industryterm:finance

  • #security Audits, Essential yet Neglected!
    https://hackernoon.com/security-audits-essential-yet-neglected-130e9af974fe?source=rss----3a814

    Image Ref. — Quill Audits“Blockchain technology is no more Nascent”, rather, its immense potential is being realised by governments and enterprises all around the globe. Traditional businesses from fields like healthcare, agriculture, finance and transportation have already integrated #blockchain in their supply chains, and made business records secure and immutable. The adoption of cryptocurrencies by governments of Ohio and Florida further strengthens my point.As we adopt something new in our lives, critics too, find their way to creep in. Rather than giving facts on the how blockchain use cases have transformed a business process, media reports have highlighted the cases where millions of dollars were stolen from a blockchain ecosystem-DAO Hack — $150 Million StolenParity — $300 Million  (...)

    #cybersecurity #audit #smart-contracts



  • A Few Thoughts on #security Tokens
    https://hackernoon.com/a-few-thoughts-on-security-tokens-d5a47f1fbd91?source=rss----3a8144eabfe

    As understood by an engineer with no background in economics, finance or tradingOur economy has evolved to consider and account for a variety of different assets: stocks, bonds, real estate, commodities, intellectual property, and many others. Trading some of these assets is constrained by their physicality, as it may be cumbersome to physically trade ownership, or even to subdivide the asset.In order to help address this issue, we invented securitization. That’s the process of transforming ownership of an asset or a right into an easily tradable security. We predict that, with the emergence and maturity of #blockchain technology, and the development of open standards, we will be enabled to expand on the concept and impact of securitization. We will do this through the tokenization of  (...)

    #decentralization #security-token #token


  • #singapore #fintech Festival 2018: What should we expect from the ‘marriage’ of finance and…
    https://hackernoon.com/singapore-fintech-festival-2018-what-should-we-expect-from-the-marriage-

    Singapore Fintech Festival 2018: What should we expect from the ‘marriage’ of finance and technology sector?Author: HuixianTaking up four of the convention halls at Singapore EXPO, Singapore Fintech Festival (SFF) 2018 has attracted approximately 45,000 attendees across the seven seas — double of last year. The third edition of the festival was kick-started by Saqib Shaikh, Software Engineer of Microsoft. He depicted a more inclusive society made possible by innovative technologies. Ravi Menon, Managing Director of MAS, said:“Shaikh’s story exemplifies the core objective of Singapore Fintech Festival — innovation, inclusion, and inspiration.”He added that to build on a stronger Fintech ecosystem; MAS is working on six components: people, identity, payments, data governance, applied research and (...)

    #india #financial-inclusion #blockchain


  • Capital Formation — the killer app for blockchain?
    https://hackernoon.com/capital-formation-the-killer-app-for-blockchain-2f83aaaf4932?source=rss-

    Liquidity. (Photo by Aleks Dahlberg, on Unsplash)Capital Formation — the killer app for blockchain?The real promise of democratized finance has yet to arrive to the party.You may think that ICOs have come and gone. And I honestly hope you are right.In November 2018, the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) Enforcement Division reported that it was taking action against dozens of fraudulent ICOs, and that it has ordered $3.94 billion in total penalties for fraudulent crypto offerings during the 2018 Financial Year. Simultaneously, the SEC announced its settlement with crypto-marketplace EtherDelta, with fines and collaboration with the company. Pursuant to the settlement, EtherDelta has acknowledged that it should have registered as an Alternative Trading System (‘ATS’) with the SEC, or (...)

    #r-token #tokenized-securities #democratized-finance #securitized-token #rule-144


  • A Wall Street Rule for the MeToo Era: Avoid Women at All Cost
    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-12-03/a-wall-street-rule-for-the-metoo-era-avoid-women-at-all-cost

    No more dinners with female colleagues. Don’t sit next to them on flights. Book hotel rooms on different floors. Avoid one-on-one meetings.

    In fact, as a wealth adviser put it, just hiring a woman these days is “an unknown risk.” What if she took something he said the wrong way?

    Across Wall Street, men are adopting controversial strategies for the MeToo era and, in the process, making life even harder for women.

    Call it the Pence Effect, after U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, who has said he avoids dining alone with any woman other than his wife. In finance, the overarching impact can be, in essence, gender segregation.


  • Decentralized trade finance and hard-to-trade assets
    https://hackernoon.com/decentralized-trade-finance-and-hard-to-trade-assets-dfb35c57c27d?source

    Decentralized Trade Finance and Hard-to-Trade AssetsConverging crypto use-cases with capital flows and the commodity supercycle + the quest for the uniquely-enabled appIMPORTANT NOTICE: This document is intended for informational purposes only. The views expressed in this document are not, and should not be construed as, investment advice or recommendations. Recipients of this document should do their own due diligence, taking into account their specific financial circumstances, investment objectives and risk tolerance (which are not considered in this document) before investing. This document is not an offer, nor the solicitation of an offer, to buy or sell any of the assets mentioned herein.Adjectives are important — Killer vs Uniquely EnabledIn the search for value in a bear market, (...)

    #trade-finance #decentralized-trade #hard-to-trade-assets #blockchain #decentralization


  • How Gen Z is Confronting Their Financial Fears
    https://hackernoon.com/how-gen-z-is-confronting-their-financial-fears-b14f9b3545ae?source=rss--

    Gen Z, the young, growing, post-millennial generation, is set to make up 40% of consumers by 2020. Categorized apart from #millennials as those born from 1997 and onward, this younger generation sets itself apart from older ones as free-thinking, hard working, and most importantly, cautious spenders.Gen Z approach their financial future carefully, taking a lesson from the sometimes extravagant habits of older generations. For millennials in particular, 40% have overspent or even gone into debt just to keep up with their social lives. This “fomo-tax” isn’t on the radar of Gen Z, as they take all purchases into consideration and think them through from groceries to universities. When asked, 72% of Gen Zers say that cost is the most important factor when shopping, and nearly 50% use their (...)

    #finance #infographics #personal-finance #gen-z


  • Israel’s president to CNN: Fighting anti-Semitism alongside neo-fascists is ’absolutely impossible’

    Reuven Rivlin’s remarks come after PM Netanyahu praised Austria, Hungary for combating the issue

    Noa Landau SendSend me email alerts
    Nov 29, 2018

    https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-rivlin-fighting-anti-semitism-alongside-neo-fascists-is-absolutely

    President Reuven Rivlin responded on Thursday to a poll published by CNN earlier in the week that revealed the depth of anti-Semitism in Europe.
    Rivlin told CNN that anti-Semitism is ‘an evil that can be found anywhere – left and right, nationalist and religious’ and argued that combatting the phenomenon by forming coalitions with neo-fascist movements is impossible.
    >> The man challenging the narrative that Netanyahu is Israel’s one and only savior | Analysis ■ Germany’s Nazi-friendly, anti-Semitic far right has a new mission: Recruiting Jews | Opinion

    Rivlin’s comments come after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised the right-wing leaders of Austria and Hungary for fighting anti-Semitism, a problem which Netanyahu said is fueled today by the ‘extreme left and radical Islamic pockets.’
    “I saw [Prime Minister] Viktor Orban in Hungary,” Netanyahu told CNN on Tuesday in response to the poll. ‘He’s opened up a center against anti-Semitism. I saw [Chancellor] Sebastian Kurz in Austria, he just held a conference against anti-Semitism, and that’s encouraging.’  
    In the interview Thursday, Rivlin told CNN that neo-fascism is ‘absolutely incompatible’ with Israel’s principles and values. “You cannot say ‘we admire Israel and want relations with your country, but we are neo-fascists,’" Rivlin said.
    “I meet leaders from all around the world – presidents and prime ministers – and they tell me that sometimes they need to work with movements like these to build coalitions and that although they are neo-fascists they are great admirers of Israel. I tell them that this is absolutely impossible,” Rivlin said.
    Keep updated: Sign up to our newsletter
    Email* Sign up

