Tag Archives COVID-19

Rebuilding the economy one home-office at a time: the pros and cons of working from the office

Rebuilding the economy one home-office at a time: the pros and cons of working from the office

Are we sure we still need to be in the office 40+ hours a week? The economy may suffer in the short term if we continue flexible working, but society ...

Reforming the international financial system is no act of charity

Reforming the international financial system is no act of charity

Rolph van der Hoeven and Rob Vos are the authors of a chapter* of the recently published book ‘COVID-19 and International Development’. In this blog, they elaborate on their chapter, ...

What the war in Ukraine and the COVID-19 crisis teach us about our global interconnectedness and its implications for inequality

Due to the war in Ukraine not only the country’s inhabitants have come under fire, but also the granary of much of the world. If the war is not stopped, grain prices will rise. This will have severe effects on many countries and vulnerable countries in Africa are likely to bear the brunt. The war, like the corona pandemic, illustrates how closely we are interconnected as nations on a global scale. What effects do such crises have on existing inequality? In this blog, a number of researchers of global development and social justice share their thoughts.

On 17 March, the Institute of Social Studies (ISS) at Erasmus University launched the book ‘COVID-19 and International Development’ (Springer, 2021). During the recent book launch in Amsterdam, ISS researchers have shed light on the unseen faces of the corona pandemic in low-income countries. We spoke with some of the authors of the book about the impact of COVID-19 on the Global South, and their expectations for the future.

What are the main socioeconomic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic in the Global South? 

Rolph van der Hoeven and Rob Vos: ‘Developing countries have suffered severe economic fallouts due to the pandemic. Between 100 and 160 million more people in low-income countries have fallen into poverty and hunger. The recovery has been bumpy and developing countries have had little fiscal and monetary capacity to respond. Many countries now face severe debt distress. Some progress has been made towards realizing two of four reforms we proposed in the book: international tax coordination and issuance of new SDRs. However, these still need to be tailored to serve the interests of the Global South. Worldwide, we are unprepared for future pandemics and major global crises. Just look at last year’s events: many of the world’s poor also had to cope with a surge in food prices. The current Russian invasion of Ukraine will further increase food prices, while the capacity of the government to protect the vulnerable has eroded. We should expect poverty and hunger to rise even further.’

Natascha Wagner: ‘We still have very little fact-based evidence on the indirect health consequences in the Global South where health information systems are weak. We have observed severe disruptions in the provision of routine health care services, preventive care, and treatment schemes. Foregone health care potentially results in more severe complications, co-infections and uncurable conditions, in particular among the poorest. The combination of ad hoc lockdowns without a social assistance system that just as rapidly reaches the poorest has severely affected the already sluggish progress towards the SDGs.’

Farhad Mukhtarov: ‘The pandemic has made it clear that the global water crisis is not so much about scarcity or affordability of water. These can be resolved in most cases by temporarily augmenting supply and providing subsidies. Rather, it is about societal inequality, racial and class-based patterns of violence and exploitation. Many things are needed: fairer wealth re-distribution, more equal practices of taxation, greater investment in the public sector, as well as greater social provision of marginalized groups. They are all necessary to treat various ailments of contemporary global societies.’

Matthias Rieger: ‘The global nature of the pandemic and insufficient data often render it hard to precisely quantify “impacts”. During the pandemic I noticed confused public and policy discourse around the world on “impacts” without proper counterfactual thinking. I think the pandemic has highlighted the need to use natural experiment approaches in global health research and to routinely collect reliable health data.’

Sylvanus Kwaku Afesorgbor: ‘We are getting more and more confident that our optimism about the quick recovery from the COVID-19 trade shock was justified. Although the omicron is more contagious, it has less health consequences and the impact of the pandemic is weaning off – also amongst the non-vaccinated’.

 

Have you become more (or less) optimistic about the COVID-19 -related impacts since your chapter was written?

Peter A.G. van Bergeijk: Globalization encountered another setback with the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The revival of a Cold War setting is on the verge. This will tend to reduce the world’s openness by another 1.5% points (indication of the increase in the share number): Mr. Putin may have effectively killed the era of globalization.’

 

Binyam Afewerk Demena: NEW The major (COVID-19) implication is that the feasibility of export-oriented growth strategies decreases. In addition, the workings of international organizations will be further frustrated. That is bad news for developing countries. The Global South still has to deal with many challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, due to weak health systems, low socio-economic conditions, extreme poverty rates, and limited access to sanitation to contain impacts.’

Agni Kalfagianni: ‘The COVID-19 pandemic has put further strain on poor health care systems and has reduced even more access to food for the most vulnerable. Not much has changed really to give reason for either optimism or pessimism in that respect. The lack of solidarity towards vaccine access from the Global North to the Global South exacerbated existing problems. Regarding future pandemics; we may react more quickly, given the experience that we gained. But until major changes in the health care systems and global cooperation take place, we will fail again.’


Are we now better prepared to protect vulnerable individuals and communities from future pandemics? 

Zemzem Shigute: ‘The corona virus has proven to be a conundrum that even the most economically powerful nations were not able to control. The virus itself does not discriminate between rich and poor people or nations. However, marginalized groups, including migrants, continue to bear its plight. They face intersecting layers of struggle based on various factors including gender, marital status, education, language, employment, and duration of stay in the country.’

Syed Mansoob Murshed: ‘The COVID-19 pandemic’s initial impact on inequality was negative. However, there are signs that the world’s inequality tolerance may be diminishing. Secondly, the labour supply surge – engendered when China and the former Eastern bloc embraced capitalism – is now also ending. That may be good news for workers and the poor in developing countries but has to be counterbalanced with the bad news about trade disruptions and rising energy prices.’

Opinions expressed in Bliss posts reflect solely the views of the author of the post in question.

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COVID-19: the disease of inequality, not of globalization

COVID-19: the disease of inequality, not of globalization

Binyam Afewerk Demena is one of the authors of several chapters of the recently published book ‘COVID-19 and International Development’. In this blog, he and his colleagues elaborate on their ...

Keeping Africans out: Injustice following wilful neglect and the politicization of Covid-19 measures

Keeping Africans out: Injustice following wilful neglect and the politicization of Covid-19 measures

As the Omicron variant continues to spread across the globe, Western nations have taken the decision to impose travel bans to African countries. This measure to contain the virus, is ...

