For more than sixty years, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank together with their partner regional development banks and export credit agencies, have used international finance capital to exercise control and restructure the societies of the South to serve the interests of global private corporations and the economic and geo-political agenda of the few powerful nations that control these institutions. The resulting effects on people's lives, on communities, on the environment, and on the economic as well as political structures in the South have been profound and over the years have generated numerous resistance struggles against these institutions.
Despite well-documented evidence and countless testimonies to the destruction, displacement and dispossession their policies and operations have caused, these institutions persist in legitimizing their role. In recent years they have declared themselves to be champions of "poverty reduction" and "good governance."
This year, 2006, we pledge to intensify our struggles against these institutions and raise the level of international coordination and concerted action. In particular, we commit to organizing different forms of mobilization and direct action in many countries across the globe during the week of the IMF and WB Annual Meetings, September 14-20, 2006. This will include various activities and actions in the vicinity of their meetings in Singapore.
WE CALL on all people's organizations, social movements, labor movements, women's movements, farmers groups, first peoples, religious and cultural groups, community organizations, NGOs, political forces, and all concerned citizens around the world to join us in mounting vigorous actions that will focus the world's attention on the destruction and human rights violations caused by the IMF and World Bank, the regional development banks, export credit agencies, and the neoliberal global system they enforce.
Our actions will identify issues and articulate demands that reflect the particular impacts of these institutions on each of our countries but will also be united on the following global demands:
1. Immediate and 100% cancellation of multilateral debts as part of the total cancellation of debts claimed from the South, without externally imposed conditionalities.
The inhuman and destructive consequences of debt domination which the international financial institutions play a major part in perpetuating are evidence against the outrageously deceitful claim of these institutions that they are working for "poverty reduction" and "financing for development."
Debt relief initiatives of international financial institutions have to date covered only a very small part of the debt claimed from the South. Worse, these initiatives come with conditions that undermine the sovereignty of people to determine their own path of development, have proven harmful to livelihoods and the environment, and keep South economies tied to the interests of global private profit.
Cancellation of only a small part of the debt may release some funds that can be used for basic services but does not free the South from debt bondage. Debt cancellation must be 100%.
And for immediate action, we highlight the especially urgent cases - most of Africa, Haiti, Nepal, Tsunami-hit countries and others recently devastated by natural calamities, countries ravaged by war, societies overwhelmed by HIV/AIDS, and others experiencing severe social, financial and economic crisis.
We reject the international financial institutions' "debt sustainability" framework. There is no level of debt that is "sustainable" in a global economic system that is founded on domination and exploitation of the peoples, economies and resources of the South. This framework is a means by which these institutions justify maintaining the "indebtedness" of Southern countries.
The insistence on their "debt sustainability framework" is also a refusal to address the more fundamental question of the illegitimacy of the debt claimed from the South. Peoples of the South should not be made to pay for illegitimate debts -- debts they have not benefited from, debts that financed projects that have caused displacement of communities and damage to the environment, debts wasted on corruption or failed projects, debts contracted through undemocratic and fraudulent means, debts with grossly unfair terms and harmful conditions, odious debts incurred by dictatorships, debt contracted in the context of exploitative international economic relations, debts for which peoples of the South have paid many times over.
Though the financial debts claimed from the South are of staggering amounts, totaling more than US$2.3 trillion dollars, the North in fact owes the peoples of the South a far, far greater debt. It is the historical, economic, social, and ecological debt accumulated over centuries of plunder and exploitation by North with the collaboration of Southern elites.
The IMF and the World Bank should bear the costs of writing off debts owed to them by using the World Bank's loan loss provisions (valued at US$3 billion as of June 30, 2005) and retained earnings (valued at US$27 billion as of June 30, 2005) and IMF gold stocks. With the market price of gold surpassing US$600 an ounce, the IMF's 103.4 million ounces of gold are worth more than US$60 billion, rather than the US$9 billion recorded on the IMF's books.
