LM Industries Announces $15M Funding from SPARX Group to deliver Olli to customers and consumers

SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 15, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — LM Industries, the parent company of Local Motors "" the world's first and only digital vehicle manufacturer "" today announced a $15 million raise from Mirai Creation Fund II (managed by SPARX Group Co., Ltd, the Japanese asset management firm). This financing will help Local Motors deliver Olli to customers and consumers who are seeking ways to redefine local mobility.

"When SPARX considers partnering with new businesses, we are committed to finding great companies, like Local Motors, with intentions and abilities to make the world a better place," said Shuhei Abe, CEO of SPARX Group.

"Local Motors has a unique advantage to quickly deliver impactful products that can revolutionize the automotive and mobility industry," said Seiji Miyasaka, President of SPARX Capital Investments, Inc., a US subsidiary of SPARX Group and new Local Motors board member. "At a time when the world is changing faster than ever, we're thrilled to be working with a company that can evolve with it."

This latest funding will be used to drive product development, production and deployment for Olli, the world's first 3D–printed, electric, self–driving shuttle. Since entering series production for Olli 2.0, its latest iteration and the third generation of the Local Motors manufacturing line, the company has seen a significant resurgence in interest for safe and reliable transportation, recently deploying the first ever Olli 2.0 at the AZ Maria Middelares hospital in Ghent, Belgium and delivering the first 2.0 in the United States to Jacksonville Transportation Authority at the AV Test & Learn track at Armsdale.

"We share a dream with SPARX Group to completely reimagine the mobility and automotive industry, with the goal to truly move society forward in a profound way," said Jay Rogers, co–founder and CEO of Local Motors. "Delivering innovative and locally relevant vehicles and mobility solutions has been at the core of our company from the beginning, and we look forward to pushing the industry to be a more clean, customer–centric business. SPARX's investment, which includes Toyota Motor Corporation and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation as seed LPs for the Mirai Creation Fund II, proves that our commitment to low–speed autonomy and digital manufacturing can make a direct impact in the world through cleaner manufacturing and better mobility experiences for all."

Throughout the pandemic, Local Motors has continued to address the need for clean and safe autonomy. In July, the company announced a partnership with Beep, the Florida–based Mobility–as–a–Service (MaaS) provider, with plans to deploy hundreds of autonomous vehicles in the coming years. Additionally, Local Motors made significant strides in validating the safety of its vehicles this year, proving that its 3D–printed structure performs at an equivalent level to traditionally manufactured vehicles during crash testing.

"Our partnership with Beep, improved crash testing process, and distinct manufacturing method puts Local Motors in a unique position capable of meeting consumers' constantly changing needs around the world today and in the future," said Rogers. “This funding will help propel our vision forward, and continue making a difference in our communities.”

About Local Motors
Local Motors empowers communities to create and manufacture opportunity. We provide innovative and locally relevant vehicles and mobility solutions. We have the unrivaled capacity to make the improbable come to life and are focused on delivering Olli to customers and consumers around the world. LM Industries is the parent company of Local Motors.

About Mirai Creation Fund I and Mirai Creation Fund II
The Mirai Creation Fund I began operations in November 2015 with financing of JPY 13.5 billion from three companies: Toyota Motor Corporation, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, and SPARX, the Fund's general partner. Ultimately, the Fund received contributions from 20 companies, including the above three. Casting intelligent technologies, robotics, and hydrogen–economy technologies as core technologies of the future, Fund I has invested in approximately 50 companies and projects""from the US, the UK, Israel, Singapore, and Japan""that possess innovative technologies in these fields. In H2 2018, SPARX began managing the Mirai Creation Fund II, which targets the three existing Mirai Creation fields along with the two additional areas of electrification and new materials. As of June 30, 2020, the combined AUM for Fund I and Fund II were JPY 109.3 billion.

Media Contact
LaunchSquad for LM Industries

Why We Need Trees to End to Poverty – Landmark Report

Forest cover on the east of Saint Lucia. Forests and trees play a significant role in poverty alleviation and ultimately, eradication. Credit: Alison Kentish/IPS

Forest cover on the east of Saint Lucia. Forests and trees play a significant role in poverty alleviation and ultimately, eradication. Credit: Alison Kentish/IPS

By Alison Kentish
NEW YORK, United States, Oct 15 2020 – With extreme poverty (living on $1.90 a day) projected to rise for the first time in over 20 years, a new study has concluded that global poverty eradication efforts could be futile in the absence of forests and trees.

Twenty-one scientists and over 40 contributing authors spent the last two years studying the role of forests and trees in poverty alleviation and ultimately, eradication.  The Global Forest Expert Panel issued its findings on Oct. 15, in a report titled, “Forests, Trees and the Eradication of Poverty: Potential and Limitations”.

The report comes amid two global challenges that are disproportionately impacting the poor and vulnerable – the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change. According to the United Nations, 71 million people are expected to be pushed back into extreme poverty in 2020, a major threat to Sustainable Development Goal 1, ending poverty in all its forms, everywhere.

Lead researcher and chair of the International Union of Forest Research Organisations Professor Daniel C. Miller told IPS that while forests and trees can help the severe losses at the intersection of climate change, zoonotic disease outbreaks and poverty alleviation, they continue to be overlooked in mainstream policy discourse.

“A quarter of the world’s population lives in or near a forest and trees actively contribute to human well-being, particularly the most vulnerable among us. This research hopes to bring to light the available scientific evidence on how forests have contributed to poverty alleviation and translate it in a way that is accessible to policy makers,” he said.

Globally forests are a vital source of food, fuel and ecotourism services. They also help to conserve water and soil resources and boast climate change mitigating properties such as carbon sequestration, the process of absorbing and storing carbon.

The report states that the rural poor need forests for subsistence and income generation, but in one of its chief findings, reported that inequality in the distribution of forest benefits continues to hurt the vulnerable. 

“To illustrate, in large scale logging on indigenous lands or where marginalised people live, timber is the most valuable forest product, yet that value is often not accrued to the people who have to deal with the aftermath of not having forests anymore,” said Miller.

The researchers are hoping that the report can help to inform policy on issues such as equitable and sustainable forest use and conservation. Along with their findings, they have prepared a policy brief for lawmakers. That document takes a multi-dimensional look at poverty, assessing both the monetary value of forests and tree resources and their impact on human well-being, health and safety.

For two small islands in the Eastern Caribbean, the report’s findings complement ongoing sustainable forestry for poverty alleviation programs. In 2o16, Saint Lucia, which boasts 25,000 acres of forest or 38 percent of its land area, launched a 10-year forest protection plan. The country’s most senior forester Alwin Dornelly told IPS that this document was ahead of its time, as Saint Lucia’s is well in keeping with some of the report’s major recommendations.

“We simply cannot do without our forests. 85 percent of our country’s water sources are in the forests. Our fresh water supply depends on the trees. The plan underscores forest protection for lives and livelihoods; from charcoal for fire and timber for furniture to agricultural produce for household use and for sale by residents of rural communities. Sustainable use of forest resources is a hallmark of this plan,” he said.

The forestry department monitors the country’ eco-trails, popular with nature tourists who take part in camping, hiking and bird watching, activities that create employment for nearby residents and based on the sustainable forest livelihoods component of the 10-year plan. According to the global report ecotourism activities are among the practices that may lead to greater equity in forest benefits.

The report is also a morale booster for forestry officials on the island of Dominica, who are celebrating reforestation gains. Known for its lush, green vegetation, forests carpet 60 percent of the island and its Morne Trois Piton National Park is a U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation World Heritage Site. It has taken just over three years, but the country has recovered the almost one-third of forest coverage destroyed by Hurricane Maria in 2017.

“Dominicans have the right to reap the benefits of sustainable forest resources. We suffered 90 percent defoliage after the 2017 hurricane and 33 percent forest destruction. We are thankful for both natural regeneration and our national tree planting initiative. We have eight community plant nurseries and propagation centres for sustained reforestation – nurseries we hope turn handover for community ownership. We understand that forest loss is livelihood loss, especially for those in rural areas,” the country’s forestry chief Michinton Burton told IPS.

The English-speaking Caribbean is not wildly cited in the study, something Miller says falls under its ‘limitations’ segment, adding that more research is needed on smaller islands. The forest experts who spoke to IPS, however, say the report’s warnings, calls to action and findings are instructive for policy makers globally.