EADI ISS Conference 2021 | COVID-19: solidarity as counter-narrative to crisis capitalism

The absence of serious measures to protect citizens from the COVID-19 virus in countries such as India and Brazil, as well as vaccine grabbing by countries in the Global North, have created much avoidable suffering, mainly, but not only, in the Global South. Nearly a year and a half after the outbreak of the pandemic, hope for transformative change rests mainly on the countless practices of solidarity by local communities worldwide. It therefore comes as no surprise that all speakers at the opening plenary of the EADI ISS #Solidarity2021 conference were torn between pessimism and hope when taking stock of solidarity in times of COVID-19.

Solidarity for survival

Brazil and more recently India are two countries on opposite sides of the world that felt the effects of the pandemic most acutely in the last months. In both these countries, the failure to implement adequate measures has led to a skyrocketing number of infections and related deaths. In the face of such adversity, communities have banded together to try to survive.

Sreerekha Sathi from the ISS, who discussed how the pandemic was navigated in India, and Patricia Maria E. Mendonça from the University of São Paulo, who brought in perspectives from Brazil, pointed to the many encouraging solidarity practices among local communities in both countries. “What we see in Brazil are people connecting to each other, helping each other without expecting anything from the government,” stated Mendonça. In India, on the other hand, Sathi recounted how “we sacrificed many lives, mostly from marginalised sections of society such ad Dalits and migrants”. But solidarity could be witnessed among ordinary people.

Indian leadership, as Sathi put it, can well be compared with that of Trump and Bolsonaro, who “followed a similar response to COVID in many ways, framing it as a flu and promoting unscientific and ineffective treatments”. In India, the system failed particularly during the second wave, when people in Delhi and Uttar Pradesh were even struggling to bury those who had lost their lives to the virus and its mismanagement.

Mendonça connected the situation in Brazil to the broader Latin American history of extreme inequality and shrinking civic space:

“The legacy of extreme inequality is a mark of the continent, and these inequalities are now rising, as Latin America largely depends on the informal economy, which is most effected by the pandemic. And so, we see inequality in access to health, education and food”.

She and her colleagues explored initiatives in urban peripheries in São Paulo and other Brazilian cities, where communities “not only found ways to increase mutual support and to channel donations to those who needed them the most, but also to fight fake news, which is a big issue in Brazil”.

Sharing vaccines will impact global development

To build more global solidarity, Sathi sees the wide and equal distribution of vaccines as a central element, stressing that access to vaccines in countries with large populations such as India and Brazil will have a tremendous impact on global development. And the other way round, “we in our countries need to figure out how to make our democracies work in a better way, and then globally, to look for more solidarity in vaccine and other resource sharing”.

Sowing seeds of hope…

Although it might seem cynical at the first sight to view the pandemic as a catalyst for positive change, there are also good reasons for cautious hope. According to Danny Sriskandarajah, CEO of Oxfam Great Britain, the pandemic has the potential to set the seeds for transformative systemic change:

“Many of us have been spending decades saying, we are all in this together, we have common threats and challenges, and are one humanity who needs to build on solidarity. In some ways, there has been nothing in our collective history that comes close to this pandemic in making us feel we are all in this together.

To have solidarity, you need to have some sense of community or proximity, some sense of familiarity, and the optimist in me thinks that this is the moment for our generation to build back very differently on this basis. Wherever you look, there are really worrying signs, but there are also seeds of something really transformative that could look very differently in years to come, and I do think historians will look back at this era of humanity and judge us by whether we grabbed the opportunity to do things radically differently”.

…or amplifying differences?

Melissa Leach, Director of the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) (University of Sussex)  held a different view. Leach admitted that the conditions for the cautious hope she had expressed in a paper almost a year ago on ‘How and why COVID-19 requires us to rethink development’ have now changed:

“On the contrary, instead of people-to-people sharing, we see COVID amplifying differences and inequalities across place, across race, across gender and class. Some people have thrived. Others have faced worsening health and other intersecting precarities. We see COVID exposing these long-term forms of structural violence as cracks in the systems we all depend on. While doing little to mend them, we see it giving reign to authoritarian politics and backlashes from the UK to Uganda, Brazil, India.

And instead of human-nature solidarities, we are seeing a whole range of new climate and biodiversity deals, which are emphasising national, market-based targets and mechanisms. We are actually exporting responsibility for restoring ecosystems or offsetting the degradation via the market to others, often undermining indigenous and local solidarities with nature”.

‘Vaccine apartheid’, ‘regressive’ solidarity, and crisis capitalism

On top of this comes the new ‘vaccine apartheid’ and something she calls ‘regressive’ solidarity, which Guy Standing has described as “the virulent global solidarity of the rentiers, the plutocracy, and globalised finance”.On the other hand, the pandemic has not only seen ‘crisis capitalism’ at work, as described by Naomi Klein’s Shock Doctrine, and – as a counterpart – the many practices of solidarity as just described, but also according to Leach “an unprecedented moment of reflection and imagination about alternative futures, and in a way this very conference session is an example of that”. But, she wondered, “Can these local solidarities from the margin globalise? Can we see progressive global solidarity building from the bottom up that can challenge the regressive solidarities of crisis capitalism?”

Moving past stereotypes

Sathi argued that the pandemic has also taught us some lessons on rethinking the usual North-South clichés. For example, while people in so-called ‘developed’ countries such as the US were hoarding sanitiser and toilet paper, people in ‘developing’ countries were setting up community kitchens from scratch. She also mentioned that in the early stages of the pandemic, when the Indian state of Kerala provided better virus protection that the US, for example, citizens from the Global North who wanted to extend their visa there suddenly found themselves in the same situation as people of colour usually do in countries of the Global North.

A return to normal – but one that we cannot accept

The seeds of transformative change may be visible to some, and in some places, but they need to be sown before it’s too late and we return to the world of inequality and suffering we lived in before the pandemic emerged. It’s up to us to find these seeds and to help them sprout and grow.

 Sriskandarajah in his concluding remarks hit home:

“When left unchecked, the pandemic will simply reinforce almost all of that which we worried about pre-pandemic, whether that’s climate vandalism, vulgar levels of economic accumulation and inequality, deepening of gender inequities and injustices in our societies, and so on.

But I can also see, like in any system change, the little threads you would like to pull at, the sort of peripheral solidarity or disruptive solidarities that could undo the whole system. If I had a wish list of what I would like to see in 10 or 20 years’ time, that list would include things like social protection for every human being, a fundamental rethink on how we frame growth, and a reframing all those measures we have been using and abusing in the recent decades”.