2. Open, transparent and participatory External Audit of the lending operations and related policies of the International Financial Institutions, beginning with the World Bank and IMF.
Debt campaigns, movements, people's organizations, and NGOs are now involved in preparing for and conducting country-level independent Citizens' Audits of Debts claimed from South countries as well as calling on South governments to conduct transparent, open and participatory Government Audits (e.g. Parliamentary) of these debts. These audits are aimed at examining the origins and causes of the debt problem, taking stock of effects and impacts, bringing to light the dubious and illegitimate character of the debts, identifying responsibility and accountability, and establishing and strengthening the basis for urgent changes in national policies on the debt and related issues.
We challenge the international financial institutions to subject themselves to similar independent audits of the loans they have released, their lending policies, processes and operations, and the terms and conditionalities that have accompanied these loans, and take stock of the effects and impacts. Such audits should look into the culpability and accountability of these international financial institutions, and asses what restitution and reparations must be made.
The international financial institutions have recently been stepping up efforts to portray themselves as champions of good governance, including the announcement of renewed efforts and strategies to fight corruption. We challenge these institutions to begin with themselves and examine how they have been involved in creating and exacerbating the problem of corruption. External, independent audits of their loans, lending operations and conditionalities should include this question. Further, corruption must be seen as a systemic problem that also involves the private sector, especially transnational corporations.
3. Stop the imposition of conditions and the promotion of neoliberal policies and projects.
Through the conditions attached to their loans and programs, the IMF and World Bank have succeeded in restructuring the global economy. The widespread use of "structural adjustment programs" from the early 1980s in countries with significant debt, poverty, and financial problems has forced most of the South countries' economic policies to ape those of the industrialized countries, regardless of how inappropriate those policies may have been for the countries' development needs. Because of the imposition of neo-liberal policies on countries desperate for access to credit, peoples across the South now confront economies oriented to export production rather than providing for local markets, devastated manufacturing sectors, a large percentage of economic actors in foreign hands, valuable public assets privatized, health and other social sectors crippled by decades of de-funding, environmental resources devastated by over-exploitation, small farms and businesses wiped out by denial of credit and subsidies, and massive unemployment.
Our struggle against debt domination is waged in large part to win freedom from the conditions that indebted governments are blackmailed into accepting. For the September 2006 actions we demand:
a. In this 50th anniversary year of the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the IFIs end the promotion of privatization of public services and the use of public resources to support private profits.
The IMF and especially the World Bank have been the main drivers in the global push for the privatization of basic services. They are joined by other financial institutions like regional development banks and export credit agencies.
The international financial institutions promote privatization of public services through policy conditions and policy advice, financing of projects that pave the way for privatization, providing technical assistance in the preparation of feasibility studies as well as the process of implementation, and even direct support for private companies taking over public utilities. The International Finance Corporation plays a major role in providing risk guarantees as well as equity assistance for these private companies, and facilitating government bail-outs of privatized utilities in distress.
The continued emphasis on privatizing basic services such as water provision - or, when no company is interested in purchasing the utility, arranging leases and service contracts - and the "commercialization" of even life-saving agencies such as those managing food reserves reflects a fixation on markets as the only organizing principle for economies even in the face of overwhelming contradictory evidence. Failure after failure of water privatizations in the South has not deterred the IFIs from their mission to wrest assets from public ownership.
Our message to the IFC and its multilateral partners is clear: no more public resources for support of private profit.
b. Stop IFI funding and involvement in environmentally destructive projects beginning with big dams, oil, gas and mining and implement the major recommendations of the Extractive Industries Review.
The international financial institutions are also presenting themselves as leading in the fight against climate change and environmental destruction. However, no amount of clever rhetoric about stronger commitments and new strategies can hide the fact that many projects designed, driven and supported by international financial institutions violate the already watered-down standards and safeguards avowed by these same institutions and cause massive environmental as well as social problems.