The researchers have made it clear that forests and trees are not a cure-all for poverty but are essential to the overall solution. With health experts predicting future pandemics due to ecological degradation and climate scientists warning that the Caribbean will experience more intense hurricanes like Maria, the report states that these challenging times call for a rethink of current poverty eradication measures. It adds that the ability of forests and trees to positively impact lives, health and livelihoods must be a central part of discussions to lift people out of poverty, particularly in rural settings.

The report was launched ahead of this year’s observance of International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, World Food Day and the International Day of Rural Women – three important days on the U.N. calendar that promote sustainable livelihoods, food security and poverty eradication.

Disregarding Rights of Persons with Disabilities

The focus of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, which falls on 3 December, is the link between the empowerment of people living with disability, and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the UN’s blueprint for a better future for people and the planet. Credit: UN News

By Shudarson Subedi and Simone Galimberti
KATHMANDU, Nepal, Oct 15 2020 – The lack of consistency and a patchy approach undermines the Government of Nepal’s credibility in fulfilling the rights of persons with disabilities. One step forward and several steps back.

If we want to describe the current progress being made by the Government of Nepal to promote the rights of persons with disabilities, it is a story of high hope that slowly turns gloomier and gloomier, giving room to frustration and despair.

The optimism stems from the Disability Rights Act that was enacted in 2017 after intense lobbying from thousands of disability rights activists.

It was an important turning point for the country as the new piece legislation replaced the previous Disabled Persons Welfare Act of 1982, shifting from a welfare approach to disabilities to a right based one.

The old legislation was a marked stain in the complex process of national reconciliation and social inclusion undertaken by the country in the aftermath of the civil war.

A new constitution passed in 2015 had turned the country in a federal and nominally pluralistic nation founded on the concept of nondiscrimination, social inclusion and equal opportunities for all.

The premises were all rosy.

The Disability Rights Act had finally aligned the country’s aspirations for a better future for all closer to the principles enshrined in the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

With a more comprehensive recognition of all types of disabilities, including autism, hemophilia, and an important acknowledgement of mental health, the new act finally met the needs of millions of citizens living with disabilities in Nepal.

Instead, what seemed to be the herald of a new social inclusion era for persons with disabilities, proved to be the beginning of a backsliding of their rights, furthering detaching them from the rest of the society.

Certainly, the new legislation is not perfect itself especially as its wordings still reflect a misplaced medical perspective that was mainstream just few decades ago.

It is a wrong understanding of disabilities, one too much focused on rehabilitation rather than the full integration of persons with disabilities in society.

This approach is in breach of Article 19 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities 2006 that claims the right for persons with disabilities to live independently and be included in the communities.

The issue is not just merely conceptual.

At stake is the imperative of ensuring that all barriers existing in the society, physical and also those more imperceptible, fueled by entrenched biases within the society, are removed.

The Convention is founded on certain cornerstones, including ensuring the respect for inherent dignity, individual autonomy including the freedom to make one’s own choices, and independence of persons, non-discrimination and full and effective participation and inclusion in society.

The Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the toothless international mechanism in charge of monitoring the respect and implementation of the Convention, had questioned many of the provisions of the new legislation.

In its Concluding Observations issued in March 2018, the Committee had taken several exceptions, in particular recommending that “Nepal adopts a human rights model of disability that stresses human dignity of persons with disabilities and conditions arising from interactions with various barriers that may hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others”.

Nevertheless, despite pitfalls, the act sanctioned important inalienable rights persons with disabilities would enjoy: free quality education, free health care and clear provisions to their right to free movement unconstrained from any physical barriers.

Moreover, the act included clear dispositions to ensure their rights to livelihoods, so fundamental if we want to get rid of the existing status quo where the majority of persons with disabilities remain unemployed.

Millions of citizens in the country were hopeful for a real change.

Unfortunately, the Government showed much less progressive attitudes in drafting the law’s regulations.

Instead of bringing more clarity and helping create an environment supportive of the rights of persons with disabilities, the regulations show a regression.

Approved on 17 August 2020, their focus is almost exclusively on the most severe cases of disabilities where citizens require continuous assistance, depriving, in such way, others citizens with less severe forms of disabilities, from any support.

This is a complete disregard of the rights of millions of remaining citizens living with disabilities struggling every single day to make their ends meet.

Similarly, the same attitudes are visible in relation to the rules regulating monthly allowances for them.

