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U.S. Government of the rich, by the rich, and for the rich

by Written/Compiled/Edited by: Truthmonger Friday, May. 23, 2003 at 7:50 AM

How has the secretive U.S.-based IMF/World Bank economically enslaved poor countries?

Begin Part 1 of 2
The American government (both Democrats and Republicans are equally to blame) has run up a national debt on “the national credit card” of $6.4 trillion, or an average of $22,857.14 for every American. So the typical American household of four people has been put into debt $91,428.57 that they don’t even receive a statement for thanks to their government. And rest assured, the American taxpaying automatons will be paying this debt through dozens of taxes, most of them hidden taxes unknown to Americans who pay them. Just look at your local phone bill to see about 10 of them. Of if you buy tires you’ll see a few more of them.
A random check of my latest Qwest local phone bill (April 2003) revealed: $50.10 + $16.08 tax (a total of 10 different state and federal taxes) which equals 32.1% tax on the $50.10 phone bill for a total of $66.18. And you wondered how the government is making you pay them? Your phone will be shut off if you don’t. You already know about the income and sales tax you pay, but these are “hidden” taxes that you don’t know about.
Theoretically, Abraham Lincoln emancipated the slaves in the U.S. about 140 years ago, but the spirit of slavery still lives on today. Economic slavery has never been more widely implemented in both the U.S. and the world as it is today. Let’s look at the typical American household’s financial scenario: He or she has been working hard for 25 years, trying to make ends meet. A look at their home mortgage reveals that the bank owns almost all of their house. Even many who do have their house “paid off entirely” often have to pay the government upwards of $15,000 annually in property taxes, so they are effectively renting it from the government while the title says they supposedly “own” it. A look at the car payment statement reveals that the bank owns their car(s), and by the time it’s paid off the car is virtually worthless, and the customer has to refinance another car to repeat the endless cycle of economic dependency on the moneyed elite. The average American, regardless of race, is not allowed to own much of anything anymore, as it seems about 90 percent of American assets are owned by the banks which are in turn owned exclusively by millionaire and billionaire stockholders/investors. If a typical American wants a college education, s/he will be paying back $100,000 of college loans for typically 10-30 years, another form of economic enslavement for daring to educate oneself.
The powers-that-be are determined to keep the vast majority of Americans deeply in debt for their whole lives – no matter how hard they work – so the rich can perpetually live off of their interest and thus keep them subjugated as eternal economic slaves, like hamsters running endlessly on the wheel in the cage.
What are the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank?
The International Monetary Fund and World Bank are sister institutions that were created after World War II in December 1945 at the Bretton Woods Conference, theoretically for an admirable purpose of helping struggling countries avoid economic catastrophes by lending them money, ostensibly at low-interest rates. The IMF and World Bank are UN agencies that manage the world economy. But over time, they have been taken over by avaricious investors, and used exclusively for the financial benefit and pleasure of the world’s elite class.
In 1944 the 44 delegates of the United and Associated Nations met in New Hampshire at a conference organized by the United States. They established an international economic order known as the Bretton Woods system, based loosely on the tenets of currency stabilization and liberalization of international trade. After the delegates agreed that the stability of the gold standard would be based on fixed foreign exchange rates, the Bretton Woods multi-lateral world trade system was born. In 1973, two years after the U.S. gave up its dollar-to-gold commitment, the Bretton Woods system collapsed.
Once every year, the IMF charges every country interest on allotment, and credits every country with interest on the average SDR (Special drawing rights, see explanation below) holdings during the past year. The interest rate was only 1.5% per year originally, as these loans were intended to help countries, not exploit them, but the rate was raised to 5% in 1975.
The international monetary system evolved in a way that was not foreseen in the Articles of Agreement of the IMF. During the 1950s the U.S. emerged as the leading reserve country, as the dollar increasingly took over the function of gold as a major international reserve asset.