The World Bank is itself a major ecological debtor, having funded major projects such as hydro-electric dams, mines, pipelines and petroleum exploration and development projects which have displaced populations and wrought major environmental damage. The World Bank has refused to implement major recommendations of its own Extractive Industries Review including 1) the principle that communities faced with resource extraction projects must give free, prior and informed consent, 2) and the phase out of investment in hydrocarbon extraction projects.
The World Bank's attempt to claim leadership on the issue of climate change with the application of its development of carbon credit trading is another tragic example of market fundamentalism. Entrusting the precarious future of the world's climate to the World Bank's clever market solutions distracts the major actors from focusing on the over-consumption that threaten to doom the planet and all who live on it. Meanwhile, the World Bank Group, which claims leadership in developing alternative energy, devotes much greater resources to developing conventional energy sources. Indeed, the World Bank is the world's leading financer of projects producing greenhouse gases.
c. Immediately stop imposing conditions that exacerbate health crises like the AIDS pandemic and make restitution for past practices such as requiring user fees for public education and health care services.
IFI policies have aggravated health crises like the AIDS pandemic in a number of ways. Austerity measures have constrained health budgets, prevented the hiring of critically needed teachers and health care workers due to limits on spending for public sector employees, and kept people out of clinics and children away from schools by insisting on user fees. The macroeconomic policies the International Financial Institutions have imposed over the last 25 years - including fiscal austerity, high interest rates, unilateral trade liberalization and privatization of essential services - have led to lower growth rates and fewer improvements in social indicators than had occurred over the two decades between 1960 and 1980.
The IFIs owe an enormous social debt to countries whose public services have been damaged by their policies. Their creditors are the women of South countries, who have had to step in to provide the health care, the food, the teaching, the water, and the other basic goods and services put out of reach by IFI policies. The World Bank and the IMF should pay for free primary education and primary health care as a form of reparations or restitution for the damage their policies have caused.
One of the best ways to prepare for retirement is to save money and invest it wisely. But people don’t do that anymore as personal debt is near an all time high. How can you invest money when you don’t have any? That is a BIG problem for too many Americans.
There is another problem as well: interest rates are under 1% and that in itself discourages saving. Why bother to save when there is little incentive to? And what happens to all the retirees or near retirees that rely on interest income to live? Remember, Social Security doesn’t pay enough to have more than a basic existence in today’s economy. People need another source of income.
Those who do have money to invest have put it in the stock market the last five years and stocks are near an all time high as a result. Investing in stocks is the best way to make money if you have a long time horizon to work with. But that is the key: a long time horizon.
If you are a youngster just out of college or just starting your working career, putting aside money to invest in stocks is one of the best things you can do. If you start buying stocks early in life, you have time on your side and time to wait through all the dips the market may go through. No need to panic like some investors do if you are content and patient enough to wait things out.
Unfortunately though, with the “I’ve got to have things now” mentality we have in our society, too few people ever get started in the right direction and they choose debt instead. Debt is a killer that should be avoided at all costs but since everyone else is doing it, it now seems normal. What a shame.
Many of the countries to refuse to forgive debt from the South also are increasing their military spending. According to usmilitarypaychart.com, the US military will be giving its personnel a 1.0% boost for 2014.
It is crucial that people in the military are given proper compensation for their services of protecting the country. Every year, the government produces a military pay chart that shows how much, the men and women of the armed forces are to be paid. The chart has a number of letters which indicate the grouping of the armed forces personnel. E stands for an Enlisted person, O stands for a Commissioned Officer and W depicts a Warrant Officer. These three terms refer to the following groups. Enlisted personnel are the ones who are at the front-line of the battle. Warrant Officers are those who command the men in the field, while Commissioned Officers re the top military brass, and they are required to have a minimum of a Bachelors Degree.
The chart begins by outlaying the basic pay for each of these groups of personnel. It then goes further and shows increments based upon the term of service of each soldier. Allowances and other incentives are also specified in the chart. The allowances and incentives vary from one military branch to another. They also differ according to any other special skill that you may have. People practicing law, medicine, opting for submarine duty, and other special assignments, in the military get higher allowances. However, the chart provides housing, family separation subsistence and clothing allowances for all military personnel.
