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Economic Literacy Tools

  • JASS

For many people around the world, economic policy is shrouded in the mystique of “expertise” that tends to obscure the politics behind the economics and prevents citizens from participating fully and openly in economic policy making.There is therefore an urgent need to shift decision making power to the larger public especially women.

The following selection of resources aims to equip activists with practical information and tools to form their own critical analysis of current economic policies and develop strategies for making them more democratic, just, and humane.

Demystifying Economics: Scoping of Economic Education Resources

by JASS & Institute of Development Studies (IDS)

“The scarcity of participation and debate in economic policy is compounded today in many countries because many aspects of local and national economic policy are dominated by global actors and policies.” ~ Demystifying Economics

For many people around the world, economic policy is shrouded in the mystique of “expertise” that tends to obscure the politics behind the economics and prevents citizens from participating fully and openly in economic policy making. This publication includes a partial list of resources designed to offer the “ABCs” of economics that can enable citizens to challenge political and economic choices that are undemocratic and unsustainable.

Resources on Women’s Rights and Economic Change

by Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID)

The Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID) is an international, feminist, membership organization committed to achieving gender equality, sustainable development and women’s human rights. A dynamic network of women and men around the world, AWID members are researchers, academics, students, educators, activists, business people, policy-makers, development practitioners, funders, and more.

AWID journals, handbooks and materials on women’s rights and economic change are available at AWID publications.

The Crisis of Capitalism

by David Harvey & RSA Animate

In this RSA Animate, renowned academic David Harvey asks if it is time to look beyond capitalism towards a new social order that would allow us to live within a system that really could be responsible, just, and humane?

Fair trade: What is Ethical Fair Trade? WIEGO

by F.I.N.E. (2001)

Fair Trade is a trading partnership, based on dialogue, transparency and respect, that seeks greater equity in international trade. It contributes to sustainable development by offering better trading conditions to, and security the rights of, marginalized producers and workesr – especially in the South. Fair Trade Organizations, backed by consumers, are engage actively in supporting producers, awareness raising and in campaigning for changes in the rules and practice of conventional international trade.

“Women are at the centre of the fallout from the systemic crisis, which combines distinct interlocked crises: a global economic recession, the devastating effects of climate change, and a deepening food and energy crisis.” ~ AWID

Impact of the Crisis on Women

by Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID)

During the last quarter of 2008, an economic crisis – originating in the United States – spread and affected financial institutions and economies throughout the developing and developed world.  The global financial crisis received world-wide attention in mid-2008, amidst signs of increasing distress. How has the global economic crisis exacerbated some of the shared struggles for women?

This series of reports, first published in 2009 and updated in 2010, provides regional and sub-regional analyses of the impact of the global financial crisis on women.

The Politics of Debt: Jubilee USA’s Beginner’s Guide to Debt (2009)

by Jubilee U.S. Network

Debt is tearing down schools, clinics and hospitals and the effects are no less devastating than war. ~ Jubilee USA

The origins of the debt crisis go back a long way. An understanding of how the debt crisis occurred is vital to breaking the chains of debt. This is an easy read on the politics and consequences of debt.

Social Protection Responses to the Financial Crisis: What do we Know?

by IDS

What is Social protection? Social protection describes a group of policy initiatives that transfer income or assets to the poor. They protect vulnerable people against livelihood risks, and seek to enhance the social status and rights of the marginalised.

Women’s Access to land: Land and Power: The growing scandal surrounding the new wave of investments in land

by Oxfam (2011)

This paper looks in detail at five land grabs: in Uganda, Indonesia, Guatemala, Honduras, and South Sudan. It seeks: to understand the impact of land grabs on poor people and their communities; to identify the underlying factors between companies, local communities, and host governments; and to examine the roles played by international investors and home-country governments.

Envisioning a New Economic World Order

It’s easy to assume that global economics are value-neutral and simply reflect the “natural” order of things. In reality, our economic world order is shaped by distinct ideologies and beliefs about who should have access to and control over what resources, such as education, property, credit, and even time. The predominant paradigm is based on neoliberal and capitalist principles that promote free markets, unregulated trade, consumer-driven growth, and privatization of essential services, for example. But genuine alternatives exist and have always existed.

Learn more about JASS’ commiment to Economic democracy and Envisioning a New Economic Order for women

Access + Control = POWER

With no sustainable economic alternatives in sight, women everywhere are creating their own responses to global instability and crises. From savings and loan clubs and workers cooperatives to sophisticated political campaigns against corporate land grabs and the exploitation of natural resources, women are developing alternative models and organizing collectively to demand economic and political power and rights.

Organizing for economic rights & democracy in Southeast Asia

Around the world, access to cash and credit through microfinancing programs is touted as a magic bullet for eradicating women’s poverty. Yet, there is limited evidence that these strategies alone fundamentally alter the power relationships that drive women’s poverty in the first place. Check out these snapshots from Indonesia and Timor L’este where access to cash and credit is combined with training and support to tackle gender discrimination and empower women.


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