B.: In response to your additional queries, we added questions six and seven today, 19 January 2017.</p> <p> </p> </div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>Seven brilliant questions you asked about Oxfam’s Inequality report</h2></div> Mon, 16 Jan 2017 18:23:00 +0000 Deborah Hardoon 77468 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/17-01-16-seven-brilliant-questions-you-asked-about-oxfam-inequality-report#comments How to end inequality and poverty through fiscal and gender justice http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/16-11-07-how-end-inequality-poverty-through-fiscal-gender-justice <div class="field field-name-body"><p>Challenging gender inequality in economic decision making is one of the most powerful ways to change who benefits the most from the economy. If a group of decision makers are entirely made up of one particular group in society, then it is unlikely that they will reflect a broad range of perspectives and priorities.</p> <p>Traditionally, economic theory and policy has been male dominated, meaning it often fails to analyse how women and men experience the economy in different ways.</p> <p>Feminist economics gives an alternative, being based on the understanding that gender shapes the way people act, the choices they make, the economic roles they play and crucially the level of power and influence they have over these decisions.</p> <h3>Economic policy for women's rights</h3> <p>Today, the IMF is hosting a <a href="http://www.imf.org/en/News/Events/Conference-on-Fiscal-Policies-Gender-Equality" rel="nofollow">conference on fiscal policy and gender equality</a>, reflecting that economic policy is far from gender neutral, and is in fact a key tool in achieving women’s rights.</p> <p>When government spending priorities ignore this reality, women, especially those most marginalised in the economy, tend to lose out. For example, cut backs in expenditure on public services often result in an increased share of unpaid domestic work that women carry out to fill in the gaps, as recognised recently by the <a href="http://www.womenseconomicempowerment.org/" rel="nofollow">UN High Level Panel on Women’s Economic Empowerment</a>.</p> <p>Feminist movements have also challenged the impact of spending cuts on reducing the services needed to prevent and respond to violence against women and girls.</p> <p><img alt="A girl, 13, studying with her classmates at school. Haiti. Photo: Vincent Tremeau/Oxfam" title="A girl, 13, studying with her classmates at school. Haiti. Photo: Vincent Tremeau/Oxfam" height="680" width="1240" class="media-element file-default" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/98883lpr-girl-studying-school-1240.jpg" /></p> <p>New<a href="https://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/wp/2016/wp16149.pdf" rel="nofollow"> IMF research</a> shows that a gender budgeting approach – which involves analysing how government spending is directed towards reduce gender inequality, is being used successfully in many countries around the world. For example, in India and Mexico, it has led to increases in education, health and infrastructure spending.</p> <p>This chimes with Oxfam’s experience that having gender equality at the heart of economic decision making results in better outcomes for women and girls. However, a process of gender budgeting on its own is not enough to drive gender and fiscal justice.</p> <p>There are three key areas that also need to be addressed to reduce economic and gender inequality through fiscal policy.</p> <p><strong>1. Firstly, any approach which looks at gender equality in economic decision making should ensure increasing women’s transformative leadership is at the heart of efforts. </strong></p> <p>Women need to be at decision making tables in order to influence them, and women who are not in those spaces must also have their voices and priorities heard, so services and spending are accountable to them. However, we know that women, especially the poorest women, experience multiple barriers in influencing economic decisions. These range from the social norms that undermine women’s voices on the economy, to the lack of time women with care responsibilities have to engage, to an <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-37770664" rel="nofollow">increased exposure to violence</a> that women in public life report. In <a href="http://policy-practice.oxfam.org.uk/our-work/governance-citizenship/raising-her-voice" rel="nofollow">Oxfam’s experience</a>, approaches that address these across the political, social and personal levels are needed to be effective and ensure women’s priorities are raised.</p> <p><strong>2. We cannot talk about the need for governments to invest more in gender equality without also talking about tax justice. </strong></p> <p>Progressive, well designed tax systems can ensure that revenue is raised from those that can afford it the most. Currently this is undermined for many of the poorest countries – for instance, developing countries are losing $170bn a year to tax havens, money that could be used to fund vital access to public services.