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Fri May 31, 2013, 04:59 AM

IMF and World Bank are losing clout in developing countries

IMF and World Bank are losing clout in developing countries

Developing nations are organising within the IMF and World Bank to counter their neoliberal policies

Mark Weisbrot
The Guardian, Thursday 30 May 2013

There is a battle going on within and outside the World Bank right now over its flagship Doing Business report and index. This may not appear to be exactly a household issue, but the fight is a very significant one for a number of reasons.

The index ranks countries according to the "ease of doing business", including such things as starting a business, enforcement of contracts, paying taxes and other indicators. It has been under attack for years because it has a built-in bias against many regulations that people who care about the progress of humanity might see as important: employment protections; necessary taxation; health, safety and environmental regulation; and of course most state-led development policies.

As noted recently, the fact that the Bank gives higher marks for "fewer restrictions on permits for construction" means it ignores the safety and environmental concerns that can contribute to disasters such as last month's Bangladesh factory collapse.

There is evidence that countries have deregulated in harmful ways in order to get a better ranking. And despite years of controversy and a 2008 internal evaluation critical of the index, the Bank still uses it as a criterion for lending to low-income countries.


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Reply IMF and World Bank are losing clout in developing countries (Original post)
Judi Lynn May 2013 OP
Demeter May 2013 #1
Peace Patriot Jun 2013 #2
Judi Lynn Jun 2013 #3

Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Fri May 31, 2013, 06:33 AM

1. It's not just NEOLIBERAL---it's US EMPIRE


and it's healthy for all of us if the Empire dies as quickly as possible. We are slaves in the Empire's home. Killing off the Empire will free us to be democratic citizens again.

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Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Sun Jun 2, 2013, 02:01 PM

2. "Not exactly a household" issue? But that is exactly what it is!

That's a writing error by Weisbrot, who is usually so incisive.

"This may not appear to be exactly a household issue, but the fight is a very significant one for a number of reasons." --from the OP

The "household" is where families, workers, the poor--society's majority--encounter the 1%'s 'home invasion' by the bankster thugs who steal food right out of the mouths of poor children, when they aren't enforcing corporate poisoning of everybody with pesticides and GMOs; who steal the schoolbooks right out of children's hands, by requiring the defunding of education and other social programs; who steal the pittance wages of their parents with required skyrocketing costs of public services (water, electricity, transportation, communication); who drive small local farmers out of business by dumping Big Ag produce on local markets, destroying entire traditions of local food production and the entirety of a country's food self-sufficiency--numerous family farm households obliterated, small farmers driven into urban squalor; who create massive, hopeless, extreme poverty with no chance at upward mobility (often resulting in poor teenagers turning to crime out of desperation, among other things), and who impact households with "privatization" and de-regulation of every kind (miner and other workplace safety, for instance--loss of breadwinners; lack of medical care for workers and the poor; corporate theft of a country's natural resources, the profit from which should be helping the country's people; vast damage to the environment, which harms the poor first and foremost), and on and on.

This very much IS a "household issue" though a lot of people may not know how personally and directly it affects them.

The very point of World Bank/IMF policy has been to loot and plunder the poor majority's households where they live, in every bill they pay, in every service they depend upon, in every tiny little bit of property they may have, and in their individual or collective power to influence government.

The fact that workers and the poor in victim countries AND HERE may not be familiar with WHO is wreaking all this havoc around the world, AND HERE, is the other part of the problem that Weisbrot goes on to describe in his normally brilliant and incisive way. I'm speaking of corporate control of the media. Corporate "Big Lies." Corporate disinformation. Corporate blackguarding of any leaders who dare to fight back on behalf of their people--and I have to say that the Guardian has been almost as guilty as the rest of the corporate media on blackguarding democratically elected Latin American leaders, like Hugo Chavez, who have helped drive the ruinous World Bank/IMF out of the region.

Saying that the World Bank/IMF may not be a "household issue" throws off to the side this other vital issue, by which, as a matter of fact, the corporate rulers ALSO invade homes, via corporate control of the broadcast airwaves (airwaves belonging to the public!) with non-stop propaganda and brainwashing on behalf of the local and global 1%, and the black-holing of information vital to the 99%. With a properly functioning "Fourth Estate," the World Bank/IMF thuggery would be common knowledge, "Bretton Woods" would be a household name, many other deliberately hidden 1%-er forces would be exposed and all of our democracies would be greatly improved.