Currently the military pay chart has added certain limitations for the basic pay of the highest ranked commissioned officers, E-1 ranked personnel with less than 4 months of active duty, and the wages of heads of each military branch. Essentially, the chart gives a clear picture of how the pay is structured within the armed forces, and it is precise, and crisp, just like the men and women of the armed forces are.
A personal finance is a tricky however critical skill nowadays. Unluckily, it is something that is not being taught well by many parents and at schools. You can keep reading this article if you want to learn some good advice on the subject to discover a few pointers that you may not be currently aware of.
If you are hoping to fix your credit, then you should not close credit card accounts. If you close your credit card accounts, it will not help your score but instead it will hurt your score. If your account has balance, it will count towards the total debt balance and show making regular payments to an open credit card. Before taking out a student loan, a student must always consider each option. Scholarships, Mens watches, Grants and savings funds will be a great ways for college payments. Student loans can lead to a shaky financial future and will saddle you with debt, should you default. You can plan ahead and pay for your college wisely.
You can also save your college expenses through considering enrollment at a local community college that is good for 2 years and then you can transfer to a 4 year institution for your last 2 years. With yearly tuition cost savings of 50% or on more over traditional 4-year universities, it can make a whole lot sense if you go to a community college for the first 2 years. There are many community colleges that have direct transfer programs to 4-year institutions that guarantee the significances of the credits you earned towards your course. You will get the exact same credentials and diploma at the end of the 4 years as your classmates who have attended the 4-year university straight-through. Your possible expenses and possible debt will be so much lesser. You cannot repair your credit without getting out of your debt! Mens watches can be one of the best ideas to solve your debt problem.
The best way to get out from your big debt is to pay down your credit card debts and your loans. You can reduce your food bill by eating at home more and to go out less on weekends. You can also take your lunch with you when you are on the job and eating in will help you save up your money. You can have to cut your spending if you really want to rebuild your credit. If you know that you could pay back a large amount of loans, then you can go on. However, if you think that you can hardly pay a loan, then you should choose small amount of loans. You can get into permanent debt if you are unsure of your college major and when you go to a pricey private school. You should think about the right way on how to handle your debt. Don’t take it easy if you have a small debt because it might cause a big problem in the future if you did not seek for a solution onto that.
If you live in Europe, there is a tendency to doom and gloom when you are talking about economics. However slowly but surely the expectations are beginning to rise, the word upgrade is starting to be used more often in the IMF assessment reports.
The latest economy to be revised upwards is that of the Canadian economy, with a small increase in the growth expectations for this year and next. Canada was never quite as affected by the global financial problems having to some extent ‘put it’s house in order’ some years ago. The growth rate is only expected to be around 2-2.5% but this comes on the back of consistent if unspectacular growth over the last few years.
The IMF continue to emphasize the global situation which is dragging back many economies including Canada. Growth around the world is expected to be around 3%, although this should rise significantly over the next few years.
Countries like Canada have based their economies on slow, consistent growth and limiting public expenditure and debt. The lessons of European and the US appear to have strengthened this resolve. Although Canada has not suffered any significant GDP falls, there is an air of austerity to the policy making. If you watch regularly the Canadian finance and news shows you will see this being reflected in day to day life. Here’s how I watch the Canadian broadcaster by the way – http://www.proxyusa.com/how-to-watch-canadian-tv-from-the-us , although I haven’t figured out how to watch on more TV yet. If you prefer a video explanation that can bring Canada into your living room – here’s another method – right here.
The IMF of course are not always correct in their growth figures. The Bank of Canada has a much more optimistic expectation for 2014, of nearly three percent in 2014. We will have to see who comes out closest in next years economic data.
