Friday, May 20, 2011

Strauss-Kahn Screws Africa

Strauss-Kahn Screws Africa by Greg Palast

The Times article quotes an IMF crony of Strauss-Kahn saying DSK gets his way by "persuasion" not "bullying." Tell that to the Greeks.

It was DSK who, last year, personally insisted on brutal terms for the so-called bail-out of Greece. "Strong conditionality" is the IMF term. Strauss-Kahn demanded not just a devastating cut in pensions and a deliberate increase in unemployment to 14%, but also the sell-off of 4,000 of 6,000 state-owned services. The DSK IMF plan allowed the financiers who set the financial fires of Greece to pick up the nation's assets at a fire-sale price.

I still tend to tell people that Naomi Klein's "The Shock Doctrine" is the best book to read to understand the world today. In that book, she describes the deliberate targetting of 'state' or 'public' assets. These are things that have value, and have been built up by the people of an area over time. And these have been targetted by financiers who want to make easy money for at least 40 years now.

The scam that Ms. Klein traces all the way back to at least Pinochet's Chile in the early 1970's goes like this. There is some sort of crisis. At first, these were from outside causes, but once the financiers realized the usefulness of a crisis as cover for their robberies, they also appear to have become good at causing the crisis. As a solution to the 'crisis', its presented to the people that they must sell off the assets they own in their public or state companies. And that this has to occur quickly and at prices far below what they are worth.

All around the world, people have been systematically robbed in this fashion. The collapse of the Soviet Union was a prime example, as the oligarchs we see today in Russia got rich by being able to acquire state assets at bargain prices. The book is a wonderful reference as it lays out the history of these robberies and thus gives new vision by letting one see them in a pattern instead of as unique instances.

So, DSK was a partner of some of these latest crimes as head of the IMF. That's not a surprise, because that's basically the job description these days of being the head of the IMF. They are there to facilitate these robberies. They are the gun that's held to the head of the victim. The victim is forced to agree because they need money to deal with the crisis they are facing, and the IMF is how the world has decided to disperse that money. And for decades now, the only way countries get the money is to submit by being robbed by being forced to sell off their assets at very cheap prices.

At best, DSK might have been a robber with a bit of a conscience as he was talking about 'reforming' the IMF away from such practices. Of course, that hadn't moved past the talk stage yet, so its impossible to tell if having a so-called socialist as head of the IMF and making sweet speaches about 'reform' wasn't just a part of the con to keep the robberies continuing during this target-rich time for the bankers.

Here in the US, the IMF isn't used so much as the gun held to our heads. Instead, its more likely the 'markets' in general. Remember how the Wall Street bailouts of Bush in 08 and Obama in 09 were sold? The markets will collapse and we'll all be destitute and destroyed if the bankers don't get money today. And how it was a major crisis if the money was delayed even from Tuesday to Thursday? If you remember that, then you remember how the US people had close to a trillion dollars taken from them to go support the banks in their hour of need because of the crisis that was caused by their speculations and manipulations of the markets to begin with.

And of course, they aren't done stealing. They've got their eyes on all the retirement money in Social Security, and through both Democratic and Republican politicians they are determined to get their hands on it.

No comments: