Economic justice

Austerity and global economic justice

Sir, – Over the past 18 months, Covid has taught us, more than ever, the importance of public sector services. Yet across the world, brutal and inefficient public sector wage cuts are hurting the very sectors that governments claim to want to protect. This week, the 2021 annual meetings of the World Bank Group and the IMF will be held in Washington, where austerity and further cuts in public sector wages will remain relevant.

A new report from ActionAid, Public Services International and Education International, The People Versus Austerity, shows that advice from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to cut public spending in 15 countries development wiped out nearly $ 10 billion from public sector wage budgets. This is equivalent to cutting more than three million jobs, including doctors, nurses and teachers at the height of the pandemic. This has undermined progress in health and education and other United Nations sustainable development goals and women’s human rights.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that there is a shortage of 5.9 million nurses, nearly 90% of whom are in low- and middle-income countries. At the same time, Unesco estimates that 69 million additional teachers will have to be recruited over the next ten years to achieve the United Nations sustainable development goal of universal access to primary and secondary education by 2030. .

The impact of this is undermining global development efforts in very tangible ways in the very countries that Ireland supports with bilateral aid. Ireland must use its voice and influence globally to ensure that the global economic architecture does not undermine the very things we support. In addition, tax evasion costs developing countries an estimated $ 300 billion a year in lost revenue. Ireland has played a role in this regard, serving as a point of entry into Europe for large multinationals, allowing them to avoid paying taxes in poorer countries through loopholes, tax treaties and tax structures.

Neoliberalism has been oversold for 40 years and has stifled the growth and development it was meant to value. It is time for a fundamental overhaul, a system change focused on economic justice. – yours, etc.,

KAROL BALFE,

Chief Executive Officer,

ActionAid Ireland,

Dublin 1.


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