[OPE] The IMF and Egypt

From: Jurriaan Bendien <jurriaanbendien@online.nl>
Date: Tue Feb 01 2011 - 16:22:56 EST

On Tuesday, the International Monetary Fund said it was ready to put in a
place an economic rebuilding policy for the country. "The IMF is ready to
help in defining the kind of economic policy that could be put in place,"
IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn said.

It made me think of a comment by Ernest Mandel in an essay of his I
translated ("Why I am a Marxist", 1987, published in The Legacy of Ernest
Mandel, Verso 1999, p. 244):

"When institutions like the International Monetary Fund, in every single
case, demand of nations who request a loan, but whose credit-worthiness is
in doubt, that they cut government spending on social issues, when they
demand without scruple that poor countries like Egypt radically reduce or
even abolish government subsidies on staple foods, which literally condemns
a section of the population to hunger, then we are obviously confronted with
a worldwide attempt to raise the rate of profit by lowering the price of the
commodity labour power. That this attempt can also be justified in purely
'technical' terms (with reference to inflation, balance of payments
deficits, budget deficits and so forth) only proves one thing. Because it
tacitly operates exclusively within the framework of the existing social
order, 'official' economics is just as tacitly forced to subordinate itself
to the laws of capital accumulation, i.e., to the needs of the class
struggle waged by capital."

Now the Egyptians are fighting back... let's hope the IMF comes up with a
more sensible idea this time round. If they don't, they're hardly likely to
be more popular over there, I'd imagine.


PS - the essay I translated was slightly altered (not "revised" as Professor
Gilbert Achcar claimed in his Preface on p. 1) putting words in that weren't
there in the original, without my knowledge or permission, by Wilfried
Dubois; I never got a complimentary copy of the book as I had been promised,
in return for providing the translation and rights gratis - I had to buy my
own copy. Wonderful people. (sic.)

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Received on Tue Feb 1 16:27:19 2011

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