Opinions do not necessarily reflect the views of the ISS or members of the Bliss team.

About the author:

Christiane Kliemann Communications European Association of Development Research and Training Institutes (EADI)

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Beware of calls to ‘rescue’ India’s ‘Covid orphans’

Beware of calls to ‘rescue’ India’s ‘Covid orphans’

News reports of children being orphaned by Covid-19 deaths in India raise the spectre of a generation of children without adequate parental care. But international responses that favour solutions like ...

COVID-19 | COVID-19 and the ‘collapse’ of the Philippines’ agricultural sector: a double disaster

COVID-19 | COVID-19 and the ‘collapse’ of the Philippines’ agricultural sector: a double disaster

The enduring COVID-19 pandemic has led to a sharp spike in hunger among Filipinos resulting from an extended lockdown in this Southeast Asian country. This is driven in part by ...

COVID-19 | Fighting pandemics = fighting inequalities: a business proposition

The most important lesson that we can learn from the COVID-19 pandemic is that inequalities are the Achilles heel of a society that has been hit by a pandemic. Based on selected insights from his new book, Pandemic Economics, Peter van Bergeijk argues that relatively small interventions in the Global South and the adjustment of the SDGs to include combating pandemics can go a long way in preventing future pandemics.

van Bergeijk, P. A. (2021). Pandemic Economics. Edward Elgar Publishing.

You learn a lot about humanity during a pandemic. Pandemics reveal imbalances, contradictions and inequalities that we can no longer ignore at the peril of succumbing under the pressure of the next pandemic (Meskoub 2021). Here are some of the most important lessons we have learned so far:

  • We have learned that access to basic health care is not guaranteed during a pandemic and that marginalised groups are most vulnerable.
  • We have learned that essential workers are at high risk to be contaminated and that society cannot do without the people that continue to provide essential services.
  • We have learned that working conditions and the organisation of workplaces to a large extent determine the speed of transmission of a virus and that especially low-income earners appear to work in places where outbreaks occur frequently.
  • We have learned that marginal poor and informal sector workers have no access to proper sanitary facilities and that lockdowns are no realistic tool, since their livelihoods are threatened.
  • We have learned that the most vulnerable clusters in society consist of people that have no opportunity to work from home, need to travel by public transport, and have low incomes so that their housing does not afford much scope for social distancing.
  • We have learned that this is true both for the Global South and the Global North.

We have learned… I sincerely hope that we have learned.

A business proposition

The fact that COVID-19 is a pandemic amplifies our current problems, but even for new contagious diseases that do not reach all continents, inequalities are the breeding ground for the spreading of disease and the suffering that may follow. Reducing epidemic vulnerabilities requires reducing the inequalities above.

But fighting the next pandemic implies that we cannot limit our attention to inequalities at home, because the equalities around the world – within and between countries – provide breeding grounds and disease pools from which new variants, viruses and other contagious diseases emerge. The implication is that reducing inequalities in other countries and continents becomes a business proposition: an investment project with a high rate of return.

‘Wash your hands!’ and the SDGs

One of the least intrusive and most effective measures against any contagious disease is washing your hands thoroughly. It is extremely important that handwashing is taught at home and at school and that this discipline is maintained. What we have learned from COVID-19 is that every Earthling is at risk, so we cannot afford the luxury of focusing on groups that are particularly vulnerable to infections only. Handwashing for example is only possible if clean water, ablution facilities and soap are available to everyone.

Since a pandemic is global, the approach needs to be global. Handwashing facilities in developing countries are a cheap, significant and necessary precaution. Therefore SDG 6 – ‘Ensure access to clean water and sanitation for all’–  is an excellent business proposal that reduces pandemic vulnerability. Investing in clean water and sanitation is a very cost effective measure to reduce global pandemic vulnerability.

The realisation moreover that poverty is a breeding ground for pandemics implies that income inequality between and within countries is much more important than the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) seem to acknowledge (van der Hoeven and van Bergeijk, 2018). From this perspective, a reformulation of SDGs may be necessary.

It is the planet, stupid!

The emergence of contagious virus should have come as no surprise, yet ‘preparedness’ to deal with the emergency was below standard. (Sathyamala, 2021). How can we increase pandemic preparedness? The scale of preparations cannot be international (that is, involving many countries), but needs to be global – so involving all countries. This obviously to some extent had already been recognised before the corona crisis by the move from ‘international health’ to ‘global health’.

Pandemics, however, have not yet received the explicit attention they need in the SDGs. The SDGs (and in particular the SDG 3 – ‘Ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages’) do not mention prevention of pandemics per se. Health target 3.3 – ‘By 2030, end the epidemics of AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and neglected tropical diseases and combat hepatitis, water-borne diseases and other communicable diseases’ – could be easily adjusted. Target 3.d – ‘Strengthen the capacity of all countries, in particular developing countries, for early warning, risk reduction and management of national and global health risks’ – seems satisfactory at first glance, but misses the point that the ‘in particular’ is equally relevant for the advanced countries. The SDGs are targets for every country independent of its level of development.

Perhaps this is the most important lesson for the Global North. The advanced economies are not invulnerable and were ill prepared. The Global North needs to take inequalities seriously in order to survive. Fighting inequalities around the globe and domestically is the best business proposition that we have for the Global North.


References

Bergeijk, Peter A.G. van, 2021, Pandemic Economics, Edward Elgar: Cheltenham https://www.e-elgar.com/shop/gbp/pandemic-economics-9781800379961.html

Hoeven. Rolph van der and Peter A.G. van Bergeijk, Inclusiveness and the SDGs: Can income inequality be reduced? https://issblog.nl/2018/01/12/inclusiveness-and-the-sdgs-can-income-inequality-be-reduced-by-rolph-van-der-hoeven-and-peter-van-bergeijk/

Meskoub, M, 2021, How exclusionary social protection systems in the MENA are making the COVID-19 pandemic’s effects worse, https://issblog.nl/2021/03/03/covid-19-how-exclusionary-social-protection-systems-in-the-mena-are-making-the-covid-19-pandemics-effects-worse/

Sathyamala, Christina, 2020, COVID-19: a biopolitical odyssey. ISS Working Paper No. 667, Erasmus University ISS: The Hague

Opinions do not necessarily reflect the views of the ISS or members of the Bliss team.

About the author:

Peter van Bergeijk is professor of international economics and macroeconomics at the ISS.