</p> <p><strong>3. The type and design of public investment matters as well as the quantity. </strong></p> <p>Investments in girl’s education are still needed to see every girl go to school, and the removal of school fees saw many countries make advancements towards this goal. However, a recent <a href="http://www.campaignforeducation.org/docs/reports/PPPL_FINAL EDITION_15 SEPT 2016_A4_WEB.pdf" rel="nofollow">Global Campaign for Education report</a> noted worrying trends in donor investment in low fee private schools, the fees of which create barriers for girls in some of the poorest communities of the world. And investments in infrastructure that could reduce unpaid work responsibilities for women need to be designed in consultation with those women, in order to understand their needs.</p> <h3>Toward women's economic equality</h3> <p>There are many ways the agenda for women’s economic equality needs to be taken forward.</p> <p>The IMF has made several <a href="http://www.imf.org/external/mmedia/view.aspx?vid=5136927702001" rel="nofollow">welcome commitments</a> as part of their membership of the UN High Level Panel, and we hope to see them continuing to develop this work through:</p> <ul><li>The outcomes of this conference feeding into the next phase of the UN High Level Panel’s work, including developing recommendations for how economic policy can support gender equality</li> <li>Further research to understand the impact of government spending on gender equality, and what types of investment will best ensure that access to services is prioritised for the poorest women and girls. <a href="http://policy-practice.oxfam.org.uk/blog/2016/08/her-series-an-imf-that-promotes-gender-equality" rel="nofollow">Broadening the analysis of gender equality</a> in the economy to look beyond women’s participation in the labour market to look at the quality of economic opportunities for women and wider gender inequalities in society, and policies that address these issues.</li> <li>Translating research findings on the impact of economic policies on gender equality into concrete changes in its lending policy, surveillance and technical advice.</li> </ul><p><em>This entry posted by Francesca Rhodes, Oxfam Gender Policy Advisor, on 7 November 2016.</em></p> <p><em>Photos:</em></p> <ul><li><em>Tika Darlami (45) participates in a meeting of the 'Nari Utthan' (translation: women ascending) Community Discussion Class. Credit: Aubrey Wade/Oxfam, Nepal, Surkhet District, Mid Western Region</em></li> <li><em><em>Bertina* 13, studying with her classmates at school. Haiti. Oxfam has installed toilets in five schools which will be used by 504 children. Previously children had to defecate in the open areas which presented health <em>issues and deterred many from attending lessons. Credit: Vincent Tremeau/Oxfam (<em>*name changed)</em></em></em></em></li> </ul><h3>What you can do now</h3> <p><strong>Read the report: <a href="https://www.oxfam.org/sites/www.oxfam.org/files/file_attachments/bp-women-and-the-one-percent-110416-en_0.pdf" rel="nofollow">Women and the 1%: How extreme economic inequality and gender inequality must be tackled together</a></strong></p> <p><strong>Join the movement to <a href="https://act.oxfam.org/international/even" rel="nofollow">#EvenItUp and fight economic inequality</a></strong></p> <p> </p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>How to end inequality and poverty through fiscal and gender justice</h2></div> Mon, 07 Nov 2016 16:24:13 +0000 Guest Blogger 69089 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/16-11-07-how-end-inequality-poverty-through-fiscal-gender-justice#comments Tax justice: Are the victims of inequality at the global table? http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/16-09-07-tax-justice-are-victims-inequality-global-table <div class="field field-name-body"><p><em>Eric Kinaga, Oxfam Kenya’s Tax Justice Program Officer, highlights the fact that communities most affected by inequality and tax injustice in Kenya are still without a voice in the debate. Eric is blogging in support of <a href="https://storify.com/vrugg1/taxjustice-blogging-day" rel="nofollow">Tax Justice Blogging Day</a>, an international initiative of the EU-funded '<a href="https://europa.eu/eyd2015/en/tax-justice-together" rel="nofollow">Tax Justice Together</a>' project, a collaboration of 24 partner organizations across 16 EU countries and 3 in the Global South working together to put tax justice at the heart of the European agenda.</em></p> <p>I recently had the opportunity to visit Lopiding, a quiet and scenic village just outside Lokichogio in Turkana County, Kenya. My colleagues and I were here to conduct a baseline study for the Tax Justice program currently being run by Oxfam in Kenya with support from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland. The project is aimed at contributing to a more progressive, transparent and accountable tax mobilisation and expenditure regime that contributes to reduced inequality and improved quality of life for poor, vulnerable and marginalized women and young people in Kenya. It’s currently being implemented in Nairobi, Wajir and Turkana counties.