I received this email (forwarded by a mutual friend) by a puzzled World Bank employee who seems completely stunned by this massive anti-IMF/WB movement. Thought I'd forward it to the All-Knowing Economists and Others on the LBO list to see if anyone might have some comments that might enlighten him.
It is, by the way, a response he wrote to one of the A16's propaganda statements.
Any comments would be greatly appreciated and more than likely forwarded.
Thanks, Chris Doss
>my friend Mark's response to that email you forwarded ....
>From: Mark Storey [mailto:msdc70 at hotmail.com]
>Sent: Friday, April 07, 2000 3:04 PM
>To: russell at essential.org; rob at essential.org
>Subject: FW: A Dozen Reasons to Come to DC for April 16
>Dear Mr. Mokhiber and Mr. Weissman,
>The article below was recently forwarded to me and I was wondering if you
>actually believe all of the opinions expressed in it, or are you simply
>trying to drum up support for the planned protest rally. You seem to be
>trying to distort perceptions of the truth through the use of questionable
>statistics (the Russian poverty statistics, for example) and stretches of
>logic (e.g., IMF is causing spread of HIV), and I assume that you are well
>aware that you are doing this.
>Further, I would be interested to hear your recommendations on how to solve
>some of the problems that the IMF/World Bank are trying to address rather
>than just being critical of their approaches. You seem to imply that there
>are solutions available that are much better/more appropriate than what the
>IMF is doing, and I think it would contribute more to the dialogue if you
>had real recommendations to make.
>Finally, I was wondering whether either of you have any formal education or
>background in the fields of economics, development, or other relevant
>I am writing this message, by the way, not as an attack on you personally,
>but because I am sincerely interested in your opinions and why you feel the
>way you do.
> >From: Chris Doss [mailto:itschris13 at hotmail.com] Sent: Wednesday, April
> >2000 7:27 PM
> >Subject: Fwd: [a16-dc-planning] A Dozen Reasons to Come to DC for April
> >>A Dozen Reasons to Come to DC for April 16
> >>By Russell Mokhiber and Robert Weissman
> >>The next citizen showdown against corporate globalization will be on
> >>16 and 17, when thousands of people come to Washington, D.C. to protest
> >>through legal demonstrations and/or civil disobedience -- the politics
> >>the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank. For details on
> >>events, see www.a16.org. Here's a dozen reasons why you should join the
> >>1. IMF/World Bank structural adjustment programs have increased poverty
> >>around the world.
> >>Structural adjustment -- the standard IMF/World Bank policy package
> >>calls for slashing government spending, privatization, and opening up
> >>countries to exploitative foreign investment, among other measures --
> >>deepened poverty around the world. In the two regions with the most
> >>structural adjustment experience, per capita income has stagnated (Latin
> >>America) or plummeted (Africa). Structural adjustment has also
> >>to rising income and wealth inequality in the developing world.
> >>2. IMF/World Bank "debt relief" for poor and indebted countries is a
> >>Many poor countries must devote huge portions of their national budgets
> >>paying back foreign creditors -- often for loans that were made to or
> >>dictators, wasteful military spending or boondoggle projects. The money
> >>used to pay back debt subtracts from essential expenditures on health,
> >>education, infrastructure and other important needs.
> >>The IMF/World Bank plan to relieve poor countries' debt burden will
> >>most poor countries paying nearly as much as they currently do. And all
> >>the debt relief is conditioned on countries undergoing years of closely
> >>monitored structural adjustment.
> >>3. The IMF has helped foster a severe depression in Russia.
> >>Russia in the 1990s has witnessed a peacetime economic contraction of
> >>unprecedented scale -- with the number of Russians in poverty rising
> >>2 million to 60 million since the IMF came to post-Communist Russia. The
> >>IMF's "shock therapy" -- sudden and intense structural adjustment --
> >>helped bring about this disaster. "In retrospect, it's hard to see what
> >>could have been done wrong that wasn't," says Mark Weisbrot of the
> >>for Economic and Policy Research.
> >>4. The IMF helped create and worsen the Asian financial crisis.
> >>The IMF encouraged Asian countries to open their borders to "hot money"
> >>speculative finance invested in currency, stocks and short-term
> >>securities. That was an invitation to trouble. The Asian financial
> >>resulted from the hot money brokers' herdlike decision to leave Asian
> >>countries en masse.
> >>Once the crisis hit, the IMF made things worse by requiring structural
> >>adjustment as a condition for IMF loans. The result was a surge in
> >>bankruptcies, layoffs and poverty. In Indonesia, poverty rates rose from
> >>an official level of 11 percent to 40 to 60 percent, depending on the
> >>estimate. At one point, Indonesia's food shortage became so severe that
> >>then-President Habibie implored citizens to fast twice a week. Many had
> >>5. The IMF bails out big banks.
