By Amit Sengupta
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Additional resources for Global Health Watch 3: An Alternative World Health Report
Carbon emissions may be seen as a product of two factors: the global level of production and consumption; and their carbon intensity (that is, the carbon required for each unit of production and consumption). To date, policy on climate change has been based on technological optimism, the assumption that emission reductions can be achieved through the development and application of technologies to reduce carbon intensity, while allowing economic growth to proceed. 43 This dramatically underlines the scale of the environmental challenge to achieving sustainable global economic growth.
As the crisis hit, there was a ‘flight to safety’ on the part of investors, and investments in most ‘emerging market’ economies, because of their greater perceived vulnerability (even relative to the United States, whose financial markets lay at the root of the crisis), led to major capital outflows. As in the 1982 debt crisis and the 1997 Asian crisis, the result was a major reversal of net private capital flows. 6) From multiple crises to systemic failure As noted above, the fuel, food, and financial crises had an important common factor in the role of speculative capital.
Conversely, international trade rules increased protection for the trade of the greatest interest to the developed world, the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of International Property Rights (TRIPs) providing monopoly rights in global markets to holders of patents and copyright. In addition to greatly increasing the cost of much-needed technologies (including, for example, medical and production technologies), this effectively sealed off a key element of the route to development that had been pursued by the ‘emerging market’ economies prior to the agreement, and by the developed countries when they were at a similar stage of development.