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Should the IMF be scrapped?

Total votes : 7


Postby Flamin'RedJJ » Tue May 28, 2002 9:08 pm

I feel that it is absolutely outrageous that the IMF recommended that Malawi should sell off its grain reserves.
The reason it had those reserves was because it is a country at risk of drought and therefore dearth and famine.

Even if the IMF only recommended that a minority of the reserves should be sold, it was encouraging the government of Malawi to sell all the rest off as well in order to try and settle its international debts.

Firstly, it is a crime that loans of such magnitude were ever made, given the risks to the recipient countries if the world economic situation changed.

Secondly, it is a crime that the IMF could ever suggest that essential grain reserves should be sold off to pay back the debt- inessential resources might have been more palatable, but this was clearly a disaster waiting to happen.

In what other ways is the IMF/ World Bank exploiting countries in debt of which we are unaware?
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Postby jawaad » Fri May 31, 2002 12:37 am

To a cynic, the IMF is basically a conglomeration of US based multi-national corps, seeking to ease the way for what they see as the natural process of globalisation. Globalisation (as defined by esteemed Cambridge/LSE economist Chris 'Bungle' Sowden) is the global export of market capitalism. Others might prefer to define it as the global spread of western exploitation, and it is easy to see why. The goal of capitalism (on a practical level): to match supply and demand. One of it's fundamental assumptions: the self-interest of each individual agent is key in any economic exchange. So, no self-respecting economist could say that the IMF is collection of happy-go-lucky charitable types who want to help poor people in Western Samoa. What they would argue, is that the self-interest of the western countries seeking ever greater markets and hence economies of scale for their exports (as well as cheap imports), benefits the 'lucky' recipients of IMF help inadvertently. They might talk in terms of Adam Smith economics; the gist of which, is that free trade leads to an overall increase in the general welfare.

However, talking of welfare, I would be inclined to cite another (arguably more profound) social commentator: Ali G/Cohen. He wanted to know if the UK welfare state was so named because it was 'well fair.' We all know the answer to that. Similarly (at least, it seems similar to my present caffeine-fueled thought process) we know that the overall increase in welfare which results from globalisation is not distributed in a 'well fair' manner. In fact, inequality is a requisite of capitalism. So, what I am trying to demonstrate is that the IMF's globalisation mission makes it inevitable that it will exploit poor countries if it benefits the world economy as a whole. The point is that the 'world economy' is concentrated overwhelmingly in the US and Europe, whilst the world's population is not.

I do not find the IMF's recommendations to Malawi surprising, but that makes them no more palatable. It is a question of ideology. If the general economic welfare is paramount, then the IMF acted properly. However, if like me you are a believer in a Lib Dem style corrected market economy in which no one is forced into destitution by market forces (a pipe dream, I know), then the IMF is an inherently exploitative force with no right to exist. Scrapping it would take us one step closer to that dream.

Have a look at this website for a concise look at the IMF's impact in the developing world: ... tment.html
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Postby clara » Sat Jun 01, 2002 7:09 pm

The IMF so should be scrapped! It has fucked up so many less developed countries by encouraging them to take up risky schemes in return for loans for development. All for the benefit, untimately, of the big guys (i.e. the US). Don't they ever learn from mistakes? The famines of the early 90s in Sudan were predominantly the outcome of the IMF's interferance. If they hadn't been persuaded to give up growing wheat (a crop they were self-sufficient in), so the the USA could sell their surpluses, and grow cotton instead, then the famine would have never taken place, or at least not on the scale that it did. And now they are doing the same to Malawi.
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Postby Matt » Mon Jun 03, 2002 12:37 pm

The IMF wasn't a bad idea to start off with, it was just that all the industrialisation in the 60s and 70s didn't work, then the west went through a recession and so starting calling the loans in when the 3rd world couldn't afford to pay them. They should never have been loans, just donations.

But it should definatly by scrapped. Probably influenced by the catholic and other demoniation churches too, which is always a bad thing (if you want to know why, search for an article about how a cheap and non-invasive way of making women infertile was blocked by the catholic church in the 80s on the ground that it was against the word of god, meaning that women in the 3rd world had to have invasive and expensive surgery to do this, meaning many were put off, birth rate higher, etc. etc. This method has only in the last year or two been given to the 3rd world countires)
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Postby Flamin'RedJJ » Wed Jun 05, 2002 8:38 pm

The famines of the early 90s in Sudan were predominantly the outcome of the IMF's interferance.

I had no idea! I thought famines were by definition an 'act of god'?! :D

Is it possible to see the IMF as one of the last and nastiest vestiges of European colonialism (USA being a mere extension of this)?
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