Tag Archives: economic crisis

World Bank President Warns of Social Crisis

Rising unemployment raises threat of social crisis: World Bank

World economic recovery will be slow and rising unemployment could bring the threat of social crisis and protectionism, World Bank President Robert Zoellick said in an interview with Spanish Sunday newspaper El Pais.

“What began as a great financial crisis and became a great economic crisis is now becoming a great crisis of unemployment, and if we don’t take measures there is a risk of a great human and social crisis, with major political implications,” he said.

“That’s a good breeding ground for populist, protectionist policies,” he added.

“The finance ministers of the G7 and the G20 are displaying a certain relief because the contraction has slowed. Although we could still have low or negative growth, the situation is less bad,” he said.

“But economists and industrialists are conscious that the recovery will be slow coming and weaker than expected.”

Dangers remain in the U.S. financial system and in vulnerable emerging markets, Zoellick said.

“Maybe the key thing that has to be cleaned up is the financial system. The USA has taken steps in the right direction, but there are still banks with serious difficulties related to consumer finance, credit cards and real estate.

“On top of that, the United States depends more than Europe on the mortgage securitization market, and that market has yet to recover,” he said.

He said there were risks in Africa, parts of Latin America and in Eastern Europe.

“China could surprise on the upside, it has obtained good results from its stimulus plan. For countries like Mexico and Brazil, the main threat is losing access to finance,” Zoellick said.

IMF’s Big, Bold Role in a Worsening Economic Crisis

Economic crisis getting worse: IMF

A Bigger, Bolder Role Is Imagined For the IMF

Inside a cavernous assembly hall in downtown Washington, dignitaries gather twice a year for routine meetings of the International Monetary Fund. Before long, though, the room could take center stage in the IMF’s transformation into a veritable United Nations for the global economy.

Surrounded by blond wood paneling and a digital screen the size of a cinema’s, central bankers and finance ministers would meet to convene a financial security council of sorts. Serving almost as ambassadors to the IMF, they would debate ways to put out the world’s economic fires and stifle reckless policies before they ignite new ones.

Bowing to a new economic world order, the IMF would grant fresh powers to the likes of China, India and Brazil. It would have vastly expanded authority to act as a global banker to governments rich and poor. And with more flexibility to effectively print its own money, it would have the ability to inject liquidity into global markets in a way once limited to major central banks, including the U.S. Federal Reserve.

That image of a radically transformed IMF — whose role in the global economy had turned largely advisory in recent years — is now coming together through internal IMF documents, interviews and think-tank reports. Finance ministers from major nations will begin grappling with the formidable details of the IMF’s makeover this weekend when they converge in Washington for the fund’s biannual assembly.

The changes, broadly outlined by President Obama and other leaders of the Group of 20 nations in London earlier this month, could take months, even years to take shape. But the IMF is all but certain to take a central role in managing the world economy. As a result, Washington is poised to become the power center for global financial policy, much as the United Nations has long made New York the world center for diplomacy.

The IMF’s mission is expanding so broadly that its managing director, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, said in an interview that the organization — which underwent deep cuts last year before the financial crisis swept the globe — may boost staffing in coming months, potentially creating dozens of high-paying jobs in the District.

“The IMF is changing, and with it, there will be a sea change in the way the world economy is run,” said C. Fred Bergsten, director of the Peterson Institute for International Economics. “Their role will dramatically shift. You’re talking about monitoring fiscal stimulus, moving toward tighter regulations for financial institutions. You’re talking about global economic management in a way we have never seen.”

Already, the economic crisis is triggering a profound cultural shift, with the IMF moving away from its long-held mission to spread the gospel of capitalism around the globe.

Founded at the end of World War II to maintain stability in global currency markets, it later became known as the lender of last resort for nations in crisis, particularly as financial fires raced across Asia and Latin America in the 1990s. Its bailouts, however, were the bane of many poor countries; they often came with demands for fiscal austerity and free-market reform as the cures for developing nations — even if that meant nations had to cut back on programs for health care and schools. Full Story

Top Ten Reasons to Oppose the IMF

What is the IMF?

The International Monetary Fund and the World Bank were created in 1944 at a conference in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, and are now based in Washington, DC. The IMF was originally designed to promote international economic cooperation and provide its member countries with short term loans so they could trade with other countries (achieve balance of payments). Since the debt crisis of the 1980’s, the IMF has assumed the role of bailing out countries during financial crises (caused in large part by currency speculation in the global casino economy) with emergency loan packages tied to certain conditions, often referred to as structural adjustment policies (SAPs). The IMF now acts like a global loan shark, exerting enormous leverage over the economies of more than 60 countries. These countries have to follow the IMF’s policies to get loans, international assistance, and even debt relief. Thus, the IMF decides how much debtor countries can spend on education, health care, and environmental protection. The IMF is one of the most powerful institutions on Earth — yet few know how it works.

1. The IMF has created an immoral system of modern day colonialism that SAPs the poor
2. The IMF serves wealthy countries and Wall Street
3. The IMF is imposing a fundamentally flawed development mode
4. The IMF is a secretive institution with no accountability
5. IMF policies promote corporate welfare
6. The IMF hurts workers
7. The IMF’s policies hurt women the most
8. IMF Policies hurt the environment
9. The IMF bails out rich bankers, creating a moral hazard and greater instability in the global economy
10. IMF bailouts deepen, rather then solve, economic crisis

Read the explanations for the Top Ten Reasons

Obama Pumping Billions of Dollars into ‘War on Islam’

Obama: U.S. ‘Not at War With Islam’

Obama seeks $83.4 billion in special war money

President Barack Obama asked Congress on Thursday for $83.4 billion for U.S. military and diplomatic operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, pressing for special troop funding that he opposed two years ago when he was senator and George W. Bush was president.

