From Thu Sep 26 12:00:05 2002
Date: Thu, 26 Sep 2002 11:31:01 -0400
Subject: stop-imf digest, Vol 1 #167—6 msgs

The Enron of the Developing World

By Robert Weissman, Washington Post, 25 September 2002, page A27

Wall Street gets it. So does Congress. Even President Bush gets it. But not the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank.

The era of market fundamentalism is over. Marketization, deregulation and privatization, and the opportunities for market manipulation offered by inadequate regulation—all central elements in the rise and fall of Enron—are now discredited in the United States. And in developing countries, where their effects have been most devastating, they are the object of widespread public opprobrium.

Unfortunately, the IMF and the World Bank continue to sing from the market-fundamentalist hymnal.

Restraints on corporate power are even more necessary in developing countries than in the United States. But the market fundamentalists at the IMF and the World Bank continue to systematically unshackle corporate activity in the Southern Hemisphere. That's a major reason thousands will demonstrate against the IMF and the World Bank in Washington this weekend.

Action makes a difference: In 2000, after the last major U.S. demonstrations against the IMF and the World Bank, Congress passed a law requiring the United States to oppose IMF or World Bank loans that include user fees for primary education or health care. Partly as a result, Tanzania lifted primary education user fees, 1.5 million additional children—mostly girls—were able to go to school.