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Positioning Academia | Reducing inequality should be our top priority during the COVID-19 pandemic—but it isn’t

Positioning Academia | Reducing inequality should be our top priority during the COVID-19 pandemic—but it isn’t

The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated income inequality all over the world. The UN’s Sustainable Development Goal of reducing inequality (SDG 10) is getting more and more off track. How are ...

COVID-19 and Conflict | COVID-19 in the Brazilian Amazon: forging solidarity bonds against devastation

COVID-19 and Conflict | COVID-19 in the Brazilian Amazon: forging solidarity bonds against devastation

The indigenous populations in the Amazon are putting up a commendable fight against the Brazilian government’s lack of adequate response to the COVID-19 pandemic. They are fighting an epic battle, ...

COVID-19 and Conflict | Why virtual sex work hasn’t helped sex workers in India survive the COVID-19 lockdown

Virtual sex work, although around for many years, has become an alternative to traditional sex work during the global COVID-19 pandemic. In India, like elsewhere, sex workers due to a strict lockdown and the limiting of their movements have turned to virtual sex work to earn a living. Yet it has not become a viable solution for many due to a number of challenges the workers face when resorting to this type of sex work, write Birendra Singh and Chitrakshi Vashisht.

"Sex workers" by mo's is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

By the end of 2020, around ten million people in India had been infected with COVID-19. Only the United States has recorded a higher number of infections. To mitigate the crisis, the Government of India instituted a lockdown, forcing its over 1.4 billion residents to stay at home. Among the many affected by strict lockdown measures are sex workers, who became a high-risk group during the pandemic due to the nature of their work that requires physical interaction.

Conservative estimates suggest that there are around 38,000 sex workers in the city of Delhi alone, of whom many are residential sex workers working from their small and congested houses (also the case for brothels). This poses a twofold challenge for them during the pandemic: a heightened individual risk of contracting a COVID-19 infection and lack of any other source of income to support themselves and their families in a time when the economy came to a virtual halt.

In light of this precarious situation, and as part of the ISS’s concluding ‘When Disaster Meets Conflict’ (Discord) project, we conducted a small study with sex workers in Delhi, including with female sex workers (FSW – cisgender women), transgender (trans) women, and hijras (a socio-cultural group in India under the transgender umbrella which in 2014 was recognized as a third gender by the Supreme court of India). Interviews took place online in the summer of 2020, and we sought to understand the effects of the virus and the pandemic on their lives and the possibilities of new technological practices such as virtual sex for this group. We conducted six interviews: two with representatives of NGOs working with sex workers, two with representatives of the All India Network of Sex Workers, and two with representatives of the Mitr Trust. Of the respondents, three earn their living through sex work. Additionally, secondary data such as media reports, articles, and online interviews were consulted for the study.

Virtual sex work is emerging as a new typology of sex work whereby sex workers use electronic devices such as computers or (mobile) phones to provide sex services through text, audio, and video. Especially during the pandemic, a shift in sex-work practices from physical sex to virtual sex could be observed, while some claimed a potential transformation in sexuality in which virtual sex practices could have played a critical role. However, our study brings to light the critical factors associated with this practice itself that makes its feasibility as alternative livelihood for sex workers in Delhi questionable.

Challenges facing sex workers

The sex workers we spoke to belonged to the lower socio-economic tiers of society and were migrants. Most sex workers reside in congested, unauthorized housing clusters, slums, or small, rented rooms with their friends or families in Delhi. Often, men in families of FSWs suffer from alcoholism and drug abuse, while both FSWs and trans women face intimate partner violence. Due to the stigma attached to sex work and gender non-conformity (for trans women/and hijras), most are abandoned by their biological families. Amina’s story is no different. Now 19, she was thrown out by her parents when she was 16 years old. She particularly recalls: “My sister gave me 100 rupees (less than 2 euros) and asked me to buy poison and die.”

Many FSWs live dual/hidden lives, while some work as a domestic help, security guard, or in small manufacturing companies on outskirts of Delhi, using these additional jobs only as a ‘cover’ for their sex work. Trans women and/or hijras are marginalized even among FSWs since they are not considered ‘real’ women. Due to their gender/sexual expression, opportunities for decent work are often closed to them and they are forced to choose sex work, begging, and/or traditional hijra ways (singing and dancing at ritual functions) of living.

The use of virtual sex technology to keep working

A strict lockdown and fear of being infected halted sex work, with dire implications for sex workers. Some we spoke to stayed hungry for up to three days, while some FSWs lacked enough money to buy milk for their children. Hence, although not an entirely new option for some, virtual sex became the only option during the crisis. However, through it sex workers could earn only a small fraction of the income they could have earned through non-virtual sex work.

They faced many problems. To begin with, the lack of private space to interact when making audio or video calls was difficult for sex workers, as well as for their clients, because during the crisis everyone was staying at home. Especially poor and uneducated sex workers lacked the basic digital literacy to use the phone and/or the Internet, as well as the confidence and skills necessary to perform virtual sex work. Their socioeconomic background, precarious living conditions, and the stigmatization of sex work never allowed them to acquire these skills and pride in their work. Moreover, for some to meet the cost of an Internet connection or smartphone itself was impossible.

Safety in receiving payment by the clients was also among the big challenges that this community faced. Sharing phone numbers with strangers resulted in adverse consequences. Many men threatened sex workers, stating that if they did not provide them with a free service, they would ‘expose’ their identity to their neighbours and families. Additionally, many clients refused to pay in advance for the services. Many times, they would disconnect the call and block the sex worker’s account or phone number just after receiving the service virtually, while sometimes men would delay payment rather than denying it altogether and later block the number of the sex worker. Some clients also threatened to distribute their phone number to strangers who would make their life even more difficult. For most of the sex workers, the biggest problem with virtual sex was ‘no guarantee of payment’.

Not (yet) a viable alternative

Virtual sex as an innovative practice during the COVID-19 crisis didn’t work for the majority of the sex workers we interviewed because of the lack of digital literacy, access to good-quality phones or personal computers and Internet connections, privacy, and the empathy of society. Receiving safe and secure payment was also one of their biggest challenges. In the Indian context, virtual sex practices thus cannot be treated as a substitute for ‘regular’ sex work, although it has captured remarkable attention as a ‘new’ type of sex work.