The Social Security Act enacted in 2018 supposedly aiming at translating the inclusive principles of the constitution in concrete actions, mirrored the same approach, contravening the principles of the Disabilities Rights Act.

Also, in this case, only the most severe citizens living with disabilities were allowed to receive a small, almost insignificant monthly financial support.

Only in the first week of October 2020, the regulations of the Social Security Act, after intense lobbying involving thousands of widowers also discriminated by the law, were changed to include better, though still too narrow, provisions.

Again, this forced turnaround is the wrong solution to the problem as it is the Social Security Act that instead should be properly amended.

In general provisions, like the right to free education and free health care together with other essential rights in matter of livelihoods, must be addressed holistically and with determination if we want to uplift the living conditions of persons with disabilities.

Such equity-based measures are indispensable not to create dependency but rather to help leveling the playing field for all, a goal far from being achieved.

The political leaders must be determined to put an end to an approach to disabilities that has become a mockery of the Government of Nepal’s international obligations.

The state must mobilize all its strengths to ensure that citizens with disabilities are not citizens of a lesser nature but are instead recognized for the contributions they can provide to the society if their inalienable rights are protected.


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High Tech, Low Labour?

KJ Ong is an independent researcher on technology and the co-founder of Data Democrasea, an initiative that advocates for knowledge, justice, and equality at the frontier of tech in the developing world.

By KJ Ong
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia, Oct 15 2020 – In the glitzy Dolby Theater in Hollywood Heights, with stars dressed in hundred thousand-dollar garbs, Parasite—a film about inequality, class tension and the fault lines of capitalism—won big. I couldn’t help but recall South Korean director Bong Joon-ho’s earlier 2013 film, Snowpiercer.

KJ Ong

Starring a rugged Chris Evans, the positively demonic Tilda Swinton and Bong’s erstwhile collaborator Song Kang-Ho, the film tells the story of a post-apocalyptic future where the world is frozen in a forever winter, where the last remnants of humanity survive in a perpetually moving train called the Snowpiercer.

All is not well in the train—the haves, living at the front of the train, eat sushi and attend fancy dress parties while the have-nots, in the slum-like conditions at the back of the train, eat insect protein and toil in grease, sweat, and blood. A rebellion breaks out, and the have-nots, carve a bloody path to the head of the train.

There, the movie twists. The leader of the have-not rebels uncovers the source of the train’s power: its Eternal Engine has been breaking down for years. Children, small enough to fit through a tiny engine compartment, are kidnapped to manually keep its parts in perpetual motion.

Behind the sparkling clean fluorescent walls, what we believed all along was automated was powered by exploitative labour all along.

In many ways, the tech world today isn’t so different.

At Foxconn Shenzhen, where as much as 40% of the world’s consumer electronics are made – including iPhones, Playstations, Nintendo XYZs, and Microsoft products – Chinese workers similarly live in overcrowded dormitories and are forced to endure horrid working conditions.

Many workers have reported that they were promised free housing but made to pay exorbitant utility bills. Investigations have revealed that suicides are common, with many driven to despair by no overtime pay, deceit by employers on living conditions, 7-day work weeks with 12-hour shifts. In 2012, 150 workers threatened to jump to their death if conditions were not improved. In 2016, a smaller group repeated the threat.

It seems like not much has changed since 2016. In September 2019, Foxconn was once again the media spotlight for employing 50% of its workforce as temporary workers, blatantly flaunting Chinese laws that limit this number to 10%.

Temporary workers don’t receive the benefits and rights full-time employees receive,such as paid sick leave or social insurance, placing them in precarious positionswhere an illness or unforeseen accident that puts them out of commission can wreck entire lives. Foxconn has frequently defended itself by claiming simply to be a service provider to tech companies, an arrangement that requires flexibility to cater to the demand cycles of the industry.

Such arguments from a manufacturing giant echo that of hegemonic tech companies and their “platform defence.” A familiar argument goes: “We are just a platform. We are not really an employer. We provide a service to cater to the on-demand nature of customers.”

Following such a logic then, these “platforms” have no obligation to provide insurance, social protections, or many rights afforded to full time employees for their “gig workers”. At times, in the case of Foxconn, it can cost lives.