The World Bank and the IMF are the world's largest public lenders, with the World Bank managing a total portfolio of $200 billion and the IMF supplying member governments with money to overcome short-term credit crunches. They were supposedly intended to facilitate and foster the growth of international trade, promote stable exchange rates and encourage international monetary co-operation. The IMF was to be responsible for pegging international currencies to the gold standard and provide credit for countries in balance of payment difficulties. The World Bank was to undertake investment.
The IMF is now a multilateral institution based in Washington D.C., 700 19th Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20431, that lends money to foreign governments and was intended to stabilize currencies and maintain order in international financial markets. For many decades, the IMF has imposed stringent loan conditions that usually increases per-household debt service on the majority of citizens in the affected countries which as a result worsens their financial condition instead of making it better. Even more than its partner, the World Bank, the IMF is known for its rigid orthodoxy and its high-handed approach to poor countries. Its performance in the Asian Crisis and in Latin America has led to widespread criticism and charges that its “medicine was worse than the disease,” as most of these countries remain mired in perpetual poverty. Many of the IMF and World Bank’s policies are shrouded in secrecy, just as citizens of the world, including Americans, pay hidden taxes to support these banking institutions.
Wealthy investors of first-world countries invest money into the IMF/World Bank, who in turn lend it to people of developing countries, and if the loans get paid back they realize a substantial profit on their investment. And even if the loans don’t get paid back, the IMF uses taxpayer money of the workers of these already poor countries to “bail out” the investors, which ensures that the rich can only get richer and the middle class and poor usually get poorer. The IMF lends money to poor countries preferably which have bad credit or no credit at all, so they can take advantage of them with exorbitantly high interest rates, (just as American credit card companies do) which has traditionally been referred to as loan sharking. Then they use the labor force of that country as economic slaves to produce exports in order to pay back the sizable interest on the loans. The people are powerless to escape from this economic bondage, as they work away perpetually at wages often as low as 10¢/hour in order to produce endless profits for their international (largely American) economic masters. Then much of this money then gets returned to their country in the form of “foreign aid” from the United States, which is really military “aid” such as providing American attack helicopter gunships to crush any domestic rebellions that often arise against this ruthless economic system, for example killing 14 people in Bolivia on February 13, 2003, a story that was largely suppressed by the American media as it was so immersed at the time in covering the premeditation of the Iraq war. The secretive IMF and World Bank are not accountable to anyone as their records are kept hidden from the public, and can never be discussed in the mass media, which are owned by the same power elite who own the banks and corporations.
The American banking system subjugates not only the American populace but also the world at-large to this perpetual vicious cycle of indentured economic servitude. These facts are not taught to America’s youth — neither in elementary nor in high school.
What do the bank’s investors and stockholders do? Not much, really. They get carted around from hole-to-hole at their local country club and collect the interest that working people generate. The world’s working class is working primarily for them, not themselves. Then with all of your money that they have accumulated, they build up massive military stockpiles, and invade foreign countries to plunder their natural resources to further add to their riches, and that new stolen money also gets lent back to the general population so they can continue the vicious cycle of laboring away and financing and fighting their wars for them ad infinitum while their privileged family remains shielded from combat.
Like the American banking system, the IMF & World Bank are necessarily predicated on the consumer (or client country) having little or no cash in order to keep them forever beholden to their “masters” who own virtually all of the assets and hence maintain control of almost all of the wealth.
George Bush II’s grandfather, Prescott Bush, was an elite American banker who bankrolled fascist Adolph Hitler’s rise to power in Germany and sponsored his military buildup enabling Hitler to invade Poland, Czechoslovakia, Russia, Turkey, Belgium, France, Holland, Denmark, and England among other countries. Prescott’s son, George Bush I, and grandson (all graduates of Yale, all members of Yale’s Skull & Bones secret society — George Bush I & II both beneficiaries of “affirmative action” college placement called nepotism) have continued in the same imperialistic fascist family tradition as they have now allied themselves with chiefly with England and Israel to invade Middle Eastern countries in order to seize their oil to benefit American corporations such as Halliburton (Dick Cheney’s company), Bechtel, Brown & Root, and other American power corporations who control the oil.