About the authors

Birendra Singh is a Science Technology and Society (STS) studies researcher. He holds a Master of Technology (M.Tech) and a research Master (M.Phil) in the realm of science policy. His research interest includes, frugal and grassroots innovation emerging from marginalized spaces, politics of knowledge and social institutions. At ISS/EUR, his PhD project is aspiring to conceptualize knowledge and learning dynamics of the bottom-up frugal innovations. For more info click here.

Chitrakshi Vashisht has over eight years of work experience in development sector in the field of gender, sexuality, education, adult literacy, SRH (particularly in HIV/AIDS) in India where she worked with several grassroots level NGOs/CBOs strenuously working for the rights of women, men and transgender (including but not limited to hijra and kothi) persons. Her research interests are in the areas of policy, gender, sexuality, identity, culture, and intimate partner violence. She holds an M.Sc. in Gender and Development Studies from Asian Institute of Technology, Thailand, a Masters in Social Work from India and is presently pursuing her PhD from ISS.

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COVID-19 and Conflict | Economic downturn, precarity, and coping mechanisms in the Eastern DRC

COVID-19 and Conflict | Economic downturn, precarity, and coping mechanisms in the Eastern DRC

The Kivus in the Eastern DRC do not seem to be getting a break. Besides facing a protracted armed conflict, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused an economic downturn in the ...

COVID-19 and Conflict | From the Chilean miracle to hunger protests: how COVID-19 and social conflict responses relate

COVID-19 and Conflict | From the Chilean miracle to hunger protests: how COVID-19 and social conflict responses relate

COVID-19 broke out in Chile last year in the midst of an intensive social conflict rooted in the deep-seated inequalities caused by the free-market reforms in the country. The case ...

COVID-19 and Conflict | Between myth and mistrust: the role of interlocutors in managing COVID-19 in Haiti

Mistrust in state-provided information about COVID-19 has characterized citizen responses to the pandemic in Haiti, preventing the effective management of the virus. This article shows that this mistrust is rooted in a number of historical, political, and social factors, including the perceived mismanagement of past crises. In the wake of resistance to pandemic measures and failure to adhere to regulations, local organizations can play an important role in contexts with low institutional trustworthiness.

To date, Haiti has managed to register a relatively low number of COVID-19 infections and related deaths. Initial concerns regarding the potential devastation COVID-19 could cause in Haiti were related to insufficient sanitary standards and medical facilities necessary to prevent the spread of the virus and ensure the proper treatment of infected patients. However, it turned out that the misunderstanding of COVID-19-related information was another major challenge that prevented people from taking preventative measures and going to hospital when infected.

Some studies conducted during the cholera outbreak in 2010 have pointed out that extreme poverty and low levels of education can cause mistrust in information on health instructions (Cénat, 2020). Nevertheless, these narrow explanations disregard the historical and socio-political background that has nurtured the mistrust of the population in public institutions that is also visible in responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. Local organizations have played a central role in addressing the Haitian community’s disbeliefs around COVID-19, stepping in as interlocutors in the fight against the spread of the virus.

Over the past few years, discontent with the performance of the state has led to extensive protests. On many occasions, people have called for the resignation of the president and the dissolution of the government, denouncing its inability to manage past crises, claiming a lack of accountability, and citing worsening inequality. Furthermore, the community’s anger has been extended to international institutions, particularly the Core Group[i], the Organization of American States (OAS), and the United Nations Integrated Office in Haiti (BINUH). They are blamed for intervening in Haiti’s internal politics and supporting the current regime, thus keeping the president from resigning (AFP, 2019).

Such anger at, and mistrust in, people in power has been constructed historically. The importation of cholera to Haiti by a UN agent in 2010 as well as successive governments’ mismanagement of the consequent outbreak, the lack of accountability for and the dissatisfaction with the 2010 earthquake responses, the exposure of PetroCaribe fund-related corruption, and the widely reported sexual abuse scandal are just some of the cases that have led to widespread mistrust of those in power.

Damage already done?

When the first COVID-19 infection was confirmed, the government immediately declared a health emergency, imposing restrictive measures and undertaking information campaigns to raise awareness of the pandemic and the necessary sanitary measures to be taken through broadcasts on television, radio, and social media, or by means of vehicles circulating in suburbs with speakers mounted on their roofs[ii]. Despite these efforts, due to the general mistrust and lack of legitimacy of the current government, not only protests against ‘lockdown’ measures and the refusal to adhere to them, but also disbelief surrounding the disease led to the spread of rumours and misinformation (See also Dorcela and St. Jean, 2020). “People think of COVID-19 as a political matter”, said a head of a local youth group.

Hearsay varied from the government having invented the virus to receive money from international aid agencies or diverting attention from the internal political issues[iii] to the hospitals testing a new vaccine on the Haitian population. The disbeliefs were such that people ended up claiming that those showing the same symptoms of COVID-19 were not infected by the virus, but with a different disease that they called ‘Ti lafyèv’ (‘small fever’)[iv], which was assumed to be easily treatable with ‘te anmè’ (bitter tea), therefore ensuring that hospital visits (and testing) were ‘not necessary’.

Given the misinformation, on the one hand people have not taken the virus seriously and therefore failed to follow preventative measures, while on the other hand panic was created and people stigmatized, which prevented them from going to the doctor and accelerated the spread of the virus. Additionally, some acts of sabotage of medical services were reported.

Countering disbelief, panic, and stigma, some local leaders and organizations took important initiatives to disseminate correct information and to help the communities cope with the government measures. For example, Doctors Without Borders and Gheskio, a leading Haitian healthcare institution, trained volunteers as field officers to spread information about the virus by visiting people (what it is, how to protect oneself, which hospitals to go to, etc.). In this regard, Dr. Pape, a founder of Gheskio, argued that “poor people are not stupid. [They] want to make sure that what you’re telling them is real.”[v]

Other civil society organizations (CSOs) also took various initiatives to communicate with people. While some initiatives used campaign music or held quiz contests with questions about COVID-19, allowing participants to learn about the virus while having fun, others visited street vendors and residents, going door to door with information leaflets to clear up the misunderstanding, to remind people that the virus is still present, and to ask them to wear face masks and wash their hands even if others do not follow the measures. Also, the CSO Ekoloji pou Ayiti established hand-washing stations in Furcy and its members stood at the stations to explain to the users which precautions and preventative measures to take, as well as how to make homemade sanitizer.

Thus, in places where the legitimacy and credibility of the government is disputed, such as Haiti, interlocutors such as CSOs and other local organizations can significantly contribute to effective crisis management. The above examples once again highlight the vital role of local actors in articulating and ‘narrowing down’ key messages and practices among the population that are central in managing the spread and effects of the virus.