In Brazil, Uber-related crimes increased tenfold after the company introduced cash payments in July 2016, in what is now referred to as an instance of “Uber roulette”. Initially, the app didn’t require any identity verification for passengers: anyone could create a fake account, hail a car, and “try their luck” in the hopes of nabbing a driver carrying lots of cash. Vehicles were stolen, drivers were robbed, and in many cases injured. At least 16 drivers have been murdered.

In response, Uber denied any problems with its cash system or lack of security, up until international media and protests by NGOs and informal driver unions began highlighting the issue. It finally introduced ID verification in February 2017.

This “platform defense” often obscures the fact that many of the “advanced” features that we use are, in truth, powered by gruelling manual labour. Take for instance Youtube and Facebook’s content moderation: what many believe to be censored by machine learning is in fact enforced by tens of thousands of contract workers across the world, with the vast majority in the Philippines.

Picture by picture, video by video, these moderators must decide if the content violates community standards. Exposed to violent and disturbing material everyday for hours, many of these moderators develop PTSD-like symptoms: the mental trauma can follow them for years—insomnia, panic attacks, with many driven to drug abuse and suicide.

Whether it’s the gig economy, platform-based businesses, or temporary work, across the world we are seeing an increasing reliance of “high tech on low labour” practices. Undoubtedly, there have been benefits to consumers such as increased flexibility and convenience, but it has also come at a cost to millions of workers who find themselves in precarious and exploitative situations.

This is not to deny the quality-of-life improvements such technological advancements have brought. However, as citizens and consumers, we must begin to ask: at what cost? More importantly, how can we mitigate the human costs of such “progress”?

This is where employee and consumer advocacy has been critical in pressuring governments and corporations to devote resources to addressing these issues. In the case of Brazil, successive strikes have pushed Uber to consistently increase its security measures and social benefits.

In Malaysia, last year’s Foodpanda protests highlighted the anxiety of drivers over how easily their livelihoods could be affected by changes in their payment scheme. As more and more workers enter the “digital economy”, accelerated by the global pandemic, governments must craft policies that are cognizant of the social consequences of such digitization and not simply act as cheerleaders for the tech industry.

A poem written by a Foxconn worker comes to mind:

A screw fell to the ground
In this night of overtime
Falling straight down, lightly clinking
Not attracting anyone’s attention
Just like last time
On a night like this
When someone fell to the ground

-Xu Lizhi, 9 January 2014 (Translated by the author of this op-ed)

Xu Lizhi took his own life eight months after he wrote this poem. He was 24 years old.
When will we pay attention when the screws fall to the ground?


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Global Poverty Soars– As Incomes of World’s Billionaires Hit New Highs

Twelve-year-old boy in Dhaka, capital of Bangladesh, sorts through hazardous plastic waste without any protection, working to support his family amidst the coronavirus lockdown. Credit: UNICEF/Parvez Ahmad

By Thalif Deen
UNITED NATIONS, Oct 15 2020 – The phenomenal rise in extreme poverty -– for the first time in 20 years — has been accompanied by an upsurge in the incomes of the world’s billionaires and the super-rich.

The paradox of poverty amidst plenty is being blamed largely on the coronavirus pandemic which has driven millions, mostly in the developing world, into a state of perpetual poverty.

As the United Nations commemorates International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, the rich are getting richer and the poor poorer– which may also reflect the realities of widespread economic inequalities worldwide.

The world’s total population is around 7.8 billion, and according to the UN, more than 736 million people live below the international poverty line.

A World Bank report last week said extreme poverty is set to rise this year, for the first time in more than two decades, while the impact of the spreading virus is expected to push up to 115 million more people into poverty.

The pandemic, which is also compounding the forces of conflict and climate change, has already been slowing poverty reduction, the World Bank said.

By 2021, as many as 150 million more people could be living in extreme poverty.

In contrast, the wealth of the world’s billionaires reached a new record high in the middle of the pandemic, primarily as “a rebound in tech stocks boosting the fortunes of the global elite”, according to a report released last week by UBS Global Wealth Management and PwC Switzerland.

Providing a sheaf of statistics, the report said total wealth held by billionaires reached $10.2 trillion last July, described as “a new high”, compared with $8.9 trillion in 2017.

The number of billionaires worldwide has been estimated at 2,189, up from 2,158 in 2017.

The rising earnings were mostly from three sectors, including tech, health care and industry—a trend accelerated by the pandemic.

