From: Jurriaan Bendien (adsl675281@TISCALI.NL)
Date: Sat Apr 28 2007 - 10:12:44 EDT
Naomi Klein weighs in with a fairly scathing comment ("never mind Wolfowitz's girlfriend"): (...) "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 privatise its water system; when it made telecom privatisation a condition of aid for Hurricane Mitch; when it demanded labour "flexibility" in Sri Lanka in the aftermath of the Asian tsunami; 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 World Bank withheld a promised $100m after the country dared to spend a portion of its oil revenues on health and education. Some anti-poverty organisation. But the area where the World Bank has the most tenuous claim to moral authority is in the fight against corruption. Almost everywhere that mass state pillage has taken place over the past four decades, the World 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. Beginning in 1990, the World Bank led the charge for the former Soviet Union to impose immediately what it called "radical reform". When Mikhail Gorbachev refused to go along, Yeltsin stepped up. This bulldozer of a man would not let anything or anyone stand in the way of the Washington-authored programme, including Russia's elected politicians. After Yeltsin ordered army tanks to open fire on demonstrators in October 1993, killing hundreds and leaving the parliament building blackened by flames, the stage was set for the fire-sale privatisations of Russia's most precious state assets to the so-called oligarchs. Of course, the World 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 in the west, as they always are, as unfortunate local embellishments on an otherwise ethical economic modernisation 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 supervision. Moreover, the payoffs for local officials were an indispensable incentive for Russia's apparatchiks to create the wide-open market that Washington was demanding. The bottom line is that there is good reason that corruption has never been a high priority for the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund - their officials understand that when enlisting politicians to advance an economic agenda guaranteed to win those politicians furious enemies at home, there generally has to be a little in it for the politicians in bank accounts abroad." (...) http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/story/0,,2066764,00.html If I could stick my pen in my heart And spill it all over the stage Would it satisfy ya, would it slide on by ya Would you think the boy is strange? Ain't he strange? If I could win ya, if I could sing ya A love song so divine Would it be enough for your cheating heart If I broke down and cried? If I cried? I said I know it's only rock 'n roll but I like it I know it's only rock 'n roll but I like it, like it, yes, I do Oh, well, I like it, I like it, I like it I said can't you see that this old boy has been a lonely? If I could stick a knife in my heart Suicide right on stage Would it be enough for your teenage lust Would it help to ease the pain? Ease your brain? If I could dig down deep in my heart Feelings would flood on the page Would it satisfy ya, would it slide on by ya Would ya think the boy's insane? He's insane... I said I know it's only rock 'n roll but I like it I said I know it's only rock'n roll but I like it, like it, yes, I do Oh, well, I like it, I like it, I like it I said can't you see that this old boy has been a lonely? And do ya think that you're the only girl around? I bet you think that you're the only woman in town I said I know it's only rock 'n roll but I like it I said I know it's only rock 'n roll but I like it I said I know it's only rock 'n roll but I like it, like it, yes, I do Oh, well, I like it, I like it. I like it...
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