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What the IMF has in store for Ireland.

If you thought the current IMF/EU negotiations were about helping Ireland in it’s time of need then you really ought to have a read at an article written by Mike Whitney at Counter Punch.

A few excerpts as a taster :

Imagine that Yasser Arafat had succeeded in ending Israeli occupation and establishing a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza. Now imagine that 10 or 15 years later, new Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, agreed to hand over control of his country’s budget to the IMF so his people’s future would be controlled by outsiders. Do you think Palestinians would praise Abbas as a patriot or denounce him as a traitor?

Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen is Mahmoud Abbas. He’s caved in to the demands of foreign capital and transferred control over the nation’s budget to the EU and the IMF.

This is a black day for Ireland. The Irish people will now face a decade or more of grinding poverty and depression thanks to their venal leaders. As soon as the ink dries on the IMF loans, the second occupation of Ireland will begin, only this time there won’t be armored cars and Paramilitaries in fatigues, but nerdy-looking bureaucrats trained in the art of spreading misery. In fact, the loans haven’t even been signed yet, and already IMF officials are urging the government to cut jobless benefits and the minimum wage. They’re literally champing at the bit. They just can’t wait to get their hands on the budget and start slashing away.

And don’t believe the hype about European unity or saving Ireland. My ass. This is about bailing out the banks. The bondholders get a free ride while workers get kicked to the curb.

Instead, the European authorities are trying what the IMF… calls an “internal devaluation”. This is a process of shrinking the economy and creating so much unemployment that wages fall dramatically, and the Irish economy becomes more competitive internationally on the basis of lower unit labour costs.”

It’s all de rigeur for the IMF. It wouldn’t be an IMF program unless someone was starving. That’s the benchmark for success.

Interesting stuff and if you think that the last line is overly dramatic here are some diverse sources saying exactly the same thing :

Washington Post

“We’re from the IMF and we’re here to help.” Across the world, this phrase is more incendiary than a Molotov cocktail.

But for indebted developing countries, the IMF’s prescriptions are force-fed. When the fund prescribes austerity, health budgets are cut, children are forced to leave school, workers are thrown out of work. So the next time there are riots in Nigeria against IMF-mandated hikes in fuel prices, demonstrations in Bolivia against privatization of the water works, upheavals in Tanzania against spreading hunger and desperation, don’t be surprised. The IMF will have been there, peddling misery, leaving devastation in its wake.

Commodity Online

Henry Hazlitt was the modern literary agent of libertarianism. At the advent of Bretton Woods he stood alone in his New York Times editorials condemning the monstrosity, as he termed it, that was the IMF. He considered this entity no different to the Federal Reserve Bank.

Another organization espousing the values of economic growth and price stability. In reality, they were both merely agents for the propagation of money to aid and abet the continuation of the flawed policies and practices of a country.

In the case of the IMF they called on loans from member countries to ‘bail out’ bankrupt nations globally. The IMF prolonged the inevitable misery and didn’t address the issues that got the country into difficulties in the first place.

LA Times

IMF Blunders Through Asia, Leaving Disaster in Its Wake

Indonesia is only the latest in a long line of victims of the financial organization’s arrogance and mistakes.

It is now widely recognized that the International Monetary Fund has actually worsened the Asian economic crisis; in fact it is difficult to find an economist outside the government or the IMF payroll who will defend its recent actions. As the misery and frustration spread throughout the area, expressions like “IMF riots,” “IMF survival crimes” and “IMF suicides” have become a part of the regional vocabulary.

Hardly surprising then that the IMF as an abbreviation can be taken (tongue in cheek) to mean something else entirely :

IMF – Imposing Misery and Famine

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