2009-03-29

Put People First

The other day Greenpeace sent me an email urging me to join Put People First.



Here are PPF's aims, together with my reasons for not joining:
1. Compel tax havens to abide by strict international rules.
Agree.
2. Insist on fundamental governance reform of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF).
This could mean anything. I'm all for UN institutions being controlled by a democratically elected world government.
3. Make all financial institutions, financial products and multinationals transparent and publicly accountable.
Again, I'm not sure what they're saying.
4. Ensure a massive investment in a green new deal to build a green economy based on decent work and fair pay.
No, no, no. Please no more public spending. The government needs to start getting out of debt, not getting deeper into debt.
5. Invest in and strengthen public provision of essential services.
As above.
6. Work to ensure sufficient emergency funding to all countries that need it, without damaging conditionalities attached.
'Conditionalities'? Don't they mean conditions? Anyway, we in the UK should be dismantling our protectionist policies, and promoting free trade.
7. Deliver 0.7% of national income as aid by 2013, deliver aid more effectively and push for the cancellation of all illegitimate and unpayable developing country debts.
Aid shouldn't be normal, it's only useful in emergencies. It's our job in the UK to make sure we're not in the way of countries getting themselves out of poverty. That means getting rid of our subsidies (common agricultural policy etc.) and getting rid of import tariffs that limit imports from other countries.

We can also make sure that intellectual wealth is available, for example by abandoning software patents.
8. Ensure that poorer states are allowed to take responsibility for managing their economies, including controlling cross-border capital flows.
Certainly.
9. Stop pushing developing countries to liberalise and deregulate their economies, and do not attempt to rush through a completion of the Doha trade round, a deal that developing countries have rejected several times.
Well other countries can do what they like, but we in the UK and Europe should be adopting free trade policies.
10. In addition to the green new deal (recommendation 4), introduce the robust regulatory requirements and financial incentives needed to deliver a green economy.
This is the wrong way round. Government shouldn't pick winners, this should be done by the market. What government can do is increase the price of emitting greenhouse gases.
11. Push for a deal at Copenhagen to agree substantial, verifiable cuts in greenhouse gases, which will limit temperature increases to well below 2°C.
Agreed.
12. Commit to substantial new resource transfer from North to South, additional to Overseas Development Assistance (ODA), to support adaptation and sustainable development in poor countries.
Again, I think aid is so difficult to get right, I'd rather rely on trade.

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