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.

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.

Undemocratic States: US-India Viewpoints on Religious Freedom

Religious freedom has been on attack within India for the past decade as rampant discrimination against religious minorities becomes increasingly enshrined within the legal language of the country. Despite the right to freedom of religion being clearly outlined within the 1949 Constitution of India and the country’s accession to the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights, the plight of religious minorities within the country have only reached unparalleled levels.2 Importantly, the lack of geopolitical accountability against the Modi administration and those perpetuating religious violence condones and exacerbates the incredibly pervasive and longstanding religious persecution against Indian minority communities.

The Future of Centrism in a Post-Merkel Germany

On the surface, it would appear that the landscape of German politics is moving further left with the first victory of the center-left party in nearly 20 years. The Green Party’s reentrance to the governing coalition for the second time in their history furthers this sentiment. Still, the nominal change in party leadership conceals a continuity of centrism in German politics. Scholz was primarily popular among Germans due to his similarities to Merkel, despite belonging to the opposition party. Scholz adopted many overt references to Merkel on the campaign trail, including mimicking Merkel’s signature rhombus hand gesture and referencing himself by the female version of Chancellor, Kanzlerin. While previously unpopular among his party, Scholz’ centrist tendencies have positioned him perfectly as Merkel’s true successor. Laschet’s public relations missteps only served to distance himself from the collected, authoritative image of Merkel. In many ways, Merkel’s opposition party saw popular success in styling themselves in her image.

The Quad: An ‘Asian NATO?’

“I don’t think the overwhelming majority of countries in the world would recognize that the universal values advocated by the United States… would serve as the basis for the international order.” [2]

Expressed by Director Yang at the March 2021 US-China Alaska summit, it’s the latest verbal attack on the US-led world order and its liberal values. As China steamrolled into the 21st century, President Xi has abandoned Deng Xiaoping’s ‘bide and hide’ strategy for a more assertive approach.

Journalistic Objectivity

Information gives people leverage to have autonomy over their lives. Unfortunately, information does not reach every sector of society—or rather, truth is not a universal resource. In a world of affinity-based media, it has proved to be a challenge for readers to discern correct representations of what’s happening from distorted versions. This challenge highlights the need for the practice of journalism objectivity. Amid the growing influence of opinionated reporting creating echo chambers, journalism needs to go back to a modified version of the tradition.

Israel and Palestine: a Microcosm of Global Vaccine Inequity

The current COVID-19 vaccine distribution efforts are no exception to the division in access to resources between higher income countries and lower and middle-income countries. As of March 19, high income countries have purchased over 4.6 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccine, which is more than the amount of vaccines purchased by countries classified as upper-middle income (1.5 billion doses purchased), middle income (700 million doses purchased), and lower income (670 million doses purchased) combined. [1] Higher income countries have purchased enough vaccine doses so that even groups not at risk for severe COVID-19 symptoms are able to get vaccinated. This unequal distribution means that health workers and elderly and immunocompromised people living in lower and middle-income countries would be less likely to receive vaccines than young, healthy citizens of high-income countries.

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]

Abandoning the Color Line for the Revolutionary Line: the Antiracism of the Cuban Independence Movement

When most Americans think of revolution in Cuba, their minds immediately go to the revolution of 1959, which ended with the establishment of the first socialist government in the Americas. The 1959 revolution, however, was hardly the first revolutionary moment to sweep the largest island in the Caribbean. For three decades from the 1860s to 1898, the island was consumed by uprisings against the ruling Spanish government. Although these revolutions were eventually truncated by the arrival of a new imperial power—the United States—they serve as excellent examples of a truly antiracist, anticolonial struggle. These revolutions also serve to broaden our conception of the 1959 revolution by placing its nationalist elements and historical grievances in the proper context of a protracted Cuban struggle for independence.