    According to the president, rejecting neo-fascists movements is a way of fighting anti-Semitism. ‘The fact that the President of Israel says to neo-fascist movements ‘you are persona non grata in the State of Israel’ is a statement that fights anti-Semitism in a concrete way. It is a statement that makes clear that memory is important and that we will not compromise on for the political expediency of the state of Israel,’ Rivlin said.
    CNN’s poll, conducted in seven European countries, found that a quarter of Europeans believe Jews have too much influence in business and finance. Additionally, more than one-third of respondents said they have no substantial knowledge of the Holocaust. One-third of respondents also said that Jews use the Holocaust to advance their own positions or goals
    According to Rivlin, the problem can be fought by ‘strengthening memory’ and sticking ‘to the historical facts, not politicians’ talking points.’ Rivlin added that Israel must collaborate with other nations ‘to fight against xenophobia and discrimination, of which anti-Semitism is a variant.’


  • Edward Snowden Explains Blockchain to His Lawyer — and the Rest of Us | American Civil Liberties Union
    https://www.aclu.org/blog/privacy-technology/internet-privacy/edward-snowden-explains-blockchain-his-lawyer-and-rest-us

    ES: In a word: trust. Imagine an old database where any entry can be changed just by typing over it and clicking save. Now imagine that entry holds your bank balance. If somebody can just arbitrarily change your balance to zero, that kind of sucks, right? Unless you’ve got student loans.

    The point is that any time a system lets somebody change the history with a keystroke, you have no choice but to trust a huge number of people to be both perfectly good and competent, and humanity doesn’t have a great track record of that. Blockchains are an effort to create a history that can’t be manipulated.

    BW: A history of what?

    ES: Transactions. In its oldest and best-known conception, we’re talking about Bitcoin, a new form of money. But in the last few months, we’ve seen efforts to put together all kind of records in these histories. Anything that needs to be memorialized and immutable. Health-care records, for example, but also deeds and contracts.

    ES: Let’s pretend you’re allergic to finance, and start with the example of an imaginary blockchain of blog posts instead of going to the normal Bitcoin examples. The interesting mathematical property of blockchains, as mentioned earlier, is their general immutability a very short time past the point of initial publication.

    For simplicity’s sake, think of each new article published as representing a “block” extending this blockchain. Each time you push out a new article, you are adding another link to the chain itself. Even if it’s a correction or update to an old article, it goes on the end of the chain, erasing nothing. If your chief concerns were manipulation or censorship, this means once it’s up, it’s up. It is practically impossible to remove an earlier block from the chain without also destroying every block that was created after that point and convincing everyone else in the network to agree that your alternate version of the history is the correct one.

    So on the technical level, a blockchain works by taking the data of the new block — the next link in the chain — stamping it with the mathematic equivalent of a photograph of the block immediately preceding it and a timestamp (to establish chronological order of publication), then “hashing it all together” in a way that proves the block qualifies for addition to the chain.

    Think about our first example of your bank balance in an old database. That kind of setup is fast, cheap, and easy, but makes you vulnerable to the failures or abuses of what engineers call a “trusted authority.” Blockchains do away with the need for trusted authorities at the expense of efficiency. Right now, the old authorities like Visa and MasterCard can process tens of thousands of transactions a second, while Bitcoin can only handle about seven. But methods of compensating for that efficiency disadvantage are being worked on, and we’ll see transaction rates for blockchains improve in the next few years to a point where they’re no longer a core concern.

    Yet the hard truth is that the only thing that gives cryptocurrencies value is the belief of a large population in their usefulness as a means of exchange. That belief is how cryptocurrencies move enormous amounts of money across the world electronically, without the involvement of banks, every single day. One day capital-B Bitcoin will be gone, but as long as there are people out there who want to be able to move money without banks, cryptocurrencies are likely to be valued.

    BW: But what about you? What do you like about it?

    ES: I like Bitcoin transactions in that they are impartial. They can’t really be stopped or reversed, without the explicit, voluntary participation by the people involved. Let’s say Bank of America doesn’t want to process a payment for someone like me. In the old financial system, they’ve got an enormous amount of clout, as do their peers, and can make that happen. If a teenager in Venezuela wants to get paid in a hard currency for a web development gig they did for someone in Paris, something prohibited by local currency controls, cryptocurrencies can make it possible. Bitcoin may not yet really be private money, but it is the first “free” money.

    BW: So if Trump tried to cut off your livelihood by blocking banks from wiring your speaking fees, you could still get paid.

    ES: And all he could do is tweet about it.

    BW: The downside, I suppose, is that sometimes the ability of governments to track and block transactions is a social good. Taxes. Sanctions. Terrorist finance.

    We want you to make a living. We also want sanctions against corrupt oligarchs to work.

    ES: If you worry the rich can’t dodge their taxes without Bitcoin, I’m afraid I have some bad news. Kidding aside, this is a good point, but I think most would agree we’re far from the low-water mark of governmental power in the world today. And remember, people will generally have to convert their magic internet money into another currency in order to spend it on high-ticket items, so the government’s days of real worry are far away.

    BW: How would you describe the downsides, if any?

    ES: As with all new technologies, there will be disruption and there will be abuse. The question is whether, on balance, the impact is positive or negative. The biggest downside is inequality of opportunity: these are new technologies that are not that easy to use and still harder to understand. They presume access to a level of technology, infrastructure, and education that is not universally available. Think about the disruptive effect globalization has had on national economies all over the world. The winners have won by miles, not inches, with the losers harmed by the same degree. The first-mover advantage for institutional blockchain mastery will be similar.

    BW: And the internet economy has shown that a platform can be decentralized while the money and power remain very centralized.

    ES: Precisely. There are also more technical criticisms to be made here, beyond the scope of what we can reasonably get into. Suffice it to say cryptocurrencies are normally implemented today through one of two kinds of lottery systems, called “proof of work” and “proof of stake,” which are a sort of necessary evil arising from how they secure their systems against attack. Neither is great. “Proof of work” rewards those who can afford the most infrastructure and consume the most energy, which is destructive and slants the game in favor of the rich. “Proof of stake” tries to cut out the environmental harm by just giving up and handing the rich the reward directly, and hoping their limitless, rent-seeking greed will keep the lights on. Needless to say, new models are needed.

    ES: The tech is the tech, and it’s basic. It’s the applications that matter. The real question is not “what is a blockchain,” but “how can it be used?” And that gets back to what we started on: trust. We live in a world where everyone is lying about everything, with even ordinary teens on Instagram agonizing over how best to project a lifestyle they don’t actually have. People get different search results for the same query. Everything requires trust; at the same time nothing deserves it.

    This is the one interesting thing about blockchains: they might be that one tiny gear that lets us create systems you don’t have to trust. You’ve learned the only thing about blockchains that matters: they’re boring, inefficient, and wasteful, but, if well designed, they’re practically impossible to tamper with. And in a world full of shifty bullshit, being able to prove something is true is a radical development.

    #Blockchain #Edward_Snowden #Pédagogie #Bitcoin


  • Climate Finance Increased in 2015–2016 | UNFCCC
    https://unfccc.int/news/climate-finance-increased-in-2015-2016

    However, whilst climate-related finance flows are considerable, they remain relatively small in the context of wider trends in global investment.