In today’s day and age, it is not uncommon to hit “rock bottom” and be in need of credit repair advice. Reaching this point can make you feel like there is no where to turn, and no way to get back on track again. That’s really not the case, and following a few simple steps can help you along the way. Pay down your debt. Aim for reducing all of your debts to about 10 percent of available credit. You should pay off the high interest accounts first, and then start on the less expensive accounts. Don’t accumulate any new credit. Focus solely on paying down the credit you already have. Do what you can to increase your income levels to help improve your brænde scores. Your debt to income ratio is a big factor in determining your credit score. Most people will advise you to pay down your debts to better the ratio. The other way to help it is by increasing your income. Either method will help your debt to income ratio become much more appealing.
An important tip to consider when working to repair your credit is to always consider credit counselling before making any drastic decisions. This is important because you may not know what is always best for you and it is sometimes best to leave it up to the experts. There are many free and government provided debt counseling agencies. If you are trying to raise your Brænde credit score, there are many factors that help to determine your score. The factors include payment history, amount of debt, length of credit history, the type of credit used by services like briketter or træbriketter, and the number of recent credit applications or credit report pulls. Contact the creditors of small recent debts on your account. See if you can negotiate having them report your debt as paid as agreed if you can pay the balance in full. Make sure that if they agree to the arrangement that you get it in writing from brænde for backup purposes. If you are serious about repairing your credit, take measures to reduce your spending. Most of us buy things we do not really need and eat out more often than we should. Cutting back on your spending will free up money to put towards reducing your debt, which will lead to better credit.
After bankruptcy, look over your credit report to be sure that the bankruptcy is appearing as it should. Make sure that the things that are on it that were covered with the bankruptcy are properly noted. You want any future creditors to know that those lines of credit are no longer your debt. Avoid using credit cards. This is helpful when you are in debt and can’t pay back what you already owe. It is also good to avoid charging things to a credit card that you can’t immediately pay off. This will help you from acquiring any other debts that you can’t pay. Hitting “rock bottom” does not have to mean the end of your financial future. By using some common sense, and following the simple steps outlined in this article, you can greatly improve your financial forecast like brænde or briketter. The road might not be a short one, but the end result will most certainly be worth the effort.
Way back in 1996 the IMF launched an initiative together with the World Bank. It’s aim was to ensure that no country faced a debt burden that it would be unable to manage. Since that date it has worked with the financial community on a global level to reduce debts in poor countries to sustainable levels. Some may think it is unfortunate that the rich countries were not included in this initiative of debt reduction.
The whole initiative was reviewed in 1999 and improvements were made based on experience. This was then supplemented in 2005 when the HIPC was supplemented by more acronyms – the MDRI (Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative). This actually allowed a country to get relief of 100% of it’s debts from funds controlled by the IMF, the World Bank and the African Development Fund.
The conditions for eligibility were as follows -
- be eligible to borrow from the World Bank’s International Development Agency, which provides interest-free loans and grants to the world’s poorest countries, and from the IMF’s Poverty Reduction and Growth Trust, which provides loans to low-income countries at subsidized rates.
- face an unsustainable debt burden that cannot be addressed through traditional debt relief mechanisms.
- have established a track record of reform and sound policies through IMF- and World Bank supported programs
- have developed a poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) through a broad-based participatory process in the country.
It’s good news really as out of the 39 countries eligible or close for HIPC aid currently 34 are receiving full debt relief. Several are coming close to achieving their debt relief criteria and decisions are pending. There are still many issues in some of these countries regarding human rights but poverty is likely to act as a barrier to solving these. It is advised in many of these countries to use a fake IP address ( check here for some advice - http://www.theninjaproxy.org/tv/a-fake-uk-ip-address/ ) when visiting as their ISPs are often heavily logged or filtered. This is particularly one area that developing countries should focus on as the internet offers employment and entrepreneurial opportunities for lots of the population when the infrastructure is improved.
