Economics vs. the Economy

By William Rees, Great Transition Initiative, June 2015

Economic theories, though social constructions, can reflect reality to varying degrees. In the face of dire environmental challenges, adopting a realistic theory is key to the survival of global civilization. The neoliberal emphasis on limitless growth and monetary flows, a relic of nineteenth century thinking, abstracts away from biological conditions. By contrast, ecological economics—as distinct from environmental economics, which remains wedded to the neoliberal growth paradigm—understands the economy as a subsystem of the ecosphere and envisions a steady-state economy embedded within natural constraints. Achieving this equitably will require significant redistribution of wealth and income, reduction of material throughput, and a transition away from fossil fuels. Although the neoliberal paradigm remains dominant, its lack of fitness to current realities gives hope that an ecological alternative could ascend.

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Security Council Resolution, Building Block for Lifting of Sanctions

An interview with Gholamali Khoshroo, Iran’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, published at Iranian Diplomacy on July 23, 2015

Based on the statement made by Dr. Zarif, “For the first time, the Security Council has recognized the enrichment program of a developing country”. Peaceful use of nuclear energy by Iran is also mentioned in the draft of the proposed resolution. Through this resolution, Iran’s enrichment is no longer considered as an activity which threatens international peace and security and could not be used to impose sanctions against Iran.

The adoption of the new resolution in the Security Council is significant from the legal and political points of view. Politically, the issue of the lifting of sanctions and recognition of enrichment and the peacefulness of Iran’s nuclear program are among the issues which are agreed upon for the first time in the UN Security Council. Based on this draft, all of the six previous resolutions which included threats, sanctions and suspension of Iran’s nuclear activities will be lifted simultaneously with Iran’s implementation of its commitments.

The BRICS Grouping Launches Its New Development Bank

By Oliver Stuenkel, Post-Western World, July 25, 2015

Less than a month after the signing ceremony of the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) in Beijing, another global financial institution was launched 1200 kilometers further South. Based in Shanghai, China's financial hub, the New Development Bank's creation marks a remarkable step in the history of the BRICS grouping. After being a mere investment category between 2001 and 2007 and an informal platform between 2008 and 2014, the launch of the NDB is the beginning of a new era for an unlikely grouping that has been confronted with broad skepticism and rejection in the Western media since the very beginning. Born as a political outfit at the height of the Western financial crisis of 2008, it is no exaggeration to say that the BRICS grouping is, along with the G20, the most important innovation in global governance since the turn of the century. While the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank has received far more media attention (largely due to the United States' ill-conceived attempt to keep others from joining it), the NDB will begin with initial capital of $100bn, the same as the AIIB. The five BRICS countries all have equal voting shares.

Crises and Discord Undermining European Project

By Nat Parry, Essential Opinion, July 22, 2015

The near collapse of the Greek economy and the harsh austerity package forced on Athens by the European Union has led to increasing commentary in recent weeks on what the developments might mean for the “European project” – the one-time seemingly inevitable drive on the European continent for an “ever closer union” based on principles of economic, social and territorial cohesion and solidarity among EU member states.

10 Life Lessons We Learned from Dr APJ Abdul Kalam

The Times of India, July 27, 2015

Former President of India and eminent scientist Dr APJ Abdul Kalam passed away in Shillong on Monday. Kalam collapsed during a speech at IIM Shillong.

Here are some of Kalam’s inspirational sayings through which he will be remembered forever…

“You have to dream before your dreams can come true.”

“If a country is to be corruption free and become a nation of beautiful minds, I strongly feel there are three key societal members who can make a difference. They are the father, the mother and the teacher.”

“My message, especially to young people is to have courage to think differently, courage to invent, to travel the unexplored path, courage to discover the impossible and to conquer the problems and succeed. These are great qualities that they must work towards. This is my message to the young people.”

“To succeed in your mission, you must have single-minded devotion to your goal.”

“Let me define a leader. He must have vision and passion and not be afraid of any problem. Instead, he should know how to defeat it. Most importantly, he must work with integrity.”

“Great dreams of great dreamers are always transcended.”

“Let us sacrifice our today so that our children can have a better tomorrow.”

“Man needs his difficulties because they are necessary to enjoy success.”

“Look at the sky. We are not alone. The whole universe is friendly to us and conspires only to give the best to those who dream and work.”

“You see, God helps only people who work hard. That principle is very clear.”

The Eurasian Big Bang

How China and Russia Are Running Rings Around Washington

By Pepe Escobar,, July 23, 2015

Let’s start with the geopolitical Big Bang you know nothing about, the one that occurred just two weeks ago. Here are its results: from now on, any possible future attack on Iran threatened by the Pentagon (in conjunction with NATO) would essentially be an assault on the planning of an interlocking set of organizations -- the BRICS nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa), the SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organization), the EEU (Eurasian Economic Union), the AIIB (the new Chinese-founded Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank), and the NDB (the BRICS' New Development Bank) - whose acronyms you’re unlikely to recognize either.  Still, they represent an emerging new order in Eurasia.

Tehran, Beijing, Moscow, Islamabad, and New Delhi have been actively establishing interlocking security guarantees. They have been simultaneously calling the Atlanticist bluff when it comes to the endless drumbeat of attention given to the flimsy meme of Iran’s "nuclear weapons program." And a few days before the Vienna nuclear negotiations finally culminated in an agreement, all of this came together at a twin BRICS/SCO summit in Ufa, Russia - a place you’ve undoubtedly never heard of and a meeting that got next to no attention in the U.S.  And yet sooner or later, these developments will ensure that the War Party in Washington and assorted neocons (as well as neoliberalcons) already breathing hard over the Iran deal will sweat bullets as their narratives about how the world works crumble.

Obama’s Pacific Trade Deal Trails Behind China’s Development Vision

By Nile Bowie

Often touted as the centerpiece of the Obama administration’s re-engagement with Asia, a close vote in the US Senate has brought the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) a major step closer to becoming law. Facing significant opposition within his own party, the US president has secured fast-track negotiating authority, limiting Congress’s constitutional authority to regulate the contents of the trade accord.

Though the US Congress and American public will have an opportunity to review the deal before it is voted on, fast-track passage procedure reduces time for debate and prohibits amendments to the proposed legislation, limiting Congress to passing an up-or-down vote on the deal. Negotiated behind closed doors and drafted under tremendous secrecy for nearly a decade, elected representatives have thus far had limited access to the draft text.


World Affairs, Summer 2015

The summer issue of the World Affairs Journal is now available.

World Affairs is a leading journal, printed and published in India. The journal seeks to provide the much needed Asian and the developing world's perspective on issues of global significance. It stimulates interaction and debate between developed and developing nations.

Theme of the Issue: Factors Impacting Global Change

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