    For example, while global investment in renewable energy and renewable energy subsides are rising, global investment in fossil fuel and fossil fuel subsidies remain considerably higher .

    #climat #énergie


  • #blockchain in #finance: ICO Market Research, Private Funding Activity, and MnA
    https://hackernoon.com/blockchain-in-finance-ico-market-research-private-funding-activity-and-m

    https://medium.com/media/08906ac11c0ec7667752d03fba31242a/hrefA sector ready for bounce back…Blockchain has established itself as a challenger in the Finance sector. Many teams both start ups as well as corporate sponsored are trying to lay ground rules and define the course of evolution of this sector. Despite technological challenges and regulatory hurdles, teams are innovating faster to shape up the new rules of engagement in the ecosystem. Initial results are evident in terms of intermediaries in cash transfers, capital and risk.InWara has studied trends among the companies with blockchain technology with or without an ICO. The study provides insights based on the analysis of ICOs with participation in tokens from Institutional investors, Capital raised in private rounds and data (...)

    #ico-market-research #blockchain-finance #blockchain-in-finance


  • Nissan Chairman, Carlos Ghosn, Is Arrested Over Financial Misconduct Allegations - The New York Times
    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/19/business/nissan-carlos-ghosn-misconduct.html

    Born in Brazil to Lebanese parents and educated at elite universities in France , Mr. Ghosn made his reputation after joining Nissan in 1999. Renault, where Mr. Ghosn was an executive vice president, had bought a large stake in the Japanese company, which was on the verge of collapse at the time.

    Mr. Ghosn made sweeping changes at Nissan, closing five domestic factories and cutting 21,000 jobs. Later, he engineered an arrangement between Renault and Nissan that allowed them to operate like a single carmaker. Short of a full merger, the alliance enabled them to share the cost of developing new models and to negotiate better deals with suppliers by buying components together.

    As chairman and chief executive of the partnership, Mr. Ghosn was celebrated in Japan: His life story was made into a manga comic, although critics on the left noted he had earned his French nickname, “Le cost killer.” Still, he had enough political savvy to retain the support of the French government, which owns 15 percent of Renault, despite some bitter pay disputes.

    In 2016 and 2017, Mr. Ghosn’s salary at Renault was questioned publicly, by French government officials and a shareholder group; this year he agreed to a 30 percent pay cut in return for another four-year term as chief executive.

    Mr. Ghosn’s pay was long debated there. In 2016, Renault was pressured by Mr. Macron, the finance minister at the time, to reduce his compensation. In 2017, he insisted on a package of 7.4 million euros, about $8.5 million. The French government balked but Renault shareholders ultimately approved that payout.

    In Japan, Mr. Ghosn’s compensation made him an outlier. Japanese executives typically earn far less than their American or European counterparts. Takeshi Uchiyamada, chairman of Toyota, for example, was paid ¥181 million in 2017, compared to Mr. Ghosn’s reported ¥735 million.

    1€ = 130¥, pff salaire de 6 millions € / an … ça fait du 34000€ de l’heure si il bosse 24/24 sur 365 jours mais ça ne suffit toujours pas ? et encore, ajoute à cela les stocks options et le fruit des magouilles fiscales pour lesquelles il est arrêté.

    #prédateur #élite_française


  • How Web 3.0 Could Globally Improve Asset Management
    https://hackernoon.com/how-web-3-0-could-globally-improve-asset-management-2c0c9b915c08?source=

    By TechnomadsThe distributed ledger hype train has been operating at full steam for some time now bringing along a drastic change of the economic reality with commerce and finance being the #blockchain darlings. This, of course, didn’t happen overnight. Over the last couple of decades, the concept of profitability and socio-economic impact of entire industries has drastically shifted. Information technology is pushing forward the entire set of newly invented values based on social interactions. More so, many of businesses and public agencies operating by conventional industrial principles are struggling to compete with their digital rivals staying afloat mostly by virtue of enormous debt load, excessive monetary emittance, and some creative financial schemes.Meanwhile, compared to the 7 (...)

    #web-3-point-0 #decentralization #asset-management #web3


  • #crypto Investors Owe the IRS $25 Billion
    https://hackernoon.com/crypto-investors-owe-the-irs-25-billion-e7855a449dd6?source=rss----3a814

    The world of finance is a competitive marketplace. It is cut-throat. The ones who have the most information usually win against those who are less informed. Even though people know the market is not necessarily a level playing field, investors continue to flock to invest their money in the 4,000+ national market stocks trading in the US today.The world of cryptocurrencies is a much darker tale. Insider trading is the norm. Early investors in currencies get huge discounts during presales, unbeknownst to the investors who come across the project later. When a token goes live on exchanges, the early investors dump their tokens ahead of everyone else, making a tidy profit. Those tokens are then left to be manipulated by other traders in pump and dump schemes or to disappear altogether, (...)

    #crypto-investors-irs #cryptocurrency-irs #cryptocurrency-tax #cryptocurrency


  • Scum vs. Scum
    https://www.truthdig.com/articles/scum-vs-scum

    Scum versus scum. That sums up this election season. Is it any wonder that 100 million Americans don’t bother to vote? When all you are offered is Bob One or Bob Two, why bother? One-fourth of Democratic challengers in competitive House districts in this week’s elections have backgrounds in the CIA, the military, the National Security Council or the State Department. Nearly all candidates on the ballots in House races are corporate-sponsored, with a few lonely exceptions such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rashida Tlaib, members of the Democratic Socialists of America who are running as Democrats. The securities and finance industry has backed Democratic congressional candidates 63 percent to 37 percent over Republicans, according to data collected by the Center for Responsive Politics. Democratic candidates and political action committees have received $56.8 million, compared with Republicans’ $33.4 million, the center reported. The broader sector of finance, insurance and real estate, it found, has given $174 million to Democratic candidates, against $157 million to Republicans. And Michael Bloomberg, weighing his own presidential run, has pledged $100 million to elect a Democratic Congress.

    #etats-unis « #élite » #corruption


  • #decentralization on the Blockchain Is a Pipe Dream
    https://hackernoon.com/decentralization-on-the-blockchain-is-a-pipe-dream-47ded5b75c31?source=r

    And here is how to make it a reality>> This article is for informational purposes only and is not financial advice. The information does not constitute investment advice or an offer to invest.What makes #crypto so great?There are many possible answers to that question, but I think most of you would say ‘decentralization.’Since the beginning, when Satoshi Nakamoto first published his groundbreaking Bitcoin whitepaper, decentralization, along with anonymity and security, have been cornerstones of the cryptocurrency value proposition.But sentiment may be changing. Many argue that, instead of helping crypto, decentralization is holding the sector back, relegating it to the fringes of finance and slowing mass adoption.Money talks. And when it comes to money, people like protection. We like (...)

    #venture-capital #investing #fundraising


  • 5 Reasons We Need Gender Conscious Responses to Climate Change

    Not all climate change victims are created equal. There are communities of society that experience climate change more intensely and destructively than the rest, and it’s not based solely on location.

    People of color, poor people, and women are most adversely affected by climate change. They are more likely to be negatively impacted by climate change than men, especially women in developing countries and the global south.

    Why? Well, in short, because of the same gender inequality that already persists in our societies. like education and employment discrimination. Climate change only worsens what is already happening.

    The burdens of climate change (like displacement, agricultural, and economic loss) disproportionately impact women from low-income communities, particularly in the Global South and Indigenous communities, more than in than in wealthy communities and the western world.

    Women from these regions often deal with lacking infrastructure and are more dependent on natural resources in everyday life. And, though studies show that women are most impacted, we are often not involved in the policy and decision making processes for climate change initiatives and solutions.

