What happens to poor countries when they embrace free trade? In Haiti in 1986 we imported just 7000 tons of rice, the main staple food of the country. The vast majority was grown in Haiti. In the late 1980s Haiti complied with free trade policies advocated by the international lending agencies and lifted tariffs on rice imports.
Cheaper rice immediately flooded in from the United States where the rice industry is subsidized. In fact the liberalization of Haiti’s market coincided with the 1985 Farm Bill in the United States which increased subsidies to the rice industry so that 40% of U.S. rice growers’ profits came from the government by 1987. Haiti’s peasant farmers could not possibly compete. By 1996 Haiti was importing 196,000 tons of foreign rice at the cost of $100 million a year. Haitian rice production became negligible. Once the dependence on foreign rice was complete, import prices began to rise, leaving Haiti’s population, particularly the urban poor, completely at the whim of rising world grain prices. And the prices continue to rise.
What lessons do we learn? For poor countries free trade is not so free, or so fair. Haiti, under intense pressure from the international lending institutions, stopped protecting its domestic agriculture while subsidies to the U.S. rice industry increased. A hungry nation became hungrier.
Jean-Bertrand Aristide, Eyes of the Heart; Seeking a Path for the Poor in the Age of Globalization, (Common Courage Press, 2000), pp. 11-12
^ just a small example of how World Bank, IMF, and Western “international” agencies continue to fuck over the global south.
The World Bank, the IMF and the rest are seemingly neutral agencies created to support a western imperialist agenda. There is nothing new here, they have been doing this forever really. They are vultures surrounding dying countries, whose death and misery they are responsible for.
However what is new is the fact that since the 2007 crisis, vultures have been migrating up north. They are now doing to Greece, Italy, Ireland, Portugal, Spain and even France what they have been doing to us for ages. And this is a very interesting development. Because it is the proof that the west has created a monster over which they have lost control and the system now is eating itself up. I grew up in a country, which like Haiti, has been destroyed by these unfair policies they are now imposing on Southern Europe. These policies are not only unfair, they are absolutely brutal and lead to absolute hopelessness and despair. I mean everyday I read reports about the disastrous situation they have brought in Southern Europe; Skyrocketing suicide rate in Greece, booming of organ trafficking, mass migration, more and more children taken out of school by their parents to go and work on the mafia-infested streets of Italy, rise of populism, lingering, unbearable poverty etc. My people has endured all of this for ages and still is. I was born and grew amid this, I faced it everyday and know the anxiety that comes with living in country where poverty is nothing but death at the slow pace. Words like IMF and wold Bank, crisis, restructuration plan, where already part of my vocabulary and shaping my reality when I was still a tiny kid. And all of this is the making of the west, which is why I have no fucking compassion for all the misery spreading all over Europe right now. They did and are still profiting from our exploitation. I just hope that right now that karma is biting them hard in the ass, the wake up to the monstrosity they have created and realise that IT IS NOT THE WAY TO GO!!
Seriously on what do the world bank and IMF base their legitimacy?? On an amoral, deregulated banking system that has and will keep on driving us to the ground!! On top of that their policies HAVE ALWAYS FAILED THE PEOPLE!!! A system where figures and numbers prime over the lived experience of individuals is doomed to be inhumane.
Those organisations must be stopped and the west must own up to its shit!