Did Argentina Default or Not? It’s More Than Semantics

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Argentine President Cristina Fernández addressing supporters in a courtyard in the government palace on Jul. 31, after giving a speech to the nation to explain the country’s debt payment situation. Credit: Casa Rosada

Global Geopolitics & Political Economy / IPS

Analysis by Fabiana Frayssinet

BUENOS AIRES, Aug 4 2014 (IPS) – Argentina’s supposed “default”, an unprecedented case in the history of world capitalism, sets a legal, political and financial precedent that indicates the need for concrete measures regarding the fine line between legal, ethical business activities and criminal usury.

In the debate, the orthodox financial sectors say Argentina’s failure to comply with U.S. Judge Thomas Griesa’s ruling means it has once again defaulted, while others argue that it (more…)

CEOs at Big U.S. Companies Paid 331 Times Average Worker

Global Geopolitics & Political Economy / IPS

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Fast food workers protest for higher wages in New York City, July 2013. Credit: Annette Bernhardt/cc by 2.0

Jim Lobe

WASHINGTON, Apr 16 (IPS) – In new data certain to fuel the growing public debate over economic inequality, a survey released Tuesday by the biggest U.S. trade-union federation found that the CEOs of top U.S. corporations were paid 331 times more money than the average U.S. worker in 2013.According to the AFL-CIO’s 2014 Executive PayWatch database, U.S. CEOs of 350 companies made an average of 11.7 million dollars last year compared to the average worker who earned 35,293 dollars.

The same CEOs averaged an income 774 times greater than U.S. workers who earned the federal hourly minimum wage of 7.25 dollars in 2013, or just over 15,000 dollars a year, according to the database.

A separate survey of the top (more…)

Uzbekistan’s Dying Aral Sea Resurrected as Tourist Attraction

Global Geopolitics & Political Economy / IPS

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Rusting and stranded, ships that once operated on the Aral Sea now attract adventure tourists. Credit: Adriane Lochner/EurasiaNet

Adriane Lochner

BISHKEK, Apr 15 (IPS) – “I’m going for a swim,” says Pelle Bendz, a 52-year-old Swede, as he rummages in the jeep for his bathing trunks. The other tourists look at him, bewildered. What’s left of the Aral Sea is reputed to be a toxic stew, contaminated by pesticides and other chemicals.But the weather’s hot and Bendz insists his travel agency told him “swimming” was part of the package.

In Nukus, the sleepy regional capital of western Uzbekistan’s Karakalpakstan region, local tour operators say the number of sightseers is growing each year. Many come to this remote part of the Central Asian country to see the famous Savitsky art collection. There are excursions to ancient fortresses and historic Khiva, (more…)