Apr. 3, 2008
One may think of terrorist organizations as groups like the Islamic Jihad, The Moslem Brotherhood, Zionist Extremists, Basque Separatists, the Irish Republic Army, et cetera, but the question one needs to ask is, what causes these groups to come to the forefront in the first place.
In the book, Bad Samaritans (Bloomsbury Press 2008) by Professor Ha-Joon Chang of Cambridge University, the Professor of Economics goes a long ways towards addressing the above mentioned question in his well written and well researched book.
According to Chang, though he doesn’t call them International Terrorists Organizations, the Unholy Trinity are The International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the World Trade Organizations, along with the regional multilateral financial institutions, their aid budgets and bilateral and regional free-trade or investments, are the instruments in which wealthy countries strap the developing world into a “Golden Straight Jacket.”
Chang explains how Bad Samaritans countries demand that developing countries should not be allowed to use extra policy tools for protection, subsidies and regulation, as these constitute unfair competition. Chang explains and gives examples of how all the developed countries used these same instruments in their rise to developed status.
The Professor compares the economies of the third world developing countries and the economies of developed countries to sports teams. The economy of Swaziland could be compared to an 11-year-old girls soccer team and the economy of the USA to Gold Cup Adult men’s team. The two are totally unequal and would never compete together as sports teams on equal footing, and the professor believes that such highly unequal economies shouldn’t compete on equal terms in economics and trade.
Chang uses example after example from history and makes his point well, explaining how developed countries formerly helped undeveloped countries get ahead, but how since the advent of neo-liberalism and neo-conservatism in the 1970s and 1980s (according to the Professor they are two sides to the same coin), the wealthier countries have systematically used their wealth to exploit the developing world through the imposition of misguided policies that they themselves did not follow.
What Chang does not do is draw the logical conclusion that the IMF, the WB and the WTO are the root cause of international terrorist organizations. They are the root cause because their policies do not allow third world countries to develop, and by not developing they sow the seeds of disillusionment, disenfranchisement, exploitation, dissent, resentment and anger at the people that have exploited them or whom they perceive to have suppressed them and kept them from advancing.
There are few examples in history of well developed content countries attacking other well developed content countries, and it would seem that the wealthy countries would be intent on helping other countries develop. Chang clearly shows how current “Free Trade” policies go directly against helping third world countries develop.
The Bad Samaritan exploitative policies are keeping countries from developing by requiring that they compete on a level playing field with fully developed countries. Though Chang doesn’t say it, this can only be described as a form of terrorism, and the Unholy Trinity of International Terrorist Organizations are the IMF, the World Bank and the WTO.
Bad Samaritans is a must read for anyone interested in the current world economic situation.