Saturday, December 1, 2012

Activists: inequality is a legal, institutional choice that can be revisited through resistance

Al Jazeera has a short article by a couple of global justice activists and well known justice scholar Thomas Pogge, about growing global wealth inequality, the role of law and legal institutions in fostering and protecting the status quo for those who benefit from it, and the rise in information and collaboration that is empowering resistance from civil society:
The scale of inequality and poverty can appear overwhelming and unchangeable. Yet it is not inevitable. It is the outcome of active choices by people who make and enforce the rules we all live by: rules about global trade, banking, loans, investment, taxes, working conditions, land, food, health and education. These rules are made by people and people can change them.
...Right now, there is a special moment of opportunity. Throughout the world, citizens have access to information in ways once unimaginable. Affordable technologies are revolutionising our ability to communicate with one another and act collectively. The opportunities for new citizen-powered movements to become catalysts for change have never been greater than today. Powerful elites are losing the structural advantages they once enjoyed of being able to maintain secrecy, restrict information and suppress popular movements.  
The authors are launching an activist initiative entitled /The Rules.  This is something to watch as the activists circle around international tax--a technical expertise-laden field that has not worked out important questions of justice in any kind of coherent matter. When Lennon sang about power to the people he did not mention tax havens, but global tax avoidance and evasion appear to be front and center of popular resistance to status quo legal regimes today.

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