References

AFP (2019) “Haïti: l’opposition manifeste contre « l’ingérence internationale » (Haiti: the opposition manifestes against the « international interference »”. Available at: https://5minutes.rtl.lu/actu/monde/a/1413480.html (Accessed: 14 December 2020).

Cénat, J. M. (2020) “The Vulnerability of Low-and Middle-Income Countries Facing the COVID-19 Pandemic: The Case of Haiti”, in Travel Medicine and Infectious Disease 37 (101684). Doi: 10.1016/j.tmaid.2020.101684

Dorcela, S. and St. Jean, M. (2020) “Covid-19: Haiti is Vulnerable, but the International Community Can Help”. Available at: https://www.the-hospitalist.org/hospitalist/article/224836/coronavirus-updates/covid-19-haiti-vulnerable-international-community-can (Accessed: 19 July 2020).


Footnotes

[i] Refers to a diplomatic group composed of the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative, the ambassadors of Brazil, Canada, the EU, France, Germany, Spain, the US, and the OAS.

[ii] Telephonic conversation with a physician in Port-au-Prince on 4 July 2020 and with a health professional in Les Cayes on 20 July 2020.

[iii] Telephonic conversation with a physician in Port-au-Prince on 4 July 2020.

[iv] Telephonic conversation with a health professional in Les Cayes on 20 July 2020.

[v] See Feliciano, I. and Kargbo, C. (2020) “As COVID cases surge, Haiti’s Dr. Pape is on the frontline again”.

This article is an outcome of research conducted by the authors between June and August 2020 as part of the International Institute of Social Studies (ISS) of Erasmus University Rotterdam’s ‘When Disaster Meets Conflict’ project. The research aimed to analyze the tensions between top-down measures implemented to face the COVID-19 emergency and the bottom-up responses and mechanisms seen among local leaders and institutions in Haiti. Methodologically, it was conducted by doing a secondary sources review and remote interviews with a number of Haitian health professionals.

About the authors:

Angela Sabogal is a sociologist who graduated from Pontificia Universidad Javeriana in Bogotá, Colombia. She is currently finishing an MA degree in Development Studies at the International Institute of Social Studies ISS of Erasmus University Rotterdam. She has six years of working experience in social project management in Colombia and Haiti.

Yuki Fujita is MA degree student in Development Studies at the International Institute of Social Studies (ISS) of Erasmus University Rotterdam. Her major at the ISS is the Social Policy for Development. Before coming to the ISS, she worked in the diplomatic corps in Haiti for two years from 2017 to 2019.

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COVID-19 | The voices of children and youth in Tanzania’s COVID-19 response

COVID-19 | The voices of children and youth in Tanzania’s COVID-19 response

Rapid research into the effects of COVID-19 on young people in Tanzania reveals high levels of anxiety about the virus as it relates to relationships, economic livelihoods and the community. ...

COVID-19 and Conflict | Pandemic responses in Brazil’s favelas and beyond: making the invisible visible

COVID-19 and Conflict | Pandemic responses in Brazil’s favelas and beyond: making the invisible visible

The inaction of the Brazilian government during the COVID-19 pandemic has pushed some members of Brazilian society into an even more vulnerable position. Yet many of these groups seem to ...

COVID-19 and Conflict | The state’s failure to respond to COVID-19 in Brazil: an intentional disaster

The COVID-19 pandemic in Brazil stretches beyond the fight against the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The inaction of the government over the past year to counter the effects of the pandemic has worsened living conditions for millions of Brazilians and ultimately resulted in the loss of lives. We argue that the intentional disaster resulting from the mismanagement of the pandemic was caused by the direct (in)action of the federal government as gross negligence rooted in apathy clashed with historically constructed conditions.

“The famous ‘stay home’ idea does not work for us here; it is not our reality […] quarantine in the favelas is the biggest fake news invented.” (Gilson Rodrigues, communitarian leader)

“The domestic worker already has a lot against her. If the boss gets sick, he uses his private healthcare system and is treated and cured. Domestic workers use the public system, stand in a large queue, and most of them die. This is the case not only for the domestic worker, but for all poor workers.” (Cleide Pinto, domestic workers union)

The above quotes provide just a glimpse of life during the COVID-19 pandemic in Brazil, painting a picture of gross negligence, mismanagement, and death. These stories are not exceptions. Millions of Brazilians have had to navigate the pandemic, suffering as much from the inaction of the federal government as they did in fighting the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The pandemic became a crisis as the virus entered the country via elites and as existing inequities were compounded as the government stalled. The failure to act to save lives through imposing crucial pandemic measures is why we call it an intentional disaster.

To understand how this intentional disaster came to pass, we performed desk research and a qualitative comparative analysis of in-depth semi-structured interviews[1] conducted with members of three civil society groups in Brazil: residents of favelas (informal settlements), domestic workers, and indigenous peoples of the Amazon. Interviews took place in July 2020, at the peak of the first wave of the pandemic in Brazil. The struggles of the three groups to survive the pandemic represent an ongoing fight, but also show their capacity to be organized, innovative, and quick in resistance. The common threat to the studied groups, besides the virus, was and remains the inaction of the government.

Inequalities in Brazilian society were dramatically exposed by the posture of president Jair Bolsonaro, who relativized deaths and disregarded the importance of the disease by claiming it was “just a simple flu”. Bolsonaro’s government attempted to obscure the official number of lives lost to COVID-19[2] and created obstacles for governors and mayors who felt compelled to implement measures to fight the virus[3]. Initially, governors rejected the directions of the president and implemented lockdown measures. It came to a point where the Supreme Court had to intervene, clarifying that the governors indeed had the responsibility to intervene and were permitted to do so. This provided a shimmer of hope in the face of the absence of larger, national measures.

Moreover, after the resignation of the Minister of Health in May this year, no other minister has been proclaimed; the ministry has since been run by a military general. It is notable that the country is facing the worst pandemic in a century without an official health minister. A lack of leadership, lack of planning, and lack of care for the dying population became the norm.

The devastation this level of inaction caused should not go unnoticed. The number of deaths from COVID-19 in Brazil surpassed 175,000 by beginning December – as a country of continental numbers, Brazil is now the third country in the world in terms of numbers of lives lost to the virus and confirmed cases. Similar to the US, a populist government openly denied scientific findings showing that COVID-19 was real and potentially lethal. A difference between the two countries, however, is that in the United States, Donald Trump eventually realized the need to take measures to contain the pandemic (even if due to electoral motivations). In Brazil, Bolsonaro seems to continue to ignore that responsibility.

