This is the first of a series of exposés focusing on the Institute of International Finance (IIF), the very “visible hand” of financial markets. It is a continuation of the Global Power Project produced by Occupy.com. Part 1 examines the origins of the IIF.
Founded in 1983, the Institute of International Finance (IIF) describes itself as “the world’s only global association of financial institutions” with a membership that includes “most of the world’s largest commercial banks and investment banks,” along with sovereign wealth funds, asset managers, hedge funds, insurance companies, law firms, multinational corporations, development banks, multilateral agencies, credit ratings agencies and an assortment of other global financial and economic organizations. Continue reading →
In many parts of the world development has become an invisible cloak under which all manner of “state sponsored” atrocities and human rights violations are being committed. Married to growth, development has been (largely) reduced to economic advancement – meaning maximizing Gross National Product (GNP) figures month on month, year on year, and turning over glowing returns to the insatiable global monetary bodies – The World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) and – profit to private investors. No matter the human impact and environmental consequences.
To many people land is much more than a resource or corporate commodity to be bought developed and sold for a profit. Identity, cultural history and livelihood are all connected to ‘place’. The erosion of traditional values and morality (which include the observation of human rights and environmental responsibility) are some of the many negative effects of the global neo-liberal economic model, with its focus on short-term gain and material benefit. The commercialization of everything and everybody has become the destructive goal of multi-nationals, and their corporate governments manically driven by the desire for perpetual growth as the elixir to life’s problems.
Every five seconds a child dies of hunger – that leaves Jean Ziegler no rest. He calls banks and corporations “mass murderers”. And he hopes for a revolt from below.
Mr. Ziegler, you describe death from starvation as very “painful”. Where did you see this for the first time?
In Ethiopia, in an underground hospital of the Eritrean liberation movement. In this cave bunker I saw children dying of hunger. It’s much, much worse than we can imagine. For it is not as if with the lack of food, a person’s life energy easily leaves him. Continue reading →
Ancestral land that for generations has served as home and livelihood for hundreds of thousands of indigenous people in Ethiopia is being leased out, on 99-year renewable contracts at nominal sums to foreign corporations. The land giveaway or agrarian reforms as the government would prefer to present them began in 2008 when the Ethiopian government, under the brutal suppressive Premiership of Meles Zenawi invited foreign countries/corporation to take up highly attractive deals and turn large areas of land over to industrial farming for the export of crops. Continue reading →
Upon a foundation of deep spirituality and philosophical treasures, proclaiming unity, justice and service, New India, horns honking in violation of the good; is racing, no time to spare towards the Alter of Materiality and Market Fundamentalism.
Under the careful guidance of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) the Indian government has for the last twenty years or so, (during which time the BBC 7/12/11[i] found “inequality has doubled”), embraced market liberalization and the global market; garlanded corporations with all manner of subsidies and damned the poor to greater poverty, destitution, suffering and, suicide in the case of farmers: Continue reading →
The following is a brief excerpt from a chapter of The People’s Book Project, covering issues related to food, water, land grabs, environmental destruction, hunger and poverty. This excerpt examines the global food crisis.
There are a few things upon which humanity is entirely dependent for survival: food, water, land and the environment. One of the central questions with which humanity currently has to address its part, past and present, is the ways in which we, as a species, interact with our environment. Continue reading →
The World Bank delivered a brutal warning about the dangers of runaway climate change and called for rapid action to cut greenhouse gas emissions in a recent report. But don’t expect the bank to take its own advice.
The bank released its Turn Down the Heat report on climate change on November 18. Subtitled “Why a 4 degree warmer world must be avoided”, the report said the world is headed for a 4°C average temperature rise by the end of the century, and possibly as soon as 2060.
Humans must immediately implement a series of radical measures to halt carbon emissions or prepare for the collapse of entire ecosystems and the displacement, suffering and death of hundreds of millions of the globe’s inhabitants, according to a report commissioned by the World Bank. The continued failure to respond aggressively to climate change, the report warns, will mean that the planet will inevitably warm by at least 4 degrees Celsius (7.2 degrees Fahrenheit) by the end of the century, ushering in an apocalypse.
The phrase “brain drain” used to mean, in the 1950s and ‘60s, the flight of professionally-trained people from dictatorships to find opportunity in the U.S. and other Western countries. Now “brain drain” is used in American media to mean an active U.S. government policy to attract foreign entrepreneurs, scientists, physicians, nurses and other skilled laborers in short supply to the U.S.
Behind this push for a “great sucking sound” are companies like Intel, Google, Microsoft, and Pfizer, with their media cheerleaders like Tom Friedman of the New York Times, and members of Congress like Kansas Republican Congressman Jerry Moran and Virginia Democratic Senator Mark Warner.
Welcome to Capital Account. European banks are under pressure to raise capital and the Euro could collapse triggering panic in financial markets and another great depression. These are all warnings coming out of the international monetary fund. Central banks haven’t been waiting — they appear to be moving away from the euro by buying more gold. We’ll talk about it. And while we are on the topic of the IMF as policymakers descend upon Washington for the Spring meeting — it seems all about raising money to boost the IMF’s fire power aimed at putting out Europe’s debt crisis. But what about defaulting on the debt? How much debt can you throw at a problem caused by too much debt? Economist Michael Hudson joins us to give us his take. He always says “debts that cannot be repaid won’t be repaid.”
“Every five seconds, a child under 10 dies of hunger. – Thirty-five million people die each year from hunger or its immediate aftermath. – One billion people are permanently and severely malnourished and the situation is becoming increasingly catastrophic.” (Jean Ziegler)
In his latest book Mass Destruction – the Geopolitics of Hunger, Jean Ziegler talks about the current state of the world and the neoliberal politics of starvation of the poor, which has led to a crisis situation amounting to calculated murder. What we are witnessing today is the worst hunger crisis in human history is. And it is all because of human greed, colossal mismanagement for profit.
“…In every corner of the globe, we are polluting, diverting, pumping, and wasting our limited supply of fresh water at an expediential level as population and technology grows. The rampant overdevelopment of agriculture, housing and industry increase the demands for fresh water well beyond the finite supply, resulting in the desertification of the earth.
The victims are the poor, the former subsistence farmers in Africa who have been deprived of their land and whose countries now have to import food at exorbitant prices, due to the speculation in agricultural commodities resulting in the skyrocketing food prices today. Continue reading →
Since the summer of 2005, when I began a camp in front of the vacation “ranch” of George Bush, I have traveled to many countries and all over the U.S. meeting with people who have been in long struggles against neoliberalism. Most of us in the U.S. are familiar with the term “neoconservative,” but “neoliberal” is also a well-understood and often used term in other areas.