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A bird's eye view of the vineyard

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Lockdown Skeptics

The Daily Sceptic

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Total banker

category international | anti-capitalism | press release author Friday January 28, 2005 17:53author by WSM Report this post to the editors

World Bank president delivers on poverty agenda on visit to Ireland

Next Sunday, the 30th of January the president of the
World Bank is due to visit Dublin. The President Mr.
James Wolfensohn is here to talk to the World Council
of Churches. The Meeting is part of the on going talks
between the bank and the council of churches about
'faith and development' in the third world.

"Their [IMF and World Bank] policies have not only
failed to bridge the gap between rich and poor and
achieve greater equality, but rather contributed to a
widening gap, the virtual exclusion of an increasing
number of the poor and widespread social
disintegration."
- Rev. Dr. Konrad Raiser, General Secretary, World
Council of Churches; Letter to Kofi Annan, June 28,
2000

What is the World Bank?

The World Bank works in tandem with the International
Monetary Fund to 'readjust' third world economies to
suit the neo-liberal view of world economics. Their
'readjustments' although sounding pretty harmless has
involved the forced relocation of thousands of people
in India when their readjustments advised on the
construction of dams on Naramada River. The World Bank
is the organization that loans money to carry-out
readjustments. These loans become what most of us know
as the crippling Third World Debt. Over the past
decades some of the poorest countries world has paid
up to half their yearly GNP to the World Bank. Perhaps
one of the most sickening figures is that in 1997-1998
the World Bank extracted over _1 billion from Africa
whilst the continent is desperate for money to fend
off starvation and try and halt the aids epidemic. Now
they come to Dublin to consult religious organizations
on development which is contemptuous to the people
like those living on the Naramada River considering
they weren't even consulted.

International Effects

The effects of the policies pursued by the World Bank
and the International Monetary Fund on the lives of
people living in the 'developing world' have been
nothing short of catastrophic. It is sobering to
realise that even now in 2005, huge numbers of people
live in dire poverty. In India, for example, more
than half of all children do not have enough to eat
while in Sierra Leone, 28 percent of all children die
before the age of 5.

In talking of many poorer countries, it is in fact
wrong to describe them as 'developing' because in fact
no real development or progress is taking place in the
lives of ordinary people. Of the 50 countries where
per capita income was lowest in 1990, 23 actually had
lower average incomes in 1999 than they did in 1990.

'Structural Adjustment Programmes', insisted upon by
the International Monetary Fund in order for countries
to be advanced loans by the World Bank, are the
principal cause of this. In his book 'Globalization
And Its Discontents', Joseph Stiglitz - a former Chief
economist with the World Bank - argues convincingly
that these SAPs and other policies pursued by the
IMF/World Bank systematically act in the interests of
the rich so-called 'donor' nations and against the
interests of workers, peasants and other poor people.

Stiglitz points out in his book that food subsidies
and other ways of cushioning the hardships suffered by
the poor are among the first programmes that the
IMF/World Bank tells countries to cut when they need
to "balance their budgets". The IMF/WB policies, he
argues always follow the same agenda - that of the
rich

"Stabilization is on the agenda; job creation is off.
Taxation, and its adverse effects, are on the agenda;
land reform is off. There is money to bail out banks
but not to pay for improved education and health
services, let alone bail out workers who are thrown
out of their jobs as a result of the IMF's
macroeconomic mismanagement."

Since the mid 1980s over 70 countries in the world
have been forced to adopt these 'Structural Adjustment
Programmes'. They have led to disaster and massive
poverty. Because of SAPs, local economies and wages
have collapsed; basic services like sanitation, water,
education and health have fallen apart. Meanwhile the
burden of debt has been forced onto the poorest of the
poor with the result that poverty has increased, life
expectancy has deteriorated and infant mortality has
soared.

While it's not difficult to see why the SAPs have done
so much damage (instead of promoting investment they
sucked the money supply from local economies), it is
important to remember that they were never intended to
be anything other than harsh. SAPs have actually
played a very important role in the long-term economic
strategy of Western capitalism. This strategy is all
about making the economies of the 'developing world'
more dependent (more 'integrated' in IMF/WB-speak) on
Western needs and thus more open to exploitation by
western multinationals, while at the same time opening
up a massive supply of cheap labour for Western
capitalism.

