Eric Toussaint

Covid-19 and Third World debt

Rather than provide debt relief to developing countries struggling to bring COVID-19 under control, global financial institutions are continuing to impose neoliberal structural adjustment measures, write Eric Toussaint, Emilie Paumard, Milan Rivié.

Experience proves that left-wing movements can win government, but nevertheless not hold power. Democracy, in other words the exercise of power by the people and for the people, requires much more. The problem is now being faced in Greece with with radical left party SYRIZA, which won elections in January. It will have to be faced in Spain if the new anti-austerity party Podemos wins November elections.
October 15 was the first time since February 2003, with the huge demonstrations in the lead-up to the invasion of Iraq, that a call for an international action on a specific date has met with such a response. See also:
For a decade, Ireland was heralded by the most ardent partisans of neoliberal capitalism as a model to be imitated. The “Celtic Tiger” had a higher growth rate than the European average. Tax rates on companies had been reduced to 12.5% and the rate actually paid by the transnational corporations that had set up business there was between 3 and 4% — a CEO’s dream! By comparison, the company tax rate is 39.5% in Japan, 39.2% in Britain, 34.4% in France and 28% in the US. Ireland’s budget deficit was nil in 2007. In this earthly paradise, everybody seemed to benefit.
The June 26-27 Toronto summit of the exclusive Group of 20 club, to which the world’s richest countries invited the heads of state of the major emerging countries, raised great expectations — but it ended as empty as previous meetings As in London in 2008 and Pittsburgh in 2009, the Toronto G20 discussions focused on a way out of the economic crisis. But a capitalist way out — favouring creditors and great powers. For the past two years, global financial regulation has been an elusive sea serpent, unsurprisingly resulting in no concrete measures.
The international crisis that erupted in the northern summer of 2008 demolished all the neoliberal dogmas and exposed the deception behind them. Unable to deny their failure, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) claim they no longer uphold the set of neoliberal policies known as the “Washington Consensus”.
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