Marx and Colonialism

By Lucia Pradella

It is widely believed that Marx did not systematically consider the role of colonialism within the process of capital accumulation. According to David Harvey, Marx concentrated on a self-closed national economy in his main work. Although he did mention colonialism in Part 8 of Capital Volume 1 on the so-called primitive accumulation, this would only belong to a pre-history of capital, not to its everyday development. Based on a similar assumption, some postcolonial scholars criticise Marx for being Eurocentric, even a complicit supporter of Western imperialism, who ignored the agency of non-Western people.

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What do the global supply chain disruptions tell us about the world economy?

By Intan Suwandi

Lockdowns and shutdowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic led to what is being referred to as the “first global supply chain crisis.” The supply chain disruption has made havoc since the beginning of the pandemic, with more than 90 percent of the 1000 Fortune multinational corporations having a tier-one or tier-two supplier affected by the virus in February 2020.  By mid-April 2020, 81 percent of global manufacturing firms were experiencing supply shortages. Also in the same year, hundreds of US companies reported that their suppliers only operated at an average of 50 percent capacity, which resulted in longer final product lead times and a negative impact between 5.6 to 15 percent on their revenues. Although recent reports indicate that the situation has become less severe, many analysts still think that the “supply chain nightmare” is far from over, and it is predicted that supply chain disruptions will continue until late 2022.

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Social protection and social cohesion are key for climate action

By Daniele Malerba

The current energy crisis stemming from the war in Ukraine has shown that long-term climate mitigation needs to be coupled with the reduction of poverty and inequality; it is obvious that climate change is a global problem, and one that needs to be addressed in combination with social justice. In a recent article in an EJDR  special issue, we make the case that the relationship and effects of social protection and social cohesion are critical in this sense.  Social cohesion is defined as “the vertical and the horizontal relations among members of society and the state as characterized by a set of attitudes and norms that includes trust, an inclusive identity, and cooperation for the common good”

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Food transformations and (un)sustainable diets: Taking consumption seriously in development research

By Arve Hansen

The world is in dire need of more sustainable and healthy food systems. The development field has much to say on the topic but has historically had a clear focus on either food supply or food deprivation. The potential benefits and positive spill-over effects of eating healthier and more sustainably have, however, led to increasing and wider attention to the demand side of food. Recent research suggests that the sustainability potential of dietary change is considerably larger than that of improving production. If we could just change what people eat, and at the same time avoid some of the ongoing nutrition transitions in low- and middle-income countries, it would have a massive ripple effect in entire food systems.

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Who to blame? The rough start for living income cocoa prices in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana

By Felix Maile, Bernhard Tröster, Cornelia Staritz and Jan Grumiller

Commodity price instability is a major challenge for commodity-dependent countries. This is also true for the major cocoa producer countries Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana, which account for two thirds of world’s cocoa production. As we argue in a recent article in the EJDR , the two West African countries can challenge the price-setting power of highly concentrated international buyers through their state-governed price-stabilization measures. However, export and producer price stabilization is limited to one season and entails great risks for the state due to intra-seasonal price volatility. Moreover, inter-seasonal price instability is not addressed and largely born by smallholder farmers, and export and producer prices remain linked to world prices set on futures markets in London and New York.

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