> >>The IMF bailouts in Asia, like those in Russia and Mexico, directed
> >>to those countries largely for the purpose of paying off loans to
> >>banks. Thanks to the IMF, the banks escaped significant losses for
> >>imprudent lending decisions. Citigroup, Chase Manhattan and J.P. Morgan
> >>were among the beneficiaries of the "Korean" bailout.
> >>6. IMF/World Bank structural adjustment programs devastate the
> >>Structural adjustment demands an increase in exports and foreign
> >>earnings. As a result, explains Friends of the Earth, "Countries often
> >>over-exploit their resources through unsustainable forestry, mining and
> >>agricultural practices that generate pollution and environmental
> >>7. IMF/World Bank structural adjustment programs contribute to the
> >>of HIV/AIDS.
> >>Here's how Dr. Peter Lurie and collaborators explained the problem in
> >>journal AIDS: The displacement of the rural sector under structural
> >>adjustment programs -- as imports undermine local farmers and the shift
> >>large-scale plantations for exports further displaces the rural
> >>-- contributes to migration and urbanization. Many men leave rural
> >>villages for work in big cities or in mines, contract HIV/AIDS from
> >>sex partners or sex workers, and then spread the disease to spouses in
> >>their home village. The displacement of children and young women into
> >>cities has led to a sharp increase in commercial sex work and heightened
> >>rates of HIV/AIDS.
> >>8. IMF/World Bank structural adjustment programs harm women.
> >>Cuts in budget spending, mandated by structural adjustment programs,
> >>women to pick up the pieces -- with government services eliminated,
> >>are forced to provide informal social supports for the sick and
> >>The IMF/Bank emphasis on exports has pushed women farmers to switch from
> >>growing food for family consumption to crops for exports -- and left
> >>poorer in the process. The high interest rates associated with
> >>adjustment have made credit less accessible, undermining the viability
> >>small women-owned businesses.
> >>9. IMF/World Bank structural adjustment programs and Bank project loans
> >>have led to deforestation worldwide.
> >>The export orientation demanded by structural adjustment policies has
> >>to more forest cutting. And World Bank forest sector loans to countries
> >>around the world have done nothing to improve the situation.
> >>"Although the [1991 Bank Forest] policy had dual objectives of
> >>conservation of tropical moist forests and tree planting to meet the
> >>needs of the poor, Bank influence on containing rates of deforestation
> >>tropical moist forests has been negligible in the 20 countries with the
> >>most threatened tropical moist forests." Who said that? The World Bank's
> >>own Operations Evaluation Department, in November 1999!
> >>10. World Bank policies have displaced millions of people around the
> >>World Bank loans for dams and major infrastructure projects routinely
> >>require removal of massive numbers of people from their homes and
> >>destruction of their communities. In addition to the emotional hardship
> >>leaving their land, the displaced people almost always find their
> >>of life diminished after the move. The Bank itself agrees. A 1994 report
> >>from the World Bank's Environmental Department found that, "Declines in
> >>post relocation incomes are sometimes significant, in certain cases
> >>reaching as much as 40 percent for people who were poor even before
> >>11. The World Bank's International Finance Corporation (IFC) provides
> >>corporate welfare for environmentally destructive projects.
> >>The IFC finances and provides advice for private sector ventures and
> >>projects in developing countries in partnership with private investors.
> >>Among its private sector partners: ExxonMobil, BP, Coca-Cola,
> >>Kimberly-Clark and Marriott. There's no reason for a public development
> >>institution, supposedly working to fight poverty, to lend its support to
> >>these well-endowed multinationals. Making matters worse, many of the
> >>private sector projects supported by the IFC, especially in the oil and
> >>gas sector, are environmentally destructive.
> >>12. April 16 is a chance to make history.
> >>While massive protests against IMF and World Bank policies are
> >>in the developing world -- from Jordan to Indonesia, Venezuela to Zambia
> >>-- the IMF and World Bank are not accountable to populations in those
> >>countries. In contrast, there has never been a demonstration of more
> >>a few hundred people to challenge IMF and Bank policy in the United
> >>-- the largest and most influential shareholder in the institutions.
> >>That's going to change on April 16. The thousands of people who will
> >>attend the April 16 protests will forever change the political context
> >>debates on IMF and the World Bank -- the best hope for billions in the
> >>developing world who have been subjected to the IMF and Bank's brutal
> >>policies with no recourse.
> >>Special bonus reason to come to D.C.: With large puppets, colorful
> >>pagaentry, militant protests, Emcee Michael Moore at the legal
> >>demonstration on the Ellipse, and lots of great music, the protests will
> >>be a fun-filled festival of resistance.
> >>Russell Mokhiber is editor of the Washington, D.C.-based Corporate Crime
> >>Reporter. Robert Weissman is editor of the Washington, D.C.-based
> >>Multinational Monitor, and co-director of Essential Action, one of the
> >>sponsors of the April 16 Mobilization for Global Justice. Mokhiber and
> >>Weissman are co-authors of Corporate Predators: The Hunt for MegaProfits
> >>and the Attack on Democracy (Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press, 1999,
> >>(c) Russell Mokhiber and Robert Weissman
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