A Simple Act of Good: Forgiving Ukraine’s Foreign Debt Obligations

Ever since the first missiles flew and the first tanks rolled across Ukraine’s borders in late February of 2022, it would be easy to assume that everything not related to repelling the invasion froze in place. For most of the world, the overwhelming majority of media coverage about Europe’s largest country by land area became focused on the movements of troops, the flows of millions of refugees generated by the conflict, and the myriad reports of war crimes being committed primarily by Russian troops throughout the country. Given far less attention, however, are the ways in which the nuts and bolts of statecraft continue to function independent of the largest land war that Europe has seen in decades. 

Governing by Grocery: The Food Politics of Russia’s War in Ukraine

When picturing a protracted armed conflict between two sovereign nations in the 21st century, one may conjure to mind images of tanks rolling through villages, or perhaps fighter jets flying menacingly overhead. Clamoring crowds around empty shelves at a grocery store, however, is a far less likely picture.

Since Russia’s unprecedented invasion of Ukraine in February of 2022, global markets for countless goods have faced major upsets and disruptions, carrying far-reaching effects on many different sectors. In particular, this has had extremely consequential effects on the production, prices, and availability of food worldwide.

Maquiladoras, Human Rights, and the Impact of Globalization on the US-Mexico Border

However, despite the benefits for foreign retailers and Mexican maquilas, working conditions and wages are strongly affected by retailer practices and the exploitation of loosely enforced regulations. Together, the impact of poor working conditions and external pressure on workers highlights human rights concerns throughout the maquila industry and reveals the actual cost of such a unique form of global logistics.

Missing From Top of the Agenda During COP26’s First Week

The 26th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 26) has officially begun✝. There are high expectations for the conference, which is expected to be the most important climate meeting since that which produced the 2015 Paris Agreement. Six years later, global progress has left much to be desired, and despite COP’s past successes, there are factors it is not addressing or giving due attention.

The Implications of India’s Climate Promise at COP26

Over the past week, leaders from over 200 countries met in Glasgow for COP 26. This was the 26th meeting of the signatories to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (referred to as the Conference of the Parties), and featured delegates from all around the world, representing nations, NGOs, and different industries. Meetings like these occur for two main reasons. Firstly, they provide a form of accountability: World leaders are expected to give highly public accounts of their efforts to mitigate climate change, exposing them to possible shaming if their efforts are not deemed substantial enough. Secondly, they provide a space where common goals and plans can be formulated: Nations can plan on future collaboration and push their peers to adopt more (or less) ambitious goals and plans. This combination of recapitulation and planning offers a centralized platform for more organized mitigation and increased accountability.

The Rise and Fall of Somali Piracy: Reflection on Logic of Global Supply Chains, Security, and Imperialism

Situated near the major maritime choke point at Bab el Mandeb and along the Gulf of Aden, Somalia is strategically placed in the global maritime navigation and trade network. Under this backdrop came the golden age of Somali piracy (2007-2012), which is almost exclusively predicated on a method of hijack-and-ransom, constraining the seamless flow of goods in the global supply chain network. The rise of piracy was rooted in foreign maritime predation and the state response, but also sustained by the anchoring of pirates to their local communities and their distinct approach to hijacking at sea. Through these interlinking mechanisms, both piracy and counter-piracy measures reflect and challenge logics of supply chains, security, and imperialism. Beyond illuminating those neglected from the global network, they highlight the interconnectedness of security and trade, the prevailing discourse around piracy and violence, and the naturalization of racial hierarchy in ransom negotiations.

Squid Game, Parasite, and the Increasing Restlessness of Neoliberalism

Globally prominent pieces of South Korean media, such as Squid Game and Parasite, represent a growing discontent with the conditions which have been created and engendered by global neoliberalism. South Korea represents a particularly salient microcosm of this from its historical context as a strategic incubator for American capitalist development and the implications of the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis on its 21st-century socioeconomic landscape.

Property Tax in Pursuit of Common Prosperity: A Shift in the Chinese Economic Model

China stands alone among developed economies for its lack of property tax, a status that it has maintained over the years despite being the second largest economy in the world. However, with the nation’s largest real estate giant Evergrande tipping on the edge of a default crisis, the government may finally be compelled to cast off this unique position and to finally impose one.

In early October this year, the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC), China’s top legislative body, decided to authorize a five-year property tax pilot program in selected cities such as Shenzhen, Hangzhou, and Hainan. This economic move is of great significance in regulating China’s real estate sector, but the stakes are high.

Punjab’s Kisaan Under a Modi Government

Punjab’s kisaan movement is the largest general demonstration in human history. An estimated 250 million people took action, that is 1 in 4 working persons. [1] And the protests continue to this day.

In September 2020, Prime Minister Modi passed the Indian Agriculture Acts of 2020, or the Farm Bills, as an attempt to deregulate markets and “ensure a complete transformation” of India’s agriculture sector. [2] However, the impact of these policies is severe for small farm holders who control more than 86% of India’s farmland. By limiting the bargaining power of small farmers, the state puts them at risk of exploitation when negotiating their produce to larger companies. Currently, Indian farmers have the right to sell their products to the government at a ‘minimum support price’ which safeguards the farmer to a minimum profit if the open market sets a lower price than the cost incurred. New farm bills dismantle this MSP system, forcing millions of farmers to sell products to agribusiness corporations. [3]

Redemption for AstraZeneca, the Misunderstood Shot of the Global Vaccine Rollout

When the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine released its initial clinical results, it was hailed as a necessary and game-changing candidate. Compared to the vaccine race’s other “winners”, Pfizer and Moderna, AstraZeneca was widely viewed as an accessible, affordable alternative that required less stringent storage conditions. [1] Like other leading vaccines, the AstraZeneca shot can drastically reduce severe or fatal cases of Covid-19. [2]

Today, the global vaccine rollout is well underway. It is also wildly unequal. While the United States and 42 other mostly high-income countries are on track to vaccinate their entire populations within the year, 67 low-income countries have not vaccinated anyone at all. [3]