Briefs

  1. Briefing paper

    Pandemic of Greed

    The human and economic cost of the COVID-19 pandemic has been staggering, in terms of lives lost, human suffering, and economic damage. As we enter the third year of the pandemic, we still find ourselves on a rollercoaster of lockdowns, variants, and broken promises. Inequality has actively prolonged the pandemic, devastating lives and livelihoods. Women have shouldered an especially heavy burden.

    While effective vaccines provide hope, their rollout has tipped, from a natural desire to protect citizens, into nationalism, greed, and self-interest. Large numbers of people in low-income countries face the virus unprotected and millions of people would still be alive today if they had had access to a vaccine. Big pharmaceutical corporations have been given free rein to prioritize profits ahead of vaccine equality. As we mark two years since the official pandemic was declared, we still have a chance to gain the upper hand on the virus, but only if everyone, everywhere has access to vaccines and treatments.

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  2. Briefing paper

    The Redistributive Impact of Fiscal Policy Indicator

    The United Nations adopted a new indicator to track progress against one of the Sustainable Development Goals. For the first time, all nations will be expected to regularly measure their level of income inequality. They are also expected to track the impact of their fiscal policies on income inequality. That opens new opportunities of advocacy for tax justice advocates around the world: in the future, every fiscal reform proposal could be assessed in terms of its impact on inequality.

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  3. Briefing paper

    The effect of the OECD’s Pillar 1 proposal on developing countries

    In October last year 136 nations reached a high-level agreement to reform the way the taxable profits of multinational corporations are distributed among countries. These countries are expected to sign a legal agreement later this year. Astoundingly, no impact assessment was published for one of the two pillars of this agreement. Using publicly available data and a methodology developed by the consultancy Oxford Economics, Oxfam estimates the agreement’s impact on the tax revenue of 49 low and middle-income countries.

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  4. Briefing paper

    Inequality Kills

    The wealth of the world’s 10 richest men has doubled since the pandemic began. The incomes of 99% of humanity are worse off because of COVID-19. Widening economic, gender, and racial inequalities—as well as the inequality that exists between countries—are tearing our world apart. This is not by chance, but choice: “economic violence” is perpetrated when structural policy choices are made for the richest and most powerful people. This causes direct harm to us all, and to the poorest people, women and girls, and racialized groups most. Inequality contributes to the death of at least one person every four seconds. But we can radically redesign our economies to be centered on equality. We can claw back extreme wealth through progressive taxation; invest in powerful, proven inequality-busting public measures; and boldly shift power in the economy and society. If we are courageous, and listen to the movements demanding change, we can create an economy in which nobody lives in poverty, nor with unimaginable billionaire wealth—in which inequality no longer kills.

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  5. Briefing paper

    Negotiating Consent: Lessons in Defending the Right to Decide

    Indigenous peoples have long asserted and defended their rights and customary land tenures against the unlawful enclosure of their territories. Yet, despite normative recognition of the right to free, prior, and informed consent (FPIC)—and public commitments by major multinational companies, international financial institutions, and global banks to apply the standard of consent—power imbalances continue to undermine the quality of agreements being reached.

    Negotiating Consent distills lessons from Oxfam’s work defending community consent in Peru. Drawing on research published by Oxfam partners in Peru—Cooperacción, Organización Nacional de Mujeres Indígenas (ONAMIAP), and Pueblos Indígenas Amazónicas Unidas en Defensa de Sus Territorios (PUINAMUDT)—have published research examining the politics and practices of the implementation of this law, it seeks contribute to collective thinking around ways to improve the implementation of FPIC processes, processes that are manifestly political.

    With land inequality worsening, land grabbing continuing unabated, and basic environmental and social protections being rolled back, upholding the standard of consent is more important than ever. It is time companies, investors, and others look beyond paper commitments and take the steps necessary to ensure quality agreements are reached with Indigenous peoples and are maintained across the life of projects.

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  6. Briefing paper

    Carbon Inequality in 2030

    Per capita consumption emissions and the 1.5⁰C goal

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