Global and Public Finance - Resources

The Debt Problem and Our Demands

The Illegitimacy of Debt

transforming-the-international-financial-system-sovereign-democratic-and-responsible-financingThe debt problem must be understood in its historical political and economic context. And, such an understanding points to the illegitimacy of the debt as a whole and the system that has spawned it.

The debt problem plaguing many South countries is the result of the exploitation and control of the resources, economies and peoples of the South throughout the history of colonization, neocolonization and capitalist globalization. The resulting impoverishment, weak domestic economies, the net outflows of wealth and resources and "reliance" on imports - all these lay the grounds for the constant drive for external capital infusion in the form of aid, investments and loans. Northern lenders use debt as an instrument for the continued plunder of the South -- actively cultivating the need to borrow and relentlessly pushing loans to the South. Aside from the northern lenders, the local elites benefited from these loans, not the peoples of the South.

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JSAPMDD Framework on Fiscal Justice (work in progress)

On Tax Justice

Taxes and taxation involve people's resources. Peoples' movements and citizens groups should be concerned about this issue and the questions of who should be taxed, how taxation should be done, and how revenues from taxes should be spent.

  1. The state's right to tax goes hand in hand with the state's obligations to protect and uphold the rights of its citizens, promote equity and justice, provide for essential services and, be transparent and democratic in formulation and implementation of budget, spending and policies.

    The neglect, non-fulfilment and violation of these obligations results in the erosion of the legitimacy of the state. And a state or government whose legitimacy has been eroded also loses its peoples' support and thus will be unable to compel people to pay taxes no matter how progressive its tax structure may be.

  2. Taxes should promote equity and redistributive justice. Thus, it is fundamental that it be designed and implemented in an equitable and just manner. Those who have more (income & assets) should give more. Those who have the same level of income should also be taxed in the same level.

    Regressive taxes policies are those which do not account for differences in economic capacities and involve a comparatively heavier burden on low income classes and sectors . Taxation should not be an additional burden to those who do not earn enough or those who earn just enough to meet their basic needs and live a decent and humane life.

  3. Taxation is a means to raise revenues for the state to fulfil its obligations. Its ability to meet these obligations is affected by its capacity to raise revenues. It is vital that the state effectively and efficiently enforce tax policies that are just and progressive together with other programs and policies that strengthen the domestic economy . Governments must move away from reliance on borrowings and depending on aid.

  4. The raising of revenues however should be accompanied by transparent and participatory budget processes and a spending policy aimed at realizing social and environmental justice and people-centered development.

  5. Taxes should not be used to violate rights, undermine people's development and national sovereignty and cause harm to the environment.

Initial List of General Demands

  • Ending intervention and impositions by International Financial Institutions on national tax policies

  • Equitable and Progressive Tax System: Tax Relief for impoverished sectors; Gender Justice in Taxation

  • Compelling the rich to pay more; Reducing the regressivity of the indirect tax system; Gender justice in taxation

  • Ending preferential treatment to foreign investors and tax policies that promote neoliberal policies such as trade and investments liberalization, privatization and deregulation

  • Equitable and revenue efficient land and real property tax scheme that promotes agrarian reform, rural development, food sovereignty

  • Tax Incentives to promote social and environmental justice; Tax Disincentives to penalize social and environmental abuses

  • Ending massive tax evasion and avoidance by elite families, private corporations, multinational companies and other foreign investors;

Transforming the International Financial System: Sovereign, Democratic and Responsible Financing

transforming-the-international-financial-system-sovereign-democratic-and-responsible-financingThis platform forms part of the broader agenda of southern and northern movements, organizations, NGOs and networks working to end debt domination and build new financial and economic systems nationally and internationally. As such, it recognizes first and foremost that the establishment of sovereign, democratic, and responsible financial relations entails acknowledging and redressing the historically unjust and inequitable power relations between countries and between elites and the majority that for centuries have marked the lives of peoples, countries, and the environment. Secondly, it clearly implies reversing the autonomy, privileges and the corresponding legal standing that have been ceded to capital over recent decades.

This platform defines principles, rules and standards as basis for changing policies, processes and practices in financial transactions having to do with the accumulation of debt being claimed from countries of the South, in particular public lending and debt collection, public borrowing and debt payments, the issuance of public guarantees and accumulation of contingent liabilities.

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