Wydawca: Tectum Kategoria: Humanistyka Język: angielski Rok wydania: 2014

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Opis ebooka Pillaging the World - Ernst Wolff

Depriving entire generations of their hopes for a better future, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has risen to become the world's most powerful international financial organization. Blackmailing countries and pillaging whole continents for almost seven decades now, its history resembles a modern-day crusade against the working people on five continents. In his highly compelling account, journalist Ernst Wolff specifies the dramatic consequences of the IMF's practice of loan sharking and implementing neoliberal austerity measures. While exacerbating poverty, increasing hunger, furthering the spread of diseases and fuelling armed conflicts on the one hand, the Fund's policies have on the other hand helped a tiny group of ultra-rich profiteers increase their vast fortunes to immeasurable dimensions - allegedly in the name of ensuring the stability of the global financial system.

Opinie o ebooku Pillaging the World - Ernst Wolff

Fragment ebooka Pillaging the World - Ernst Wolff

Ernst Wolff

Pillaging the World

Ernst Wolff

Pillaging the World

The History and Politics of the IMF

Ernst Wolff

Pillaging the World.

The History and Politics of the IMF

Image credits book cover: gun © runningbean / www.istockphoto.com;

Earth seen from Apollo 17, photographer: Harrison Schmitt or Ron Evans, December 7, 1972.

© Tectum Verlag Marburg, 2014

ISBN EPUB: 978-3-8288-6135-0

(Dieser Titel ist zugleich als gedrucktes Buch unter der ISBN 978-3-8288-3438-5 erschienen.)

Please visit us at our website:

www.tectum-verlag.de

This book is dedicated to those people in Africa, Asia and South America who cannot read it because the politics of the IMF have denied them the right to education.

Contents

Foreword

The Bretton Woods Conference:

Starting out with Blackmail

The Post-War Boom:

The IMF Casts its Net

Chile 1973:

Embarking upon the Path of Neoliberalism

Laying out a Course of Action:

The IMF’s “Structural Adjustment Programs”

The Latin American Debt Crisis:

The IMF as Global Crisis Manager

The Effects of “Structural Adjustment”:

Growing Resistance against the IMF

“Shock Therapy” for the Soviet Union:

The IMF and the Reintroduction of Capitalism

Post-Apartheid South Africa:

The IMF and the ANC Join Forces against the People

Yugoslavia and the IMF:

Setting the Stage for War in Europe

The IMF and the Asian Crisis:

A Demonstration of Power

Wage Caps and Higher Prices:

The IMF’s Policy of “Poverty Reduction”

The Argentine Crisis and the IMF:

Enforcing the largest State Bankruptcy ever

Globalization and Financialization:

The Driving Powers behind the IMF

The Financial Crisis of 2007/2008 and the IMF:

The Calm before the Storm

Iceland’s Banking Crash of 2008:

The IMF Turns its Eye on Europe

Ireland and the IMF:

Causing an Explosion of Poverty

The Euro Crisis and the Troika:

Placing Europe under Forced Administration

Greece and the Troika:

Bringing Hunger back to Europe

Cyprus and the IMF:

After Looting Comes Expropriation

The IMF after Cyprus:

Institutionalizing Theft

Mountains of Debt, Social Inequality, Revolution:

Ringing in the End of the IMF?

Bibliography

Image Credits

Foreword

No other financial organization has affected the lives of the majority of the world’s population more profoundly over the past fifty years than the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Since its inception after World War II, it has expanded its sphere of influence to the remotest corners of the earth. Its membership currently includes 188 countries on five continents.

For decades, the IMF has been active mainly in Africa, Asia and South America. There is hardly a country on these continents where its policies have not been carried out in close cooperation with the respective national governments. When the global financial crisis broke out in 2007, the IMF turned its attention to northern Europe. Since the onset of the Euro crisis in 2009, its primary focus has shifted to southern Europe.

Officially, the IMF’s main task consists in stabilizing the global financial system and helping out troubled countries in times of crisis. In reality, its operations are more reminiscent of warring armies. Wherever it intervenes, it undermines the sovereignty of states by forcing them to implement measures that are rejected by the majority of the population, thus leaving behind a broad trail of economic and social devastation.

In pursuing its objectives, the IMF never resorts to the use of weapons or soldiers. It simply applies the mechanisms of capitalism, specifically those of credit. Its strategy is as simple as it is effective: When a country runs into financial difficulties, the IMF steps in and provides support in the form of loans. In return, it demands the enforcement of measures that serve to ensure the country’s solvency in order to enable it to repay these loans.

Because of its global status as “lender of last resort” governments usually have no choice but to accept the IMF’s offer and submit to its terms – thus getting caught in a web of debt, which they, as a result of interest, compound interest and principal, get deeper and deeper entangled in. The resulting strain on the state budget and the domestic economy inevitably leads to a deterioration of their financial situation, which the IMF in turn uses as a pretext for demanding ever new concessions in the form of “austerity programs”.

The consequences are disastrous for the ordinary people of the countries affected (which are mostly low-income) because their governments all follow the same pattern, passing the effects of austerity on to wage earners and the poor.

In this manner, IMF programs have cost millions of people their jobs, denied them access to adequate health care, functioning educational systems and decent housing. They have rendered their food unaffordable, increased homelessness, robbed old people of the fruits of lifelong work, favored the spread of diseases, reduced life expectancy and increased infant mortality.

At the other end of the social scale, however, the policies of the IMF have helped a tiny layer of ultra-rich increase their vast fortunes even in times of crisis. Its measures have contributed decisively to the fact that global inequality has assumed historically unprecedented levels. The income difference between a sun king and a beggar at the end of the Middle Ages pales compared to the difference between a hedge fund manager1 and a social welfare recipient of today.

Although these facts are universally known and hundreds of thousands have protested the effects of its measures in past decades, often risking their lives, the IMF tenaciously clings on to its strategy. Despite all criticism and despite the strikingly detrimental consequences of its actions, it still enjoys the unconditional support of the governments of all leading industrial nations.

Why? How can it be that an organization that causes such immense human suffering around the globe continues to act with impunity and with the backing of the most powerful forces of our time? In whose interest does the IMF work? Who benefits from its actions?

It is the purpose of this book to answer these questions.

1In 2010 hedge fund manager John Paulsen earned $ 5 billion. This equals a daily income of $ 19.2 million, almost ten million times the amount of $ 2 a day which 2.5 billion people had to live on that year.

Harry Dexter White and John Maynard Keynes at the opening meeting of the IMF's Board of Governors in Savannah, Georgia, March 8, 1946.

The Bretton Woods Conference:Starting out with Blackmail

While the Second World War was still raging in Europe, in July 1944, the United States invited delegations from 44 countries to the small ski resort of Bretton Woods, New Hampshire. The official aim of the conference, held for three weeks in the luxurious “Mount Washington” hotel, was to define the basic features of an economic order for the post-war period and to provide the cornerstones of a system that would stabilize the world economy and prevent a return to the situation that had existed between the two world wars. The 1930s in particular were distinguished by high inflation, trade barriers, strongly fluctuating exchange rates, gold shortages and a decline in economic activity by more than 60 %. Furthermore, social tensions had constantly threatened to break down the established order.

The conference had been preceded by several years of secret negotiations between the White House and Downing Street which had already been working on plans for a new world monetary order since 1940. A recorded comment from the head of the British delegation, the economist Lord Keynes, sheds light on the former elite’s attitude towards the interests and concerns of smaller countries: “Twenty-one countries have been invited which clearly have nothing to contribute and will merely encumber the ground… The most monstrous monkey-house assembled for years.”

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