I’m not German so I can only imagine what they feel like, as one after another Eurozone countries are falling into huge pits of debt. Of course then comes the bail outs where the country in question comes cap in hand for money to bail out the mess that their economy has got into. We are seeing it in real time now with the Cyprus Government where of course the remedy is even tougher than normal by forcing Cypriots to bail out their banks.
It’s the next bit that always annoys me, the Anti German banners, placards with pictures of Angela Merkel sporting a Hitler style moustache. You’ll hear talk of bullying, of Germany imposing strict controls and trying to dominate smaller countries. Of course Germany invaded Greece many years ago but the German taxpayer would much rather not be involved with Greece’s problems at the moment.
The problem is that Germany has to help, but it shouldn’t be forgotten that these bailouts are partly funded by taxpayers in Germany. One by one the basket cases of Europe announce that they are about to go under, and expect loads of cash to solve their problems with no strings attached. It’s simply not going to happen, at least not until there is a central European taxation system.
The reality is that the reason the German economy is able to help is that it has practised for years the sort of austerity that is suddenly forced on these countries. Germans did not retire in their mids 40s on fat Government pensions like many Greek citizens did, and thus they are able to finance rescue plans using surpluses. The woes of the Eurozone were not inflicted on anyone by the Germans, although it has to be said they have benefited from a currency which is much more competitive than the German Mark would ever be in todays world.
If you look at German media and especially check in with some of the German TV stations that broadcast online you can see the growing resentment. Check out some of the main German TV station and you’ll see for yourself – you can look at them online, you just need to invest in a German proxy such as this - http://thenewproxies.com/german-proxy/ to access some of this content. This shields your real IP address to enable you to watch geo-restricted content using a German IP address instead.
You can see that patience is running thin with some of the abuse that Germany is getting whilst trying to help these economies survive. It’s not something we see when you’re outside the country particularly being bombarded with Anti-German companies.
No economy can grow at the rate of the China forever, it’s simply unfeasible and a slowdown is an inevitable result at some point. The growth story has been huge and some measure of rebalancing is not only inevitable it is desirable too. China has followed the tried and tested growth template pioneered by other Asian economies, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan are just a few examples. These countries were always described as ’tigers’ in global economic terms however China is much, much bigger than these.
The worry of course for the rest of the world is simply the scale of the Chinese economy now. The tigers had far less of an effect on the global markets than China did and many of these economies have suffered in the downturn particularly the Japanese. The issue in a world beset by recession is of course that all these growth stories were focused on exports. The extensive investment in manufacturing, education and infrastructure created the funnel to supply an export driven market.
This strategy raises huge amounts of foreign currency, which is essential to purchase the raw materials to supply the manufacturing plants. However this growth model is simply unsustainable in the current climate particularly due to heavy subsidisation required to manipulate exchange and interest rates, plus keeping wages low to minimize costs.
The problem is that the market for the goods China produces is falling, growth cannot come from outside any more whilst the recession hits it’s main markets – saturation point has been reached. The difficulty China has is moving to a new model, it needs to be genuinely competitive not just at the expense of it’s own people. Investment in infrastructure can help but the unused developments and white elephants strewn across China demonstrate that this is not the long term answer.
China faces many problems with being genuinely competitive in a global market. It’s difficult for entrpreneurs to prosper in such a tightly controlled and monitored society. Just taking the internet as an example – the infrastructure available should mean the country is a world leader. However this isn’t the case as the country is handicapped by surveillance, internet filtering and censorship. The IT tools and infrastructure used by many global companies simply don’t work in China. Whilst individuals worry about the lack of online anonymity – see this for instance - http://www.onlineanonymity.org/ in a heavily monitored network, companies have extensive difficulties in simply operating. The numerous stories of paid hackers and state sponsored industrial espionage also make many of the biggest brands wary of setting up at least on the Chinese mainlaind.
These problems will severely hamper the Chinese economy, as it seeks to modify it’s model. The problem is that the World needs China to succeed to some extent, and in many ways Chinese domestic demand could be a great boost to Western economies too.