What can now be witnessed is that Bolsonaro did not seem to learn, with all the lives lost, nor with Trump’s defeat, how crucial the imposition of measures are. The president continues to appear in pictures without wearing a mask and without adhering to social distancing measures. He now behaves as if the pandemic was over, plans to cut the emergency cash support to the population, and incites the population not to trust a vaccine originating from China. The year has gone from bad to worse.

Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro: protest in remembrance of 100,000 lives lost to the new coronavirus during the first weeks of August 2020, when the country hit the second place in the number of lives lost to COVID-19.
Picture: Rio da Paz. Authorized by authors.

How is this failure to act felt on the ground? What studies revealed in the Brazilian case is that a virus that arrived through elites when returning from vacation in Europe had a bigger impact in the most vulnerable spaces. People on the peripheries, residents of favelas, informal workers, the black population, and indigenous groups are hit hardest. The highest number of deaths seems also to be among the poorest. In a study of infections in São Paulo, almost 66% of the victims lived in neighbourhoods with average salaries of below R$3,000 reais (around 200 euros) per month, and 21% in places with an income of up to R$6,500 reais (around 1.000 euros) per month. Within regions where the average income was above R$19,000 (around 3,167 euros) per month, only just over 1% of deaths were registered.

This pattern found in São Paulo is likely to be repeated in other parts of the country. Populations with a higher socioeconomic status are those who can afford to be in isolation or lockdown and can work from home. A large part of the population cannot afford to do that. In the State of Rio de Janeiro, the first death due to COVID-19 was of a black domestic worker infected in the house where she worked after her employers had returned from a trip to Italy and were tested positive. COVID-19 in Brazil brings to the fore historic inequalities that follow the country’s development. Additionally, these inequalities are aggravated by an intentional policy of negligence by the federal government.

The failure of the Brazilian government to deal with the pandemic seems to be a combination of: (1) the obscure discourse of the president; (2) the lack of specific policies and proper communication with different groups; (3) the cover-up of official information, especially regarding the number of deaths; (4) the deliberate weakening of public services by the current government; and (5) a lack of strategy and planning. In summary, it is an act of complete neglect by the federal government, which in times of pandemic can be perceived as an intentional strategy to decimate the population, especially the most vulnerable, which is known in the literature as necropolitics[4].

In the words of indigenous leader Anderson Tapuia,

here in Brazil we have a government that sends the message that if corona arrives at the villages, it should continue there, doing its work, which means exterminating indigenous peoples”.


 [1] This is the first out of three posts to be published on Bliss presenting the main findings of the research work about COVID-19 in Brazil for the project ‘When Disaster Meets Conflict’.

[2] https://g1.globo.com/politica/noticia/2020/06/08/veiculos-de-comunicacao-formam-parceria-para-dar-transparencia-a-dados-de-covid-19.ghtml

[3] https://g1.globo.com/politica/noticia/2020/06/08/veiculos-de-comunicacao-formam-parceria-para-dar-transparencia-a-dados-de-covid-19.ghtml

[4] Necropolitics is a process in which the state uses political power – by its discourses, actions and omissions – to put specific groups into a more marginalised and vulnerable position (Mbembe, 2019).


References:

MBEMBE, Achille. 2019. Necropolitics. Durham, London : Duke University Press.

About the authors:

Fiorella Macchiavello is an economist and holds an MA degree in Urban and Regional Development from the Federal University of Santa Catarina (UFSC), Brazil. Currently, she is a PhD researcher in the third year of a Joint Degree between the International Institute of Social Studies (ISS) of Erasmus University Rotterdam and UnB, University of Brasilia, Brazil.

Renata Cavalcanti Muniz is a full time PhD researcher at ISS in the last year of her research. Her PhD research was funded by CNPQ-Brasil, and she is part of two research groups at ISS, DEC and CI.

Lee Pegler

Lee Pegler spent his early career working as an economist with the Australian Labour Movement. More recent times have seen him researching the labour implications of “new” management strategies of TNCs in Brazil/ Latin America. This interest expanded to a focus on the implications of value chain insertion on labour, both for formal and informal workers. Trained as an economist and sociologist (PhD – LSE), he currently works as Assistant Professor (Work, Organisation and Labour Rights) at the ISS.

Are you looking for more content about Global Development and Social Justice? Subscribe to Bliss, the official blog of the International Institute of Social Studies, and stay updated about interesting topics our researchers are working on.

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Haemorrhaging Zambia: Underlying sources of the current sovereign debt crisis

Following a stand-off with commercial creditors and protracted but unresolved negotiations with the IMF, Zambia defaulted on its external sovereign debt on 13 November this year. While most commentary has focused exclusively on the government’s sovereign borrowing, our own research has detected massive outflows of private wealth over the past 15 years, hidden away in an obscure part of the country’s financial account. The outflows are most likely related to the large mining companies that dominate the country’s international trade. With many other African countries also facing debt distress, this huge siphoning of wealth from Zambia provides crucial lessons that need to be central in discussions about debt justice in the current crisis. We explain here what we’ve found.

Zambia was already debt-stressed going into the COVID-19 pandemic. The economy was hard hit following the sharp fall in international copper prices from 2013 to 2016, especially given that copper made up about 72% of its exports in 2018 (including unrefined, cathodes and alloys). Following a severe currency crisis in 2015, the government entered into negotiations with the IMF for a balance of payments support loan, but until now they have failed to reach an agreement on the conditions and accompanying programme. There was some improvement in its macroeconomic outlook in 2017 due to rising copper prices, which sent international investors throttling back into optimism.

However, international investors again turned against the country in 2018 in the midst of the global emerging market bond sell-off, which compounded the effects of severe droughts in 2018-19. As a result, the government was already teetering on the edge of default on the eve of the COVID-19 pandemic. The economic fall-out of the pandemic has since pushed the country over the edge (see an excellent analysis here).

Inductive quantitative balance of payments analysis

Most of the commentary on Zambia’s default focuses exclusively on the government’s sovereign borrowing. Our own analysis peers behind this headline focus into the intricacies of financial flows into and out of the economy.

