The colonial mindset of IMF & World Bank
After World War 2 & the League of Nations & the Bank of International Settlement were set up giving bankers & colonial authorities in US & Europe powers to enforce austerity programs & regulate prices based on white supremacy. Then came the Bretton Woods global monetary management system which collapsed in early 1970s & was replaced by free market economic policies. With end of colonialism all that the white nations did were transferred into a new economic/trade imperialism to rule the world once again using a different format. Thus, at the background of IMF & WB policies, the hidden imperial objective persists. The tools used under colonial rule were injected into the global systems in particular international monetary institutes that the West controlled. While the British dominated the League of Nations, IMF is dominated by the US and WB by Europe.
It is important to understand that decolonization did not happen willingly but because there was little choice. Given this scenario, it was essential to create a new system that would enable the former colonies to continue their dominance over the colonized & enable them to prevail over their domestic affairs. IMF/WB and other international systems like UN & its entities were created for this purpose. The objective was to continue global governance by a handful by any & every means using new ‘democratic’ terminology.
Encouraging self-determination was to once again bring the new ‘independent state’ under subtle control of the West. These nations were only made to think they were ‘independent’.
- IMF is dominated by the US Treasury & loans often aligned with US global policy.
- On 1 March 1947, the IMF began its financial operations, and on 8 May Francebecame the first country to borrow from it.
- What are the structural adjustment reforms & austerity measures imposed often interfering the sovereignty of nations? Loans were conditional & a country’s central bank was tied to IMF policies.
The IMF conditions imposed during covid confirms IMF imperialism continues to prevail.
- Does IMF “meddle” in the internal affairs of states as pre-conditions for loans? IMF demands changes to domestic policies, laws in sovereign states, slashing national budgets, removing central bank from Parliamentary control in exchange for a loan. Every loan taken is not given free & has to be paid back with interest but for a country to get the loan they have to change internal systems.
- With a pen and a signature a country’s sovereignty gets compromised.
- Why does IMF/WB insist on liberalization of state assets?
- How do they deepen inequality in Global South via economic shock therapies
- How does inequality in Global South enrich Global North
- Is neoliberalism to blame for Third World Debt & Asian Financial Crisis of 1997-8? Not paying back loans taken meant blocking country’s access to foreign capital.
- Are countries turning away from IMF/WB or will they be allowed to? Countries are looking for alternatives to taking loans & doors are opening for new emerging market economies to enter.
- Are IMF/WB policies racial? They insist on interfering into domestic affairs. They insist on foreign-run commissions or foreign controlled assets. They insist on foreign advisors & foreign-dictated policies and templates. They insist natural resources are under control of foreign actors. They insist central banks are under foreign directors. The underlining message was always that decolonized nations could do nothing on their own without tutelage of Western-Christian nations. Decolonized nations were also not allowed to run their nations however ‘independent’ they were made to feel, in reality, they had to always run & get ‘permission’ or ‘nod of approval’ to run their state. Ultimately, that nations are ‘sovereign’ is a sham. Sri Lanka is a good example.
- Appointments to both IMF and WB are American or European & any non-whites appointed are to those who think & act more than the whites.
- IMF/WB preach against corruptions & promote good governance but they hardly take actions against corrupt politicians or corrupt elite. Why do they want governments to cut health budgets (governments & elite are happy to cut anything which doesn’t affect them) When countries are pressed for staff in health sector, by demanding reduction in staff what would that entail during a health calamity.
- What do themes like ‘gender equality’ have to do with national economics & basing loans on a factor that cultural factors may not require or desire women to be working mothers & to work remains a personal and family choice which does not require foreign interference? If so, why are international chefs all male & paid higher than the females!
- Transnational corporations are even taking Governments to court – is this the new norm? Ultimately power of millions of people are vested in private hands who only think of profit. These lawsuits are likely to put masses into worse poverty as filing action against governments means people have to cough the bill.
- When IMF demands privatization of country assets – they are helping increase power of corporates & transferring powers of the state to the hands of companies. Is this similar to returning to the Dutch East India Company rule?
Governments puts countries into debt – then go to International Lending Agencies who are happy to give loans with prescriptive conditions. These conditions don’t affect politicians or the elite. They are intentionally targeted at the masses. Governments are happy to sign up to the conditions, while they continue their wastage & corruptions. This ugly practice continues no different to colonial times.
Shenali D Waduge