    One of the big takeaways from this year’s UN Climate Summit was the importance of promoting gender equality and women’s leadership in climate policy. One woman in attendance summed it up: “There cannot be climate justice without gender justice.”

    Women are as much a part of the solution for climate change impacts as they are the primary victims, but this fact is not being recognized enough. The reality that women are more intensely impacted also means they deserve to be leaders in the climate change movement.

    To be sure, our current responses to climate change do not just fail women; they also do not do enough to include the full spectrum of people and genders impacted by the inequalities and impacts of climate change.

    Women, more so than their male counterparts, know how dire these environmental changes are firsthand and deserve to be equal stakeholders at every level of our climate movement from grassroots to policy and politics.

    Here are 5 reasons we need gender conscious responses to climate change:
    1. First of all, not everyone identifies as a man or a woman.

    Gender is fluid and goes far beyond your sex. The same inequalities that exist in our greater society — such as those placed on non-binary folks who do not identify as man or woman — also exist in the climate change movements.

    Entire communities’ climate experiences, issues, and potential solutions are being routinely ignored.

    Relief efforts during natural disasters, which are becoming more frequent and intense due to climate change, regularly exclude or fall short of adequately assessing, informing, and aiding queer and trans communities.

    Discrimination and stigma leave LGBTQ/GNC peoples especially vulnerable to climate-related displacement and homelessness because emergency shelters are not always equipped to aid their needs. Even worse, this stigma often plays out in how our media rarely covers the experiences and stories of LGBTQ disaster victims.

    A more expansive, gender-conscious perspective of climate change would urge organizations — from grassroots to regulatory — to take into account the importance of including all identities when approaching the extent of climate changes impacts and possible resolutions.

    “The [climate policy and regulatory] spaces are historically spaces for men,” said Laura Cooper Hall, a former gender and finance Fellow at Women’s Environment & Development Organization (WEDO).

    “I think in terms of a real transformative future there really needs for all perspectives and identities need to be included explicitly.”
    2. Being the most impacted, women have firsthand experiences that can lead to creative and practical solutions.

    Globally, women make up 80% of the world’s climate refugees. They’re 45-80% of the agricultural workforce in rural areas and are responsible (along with girls) for collecting nearly two-thirds of the household water in developing countries.

    When natural disasters like hurricanes, cyclones, or droughts hit, women around the world experience the loss in a very real way. For that same reason, they, better than anyone else, will know which solutions will work best.

    Better yet, their ideas are directly connected to real-life situations and remedies.

    “The thing that really inspires me is so many of the women we work with on the frontlines, they always say we don’t want to be seen as victims,” said Osprey Orielle Lake, Founder and Executive Director of WECAN. “Because we’re also the solutions.”
    3. Right now, we don’t have consistent leadership that reflects people of all genders.

    Only recently have women increasingly become a part of the mainstream discussion about how best to tackle these climate change. But even in cases when a ciswomen/man gender balance is accomplished, it is rarely consistently maintained, and for trans and gender non-conforming peoples it’s nearly non-existent.

    Between 2013 and 2016, six ciswomen delegates were elected as chairs (or co-chairs) at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, but this year only three ciswomen filled those positions, according to a report by the on their annual conference.

    You’d be hard-pressed to find any formal LGBTQ/GNC organizations or representation at conferences like the Framework Convention or the UN Climate Talks.

    Diverse and varied perspectives and experiences must be a critical and necessary part of any and all climate talks — not just when the world (or Twitter) is watching, but always.
    4. Climate change magnifies existing inequalities — including gender inequality.

    “Reinforced gender inequality really reduces women’s physical and economic mobility, their voice, their opportunity in many places,” said Lake. “That makes them a lot more vulnerable to environmental stress.”

    All those same systems of inequality that function in greater society are at work in the climate change movement.

    No, climate cannot be racist or sexist but people can and people — whether in our federal and local government, climate organizations, or world regulatory organizations — decide our climate policy, responses, and solutions.

    “Climate change and gender justice, because of its personal effect on people and because people have personal identities, you can’t disconnect them,” said Cooper Hall.

    When we solve gender inequality and have achieved true gender justice, then we can will have more well-rounded and genuinely equitable responses to climate change — starting with diverse representation at Climate Change conferences and talks and leading to more specific bottom-up initiatives that put community first and corporations last (Think: The Tiny House Warriors in Canada or low-cost reflective paint by Mahila Housing Trust used to combat heat waves in India)
    5. Considering gender as a climate change factor benefits everything!

    Keeping gender equality in mind when planning for and implementing our climate future is valuable to everyone, so why wouldn’t we want that?

    “It’s a win-win for everyone,” said Atti Worku, founder of Seeds of Africa, a New York-based nonprofit working toward equality in education for children and communities in Ethiopia (hit particularly hard by climate change related droughts) and Africa. “It’s not only because it’s a good thing to include women or whatever, it’s also just beneficial to have women involved.”

    More diverse leadership means more diverse ideas and creative solutions. It also means more minds working together to solve our climate challenges.

    “Environmental sustainability and gender equality are interdependent,” said Worku. “If you educate girls, for example, then we’re addressing a future where women and girls will be scientists. They will be in government. They will be making decisions that are for the needs of everyone.”

    I didn’t always see my gender as being connected to the impacts of our climate. I’ve not felt any more connected to nature than the next person.

    I don’t live in a flood zone and though I am a Black woman — and, as such, more likely to be disproportionately impacted — I have been lucky enough to not have had a physical experience with a hurricane, wildfire, or other climate change-related disaster.

    I initially drew the connection quite randomly on the subway. I saw an ad with a poem about the Christian Bible’s Eve having named all the animals in nature.

    “If Eve were here now, she’d probably be a badass environmental activist or climate change policy-maker,” I thought to myself. “But she’d be terribly overqualified and definitely underpaid.”

    I immediately Googled “women in climate change” like the complete nerd that I am and found myself in a wormhole of women fighting for a seat at the table in an uncharted climate future.

    They aren’t asking for anything grand. Only that all people — of every gender and identity — be included in how we respond to climate change, how we go about making our future.

    I don’t think that’s too much to ask, do you?

    https://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/5-reasons-we-need-gender-conscious-responses-to-climate-change
    #genre #changement_climatique #climat #pauvres #pauvreté #inégalités


  • It Takes a Village: Despite Challenges, Migrant Groups Lead Development in Senegal

    For generations, migrants have emigrated from Senegal, particularly from in and around the Senegal River Valley along the country’s borders with Mauritania and Mali. Young people from the Peul (particularly its Toucouleur subgroup) and Soninké ethnic groups first left to pursue economic opportunities around West Africa and Central Africa. Later, migration to France became a popular method for supporting families and improving social status in origin communities, and migrants today contribute a substantial amount in social and financial capital to development in Senegal. Remittances are essential to livelihoods, making up almost 14 percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) in 2017—the fifth-highest share in Africa.

    Widespread Senegalese migration to France first began with temporary workers. As their stays became more permanent, they brought their families to live with them, typically in communities on the outskirts of Paris and other major cities. Once settled in their new communities, they established hometown associations (HTAs), largely to support development back in Senegal.

    Increasing barriers to free movement for current and former French colonial subjects that began in the 1970s—and further restrictions on migration more recently—have made life for West African migrants and would-be migrants more difficult. As a result, migrants and their HTAs have been forced to adapt. Meanwhile, in the face of shrinking income flows, some HTAs have begun to professionalize their operations and work more strategically, moving beyond construction projects to ones that seek to foster economic development.