Weisbrot writes about the new movement within the World Bank/IMF, by victim countries, and he does address a bit of corporate disinformation on this matter (and has generally been an awesome journalistic force against corporate lies):

"The financial press has inaccurately portrayed the fight as 'China seeks to water down key World Bank report' the headline of the Financial Times's report on the controversy. But China is just one of many countries, and a latecomer at that, which have opposed the index within the Bank. Opposition has come from Brazil, Argentina, India and other developing countries." --from the OP (my emphasis)

But there is much more to corporate lies and disinformation, and the use of corporate news propaganda as cover for looting and plundering the poor, than this nasty little twisted bit about China and the World Bank. These ~!@#$-ing banksters are now after the Food Stamp Program here--the poor's last refuge against DEATH at the hands of the banksters. Follow THAT horror in Washington and understand how important World Bank/IMF "austerity" policies are to every poor, or increasingly poor, household in the U.S.!

Weisbrot's main point:

"...perhaps the greatest significance of this fight: developing countries are beginning to organise within the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund in order to change policies. These two institutions have been controlled by Washington, with varying amounts of input from other rich countries, since their founding nearly seven decades ago. Many of their policies have been harmful to developing countries. But in contrast to the World Trade Organisation where developing countries form blocs and fight for their interests the world's majority has mostly let the rich countries run the show in the IMF and World Bank.

"Over the past decade the IMF has lost most of its power in developing countries and, as a result, Washington has also lost its most important avenue of influence over their policies. The middle-income countries of Asia, most of Latin America, Russia and others all made sure that they would never have to borrow again from the fund.

"The World Bank has exercised much of its influence in conjunction with the IMF...."

--from the OP

Again, we are not talking about general things here, or faraway global issues. We are talking food on the table--edible food, local food, nutrition--the devastation of the school system and slashed funding in all social programs--and all the devastation that the rich have perpetrated on the poor majority, in other countries, in our name, AND HERE. The World Bank/IMF "austerity for the poor while the rich get richer" program has HIT HERE. And this makes this movement within the World Bank, by victim countries, extremely relevant HERE, at OUR dinner tables, in OUR households, in all the bills WE pay, and all the services that WE are being robbed of, in catastrophic unemployment, in the shit-wages jobs, in the usurious thieving criminal banks and all the rest.

We also have U.S. wars that we are forced to pay for, with our hard, hard-earned money and our youngsters' lives. Other countries that are not direct victims of U.S. invasion do suffer from U.S. wars in various ways--including, for instance, the U.S. "war on drugs" (--high death tolls, diversion of resources, militarization of society, U.S. infiltration of victim country militaries and police forces, and outright use of the "war on drugs" for political/corporate purposes--such as the FIVE MILLION peasant farmers brutally displaced in Colombia), and, often, the U.S. "war on drugs" invasion is handmaiden to World Bank/IMF-enforced "austerity." But, more than any other country, we bear the direct cost of corporate-imperial wars--and "austerity" has been ADDED on top of this already unbearable burden, here.

We need more news about the rebellion against U.S./corporate financial aggression not only because we have a right to be informed, but also because we need a rebellion against it HERE. The loan policies that are being targeted by these rebellious countries--policies that are used to destroy their economies and societies--we see adopted HERE every day by our ES&S/Diebold (s)elected Congress and our Herbert Hoover-like president (lame, half-assed measures against the monstrous power of "organized money"--as FDR put it). THAT is most certainly becoming a "household issue" here, but we need to understand its origins in the out-of-control greed machine, spawned from our shores, that has been looting and plundering everybody else. And we need to learn from their rebellions, especially the one right here in the western hemisphere.

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Response to Peace Patriot (Reply #2)

Sun Jun 2, 2013, 04:01 PM

3. Latin America used to be the huge pay-day target for the IMF, World Bank, before George W Bush.

More power to the conscientious, socially, morally awakened progressive leaders, so many of whom have physically suffered
as prisoners, subjected to torture at the hands of the IMF/World Bank-loving fascists.

Wonderful reading your accurate comments. Thank you.

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