Tacloban: Exposing “middle-income” country realities

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CARE’s shelter team with local communities in rural Tacloban

I am on my way home from a visit to Tacloban, in the Philippines, one of the country’s most damaged districts following the carnage caused after Typhoon Yolanda swept through some of the nation’s poorest communities last November.

The Philippines has been classified by the World Bank as a “lower-middle income” economy. Middle-income economies are those with an annual GNI (gross national income) per capita of more than $1,045 but less than $12,74.

Other countries in Asia Pacific who share this classification with the Philippines include Vietnam, Sri Lanka and Indonesia. “Upper-middle income” economies nearby can be found in China, Malaysia and Thailand, whilst the likes of Cambodia and Myanmar are “low income” status.

Meaning that, on the surface of things, the Philippines’ economic gains in recent years, and its growing numbers of new middle-class citizens, represent an optimistic narrative. Its capital city, Manila, stands as a beacon of commercial potential to the private sector, host to a recent World Economic Forum summit, home to some of the world’s most famous, and infamous, global retail brands. Busy, built up, urban Asia. Opportunistic, dynamic but, in fact, wholly deceiving.

Turn this promotional pamphlet over and what lies beneath is, at best, a flimsy and precarious reality… Continue reading “Tacloban: Exposing “middle-income” country realities”

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The Illusion of Choice

These 10 Corporations Control Almost Everything You Buy
These 10 Corporations Control Almost Everything You Buy

It’s worth clicking on the info-graphic above to see the finer detail it contains, although the over-arching sentiment makes its own headlines.

It would be perfectly reasonable to take a look at the graphic, shrug your shoulders, with a “yeah, so what?” and perhaps avoid taking any type of hypocritical stand point by bemoaning the enormous footprint, influence and Orwellian doom-mongering speculation that might come from accepting that the world’s corporate elite monopolise so much, given you yourself may well spend your hard earned cash buying, using and consuming the products that these companies market and sell.  On that charge, I am also guilty on many counts. Continue reading “The Illusion of Choice”