how the misdeeds of Strauss-Kahn and the IMF came full circle

Journalist Greg Palast puts the molestation charges against former Director-General of the International Monetary Fund, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, into a broader context in his latest article, pointing to DSK’s consistent track record of “cruelty, arrogance and impunity toward African and other nations” that is “right in line with the story told by the poor, African hotel housekeeper in New York City”:

 It was DSK who, last year, personally insisted on brutal terms for the so-called bail-out of Greece. “Strong conditionality” is the IMF term. Strauss-Kahn demanded not just a devastating cut in pensions and a deliberate increase in unemployment to 14%, but also the sell-off of 4,000 of 6,000 state-owned services. The DSK IMF plan allowed the financiers who set the financial fires of Greece to pick up the nation’s assets at a fire-sale price…

Requiring Greece to sell assets, drop trade barriers, and even end the rule that Greek ships use Greek sailors has nothing to do with saving Greece, but everything to do with DSK’s continuing the right-wing free-market mania that got this planet into trouble in the first place.

Of course, such IMF interventions have previously “bailed-out” economies in the poorer regions of the world. For instance:

In 2002, the International Monetary Fund cut off capital inflows to [Guinea]. Without the blessing of the International Monetary Fund, Guinea, which has up to half the world’s raw material for aluminum, plus oil, uranium, diamonds and gold, could not borrow a dime to develop these resources.

The IMF’s cut-off was, in effect, a foreclosure, and the nation choked and starved while sitting on its astonishing mineral wealth. As in the sub-prime mortgage foreclosures we see today, the IMF moved quickly to seize Guinea’s property.

But the IMF did not seize this nation’s riches for itself. Rather, it forced Guinea to sell off its resources to foreign corporations at prices much like the sale of furniture on the lawn of a foreclosed house.

The French, Americans, Canadians, Swiss (and lately, the Chinese) came in with spoons out and napkins tucked in under their chins, swallowing the nation’s bauxite, gold and more. In the meantime, the IMF ordered the end of trade barriers and thereby ruined local small holders.

As a result of this earlier IMF attack, Guineans who could, fled for freedom and food.

Which is how, as Palast puts it, “the randy geezer of globalization and the refugee [from Guinea] ended up, in quite different positions, in that New York hotel room”:

DSK’s lawyers say the relationship with the housekeeper was “consensual.” But DSK says that about all IMF agreements with nations over whom it holds life and death powers. That’s like saying a bank robbery is consensual so long as you don’t consider the gun…

The [New York] Times article quotes an IMF crony of Strauss-Kahn saying DSK gets his way by “persuasion” not “bullying.” Tell that to the Greeks.

Click here to read the full article entitled “Strauss-Kahn Screws Africa” by Greg Palast published on Friday 20th May.

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1 Comment

Filed under analysis & opinion, Greece, Greg Palast, Uncategorized

One response to “how the misdeeds of Strauss-Kahn and the IMF came full circle

  1. Pingback: how the misdeeds of Strauss-Kahn and the IMF came full circle » Greece on WEB

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