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Kudos to Egypt for Ditching the IMF

by Mark Engler Friday, Jul. 15, 2011 at 2:49 PM
mbatko@yahoo.com

From the beginning of the Arab Spring revolts, many progressive commentators have expressed concern that people in countries such as Egypt and Tunisia might win greater political freedoms but would have their nations? economic policies hijacked...

Walden Bello, for one, reflected on pro-democracy transitions in the Philippines, Latin America, and Eastern Europe, and bemoaned a sad pattern:

Even as traditional elites hijacked the resurgent parliamentary systems, the United States and the multilateral agencies subverted them to push through austerity programs that the authoritarian regimes they previously supported had no longer been able to impose on recalcitrant citizenries. It soon became clear that Washington and the multilateral agencies wanted the new democratic regimes to use their legitimacy to impose repressive economic adjustment programs and debt management policies.

In the past decade and a half, as the terrible economic track record of IMF-imposed structural adjustment in the 1980s and ’90s has come to light, neoliberal economic policies have come under assault, and the IMF’s power has substantially diminished. This was especially true prior to the major economic downturn that started in 2008, which, ironically, gave the fund something of a new lease on life. (Ironically, because drives for deregulation promoted by Washington Consensus economists did plenty to spur the crisis in the first place.)

The IMF has by now recognized that attaching neoliberal conditions to loans to Egypt would result in a lot of political flak.

to read Mark Engler's article published in: Dissent Magazine July 11, 2011, click on

http://www.dissentmagazine.org/atw.php?id=494

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