Not only is capital taxed less than wage labour, it also evades taxation quite easily. One trillion dollars, approximately €950 billion is the proportion of the profits – from a total of 16 trillion – that large global corporations transferred to tax havens in 2022. These are bank deposits, shares and other securities not declared in their respective countries. The barely imaginable sum, Le Monde tells us, is equivalent to the GDP of Belgium and Denmark – combined.
The figures come from the Global Tax Evasion Report published on 23 October by the EU Tax Observatory. The situation has in fact improved: “Over the last twenty years, the wealth hidden in tax havens has fallen from the equivalent of 9 percent of world GDP to 3 percent,” explains the French monthly Alternatives économiques. In Europe, it is the Netherlands, Ireland, Luxembourg and Belgium which, together, shelter about half of these “evaded” profits.
Gender Gap: work, media and poverty
The World Inequality Lab, cross-referencing data from various sources, explains that women earned about 30 percent of global income from work in the early 1990s. This figure has now risen to 35 percent, but 50 percent is still a long way off. What is “global income”? The researchers who worked on the report (full version here) consider it to be the sum of income earned from work, employed and not, on a national basis.
In online news consumption “the gender gap [in the EU] was 14.5 percentage points (57.2 vs 42.7 percent) in May 2023,” explains an analysis by The Fix Media of data from 661 online news providers in EU countries. The Fix cross-references this data with an observation found in Reuters’ Digital News Report, namely that news is structurally designed for consumption according to gender: the idea that a man reads the newspaper while eating breakfast, while women should watch TV or listen to the radio.
Disregard for women’s issues costs the health, happiness and emancipation of 340 million women, around 8 percent of the world’s female population. This figure comes from from the UN’s latest report The Gender Snapshot 2023. Special focus is given to a category that has been completely abandoned: “older” women. In 28 of the 116 countries for which data is available, less than half have a pension.
A woman at the head of Germany’s largest metalworkers’ union
Christiane Benner has been elected as the head of IG Metall, the world’s largest metal industry union, reports Germany’s Deutsche Welle. IG Metall, of which just 20 percent of members are women, out of a total membership of over 2.2 million, is not the first to be led by a woman in Germany. Yasmin Fahimi was elected for Deutsche Gewerkschaftsbund, and Daniela Cavallo heads the Betriebsrat, the workers’ representation council of Volkswagen.
Eat the Rich
Wealth and poverty are a very real issue, anchored in numbers, living conditions, and habits. They are also a matter of symbolism and representation. Food culture is a good example. “Hey poor folks, can’t you learn to cook a vegan curry instead of stuffing yourselves with disgusting frozen meals?” reads the headline in the French magazine ADN, in an interview with journalist Nora Bouazzouni about her latest book, Mangez les riches (“Eat the rich”, published by Nouriturfu). Bouazzouni has previously explored the relationship between food and representation, particularly the link between hunger and sexism, and between meat consumption and masculinity.
In the United States, people with higher incomes live, on average, between 10 and 14 years longer than those at the bottom of the income ladder. Obesity, chronic diseases like cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular issues disproportionately affect the less privileged classes. The response is often to presume incompetence: the poor are blamed for their poor health – “Why don’t they eat better? Why don’t they exercise?” – when, from a political perspective, it should be seen as a “systemic failure of our societies.”
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When faced with inflation, the lower classes are told how to save money – “rich-splaining” – instead of taking political action to protect and improve wages and conditions. When it comes to food, food vouchers are distributed, and judgments are made: “We tolerate food critics testing the top 25 pastry shops in Paris, while the poor who give their children Kinder Bueno or Twix bars are stigmatised.” Culinary capital is also unequal.
Undocumented labour also pays: the human cost of the 2024 Olympics
Off the books or under contract, often under false names, undocumented migrant workers find a way to work. Quite a few can be found on the construction sites for the 2024 Olympic Games, an event that France hopes to celebrate with great pomp and circumstance. On 17 October these workers went on strike, reports Nejma Brahim in Mediapart: 600 workers, accompanied by unions and associations, occupied one of the Olympic sites to demand regularisation. In the Paris region alone, around thirty companies have been affected by such protests in recent months. The phenomenon touches all sectors, in particular the construction industry, catering and logistics, and not just in the run-up to the Olympics.
On women’s bodily autonomy
Anne-Françoise Hivert | Le Monde | FR and EN (paywall)
A story that sounds like something from a dystopian TV series. In the late 1960s, Danish doctors implanted intrauterine coils in half of Greenlandic women of childbearing age (from 13 or 14 years up), often without consent. The aim was to reduce the archipelago’s birth rate. 67 women have now written to the Danish government seeking justice.
VoxFeminae | 3 October | HR
The Croatian feminist media outlet VoxFeminae reports on data gathered by the Croatian feminist collective fAKTIV to see how accessible abortion is in Croatia. The previous survey of this kind was performed in the middle of the Covid-19 pandemic, in April 2020. fAKTIV submitted questions to the 30 establishments authorised to perform abortions in the country. From some it received no answers, from others the answers were vague. Abortion appeared to be accessible in just 14 establishments. The data was then cross-checked with the number of conscientious objectors, and with the fact that many establishments that do not perform abortions are located in the poorest areas of the country. VoxFeminae also emphasises another key fact: the average price of a pregnancy termination procedure is half the average Croatian monthly salary, which is around 560 euro.
OKO.press l 25 October l PL
The Abortion Dream Team is a Polish group founded in 2016 that actively supports women who want to have an abortion. In a text published on OKO.press, they attack a key issue in the abortion debate: Article 152 of the Criminal Code, which punishes those who assist in procuring or performing abortions. “We want every teenage victim of an unwanted pregnancy to be able to count on parental support,” they write. Dozens of mothers are penalised every year in Poland for their humane and supportive gesture: helping their daughter terminate an unwanted pregnancy.