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Yale-Professor Thomas Pogge urges for property taxes from global acting companies

12.12.2012 The fight against global poverty could make better progress if the growing income gap would be reduced instead of summoning the world growth. This was a key message of the Käte Hamburger Lecture "Beyond 2015: Getting Serrious about Global Justice" by Thomas Pogge, the committed Leitner-Professor of philosophy and international affairs at Yale University in the U.S.

In the presence of renowned discussants and a committed audience Pogge gave insights into the inequality of income share. From 1988 to 2005, the worldwide income growth concentrates in the wealthiest 5% of the world who together hold the larger share of income than the half of the world's population in general. Beside the worrying fact, Pogge made a concrete suggestion on the problem: Globally operating corporations should pay a property tax on their "global" corporate profits because they currently use large-scale tax exemptions and incentives, particularly in developing and newly industrialising countries. Pogge's explicit criticism on strategy and on sovereignty of World Bank's discourse was responded by Margret Thalwitz, who is Senior fellow at the Centre and was longtime member of staff at World Bank. Thalwitz answered with a personal statement in which she took on and expressly acknowledged Pogge's criticism.

Pogge offered new approaches also in other areas. He currently is organising a conference in China, with the aim not to repeat the well-known allegations against central authorities, but to ask what China could contribute with its own voice to the moral discourse of the world understanding. Professor Jan Aart Scholte, Senior Fellow at the Centre and one of the currently leading experts on issues of democratic development of the globalisation, pointed out that the failure of global discourse on the implementation of democratic structure lies less in the lack of willingness to come together in international conference. The rule of the game, preliminary decision based on which the conference is conducted, is according to Scholte a decisive factor for such failure.

The event was competently moderated by Professor Spitzley, Professor of Philosophy at University Duisburg-Essen. With "Glühwein" (mulled wine) in the fancy cups of the Centre, the topics raised in the lecture were further discussed together after this "first Käte Hamburger Nikolaus Lecture," as the executive director of the Centre, Prof. Dr. Tobias Debiel, initially remarked cheerfully.

The second Käte Hamburger Lecture was jointly organised with the Development and Peace Foundation (SEF) on the 6th December 2012.

Pictures of the Lecture can be found here

Martin Wolf
Head of Public Relations
Tel: +49 (0)203 379 5238