    This article, based on the author’s Fulbright-funded research in Senegal in 2016-17, explores the impact of policy changes in France on Senegalese migrants and the activities of HTAs, and how these shifts influence development and quality of life in migrants’ origin communities in the Senegal River Valley. As the European Union incorporates support for development into migration partnerships with African countries, in hopes of reducing spontaneous migration to Europe, the work of HTAs holds important lessons for actors on both sides.

    From Colonial Ties to Migrant Arrivals

    France, which colonized large swaths of West Africa starting in the late 1800s, first became a destination for economic migrants from modern-day Senegal during and after the colonial period. For example, West Africans fought for France in both world wars and many remained in France afterwards. After World War II, France recruited migrants from its colonial empire to reconstruct the country and work in its factories. These pull factors, coupled with droughts in the Sahel region during the 1970s and 1980s, accelerated the number of young, low-skilled West Africans migrating to France during the mid- and late 20th century. As of mid-2017, about 120,000 Senegalese lived in France, according to United Nations estimates. France is the top destination for Senegalese migrants after The Gambia, and it is also the top origin for formal remittances arriving in Senegal.

    Economically motivated migration became an important source of income in rural eastern Senegal, with France frequently seen as the ideal destination. Even though migrants in Europe often worked in factories, construction, security, or sanitation, their salaries were substantial compared to those of family members back in Senegal, who generally worked as subsistence farmers or animal herders. As result of remittances, families were able to construct larger, more durable homes, afford healthier diets, and increase their consumption of other goods, particularly electronics such as cellphones, refrigerators, fans, and televisions.

    In addition, from the 1960s onward, Senegalese migrants in France began to form HTAs to support their origin communities. HTAs are formal or informal organizations of migrants from the same town, region, or ethnic group living outside their region or country of origin. These organizations sponsor cultural activities in destination communities, foster solidarity among migrants, and/or finance development projects in hometowns. HTA leadership or traditional authorities in the origin community then manage these funds and related projects on the ground. While migrants from many countries form HTAs, West Africans maintain particularly close social, political, and financial ties with their hometowns through these organizations.

    For West African migrants, social pressures compel HTA participation and members are also traditionally required to pay dues toward a communal fund. Once enough money has been amassed, the organization funds a public goods project in the hometown, such as the construction of a school, mosque, cemetery, health center, post office, or water system. These migrant-led development projects have been crucial to communities across the Senegal River Valley, which are often far from urban centers, markets, or infrastructure such as paved roads, and rarely receive contact from the central government or assistance from local government actors. As a result, migrant projects often fill the void by providing most of the public goods enjoyed by these communities.

    Senegalese HTAs thus contribute immensely to human development and quality of life in communities in this region. The impact of this work, as well as of household-level support provided by remittances, continued motivating young people to leave eastern Senegal for France, as well as regional destinations, during the mid-20th century.

    Policy Changes Drive Migration Shifts

    Beginning in the early 1980s, France began to enact a series of restrictive policies limiting low-skilled economic immigration and creating barriers to naturalization and family reunification. These changes have continued in recent decades, raising questions about the future of the migration and development cycle now cemented in the Senegal River Valley.

    Prior to the mid-1970s, Senegalese migrants freely circulated into and out of France as current, and eventually former, colonial subjects, following independence in 1960. France first introduced limits to Senegalese immigration in 1974 with a law requiring residence permits for all migrant workers.

    Throughout the 1980s and early 1990s, a series of laws including the Bonnet and Pasqua Laws restricted entry, family reunification, and naturalization for many immigrants. Although some of these provisions were later abolished, they led to several high-profile deportation operations targeting West Africans and laid the groundwork for future restrictive French immigration legislation.

    Several bilateral accords between France and Senegal over the years also focused on limiting economic migration and facilitating return for irregular migrants already in France. The evolution of these policies reflects a shift from promoting low-skilled economic immigration to satisfy labor shortages, to emphasizing high-skilled and temporary immigrants such as students.

    During the author’s fieldwork, interviewees cited many of these policies as having substantial effects on migration and development in their communities. The 1990s, the turn of the 21st century, and the presidency of Nicolas Sarkozy were the most common turning points identified when migration and development in eastern Senegal first began to shift (see Table 1). Participants emphasized the introduction of French visas and residence permits for Senegalese immigrants as the first major barriers to migration. Subsequent important political moments for participants included deportation operations in the 1980s and then-Interior Minister Sarkozy’s famous 2005 speech on immigration choisie, the government’s policy of carefully selecting immigrants who would best integrate and contribute to the French economy and society.

    At the same time, external political changes were not the only factors influencing these phenomena in the Senegal River Valley. Many participants also cited social and economic events in France as having negative consequences for Senegalese migrants and their development activities. The global economic crisis beginning in 2008 led to the disappearance of employment opportunities, including across Europe. This downturn thus decreased incomes and the ability of migrants to send money back to families and contribute to HTA projects.

    Participants reported that the mechanization of automobile production and other manufacturing, a source of employment for many West Africans for decades, compounded these effects. In cities such as Paris, with tight and expensive housing markets, these economic conditions created additional challenges to saving money. Individuals in eastern Senegal had traditionally seen France as a promised land offering easy income and employment opportunities to anyone who made the journey, regardless of French skills or education level. However, this view changed for many as challenges became more frequent.

    Beyond economic changes, shifts in attitudes within French society also affected the Senegalese diaspora. Participants noted an increase in Islamophobia and a growing climate of mistrust and intolerance toward migrants in recent years, which have only exacerbated difficulties for West Africans in France.

    Further, political and economic changes in Senegal also affected diaspora-led projects and migration patterns in the region. The administration of President Macky Sall, who took office in 2012, has decentralized development and other administrative responsibilities, delegating them to regional and local authorities. In addition, Sall’s national development scheme, Plan Sénégal Émergent (PSE), aims to provide alternatives to irregular migration from a country with high youth unemployment and a legacy of emigration. Participants cited these domestic shifts as significant, although many agreed it was too early to judge their influence on the quality of life in their communities.

    Migration and Development: Perceptions and Reality

    Study participants said they view these international and domestic political, economic, and social shifts as affecting migration flows and development efforts in their communities. Though views on whether emigration is rising or falling varied, many participants agreed that irregular migration was on the rise. Further, most participants predicted continued interest in migration among young people absent alternative employment options in the Senegal River Valley.

    Whether because of limits on authorized entry into France, difficulties upon arrival, or other motivations, migrants from eastern Senegal have diversified their destinations in recent years. Some migrants have eschewed traditional receiving countries throughout West and Central Africa or France in favor of destinations such as Italy, Spain, the United States, and even several South American countries including Argentina and Brazil.

    Limits on economic migration to France and elsewhere in Europe also impacted migrant-led development in Senegalese municipalities. Interviewees held diverse opinions on whether HTA activities were as frequent or as effective as they had been several years or even decades ago. Some said they observed consistent support for community-wide projects and noted innovative strategies used to combat potential lack of purchasing power or access to funding. However, many study participants who indicated a decrease in HTA support for their villages said they believed that migrants contributed less frequently to community-level projects, instead prioritizing maintaining household remittance levels.

    When asked about specific migrant-funded development activities, many cited completed and ongoing public goods initiatives led by their village’s HTA. When HTAs in this region began their work in the mid-20th century, mosques and water systems were frequent initial projects, with water access evolving from simple manual wells to electric- or solar-powered deep-drill wells connected to taps throughout the municipality. Today, many basic needs have been fulfilled thanks to years of HTA support, and some migrants have more recently turned to renovating and expanding these structures.

    Some HTAs have stagnated in recent years, while others have moved beyond a public goods focus to new innovative strategies of promoting development in their hometowns. Many interviewees cited a need for income- and job-generating projects to promote local economic growth and incentivize young people to remain in their home communities.

