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(en) Ireland, Workers Solidarity Movement World Bank Issue* - Jan 2005 - Total Banker! World Bank President Delivers on Poverty Agenda During Visit to Ireland

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Sun, 13 Feb 2005 19:22:56 +0100 (CET)


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"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
On Sunday, the 30th of January the president of the World Bank visits 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.

> 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
i n India when their
readjustments advised
on the construction of
d a m s on Naramada
River. The World Bank
is the organization that
loans money to carry-
o u t 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
t o the World Bank.
Pe r h a p s one of the
most sickening figures
is that in 1997-1998 the
World Bank extracted
ov e r 1 billion from Africa whilst the
continent is desperate for money to fend
of f starvation and try and halt the aids
epidemic. Now they come to Dublin to
c o n s u l t religious organizations on
development which is contemptuous to
t h e 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.

' S t r u c t u r a l 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
for mer Chief economist with the World
Bank - argues convincingly that these SAPs
a n d other policies pursued by the
IMF/World Bank systematically act in the
interests of the rich so-called 'donor' nations
a n d against the interests of workers,
p e a s a n t s 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
p o l i c i e s , he argues
always follow the same
agenda - that of the rich
"Stabilization is on the
agenda; job creation is
of f. Taxation, and its
adverse effects, are on
the agenda; land reform
is off. There is money
to bail out banks but not
t o pay for improved
e d u c a t i o n and health
ser vices, let alone bail
o u t workers who are
thrown out of their jobs
as a result of the IMF's
macroeconomic
mismanagement."
S i n c e the mid 1980s
over 70 countries in the world have been
f o r c e d to adopt these 'Str u c t u r a l
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
impor tant 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
s t r a t e g y of Western capitalism. This
strategy is all about making the economies
of the 'developing world' more dependent
(more 'integrated' in IMF/WB-speak) on
Wester n needs and thus more open to
exploitation by western multinationals,
wh i l e at the same time opening up a
massive supply of cheap labour for Western
capitalism.
For the poorest nations in the world, the
I M F 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
c o m p o u n d interest made repayment
impossible. For example, Nigeria borrowed
$5billion from official and private creditors,
paid $16billion to date, and still owes
$ 3 2 b i l l i o n . (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
Wo r l d Bank and thanks to the SAP's
(Str uctural 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
gor vernments. We know how that hasn't
g reatly benefitted workers whilst many
c o m p a n i e s 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'
s e c t o r s including telecoms, transport,
distribution, postal services, real estate,
i n s u r a n c e, 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
s e r v i c e s usually run by government
a g e n c i e s . 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
t h e 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 iniatiives. 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
loands 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.
-----------------------------------------------------
Stand up for yourself - but you cant do it alone

Workers Solidarity Movement
PO box 1528, Dublin 8
Internet: http://struggle.ws/wsm.html
wsm_ireland@yahoo.com cork_wsm@yahoo.com

The Workers Solidarity Movement is an anarchist
organisation which fights for an end of the division
of society into classes, into a small minority of
rulers who control all the resources and wealth and
the rest of us. We want to bring about a society
based on real grassroots democracy. We do not
want to become rulers nor do we want to seize
power "on behalf of the working class". We have
no interest in replacing one set of bosses with
another. Instead we work for a free socialist
society where everyone can have a direct say
in making the decisions that will affect them.

Get in touch with the anarchists in your area

=================================================
*
http://struggle.ws/pdfs/an/WorldBankAN30.pdf
Leaflet issued towards the 30th of January - the
visit of president of the World Bank in Dublin.
The President Mr. James Wolfensohn was there to
talk to the World Council of Churches


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