The United States under President Nixon went off the gold reserve monetary system in 1971. Three years later, in 1974, the infamous document, National Security Memorandum 200 (NSM200) was released by Henry Kissinger, Nixon’s Secretary of Defense. NSM200 said basically that there are too many people in the world, especially those in the underdeveloped world, and they pose a national security threat to the United States because they are sitting on vital raw materials (read: Iraq, Colombia, and other oil-rich nations that the U.S. has both overtly and covertly invaded since to plunder their resources, indiscriminately killing thousands of indigenous people who committed the crime of being born and living on the land). The document said that there are too many of these people, and like insects eating crops, their number must be reduced (read: exterminated, as humans should be killed as pesticides kill insects). This was made the de facto policy of the corporations which fund the political campaigns of Congress and the President who in turn set foreign policy for United States and are beholden to these special interests, which includes politicians from both the Democratic and Republican parties. NSM200 was essentially a declaration of war by the corporate moneyed oligarchy against the balance of humanity.
According to an article “Controversies & Prospects” by: Clay Mason, “The IMF and World Bank have embarked on an agenda to “reduce poverty” in poor or developing countries. The World Bank makes loans for development projects, and the IMF lends to governments to ease deficits and make their economies appear stable to the international market. Although the IMF and World Bank are separate institutions they share similar agendas for financially weak nations — particularly their view on how to increase growth in affected economies. This agenda can be summed up in four words — Spend less - Export more. The conditions imposed by the World Bank-IMF to stimulate growth in financially weak nations raises much controversy due to the harmful residual effects of structural adjustments, non-disclosure of information and moral hazards of bailout loans.”
The U.S. media continually and overwhelmingly suppresses the dastardly international actions of the IMF/World Bank by not even talking about its policies. Ralph Nader, the media-censored presidential candidate of the Green Party, and of Lebanese descent, described public awareness of the IMF/World Bank as demonstrated by recent protests as follows:
“The protests represent the growing public understanding of how corporations are running the world — how they use our taxes through the IMF/World Bank, renting governments, creating autocratic systems such as NAFTA and WTO that undermine our democracy and impact our lives from working conditions to the environment,” Nader said at the Target Center in Minneapolis before 12,000 supporters September 22, 2000.
Who controls the IMF?
The Washington D.C.-based IMF is run by a board of 24 directors. The USA, UK, Germany, France, Japan, Russia, Saudi Arabia and China each appoint one executive; the other 16 executives are elected in groups by the remaining countries. The total membership includes 182 countries and is open to any country willing to adhere to the IMF charter of rights and obligations. The IMF employ 2,200 staff, and since 2001 has been headed by IMF Managing Director Hörst Köhler.
The United States controls the single largest share of IMF board votes, nearly 20%, which is enough to veto any significant policy shift since the IMF's charter requires an 85% vote in support of policy overhauls. There is much controversy as to exactly who controls the stealthy IMF, but the conventional wisdom is that it is the same big corporation power elite bloc that controls the U.S. government.
According to the British journal The Economist, there are more rich than ever before with 7 million millionaires and 425 billionaires in the world, of which 274 (64.4%) of the billionaires live in the United States. All of the millionaires and billionaires together (approximately 0.1% of the world’s population) have hoarded approximately 33% of the wealth of the planet to themselves (over 330 times their statistical “share” each).
Voting power in the IMF is determined by quotas. Each member's quota is dependent on its national income. Members' subscriptions equal their quotas, and are payable partly in Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) and partly in a member's currency.
A Breakdown of power is as follows: The U.S. has by far the largest quota with SDR 26,562.8m, which translates into 26,500 votes.
The next big voting powers are: Japan approximately 8,000; France approximately 8,000; UK approximately 8,000; Germany approximately 8,000, who all have quotas between SDR7.4m and 8.3m.