    Several HTAs in the author’s study sites piloted this type of project, including the construction of a bakery in one community and a carpentry training center in another. The bakery, built in early 2017 thanks to funds from migrants in France and their French donors, promised to provide the town with affordable, high-quality bread and employment for several people. Meanwhile, the carpentry center offered young men the opportunity to train with experienced carpenters on machines provided by a French donor. This model not only provided professional skills to young people, but also produced locally built furniture for the surrounding community to purchase.

    Within migrant households, participants noted that remittances continued to support consumption and home construction. Beyond the purchase of food, electronics, and health care, remittances also defrayed children’s educational costs, including school supplies and fees. Household members, particularly migrants’ wives, perceived both positive and negative impacts of migration on household-level development. On the one hand, remittances finance the purchase of tools and animals, the construction of irrigation infrastructure, or the hiring of employees to expand the scale of the household’s work and thus its earnings. However, the loss of the migrant’s labor to tend to animals or fields also hurts households without enough adolescents, adult children, or other family members to maintain these activities.

    Nonmigrant households had their own ideas about changes in migrant-led development. Though they did not receive remittances, individuals in these households largely perceived that community-wide development activities benefited them, as public structures built with HTAs’ support were accessible to everyone. However, despite receiving occasional financial gifts from migrant neighbors or friends, some nonmigrant households expressed feeling dissatisfied with or excluded from development happening around them.

    Effective HTA Adaptations and Development Strategies

    Certain HTAs and individual migrants have been able to overcome challenges due to decreased income or barriers to authorized employment in France and other host countries. Individuals in origin communities perceived strategies modifying HTA structures, funding sources, and project types as most effective in continuing development efforts.

    One particularly effective change was the professionalization of these organizations. HTAs that moved from traditional leadership hierarchies and divisions of labor to more formal, structured ones were better able to form financial and logistical partnerships and expand the scope of their projects. Associations with clearly defined goals, leadership, project plans, and project evaluation were able to attract the cooperation of French government entities such as the Program to Support Solidarity Initiatives for Development (PAISD for its French acronym) or other international donors. Thus, despite a potential decrease in income from individuals, many HTAs began supplementing member dues with larger funding sources. Formalized structures also promoted better project management, evaluation, and long-term sustainability.

    Another key HTA adaptation was the idea of becoming community or village associations, as opposed to migrant associations. The frequent use of the term association de migrants can have a top-down connotation, implying that the diaspora unilaterally provides ideas, support, and manpower for development efforts without important input about living conditions from communities in Senegal. For HTAs that started conceptualizing themselves as a unified development organization with a branch abroad and a branch in Senegal, this strategy seemed to improve communication and promote inclusion, thus responding better to current needs and giving the local community more of a stake in projects.

    A gradual trend toward more investment- and training-focused projects has also seen success. The basic human development needs of many communities have been satisfied after decades of hard work; still, conditions are not sufficient to keep the next generation from leaving. While the bakery and the carpentry center are key examples of productive initiatives, more support and focus on this type of project could bring meaningful change to local economies and markets. Many local organizations and collectives are already doing quality work in agriculture, herding, or transportation, and increased funding from HTAs could greatly expand the scale of their existing activities.

    Meanwhile, women’s associations in rural Senegal do not always receive HTA support, representing a potential area for expansion. West African HTAs are traditionally dominated by men, with male leadership at origin and abroad. In Senegal, economic activity is frequently divided by gender and women run many of their own associations, often focused on agriculture or microsavings. However, these structures do not receive much or any support from female migrants in France, who are less likely to be in the labor force than male Senegalese and thus might not be able to send money back to Senegal. Given these conditions, many well-organized and highly motivated women’s agricultural collectives would greatly benefit from increased migrant support.

    Finally, the federalization of community-level HTAs into larger regional organizations is an increasingly common strategy. This approach allows migrants to pool their resources and knowledge to tackle larger-scale development questions, despite economic or administrative challenges they may individually face in their host communities.

    The Future of Migrant-Led Development in Eastern Senegal

    Understanding the complex relationship among emigration, HTA development activities, and political, economic, and social changes in both France and at home is essential to the future of development in eastern Senegal. This study suggests that while HTA activities may be affected by political shifts domestically and abroad, economic changes on the sending and receiving sides are equally important and may be felt more immediately by the population at origin.

    Senegalese HTAs can no longer depend on traditional fundraising and project management strategies. These organizations must adapt to current and emerging economic and political conditions hindering legal employment and income accumulation among migrants in France and across Europe. Inclusive project planning that considers the needs and perspectives of the local population, as well as openness to productive investments and collaboration with outside partners are key steps to sustaining the work of HTAs.

    Current European efforts such as the European Union Emergency Trust Fund for Africa (EUTF) are incorporating development support into partnerships with countries including Senegal to try to stem migration. While the efficacy of migrant-driven projects and even state-led development activities in preventing emigration remains to be seen—particularly given the social pressures and cycle of dependence at play in this region—harnessing the power, expertise, and motivation of the diaspora is essential for the interests of actors on both continents. EU projects and dialogues that do not include African diasporas and their HTAs may not adequately address the phenomena occurring in regions such as rural Senegal. Building on migrant-led development work is a crucial step in changing conditions that contribute to emigration from this region.

    https://www.migrationpolicy.org/article/it-takes-village-despite-challenges-migrant-groups-lead-development
    #Sénégal #développement #migrations #remittances #France #politique_migratoire #associations_locales


  • What is analysis? – Synaps source code
    Peter Harling

    https://peterharling.blog/2018/10/29/what-is-analysis

    ANALYSIS IS AN ODDLY VAGUE CONCEPT, given how central it is to our lives. There are many ordinary things we could not do without it. It would be dangerous to drive or cross the street without analysing the tangle of moving objects, road signs and weather conditions that inform our movements. The concept pervades virtually every field: Chemistry, mathematics, syntax, finance, journalism, and psychology all hinge on analysis. Such diversity makes it difficult to pin down: Can a blood test and a thesis in political science have anything in common? It will take a few analytic steps to prove it.
    Dictionaries tend to define analysis as one of two things. On one hand, the word refers to a process of examining an object to achieve a better understanding of it. On the other, it denotes the outcomes of such a process—the judgment or opinion we eventually form about that object. Such definitions hardly help, because they don’t tell us how to reach such conclusions. At the other extreme, social science manuals, for instance, usually confuse us with excessive methodological detail. The truth is that good sociological analysis is at least as much about instinct and experience as it is about rigorous methodology. Ultimately, most researchers just learn to analyse on the job.
    It is useful, however, to see that analysis proceeds in five stages. First, one must break the subject into its constituent parts. Any topic can be divided into subtopics, sub-subtopics and so on. A diplomatic crisis, for example, will involve at least two countries, whose officials have different views, which in turn are informed by a range of domestic, foreign and even personal factors. A speech can be broken into several themes, which in turn are held up by certain facts, views, or lies. The unemployment rate, for its part, may be split up by year, socioeconomic class and geography. The breakdown serves the essential function of producing distinct, descriptive categories containing data points: a network of players, a string of arguments, or a set of statistics.



  • Trust as a Commodity: Can a #trustless #economy Survive and Thrive?
    https://hackernoon.com/trust-as-a-commodity-can-a-trustless-economy-survive-and-thrive-d74b80a4

    image source: pixabay.comCrypto technologies are often referred to as “trustless.” While often cited as one of their defining features, the label can actually be quite confusing. How can something that’s “trustless” be used for activities that typically require trust?Blockchain is already starting to change the way we transact and do business by opening up the exciting new possibility of a trustless economy where #blockchain apps and services are widely used to facilitate transactions.For crypto to have a real chance of being accepted in the mainstream, it’s important for users to understand the technology’s nuances, starting with the idea of trust.Making Sense of TrustThe way the word “trust” is used in blockchain is similar to the way it’s used in the world of finance. Financially, to trust (...)