But the study also says the rise in billionaires has led to greater philanthropy, with some 209 billionaires pledging $7.2 billion in donations.

At the other end of the scale, billionaires have seen their fortunes hit record highs during the pandemic, with top executives from technology and industry earning the most.

The world’s richest saw their wealth climb 27.5% to $10.2tn (£7.9tn) from April to July this year, according to a report from Swiss bank UBS.

Pooja Rangaprasad, Director, Policy and Advocacy, Financing for Development (FfD) at the Rome-based Society for International Development (SID), told IPS “philanthropy or charity is not a substitute for systemic solutions”.

Many developing countries are already on the brink of debt crises which is further exacerbated by a broken international tax system that allows wealthy corporations and individuals to pay little to no taxes, she pointed out.

“Unless global economic solutions are prioritised to ensure developing countries have the fiscal space to respond to the crisis, the consequences will be devastating with millions being pushed back into extreme poverty,” she warned.

Governments need to urgently agree on systemic solutions such as debt cancellations, a binding and multilateral UN framework for debt crisis resolution that addresses unsustainable and illegitimate debt and a UN tax convention to fix loopholes in the international tax system, argued Rangaprasad.

Professor Kunal Sen, Director of UN University World Institute for Development Economics Research (UNU-WIDER), told IPS the pandemic is going to push millions of households into poverty, all around the developing world.

“The challenge for the international community is to channelise additional resources through Official Development Assistance (ODA) to low income countries, where global poverty is concentrated”.

“The UN can play an important role in mobilizing resources for financing the efforts of the member states to counter the effects of the pandemic on the poor and vulnerable in their own countries”, said Dr Sen, who is also a professor of development economics at the Global Development Institute, University of Manchester, UK.

The projected rise in poverty has also undermined one of the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which had targeted the eradication of extreme poverty and hunger by 2030.

According to the World Bank, “extreme poverty” is defined as living on less than $1.90 a day. The projected increase in poverty would be the first since 1998, when the Asian financial crisis shook the global economy.

Before the pandemic struck, the extreme poverty rate was expected to drop to 7.9% in 2020. But now it is likely to affect between 9.1% and 9.4% of the world’s population this year, according to the bank’s biennial ‘Poverty and Shared Prosperity Report’.

“The pandemic and global recession may cause over 1.4% of the world’s population to fall into extreme poverty,” said World Bank Group president David Malpass.

He said that to reverse this “serious setback”, countries would need to prepare for a different economy post-Covid, by allowing capital, labour, skills and innovation to move into new businesses and sectors.

Malpass said World Bank support would be available to developing countries “as they work toward a sustainable and inclusive recovery”, with grants and low-interest loans worth $160 billion to help more than 100 poorer countries tackle the crisis.

Ben Phillips, author of ‘How to Fight Inequality’, told IPS the concentration of wealth amongst a handful of oligarchs, and the spread of impoverishment to hundreds of millions more people, are not the disconnected coincidences that the super-rich claim, but are two sides of the same bad penny.

He said COVID-19 has not created obscene inequality, but it has supercharged it. In this systemic crisis, the healing impact of philanthropy will be no greater than a novelty sticking plaster on a gaping wound.

As the Pope, the UN Secretary-General, the President of Ireland and the Prime Minister of New Zealand have all pointed out, there is only one non-disastrous way out of this, and that is a rebalancing of economies to serve ordinary people, he noted.

“That is absolutely doable – indeed, we’ve done it before – but markets cannot self-correct, and elites never bestow a fair economy from on high. Only pressure from ordinary people can win an economy that is humane and safe,” declared Phillips.

Dereje Alemayehu, Executive Coordinator, Global Alliance for Tax Justice, told IPS inequality is rising in every country; so also, is the income of billionaires. These are causally linked.

“Multinationals and the wealthy do not pay their share of taxes, thus depriving countries the public revenue needed to address inequality.”

Furthermore, he said, the prevailing international financial architecture denies developing countries their right to tax their share in global profit of multinationals. To adequately address inequality, national governments should introduce progress and redistributive tax systems.

But his would not be enough.

“Developing countries should also reclaim their taxing rights on global profit. For this, a UN led intergovernmental process, in which member states participate on an equal footing, should be established to pave the way for the reform international tax rules and standards,” said Alemayehu, who is also Senior Advisor – Economic Policy at Tax Justice Network Africa.