The United Nations is controlled by past and present colonial powers, which includes the U.S., Britain, France, Germany, Russia, and China, which all hold veto powers over U.N. resolutions. Small countries whose GNP (gross national product) is less than the “aid” they receive from U.N. agencies are routinely blackmailed, usually by the United States, into voting for U.N. resolutions or else having the aid cut off, often times using naval blockades to cut off countries’ food supplies, and the mere threats of blockades to force a country’s compliance.
While all of the European Union (EU) had their own currencies, there was really no viable alternative to the U.S. dollar as the international currency. But now that the EU has begun to use a common currency (with the exception of the U.K.), the U.S. trembles at the prospect of the euro currency becoming the world standard. Since Britain is the only European holdout to using the euro common currency, one may wonder if the U.S. is secretly pressuring the U.K. to not change over in order to maintain the European schism. In the same way, the U.S. fights both overtly and covertly to keep South American and Middle Eastern oil countries disunified by all using different currencies. It was Britain, France, Holland and the U.S. that created all borders between the Arab countries in the first place back in 1917 after World War I, breaking up the Ottoman Empire previously ruled by Turkey, and is fighting to keep the same division today, successfully implementing the “divide and conquer” maxim around the world.
According to an article by Jeffrey Sachs, “Power unto itself”, Sachs writes:
Whatever useful purposes the IMF may provide to the world community, it defies logic to believe that the small group of 1,000 economists on 19th Street in Washington should dictate the economic conditions of life to 75 developing countries with around 1.4 billion people. These people constitute 57% of the developing world outside China and India (which are not under IMF programs). Staff at the IMF, meanwhile, are unaccountable for their decisions. Approximately half of the IMF's staff, about 500, is devoted to these countries - with the rest dedicated to surveillance of advanced countries, management, research, and other tasks - cover the 75 “third world” countries, which averages out to about seven economists per country.
IMF decisions are made by fiat without any public debate, comment, or scrutiny. While it pays lip service to “transparency”, the IMF offers virtually no substantive public documentation of its decisions, except for a few pages in press releases that are devoid of the technical details needed for a serious professional evaluation of its programs.
Mass protests in recent years have put pressure on the IMF/World Bank to allow struggling countries to declare bankruptcy the same way Americans are allowed to declare a “sovereign bankruptcy” to rescue themselves from debt before it swallows them up. At the September 2002 annual meeting of the IMF and World Bank, Chancellor Gordon Brown, chairman of the IMF Ruling Committee, made a proposal that would force investors/creditors to accept lower repayments of loans. Of course, this proposal faces stern opposition from Wall Street banks, who ruthlessly seek financial gain that comes off the backs of the working class, even in developing countries.
Joseph E. Stiglitz, served a three-year tenure as Senior Vice President and Chief Economist of the World Bank from 1997-2000, is one of the biggest critics of the IMF & World Bank. A winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics, he is now a professor of economics at Columbia University.
Shortly after he left his post at the World Bank, and was free to speak his mind, Stiglitz said in Washington D.C. February 2001, that the United States has “failed to exercise moral leadership” by undermining democratic processes instead of promoting its own democratic ideals in the international economic arena. In addition, he said, the United States has:
1) “Pursued Wall Street interests more than national, let alone global interests — e.g., in pushing for capital market liberalization and imposing conditions on IMF loans.”
2) Used “a bullying style on foreign countries, which has created deep-seated resentments.”
For these and other failings, Stiglitz blamed the U.S. Treasury Department and the dominant role it has in setting international economic policy.
“We would never be content to delegate domestic economic policy to the Treasury,” he said. “A broader range of voices, including those of labor, must be heard.”
Stiglitz has been especially critical of IMF policies, including million-dollar bailouts that reimbursed “large international banks and other creditors in the U.S., Germany, and Japan.” Such policies, he argues, are the natural result of who controls the IMF, he said in an interview with Progressive magazine.
