'Women, youth and children demand development justice, end to plutocracy' - CPG
Posted on 7 March 2014
Opening Remarks for the OPGA High Level Event on
‘The Contributions of Women, the Young and Civil Society
to the post-2015 Development Agenda’
6 March 2014
By Paul Quintos
Campaign for People’s Goals for Sustainable Development
Excellency John Ashe, distinguished panelists, ladies and gentlemen thank you for this opportunity to share with you today our views and expectations as civil society for a new development framework that members states are currently shaping for the post-2015 era.
A few years ago several internal memos from one of the world’s largest banks, Citigroup, was leaked to the public. The memos described the world’s leading economies as “plutonomies” and advised investors that good returns would be generated from luxury consumption and lifestyles. It also warned against the possibility of rising corporate tax rates that could choke off returns to the private sector, and other taxes on personal income, dividend, capital-gains, and inheritance that could hurt the plutonomy.
It is this model of wealth accumulation that is directly responsible for the crises we now confront. Policies of consumerism, financial speculation, unmitigated exploitation of the world´s resources, privatisation of essential social services, resources and infrastructure, deregulation of labour and economies and militarism have made the world unsustainable, insecure and grossly unequal. The burden of these policies is borne by those least responsible: the impoverished and marginalized, especially women and children in the global south.
How can we maximize the contribution of women to society if they remain tied down by patriarchal structures that require women to carry the burden of the vast amount of the world’s unpaid and low-paid work, if they are being bought and sold as child-bearers, wives and workers while still not respected as equal rights holders? If they are most likely to die in climate related disasters, most likely to be displaced as subsistence farmers, most likely to suffer from the privatization of public services, goods and commons. If women suffer the tyranny of violence inside and outside the home and even internationally where might is normalised as the source of power?
How can youth and children best shape their future if millions are barred from getting an education and fulfilling their potentials? Even those who have degrees are denied decent work opportunities and therefore a life of dignity. Instead we have thousands of girls working in slave-like conditions in factories and plantations and mines or in homes of the better-off; to prop up the avaricious economic structures that demand increased consumption and production to benefit a tiny few.
The Citigroup memo warned that beyond war, inflation, the end of the technology/productivity wave, and financial collapse, the most potent and short-term threat to plutonomies would be societies demanding a more ‘equitable’ share of wealth. That time has come.
Over the past three years, streets and squares and fields across the world have become the sites of massive demonstrations, strikes, occupations, riots, rebellions and revolutions. From the Arab Spring to the movement of the squares in Southern Europe, to Occupy Wallstreet and the streets of