This is part of our ERC-funded project on the political economy of externally financing social policy in developing countries. As the principal investigator, I have focused on researching aid and financial flows related to social protection programmes and their place within broader macroeconomic and political economy dynamics. The rest of the research team (three PhDs: Ana Badillo Salgado, Emma Dadap-Cantal, Benedict Yiyugsah, and one postdoc, Dr Charmaine G. Ramos) have been focusing on how these external dynamics influence the adoption and implementation of social protection programmes.

As one of my main methods, I have been conducting historical-structural inductive analysis of balance of payments and related macroeconomic data. This might be best described as a form of investigative or forensic analysis of the external accounts of the respective case countries, of which Zambia happened to be one.

Financial account anomalies in the post debt-relief period

It is through this analysis that I identified a difficult-to-explain data anomaly on the financial accounts of the Zambian balance of payments that started with the debt relief of the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative (MDRI) in 2005. The anomaly is a sharp rise in net acquisitions of debt instruments by resident non-financial ‘other sectors’ on the ‘other investment’ account. In other words, Zambian residents – which include the local subsidiaries or affiliates of transnational corporations – were massively increasing their holdings of debt assets abroad even in the midst of debt distress at home.

The magnitude of these acquisitions of debt assets far exceeded the amount of Eurobonds that are now in default (worth $3 billion USD). They started at the same time as the MDRI debt relief, when this category jumped from non-existence in 2003 to over $600 million in 2005 and over $900 million in 2006, more than counteracting the gains of debt relief.[1] These obscure debt asset acquisitions then jumped to almost $1.5 billion in 2007 and peaked at over $5 billion in 2012, over $3 billion in 2015, and over $1.8 billion in 2017. While they subsided in 2018 and 2019, they had already reached over $1.3 billion in the first half of 2020 (based on the latest quarterly reporting).

In proportional terms, these outflows reached peaks of almost 20% of GDP in 2012, 15% of GDP in 2015, and over 7% of GDP as recently as 2017. They thereby siphoned off most of the gains from both the commodity boom of the early 2010s and the government’s borrowing, undermining any hope for achieving external financial stability.

What could such debt assets represent? Local subsidiaries of transnational corporations have been known to borrow heavily offshore, as is commonly discussed in the financialization literature.[2] However, such financial operations would appear as debt liabilities, not as debt assets, so this explanation does not make sense.

In exploring this puzzle during fieldwork in Zambia in 2017,[3] we came to understand that the debt assets in question represent an accounting discrepancy that is mostly likely explained by unreported profit remittances by large mining companies in Zambia. Other corporates might have also been involved, although given the conventional wisdom that most things occurring on the external accounts of Zambia are somehow related to the mining majors, it follows that so too were the discrepancies.

The monetary authorities in Zambia have been aware of this anomaly.[4] They admitted to us that they had been trying to figure it out with the help of the IMF. It was not related to private capital flight through banks given that the banking sector is well regulated by the central bank (the Bank of Zambia or BoZ). In contrast, mining companies are not required to report to the BoZ given that they are non-financial firms and hence are not covered by banking regulations, even though they dominate much of the financial activity in the economy, especially on the external accounts.

Indeed, the anomaly itself was a creation of the BoZ based on their observation of discrepancies between their own data versus the reporting of assets held by Zambian residents by the Bank of International Settlements, to which international banks are required to report even when they fall outside Zambian jurisdiction. This led the BoZ to believe that the discrepancies belonged in this category of international debt assets. Technically, however, they should have been reported in the category of errors and omissions or even as profit remittances, although this would have of course raised alarm bells given the magnitude of these flows.

More than just debt relief is needed

The enormous sums involved provide a vital counterperspective to the rise of sovereign borrowing by Zambia. In effect, sovereign borrowing has helped sustain these private outflows, especially once the commodity boom came to an end. Foreigners have profited, much of the wealth of Zambia is now offshore, and yet the Government of Zambia has continued borrowing in a desperate attempt to keep the financial ship afloat despite these massive holes in its hull. Regular Zambians are now paying the price.

The argument for this economic model since the beginning of the century has been, to put it crudely, that Africans are better off being exploited than not being exploited at all, in terms of the extra jobs, investment, demand, and revenue that transnational corporations bring. With governments returning to the spectres of hard adjustment and deep recession, so soon after debt relief and commodity boom were squandered by massive outflows of wealth that open capital accounts facilitated, it is hard to see how this logic retains any credibility. More than just debt relief, a complete rethink of the model is required.


[1] Cancelled multilateral debt was close to $2 billion in both 2005 and 2006 although the actual gains from this were only accrued through reduced interest payments on debt, which only fell by $73 million USD in 2016 and $37 million USD in 2017.

[2] For instance, see Serena JM, Moreno R. 2016. ‘Domestic financial markets and offshore bond financing’. BIS Quarterly Review, September: 81-97. For more critical discussions, see Bortz PG, Kaltenbrunner A. 2018. ‘The International Dimension of Financialization in Developing and Emerging Economies’. Development and Change. 49(2): 375-393; or Kaltenbrunner A, Painceira JP. 2015. ‘Developing countries’ changing nature of financial integration and new forms of external vulnerability: the Brazilian experience’. Cambridge Journal of Economics. 39(5): 1281-1306.

[3] While the PhDs in the project spent four to six months in each of the case study countries conducting political economy process tracing of social protection agendas and programmes, I joined them in each of the countries for a shorter period of time and focused specifically on conducting elite interviews with a range of specialized actors that had technical knowledge and experience over the external financing of domestic spending. These actors included staff from major donors, international organisations, central banks, finance ministries, and other government departments, especially those involved in social protection programmes.

[4] These must remain anonymised given the political sensitivity of these issues.

This article is an abridged and slightly modified version of the full analysis, including detailed data analysis, posted on the Developing Economics blog, which can be found here.

About the author:

 

Andrew Fischer

Andrew M. Fischer is Associate Professor of Social Policy and Development Studies at the ISS and the Scientific Director of CERES, the Dutch Research School for International Development. His latest book, Poverty as Ideology (Zed, 2018), was awarded the International Studies in Poverty Prize by the Comparative Research Programme on Poverty (CROP) and Zed Books and, as part of the award, is now fully open access (http://bora.uib.no/handle/1956/20614). Since 2015, he has been leading a European Research Council Starting Grant on the political economy of externally financing social policy in developing countries. He has been known to tweet @AndrewM_Fischer

Are you looking for more content about Global Development and Social Justice? Subscribe to Bliss, the official blog of the International Institute of Social Studies, and stay updated about interesting topics our researchers are working on.