“IMF decision-makers are finance ministers and central bank governors, not labor unions or labor ministers. Finance ministers and central bank governors are linked to financial communities in their countries, so they push policies that reflect the viewpoints and interests of the financial community and barely hear the voices of those who are the first victims of dictated policies,” Stiglitz said.
“Much of our global economic system is characterized by a lot of inequities,” he said. “The global trading regime is one which has been devised mostly by the North for the benefit of the North. It seems to me that one of the very important elements in the agenda going forward has to be to try to redress these inequities.”
In Stiglitz’ January 2000 keynote address to the Industrial Relations Research Association, “Democratic Development as the Fruits of Labor,” Stiglitz said, “If one didn't know better, it might seem as if the fundamental propositions of neoclassical economics were designed to undermine the rights and positions of workers.” Among the ways that Stiglitz said that the IMF and World Bank “served to eviscerate the rights and positions of workers” he listed as follows:
1) By treating labor as just another factor of production, like land and machinery, on the assumption that there is nothing special about labor.
2) By assuming that maldistribution of wealth does not matter.
3) By assuming that the “institutional arrangements” of power do not matter, so long as property rights are protected.
In his concluding remarks, Stiglitz called for “a shift in the prevailing paradigm,” or mindset, a shift granting "stronger worker rights and representation at every level -- from the workplace, to the local, regional, and national level, to the international level.”
George Bush II’s U.S. Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill backed the adoption of more merciful loan terms that would have relieved some of the financial pressure on developing countries, which prompted a meeting between O'Neill and representatives from major financial institutions.
“Don't throw stones at our best efforts to fix this system,” O'Neill told the bankers. “Throw ideas.” An outline of the plan prepared by the fund's deputy managing director Anne Krueger would have allowed countries to suspend debt repayments at times of crisis. Bond contracts would also be allowed to be rewritten without the unanimous consent of lenders.
But after the meeting, in December 2002, O’Neill, along with Chief Economic Advisor Lawrence Lindsey, was forced to resign for denouncing IMF’s proposed bailout of Brazil that would go to corrupt figures.
On December 12, 2002, O’Neill was immediately replaced by John Snow, CEO of CSX Corp., one of the nation's biggest freight railroads, who for the prior eight years had always been a critic of the calamitous American national debt. But as soon as he was appointed by George Bush II to replace O’Neill, he suddenly changed his tune by saying the national debt was no big deal anymore. Speaking to reporters after a meeting of finance ministers in France May 17, 2003, Snow called the dollar's 20 percent decline against the euro over the last year “fairly modest.”
Lindsay was replaced by Goldman-Sachs Chairman and Investment Banker Stephen Friedman as Chief Economic Advisor.
The IMF, owed $92 billion by 90 nations, is under pressure from poor countries to drop its resolve that borrowers adopt free market policies. At the September annual meeting it pledged to offer countries other remedies than the usual advice to cut spending, open capital markets and privatize state companies. This privatization basically allows the world’s rich via the IMF to own the infrastructure of each individual country that they lend to, including public utilities such as water and the radio airwaves, which have been traditionally thought of as “God’s resources for the public at-large.” A similar phenomenon has already happened in the United States, where a handful of media conglomerates now own about 90% of the public airwaves, as the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), chaired by Michael Powell, son of George Bush II’s Secretary of State Colin Powell, continues to further tighten the noose on the American public’s access to these channels and accede control to the media conglomerates. The FCC has in recent years allowed what used to be the public airwaves to be owned by a handful of media conglomerates. For example, Donald Rumsfeld has served on the Board of Directors of the Chicago Tribune and Los Angeles Times, Richard Perle on the board of the Jerusalem Times, and Colin Powell on the Board of Directors of America On-Line/Time Warner.
APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) is an organization of 21 Pacific Rim countries, including the U.S., China, Japan, Russia, Canada, Mexico, Perú, Chile, and 13 other countries. APEC is designed for the participation of business leaders, not labor leaders. It is a glaring example of the “prevailing paradigm” that excludes all outside voices except those coming from the upper ranks of the corporate world. (www.senser.com)
The APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC), established by APEC in 1995, institutionalizes that exclusive relationship. “ABAC is the official voice of the private sector within APEC,” the business organization's Website says. “It is the vehicle for formalizing private sector participation in APEC.”
For years Pacific Rim labor unions have sought to have their voices heard too. In 1995 they established the Asia Pacific Labor Network (APLN) under the mantle of the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU), in hopes of getting recognition similar to that achieved by the business leaders in ABAC, but of course were rebuffed by the elite exclusionaries.
“Judeo-Christian” banking principles?
The Anglo-Christian/Israeli-Jewish alliance (which consists mainly of the U.S., Britain, Israel, & Australia) seems to be enamored of the political catch phrase “Judeo-Christian” principles to justify their political position, including their world banking domination, but even a perfunctory look at the Hebrew scriptures that both Christians and Jews profess to believe in expose the glaring hypocrisy, scriptures that “Christian” leaders like Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell would never read to their glazed-eyed subjects:
Jeremiah 22:17 - "But your eyes and your heart are set only on dishonest gain, on shedding innocent blood and on oppression and extortion."
Ezekiel 22:12 - In you they accept bribes to shed blood; you take usury [excessive interest] and make unjust gain from your neighbors by extortion. And you have forgotten me, declares the Sovereign LORD.
Ezekiel 18:17 - He withholds his hand from sin and does not lend at usury or excessive interest. He keeps my laws and follows my decrees.
Millions of Americans are inundated with tens of thousands of dollars of credit card debt, often at 18- 22-percent interest; which effectively makes them economic slaves to the mega-banks. These banks are part of the ruthless World Bank and International Monetary Fund that the Bible talks about in the last days.
2 Timothy 3:1-2 - But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money.
Nehemiah 5:10-11 - I and my brothers and my men are also lending the people money and grain. But let the exacting of usury stop! 11Give back to them immediately their fields, vineyards, olive groves and houses, and also the usury you are charging them--the hundredth part of the money, grain, new wine and oil."
Proverbs 28:6 - Better a poor man whose walk is blameless than a rich man whose ways are perverse.
Nehemiah 5:7 - I pondered them in my mind and then accused the nobles and officials. I told them, "You are exacting usury from your own countrymen!" So I called together a large meeting to deal with them.
For example, an American company may go to China to make 100,000 t-shirts made for $2 each, with the laborers getting paid 10¢/hour, required to work 70 hours a week ($7/week) with no days off and no overtime pay. Then they get a bid from a company in India to make the same 100,000 t-shirts for only $1.80 each, because the laborers there are only getting paid 8¢/ hour, with the same working conditions. So the workers making 10¢/hour lose their work because they were making too much.
This is the Ayn Rand philosophy of ruthless capitalism, named after the Russian-Jewish woman born Alissa Rosenbaum in 1905, and emigrated to the U.S. as a girl — that says however you can make a profit, no matter how morally bankrupt, is fine. Compassion or generosity plays no part whatsoever. One of Rand’s books is entitled, “The Virtue of Selfishness.” (1964).
Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, who controls the American money supply at the Federal Reserve Bank, was a close personal friend of his mentor Ayn Rand since 1952, and is a proponent of her Machiavellian “get all you can, can all you get” philosophy. Greenspan often wrote for The Objectivist published by Rand’s followers. Greenspan is the most powerful man in America, even more so than the president.
In another incident, related by the columnist Samuel Francis, when Rand learned that the economist Murray Rothbard's wife, Joey, was a devout Christian, she all but ordered that if Joey did not “see the light” and become an atheist in six months, Rothbard, who was an agnostic, must divorce her. Rothbard never had any intention of doing anything of the sort, and this estranged him from Rand, who found such “irrational” behavior intolerable.
Greenspan has also served as Director of the Rand Corporation, and on the board of the Institute for International Economics.
End Part 1 of 2
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