Obama’s request, including money to send thousands more troops to Afghanistan, would push the costs of the two wars to almost $1 trillion

since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, according to the Congressional Research Service. The additional money would cover operations into the fall.

Obama is also requesting $350 million in new funding to upgrade security along the U.S.-Mexico border and to combat narcoterrorists, along with another $400 million in counterinsurgency aid to Pakistan.

“Nearly 95 percent of these funds will be used to support our men and women in uniform as they help the people of Iraq to take responsibility for their own future — and work to disrupt, dismantle and defeat al-Qaida in Pakistan and Afghanistan,” Obama wrote in a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.
Robert Gibbs, the White House press secretary, acknowledged that Obama has been critical of Bush’s use of similar special legislation to pay for the wars. He said it was needed this time because the money will be required by summer, before Congress is likely to complete its normal appropriations process…

…Some Democrats were not pleased.

“This funding will do two things — it will prolong our occupation of Iraq through at least the end of 2011, and it will deepen and expand our military presence in Afghanistan indefinitely,” said anti-war Rep. Lynn Woolsey, D-Calif. “Instead of attempting to find military solutions to the problems we face in Iraq and Afghanistan, President Obama must fundamentally change the mission in both countries to focus on promoting reconciliation, economic development, humanitarian aid, and regional diplomatic efforts.” Full Story

Night-time raid on home leaves five civilians dead

Proposal of a New Reserve Currency Controlled by the IMF

China challenges power of the dollar as it flexes its economic muscles

China yesterday threw down a challenge to America’s 50-year dominance of the global economy as it proposed replacing the dollar as the world’s main reserve currency with a new global system under the control of the International Monetary Fund.

In a muscle-flexing move that will be seen as an attempt to exploit the big shifts in economic power created by the recession sweeping the West, Beijing said that the dollar’s role could eventually be taken over by the IMF’s so-called Special Drawing Right (SDR), a quasi-currency that was created in 1969.

The audacious proposal emerged in a speech by Zhou Xiaochuan, Governor of the People’s Bank of China, published on the central bank’s website. Unusually, the remarks were released in English as well as Chinese, emphasising China’s dissatisfaction with the global primacy of the dollar.

However, the comments high-lighted China’s growing confidence in its place at the high table of the world’s most important economies, as much as any real expectation that such an unusual suggestion would gain traction. They came with little more than a week left until leaders of the world’s most powerful economies meet at the G20 London summit. Full Story

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Who is the IMF?

from: 50 Years is Enough

The misery, marginalization, and impoverishment forced on millions by the International Monetary Fund and World Bank is unacceptable and renders them illegitimate.

The IMF and World Bank are controlled by rich imperialist countries in corrupt complicity with national elites all over the world. They claim to lead the fight against poverty, but their role as global loan sharks; their cruel imposition of privatization, cuts to social services, and free trade policies; their funding for environmentally disastrous projects; their secrecy and undemocratic decision making processes, make them an enemy of the people worldwide.

Today, these two institutions are on the defensive. Venezuela, Bolivia, and Ecuador are in open revolt against the IMF and World Bank. South African shantytown dwellers are fighting water privatization; Korean workers are striking against “free trade” agreements; and thousands of people successfully blockaded the G8 meeting in Germany earlier this year.

In the U.S., in the heart of empire, millions are struggling against the oppressive system of capitalism for dignity, autonomy and solidarity. Tens of thousands gathered for the first ever United States Social Forum; millions of immigrants have marched for their rights; and in Washington DC,in the belly of the beast, residents are organizing against the policies of gentrification and displacement.

The Grassroots Guide to the IMF and the World Bank (sample from book)

The World Bank (WB) & The International Monetary Fund (IMF)

Making Millions off Forelosures – ‘Greed is a Growth Industry’

Ex-lenders profit from home loans gone bad

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Fairly or not, Countrywide Financial and its top executives would be on most lists of those who share blame for the nation’s economic crisis. After all, the banking behemoth made risky loans to tens of thousands of Americans, helping set off a chain of events that has the economy staggering.

So it might come as a surprise that a dozen former top Countrywide executives now stand to make millions from the home mortgage mess.

Stanford Kurland, Countrywide’s former president, and his new company have been buying up delinquent home mortgages that the government took over from other failed banks, sometimes for pennies on the dollar. They get a piece of what they can collect.

“It has been very successful — very strong,” John Lawrence, the company’s head of loan servicing, told Kurland one recent morning in a boardroom at PennyMac’s spacious headquarters, opened last year in the same Los Angeles suburb where Countrywide once flourished.

“In fact, it’s off-the-charts good,” he told Kurland, even as the financial markets in New York were plunging.

As hundreds of billions of dollars flow from Washington to jump-start the nation’s banks, automakers and other industries, a new economy is emerging of businesses that hope to make money from the various government programs that make up the largest economic rescue in history.

They include contractors who are supplementing the labor of overworked government bureaucrats, big investors who are buying up failed banks taken over by the federal government and lobbyists helping businesses receive a chunk of the bailout money.

Full Story

Homelessness on the Rise

Rise in US homeless sparks concern – 24 Feb 09