</p> <p>Lopiding, located 95 kilometers away from Kakuma town sits at the bottom of a valley sandwiched between two hills that overlook South Sudan. The villagers there seemed quite hostile at first, but are actually very hospitable. I later came to realise that the hills that border them, over the years, have been used as a perfect hideout by the Toposa (an ethnic group from South Sudan), who besides the Pokot, are every Turkana’s worst nightmare, due to livestock raiding, which is usually very violent. They are the reason why the Turkanas living in Lopiding are cautious about who walks into their village for whatever reason. Luckily for us, we had no intention to take away their only remaining herd of goats.</p> <p>One of our first respondents, an old woman in her early seventies, was excited to participate in the baseline survey. She told us her name was Akiru and that she had just returned home from a county government food distribution program that happens once in every month. She had spent the entire morning walking back home from Kakuma. As we carried on with the interview, a dog came and quietly sat next to her. Ten minutes later, our conversation was suddenly interrupted by loud wails. Akiru was vainly trying to get on her feet, reaching for anything she could to throw at the dog which now sat a few metres away from us, crouched onto an old sack. It was feasting on her dry maize!</p> <p>Two things; First, dogs don’t eat dry maize. And two, people don’t eat GDP.</p> <h3>Rising economic growth is not being felt by most East African citizens</h3> <p>In July this year, a report by SID (<a href="http://www.sidint.net/" rel="nofollow">Society for International Development</a>) revealed that despite the narrative being peddled on the rising economic growth for East African countries over the last few years, little change is being felt by the average citizens living in these countries. As their economies have grown, so in fact did the inequality, leaving behind a wider gap between the rich and the poor; a gap that might take decades to fill. It is here that Akiru and millions of other Africans today rally behind what is now becoming a global clarion call – that <em>people don’t eat GDP</em>.</p> <p>As most governments today rally behind economic models dominated by free-market policies, which eventually undermines equitable revenue collection and bolsters inequality, the poor are left more exposed to manipulation than ever before. However, the most unfortunate thing is that the subject of inequality remains very high levelled, with only a few having discourse on this matter and unless we continue bringing more women like Akiru into this debate, it may never be inclusive.</p> <h3>Giving a platform and voice to young people and women</h3> <p>Fortunately, the <a href="https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdgs" rel="nofollow">SDG agenda</a> and <a href="http://www.un.org/esa/ffd/" rel="nofollow">Financing for Development</a> now put domestic resource mobilization at the heart of service delivery. They are giving a platform and a voice to young people and women like Akiru to participate in the structuring of their own models of governance. Proof of this is found in the enshrining of public participation as one of the constitutional pillars driving the <a href="http://kenyalaw.org/kl/index.php?id=398" rel="nofollow">Kenyan Constitution of 2010</a>. The objective of social contract is finally starting to gain wave across the African continent. As a result of this, communities are starting to question their places in the economic models adopted by their respective governments.</p> <p>The story of Akiru reminds us of the millions of women across the globe who live everyday staring at death and are resigned to silence and indifference by the misery that abides around them, leaving them in constant motion; running away from hunger by day and from the Toposa by night.</p> <p><strong>If the war on inequality is to be won</strong>, then we must ensure that the ‘Akirus’ of this world are empowered to take up their rightful spaces in this campaign, so as to call out for more equal and inclusive governance models. This world belongs to them equally.</p> <p><em>This entry posted by Eric Kinaga, Tax Justice Program Officer, Oxfam in Kenya, on 7 September 2016.</em></p> <p><em>Photo: Pupils at Reuben Baptist primary in Mukuru informal settlements, Nairobi, Kenya. Enrollment and attendance in the school has improved since the installation of fresh life toilets. Credit: Allan Gichigi/Oxfam</em></p> <p>Tax dodging keeps making headlines across the world. Today, campaigners and activists across the world share their stories about why they are taking on the fight for <a href="https://twitter.com/search?q=%23taxjustice&amp;src=typd" rel="nofollow">#taxjustice</a>. Please share this blog, or the graphic below.</p> <p><img alt="#TaxJustice blogging day - 7th September 2016" title="#TaxJustice blogging day - 7th September 2016" height="1200" width="1200" class="media-element file-default" typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://l.blogs.oxfam/sites/default/files/tax-justice_facebook-final.jpg" /></p> <p> </p> <p> </p></div><div class="field field-name-title"><h2>Tax justice: Are the victims of inequality at the global table?</h2></div> Wed, 07 Sep 2016 07:39:42 +0000 Guest Blogger 60877 at http://l.blogs.oxfam http://l.blogs.oxfam/en/blogs/16-09-07-tax-justice-are-victims-inequality-global-table#comments