Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

And Can You Take Out The IMF While You’re At It?

Posted by Phoenix Woman on May 15, 2007

Awwww. Poor widdle sacrificial lambikin Paul Wolfowitz is threatening to take a few World Bank executives down with him, and his neocon/PNAC friends over at The New Republic(an) are trying hard to save him.

Frankly, I wouldn’t mind seeing Wolfowitz take down the World Bank. As Naomi Klein explains, it’s not exactly a force for anything other than upholding capitalism no matter how much it hurts the masses:

[…]

…The truth is that the bank’s credibility was fatally compromised when it forced school fees on students in Ghana in exchange for a loan; when it demanded that Tanzania privatize its water system; when it made telecom privatization a condition of aid for Hurricane Mitch; when it demanded labor “flexibility” in the aftermath of the Asian tsunami in Sri Lanka; when it pushed for eliminating food subsidies in post-invasion Iraq. Ecuadoreans care little about Wolfowitz’s girlfriend; more pressing is that in 2005, the Bank withheld a promised $100 million after the country dared to spend a portion of its oil revenues on health and education. Some antipoverty organization.

…Almost everywhere that mass state pillage has taken place over the past four decades, the Bank and the IMF have been first on the scene of the crime. And no, they have not been looking the other way as the locals lined their pockets; they have been writing the ground rules for the theft and yelling, “Faster, please!”–a process known as rapid-fire shock therapy.

Russia under the leadership of the recently departed Boris Yeltsin was a case in point. …
This bulldozer of a man would not let anything or anyone stand in the way of the Washington-authored program, including Russia’s elected politicians. After he ordered army tanks to open fire on demonstrators in October 1993, killing hundreds and leaving the Parliament blackened by flames, the stage was set for the fire-sale privatizations of Russia’s most precious state assets to the so-called oligarchs. Of course, the Bank was there. Of the democracy-free lawmaking frenzy that followed Yeltsin’s coup, Charles Blitzer, the World Bank’s chief economist on Russia, told the Wall Street Journal, “I’ve never had so much fun in my life.”

When Yeltsin left office, his family had become inexplicably wealthy, while several of his deputies were enmeshed in bribery scandals. These incidents were reported on in the West, as they always are, as unfortunate local embellishments on an otherwise ethical economic modernization project. In fact, corruption was embedded in the very idea of shock therapy. The whirlwind speed of change was crucial to overcoming the widespread rejection of the reforms, but it also meant that by definition there could be no oversight. Moreover, the payoffs for local officials were an indispensable incentive for Russia’s apparatchiks to create the wide-open market Washington was demanding. The bottom line is that there is good reason that corruption has never been a high priority for the Bank and the IMF: Its officials understand that when enlisting politicians to advance an economic agenda guaranteed to win them furious enemies at home, there generally has to be a little in it for those politicians in bank accounts abroad.

[…]

The article’s well worth reading in its entirety. Amazing.

One Response to “And Can You Take Out The IMF While You’re At It?”

  1. […] how our favorite comb-licking nosepicker, Paul Wolfowitz, was going to take down the rest of the World Bank if they moved against him or his girlfriend Shaha […]

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