    #distributed-ledgers #innovation


  • Angry Bear » The Continuing Dominance of the #Dollar
    https://angrybearblog.com/2018/10/the-continuing-dominance-of-the-dollar.html

    An article by Fernando Eguren Martin, Mayukh Mukhopadhyay and Carlos van Hombeeck of the Bank of England in the BOE’s Quarterly Bulletin documents the different international roles of the dollar. First, it continues to be the main currency in central bank reserves, with a share of about 70% of total holdings. Second, the dollar is used as an invoicing currency for many international transactions, such as commodity sales. Third, firms outside the U.S. obtain funding through dollar-denominated bank loans and debts.

    The use of the dollar for finance has also been examined by Iñaki Aldasoro and Torsten Ehlers of the Bank for International Settlements in an article in the BIS Quarterly Review. They report a rise in the use of international debt securities, driven primarily by dollar denominated debt issued by non-U.S. residents. The increase in such funding is particularly noticeable in emerging markets economies in Asia and Latin America. This debt includes sovereign bonds issued by governments that sought to lock in low interest rates.



  • Inside Italy’s Shadow Economy

    #Home_work — working from home or a small workshop as opposed to in a factory — is a cornerstone of the #fast-fashion supply chain. It is particularly prevalent in countries such as India, Bangladesh, Vietnam and China, where millions of low-paid and predominantly female home workers are some of the most unprotected in the industry, because of their irregular employment status, isolation and lack of legal recourse.

    That similar conditions exist in Italy, however, and facilitate the production of some of the most expensive wardrobe items money can buy, may shock those who see the “Made in Italy” label as a byword for sophisticated craftsmanship.

    Increased pressure from #globalization and growing competition at all levels of the market mean that the assumption implicit in the luxury promise — that part of the value of such a good is that it is made in the best conditions, by highly skilled workers, who are paid fairly — is at times put under threat.

    Though they are not exposed to what most people would consider sweatshop conditions, the homeworkers are allotted what might seem close to sweatshop wages. Italy does not have a national minimum wage, but roughly €5-7 per hour is considered an appropriate standard by many unions and consulting firms. In extremely rare cases, a highly skilled worker can earn as much as €8-10 an hour. But the homeworkers earn significantly less, regardless of whether they are involved in leatherwork, embroidery or another artisanal task.

    In #Ginosa, another town in Puglia, Maria Colamita, 53, said that a decade ago, when her two children were younger, she had worked from home on wedding dresses produced by local factories, embroidering gowns with pearl paillettes and appliqués for €1.50 to €2 per hour.

    Each gown took 10 to 50 hours to complete, and Ms. Colamita said she worked 16 to 18 hours a day; she was paid only when a garment was complete.

    “I would only take breaks to take care of my children and my family members — that was it,” she said, adding that she currently works as a cleaner and earns €7 per hour. “Now my children have grown up, I can take on a job where I can earn a real wage.”

    Both women said they knew at least 15 other seamstresses in their area who produced luxury fashion garments on a piece-rate basis for local factories from their homes. All live in Puglia, the rural heel of Italy’s boot that combines whitewashed fishing villages and crystal clear waters beloved by tourists with one of the country’s biggest manufacturing hubs.

    Few were willing to risk their livelihoods to tell their tales, because for them the flexibility and opportunity to care for their families while working was worth the meager pay and lack of protections.

    “I know I am not paid what I deserve, but salaries are very low here in Puglia and ultimately I love what I do,” said another seamstress, from the attic workshop in her apartment. “I have done it all my life and couldn’t do anything else.”

    Although she had a factory job that paid her €5 per hour, she worked an additional three hours per day off the books from home, largely on high-quality sample garments for Italian designers at roughly €50 apiece.

    “We all accept that this is how it is,” the woman said from her sewing machine, surrounded by cloth rolls and tape measures.
    ‘Made in Italy,’ but at What Cost?

    Built upon the myriad small- and medium-size export-oriented manufacturing businesses that make up the backbone of Europe’s fourth largest economy, the centuries-old foundations of the “Made in Italy” legend have shaken in recent years under the weight of bureaucracy, rising costs and soaring unemployment.

    Businesses in the north, where there are generally more job opportunities and higher wages, have suffered less than those in the south, which were hit hard by the boom in cheap foreign labor that lured many companies into moving production operations abroad.

    Few sectors are as reliant on the country’s manufacturing cachet as the luxury trade, long a linchpin of Italy’s economic growth. It is responsible for 5 percent of Italian gross domestic product, and an estimated 500,000 people were employed directly and indirectly by the luxury goods sector in Italy in 2017, according to data from a report from the University of Bocconi and Altagamma, an Italian luxury trade organization.

    Those numbers have been bolstered by the rosy fortunes of the global luxury market, expected by Bain & Company to grow by 6 to 8 percent, to €276 to €281 billion in 2018, driven in part by the appetite for “Made in Italy” goods from established and emerging markets.

    But the alleged efforts by some luxury brands and lead suppliers to lower costs without undermining quality have taken a toll on those on those operating at the very bottom of the industry. Just how many are affected is difficult to quantify.

    According to data from Istat (the Italian National Institute of Statistics), 3.7 million workers across all sectors worked without contracts in Italy in 2015. More recently, in 2017, Istat counted 7,216 home workers, 3,647 in the manufacturing sector, operating with regular contracts.

    However, there is no official data on those operating with irregular contracts, and no one has attempted to quantify the group for decades. In 1973, the economist Sebastiano Brusco estimated that Italy had one million contracted home workers in apparel production, with a roughly equal figure working without contracts. Few comprehensive efforts have been made to examine the numbers since.

    This New York Times investigation collected evidence of about 60 women in the Puglia region alone working from home without a regular contract in the apparel sector. Tania Toffanin, the author of “Fabbriche Invisibili,” a book on the history of home working in Italy, estimated that currently there are 2,000 to 4,000 irregular home workers in apparel production.

    “The deeper down we go in the supply chain, the greater the abuse,” said Deborah Lucchetti, of #Abiti_Puliti, the Italian arm of #Clean_Clothes_Campaign, an anti-sweatshop advocacy group. According to Ms. Lucchetti, the fragmented structure of the global manufacturing sector, made up of thousands of medium to small, often family-owned, businesses, is a key reason that practices like unregulated home working can remain prevalent even in a first world nation like Italy.

    Plenty of Puglian factory managers stressed they adhered to union regulations, treated workers fairly and paid them a living wage. Many factory owners added that almost all luxury names — like Gucci, owned by Kering, for example, or Louis Vuitton, owned by #LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton — regularly sent staff to check on working conditions and quality standards.

    When contacted, LVMH declined to comment for this story. A spokesman for MaxMara emailed the following statement: “MaxMara considers an ethical supply chain a key component of the company’s core values reflected in our business practice.”

    He added that the company was unaware of specific allegations of its suppliers using home workers, but had started an investigation this week.

    According to Ms. Lucchetti, the fact that many Italian luxury brands outsource the bulk of manufacturing, rather than use their own factories, has created a status quo where exploitation can easily fester — especially for those out of union or brand sightlines. A large portion of brands hire a local supplier in a region, who will then negotiate contracts with factories in the area on their behalf.

