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There’ll Be (A) Snow (Job) At The World Bank This Christmas.

category international | anti-capitalism | feature author Tuesday December 21, 2004 18:48author by Terry - NUIG Ecology Society/Anarchist Federation/Organise! (personal capacity)author email room101ucg at yahoo dot co dot uk Report this post to the editors

'Sios with Suas' sez Wag, 'They're just neo-liberal apologists with their heads suas their asses'

An investigation into greenwash, the World Bank and charity.

Suas are a newly arrived charity operating out of several Irish universities and sending volunteers to work in schools in India. Within two years they aim to have 20 groups in third level institutions around the country, and 7,000 members.

So far, so what? Well a while ago they were running their big publicity campaign to get overseas volunteers for the summer of 2005, and if you saw their green glossy posters decorating some colleges you might have noticed the words 'World Bank' on them. Part of the volunteer program includes 'development education' given by World Bank personnel.

Somewhat incongruous isn't it? I have limited knowledge of the world of charities and NGOs but those I am familiar with are more often found crying out against the World Bank.

This is a two part exploration. Firstly here is a backgrounder on the social causes of world hunger and on the devastating policies of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. Secondly here is an investigation into the Suas 'development education' course and the whole issue of World Bank window dressing.

Related Links on the World Bank:
Global Issues · Whirled Bank · Bretton Woods Project · New Green Order · World Bank Boycott

Other Related Links:
Suas · The Ecologist on Greenwash · Friends of the Earth on Greenwash · Globalisation and Poverty: Vandana Shiva

author by Terry - NUIG Ecology Society etc...publication date Wed Dec 29, 2004 17:38author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"What sovereign country should have to kowtow to number crunchers from the likes of the IMF or expense account bureaucrats of the UN and World Bank?"

Not sure if that was a disagreement with what I was posting or not if it is here is the details:

“The IMF could not only cut of its own funds, but could use its bully pulpit to discourage investments from private market funds by telling private sector financial institutions of the doubts the IMF had about Korea’s economy. So Korea had no choice. Even implied criticism by Korea of the IMF program could have disastrous effect…….
…..A public announcement by the IMF that negotiations had broken off, or even been postponed, would send a highly negative signal to the markets. This signal would at best lead to higher interest rates and at worst a total cutoff from private funds. Even more serious for some of the poorest countries, which in any case have little access to private funds, is that other donors (the World Bank, the European Union, and many other countries) make access to their funds contingent on IMF approval. Recent initiatives for debt relief have effectively given the IMF even more power, because unless the IMF approves the country’s economy policy there will be no debt relief. This gives the IMF enormous leverage, as the IMF well knows.”

- Joseph Stiglitz, ‘Globalisation and its Discontents’ pages 42/43

Stiglitz is formerly chief economist at, and vice president of, the World Bank, 1997 – 2000.

"are you making common cause with right wing Republicans in the US and really advocating the abolition of nefarious international organisations such as the UN, the IMF and the World Bank?"

etc... yeah nice rhethorical flourish...doubtless though you know exactly what movement indymedia grew out of....

author by Deirdre Clancypublication date Wed Dec 22, 2004 15:23author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Well, in fairness to Terry, "imperfection" is a slight understatement of the flaws of the IMF and the World Bank. They continue to preside over a situation where millions across Africa and parts of Asia die for mere want of food and clean water, and despite this, multinationals are helped in their efforts to effectively plunder the same countries for resources.

I know the debt issue is not as straightforward as some campaigners would have us believe - clearly, the fact of where the benefit of debt elimination would go in dictatorships, etc., is an issue that has to be addressed, along with the underlying system that gave rise to the situation in the first place (which the likes of Geldof & friends fail to analyse properly in public, instead wondering aloud why nothing has changed since Live Aid).

But the World Bank and IMF have not lived up to their original brief - their general trend is to help nobody but those in already prospering parts of the world, providing support to deeply unfair trading systems. The idea that this is might change anytime soon is a nice one, but being a cynic on this issue I would have to say that any involvement in educational initiatives is probably either an attempt to control them, or mere surface window dressing to try to portray a new caring and sharing side, or both. This is not to say there aren't some individuals in these organisations who care about the issues and wish to see change. I'm sure there are. But the system is so flawed and has so much blood on its hands at this stage, that I would have to wonder whether their time advocating is wasted in this context.

author by Michael Henniganpublication date Tue Dec 21, 2004 22:59author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Terry, are you making common cause with right wing Republicans in the US and really advocating the abolition of nefarious international organisations such as the UN, the IMF and the World Bank?

What sovereign country should have to kowtow to number crunchers from the likes of the IMF or expense account bureaucrats of the UN and World Bank? Then again, despite their imperfections, there are surely some lessons to be learned from the 1930's?

 
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