For the poorest nations in the world, the IMF and
World Bank are the largest creditors. Because these
institutions are 'preferred creditors', they have
first call on repayments. The external debt of
sub-Saharan Africa has increased by nearly 400% since
1980 _ to more than $200billion. Many of these
'debts' have already been repaid again and again. The
'debt crisis' set in when interest rates skyrocketed
and compound interest made repayment impossible. For
example, Nigeria borrowed $5billion from official and
private creditors, paid $16billion to date, and still
owes $32billion. (source: 'The World Bank: Lending In
Whose Interest? By Centre for Economic Justice -
www.econjustice.net)

The Thief calls it help - We call it stealth

"I would like to use my time to highlight the
respective roles of the Fund and the Bank in the
development process and the extent to which we are
delivering on the poverty agenda in the developing
world"
so said Charlie Mc Creavey when he was
minister for finance. He was speaking about the World
Bank and the IMF. The World Bank and thanks to the
SAP's (Structural Adjustment Programs) which are the
strings that come attached to the loans it can be said
they they deliver on the poverty agenda 'by INCREASING
IT'.

In Ireland we have been members of the World Bank
since 1957. In that time we have theoretically
contributed $636 million but of course this being the
high falluting world of accountancy it means that we
really only contributed 6% of that. A little bit of
creative accounting for you. So we must support this
organisation. One that is blatantly undemocratic and
that has come in for a storm of criticism for the last
decade or more.

At home we can see their tricks by their championing
of the partnership agreements between trade unions,
bosses and the governments. We know how that hasn't
greatly benefitted workers whilst many companies have
gone on to make astounding profits. Meanwhile the WBO
and the IMF push the GATT line via the EU. The
General Agreements on Tarrifs and Trade (GATT) cover
160 services' sectors including telecoms, transport,
distribution, postal services, real estate, insurance,
construction, environment, tourism and entertainment.
Just as poorer countries end up having to open up
their economies when they get an IMF loan, in Ireland
our leaders are pushing us down the nightmare of
GATT.

What few people realised when the deal was first done
is that the GATTS also includes healthcare,
education, housing, water, waste management and other
basic services usually run by government agencies. The
agenda of the GATS agreement is quite simple: to
privatise as many services as possible opening them to
international competition. This is the brainchild of
the invisible boffins behind the closed doors of the
World Bank. Privatisation leads to an increase in
wealth for the bosses and a increase in the peoples
poverty. Our former public services, which we pay
taxes for already are stolen via the public-private
partnership iniatives. So we can be like the
citizens of Ghana who thanks to the IMF saw their
water supply privatised.

Watching the World Bank operate is like watching the
FBI in a siege. The Fed's cut the water and the
electircity supply. The World Bank uses the IMF's
stipulations for loans to carry out the following
four things

1. Open's the economy
2. Fiscal austerity - reduce government spending which
leads us to the next point
3. Balance Budgets though cuts - we've seen this
before, remember McCreevy's was once known as the
butcher of social welfare before he went on to Finance
4. Privatise Public Entities - Bin's, Dublin Bus, Aer
Rianta, and soon water I would guess.

The world bank delivers on the poverty agenda alright,
it widens the gap between the poor and the rich.

Make sure to thank that banker when you see him! He's
making Capitalism work for the bosses.

Related Link: http://struggle.ws/wsm

 #   Title   Author   Date 
   I've just seen selections from this year's OVNI festival     iosaf - o as fecking if - sofia    Fri Jan 28, 2005 20:49 
   wsm     Mary    Fri Jan 28, 2005 23:18 
   re: Mary     Joe    Sat Jan 29, 2005 13:11 
   and some of us     jack white    Sat Jan 29, 2005 15:49 
   ?     Jay    Sat Jan 29, 2005 17:01 
   1st of May?     Ois    Wed Feb 02, 2005 20:54 


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