    “Brands commission first lead contractors at the head of the supply chain, which then commission to sub-suppliers, which in turn shift part of the production to smaller factories under the pressure of reduced lead time and squeezed prices,” Ms. Lucchetti said. “That makes it very hard for there to be sufficient transparency or accountability. We know home working exists. But it is so hidden that there will be brands that have no idea orders are being made by irregular workers outside the contracted factories.”

    However, she also called these problems common knowledge, and said, “some brands must know they might be complicit.”

    The ‘Salento Method’

    Certainly that is the view of Eugenio Romano, a former union lawyer who has spent the last five years representing Carla Ventura, a bankrupt factory owner of Keope Srl (formerly CRI), suing the Italian shoe luxury behemoth Tod’s and Euroshoes, a company that Tod’s used as a lead supplier for its Puglian footwear production.

    Initially, in 2011, Ms. Ventura began legal proceedings against only Euroshoes, saying that consistently late payments, shrinking fee rates for orders and outstanding bills owed to her by that company were making it impossible to maintain a profitable factory and pay her workers a fair wage. A local court ruled in her favor, and ordered Euroshoes to pay the debts, which, after appealing unsuccessfully, the company did.

    Orders dried up in the wake of those legal proceedings. Eventually, in 2014, Keope went bankrupt. Now, in a second trial, which has stretched on for years without a significant ruling, Ms. Ventura has brought another action against Euroshoes, and Tod’s, which she says had direct knowledge of Euroshoes’ unlawful business practices. (Tod’s has said it played no role in nor had any knowledge of Euroshoes’ contract issues with Keope. A lawyer for Euroshoes declined to comment for this article.)

    “Part of the problem down here is that employees agree to forgo their rights in order to work,” Mr. Romano said from his office in the town of Casarano, ahead of the next court hearing, scheduled for Sept. 26.

    He spoke of the “Salento method,” a well-known local phrase that means, essentially: “Be flexible, use your methods, you know how to do it down here.”

    The region of Salento has a high unemployment rate, which makes its work force vulnerable. And although brands would never officially suggest taking advantage of employees, some factory owners have told Mr. Romano that there is an underlying message to use a range of means, including underpaying employees and paying them to work at home.

    The area has long been a hub of third-party shoemakers for luxury brands including Gucci, Prada, Salvatore Ferragamo and Tod’s. In 2008, Ms. Ventura entered into an exclusive agreement with Euroshoes to become a sub-supplier of shoe uppers destined for Tod’s.

    According to Ms. Ventura’s lawsuit, she then became subject to consistently late payments, as well as an unexplained reduction in prices per unit from €13.48 to €10.73 per shoe upper from 2009 to 2012.

    While many local factories cut corners, including having employees work from home, Ms. Ventura said she still paid full salaries and provided national insurance. Because the contract required exclusivity, other potential manufacturing deals with rival brands including Armani and Gucci, which could have balanced the books, could not be made.

    Production costs were no longer covered, and promises of an increased number of orders from Tod’s via Euroshoes never came, according to the legal papers filed in Ms. Ventura’s case.

    In 2012, orders from Tod’s via Euroshoes stopped completely, one year after Ms. Ventura first took Euroshoes to court for her unpaid bills. Ms. Ventura said that eventually put Keope on the road to bankruptcy, according to legal documents. Ms. Ventura was declared insolvent in 2014.

    When asked for comment, a Tod’s spokeswoman said in a statement:

    “Keope filed a lawsuit against one of our suppliers, Euroshoes, and Tod’s, to recover damages related to the alleged actions or omissions of Euroshoes. Tod’s has nothing to do with the facts alleged in the case and never had a direct commercial relationship with Keope. Keope is a subcontractor of Euroshoes, and Tod’s is completely extraneous to their relationship.”

    The statement also said that Tod’s had paid Euroshoes for all the amounts billed in a timely and regular manner, and was not responsible if Euroshoes failed to pay a subcontractor. Tod’s said it insisted all suppliers perform their services in line with the law, and that the same standard be applied to subcontractors.

    “Tod’s reserves the right to defend its reputation against the libelous attempt of Keope to involve it in issues that do not concern Tod’s,” the spokeswoman said.

    Indeed, a report by Abiti Puliti that included an investigation by Il Tacco D’Italia, a local newspaper, into Ms. Ventura’s case found that other companies in the region sewing uppers by hand had women do the work irregularly from their homes. That pay would be 70 to 90 euro cents a pair, meaning that in 12 hours a worker would earn 7 to 9 euros.

    ‘Invisible’ Labor

    Home working textile jobs that are labor intensive or require skilled handiwork are not new to Italy. But many industry observers believe that the lack of a government-set national minimum wage has made it easier for many home workers to still be paid a pittance.

    Wages are generally negotiated for workers by union representatives, which vary by sector and by union. According to the Studio Rota Porta, an Italian labor consultancy, the minimum wage in the textile industry should be roughly €7.08 per hour, lower than those for other sectors including food (€8.70), construction (€8) and finance (€11.51).

    But workers who aren’t members of unions operate outside the system and are vulnerable to exploitation, a source of frustration for many union representatives.

    “We do know about seamstresses working without contracts from home in Puglia, especially those that specialize in sewing appliqué, but none of them want to approach us to talk about their conditions, and the subcontracting keeps them largely invisible,” said Pietro Fiorella, a representative of the CGIL, or Italian General Confederation of Labour, the country’s largest national union.

    Many of them are retired, Mr. Fiorella said, or want the flexibility of part-time work to care for family members or want to supplement their income, and are fearful of losing the additional money. While unemployment rates in Puglia recently dropped to 19.5 percent in the first quarter of 2018 from nearly 21.5 percent in the same period a year ago, jobs remain difficult to come by.

    A fellow union representative, Giordano Fumarola, pointed to another reason that garment and textile wages in this stretch of southern Italy have stayed so low for so long: the offshoring of production to Asia and Eastern Europe over the last two decades, which intensified local competition for fewer orders and forced factory owners to drive down prices.

    In recent years, some luxury companies have started to bring production back to Puglia, Mr. Fumarola said. But he believed that power is still firmly in the hands of the brands, not suppliers already operating on wafer-thin margins. The temptation for factory owners to then use sub-suppliers or home workers, or save money by defrauding their workers or the government, was hard to resist.

    Add to that a longstanding antipathy for regulation, high instances of irregular unemployment and fragmented systems of employment protection, and the fact that nonstandard employment has been significantly liberalized by successive labor market reforms since the mid-1990s, and the result is further isolation for those working on the margins.

    A national election in March swept a new populist government to power in Italy, placing power in the hands of two parties — the Five Star Movement and the League — and a proposed “dignity decree” aims to limit the prevalence of short-term job contracts and of firms shifting jobs abroad while simplifying some fiscal rules. For now, however, legislation around a minimum wage does not appear to be on the agenda.

    Indeed, for women like the unnamed seamstress in Santeramo in Colle, working away on yet another coat at her kitchen table, reform of any sort feels a long way off.

    Not that she really minded. She would be devastated to lose this additional income, she said, and the work allowed her to spend time with her children.

    “What do you want me to say?” she said with a sigh, closing her eyes and raising the palms of her hands. “It is what it is. This is Italy.”


    https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/20/fashion/italy-luxury-shadow-economy.html
    #fashion #mode #industrie_textile #travail #exploitation #Italie #esclavage_moderne #Pouilles #made_in_Italy #invisibilité #travail_à_la_maison #mondialisation #luxe #MaxMara #Gucci #Kering #Louis_Vuitton #LVMH #Salento #Carla_Ventura #Keope_Srl #CRI #Euroshoes #Tod's #Salento_method #Prada #Salvatore_Ferragamo

    via @isskein