Note: This article was intended for September 29. Illness intervened. It remains timely. As much now as then.
Most UN addresses are bland. Few stand out. Fewer are remembered. Fewer still matter.
Argentina’s President de Kirchner shook things up and then some. Enough to get media scoundrels to bury her comments.
They ignored her harsh criticism of US-led Western policies. Her address was wide ranging.
She questioned Washington’s motives for waging war. Targeted countries. Takfiri terrorists it supports.
“Where do ISIS and Al Qaeda (get) their guns from,” she asked? “Yesterday’s freedom fighters are today’s terrorists.”
Today’s terrorists are US allies. They’re trained to fight America’s enemies.
She called financial predators “economic terroris(ts).” She urged multi-lateral cooperation to regulate sovereign debt.
“The vulture funds threaten and attack with actions against our country’s economy, causing rumors, mistruths and outright lies,” she said.
“It is almost a type of economic and financial terrorism,” she added.
“We have also claimed the need to reform the UN security organisms and the International Monetary Fund based on what has happened in Argentina.”
She referred financial predators strip-mining countries of material wealth and resources. Shifting them from public to private hands.
Compromising democratic values. Transforming nations into dystopian backwaters.
Destroying middle class societies. Exploiting workers. Establishing permanent debt bondage. Eliminating core freedoms at the same time.
A race to the bottom benefits monied interests at the expense of most others. Neoliberal harshness is neo-Malthusianism writ large.
Its holy trinity mandates no public sphere, unrestrained corporate empowerment, and repressive control for phony national security reasons.
For monied interests, it’s the best of all possible worlds. For most others, the worst by far.
Economies are financialized into debt bondage. Ordinary people suffer most. They endure increasing poverty, unemployment, underemployment, homelessness, hunger, depravation and despair.
Governments collude lawlessly with financial crooks. Other corporate predators cash in. Pillaging for profit matters most. So does unchallenged control.
In the 1980s, 187 IMF loans caused horrific poverty, hunger, malnutrition, disease and death for many independent developing countries.
Their growth on average declined 2.2% annually. Per capita income dropped below independence levels.
Debt service required cutting health expenditures by 50%. Education by 25%.
During Mexico’s 1982 debt crisis, wages as well as spending for health, education, and basic infrastructure dropped by half.
Infant mortality tripled. Vital human needs were unmet. Paying bankers matters most.
By 1990, developing nations were worse off, not better. Deeper in debt. It burgeoned. Devaluations followed. Growth declined.
From 1976 to 1982, Latin American borrowing doubled. About 70% of new loans were needed to service old ones.
Yet Article I of the IMF’s Articles of Agreement says it lends:
“to give confidence to members by making the general resources of the Fund temporarily available to them under adequate safeguards, thus providing them with opportunity to correct maladjustments in their balance of payments without resorting to measures destructive of national or international prosperity.”
Its web site says it provides loans to reduce poverty and increase economic development. It lied claiming “(i)n difficult economic times, (it) helps countries protect (their) most vulnerable in a crisis.”
Its mandate is polar opposite. It entraps nations in debt, poverty and depravation. It’s the loan shark of last resort.
Chile under Augusto Pinochet was a model of unfairness. Unfettered capitalism was official policy.
Chileans experienced brave new world harshness. State terror enforced it.
Hardline shock therapy was instituted. It transformed South America’s most vibrant democracy into laissez faire hell.
Coup d’état viciousness ruled. Technocrats ran economic policy. Inflation exploded. In the first year, it hit 375%.
Mass layoffs cost thousands of jobs. Social safety net protections disappeared.
Economic contraction caused mass suffering. Cheap imports flooded the country. Local businesses died.
Free market paradise meant unemployment, poverty, hunger, homelessness, and brutal crackdowns on nonbelievers.
By the late 1980s, nearly half of Chilean households were impoverished. Privileged elites benefitted hugely.
Inequality remains extreme. Chile is one of Latin America’s most unequal societies. Longstanding policies shifted wealth upward.
One percent of the population benefitted greatly. It has over one-third of Chile’s wealth. Inflation adjusted pay for 90% of society declined. It rose 150% for its 1% and 300% for its 0.1%.
Predatory capitalism creates wastelands. Chile remains a model of economic unfairness.
Crony capitalism reflects out-of-control corruption, inequality and injustice. It exploits ordinary people for profit. It robs them of futures.
It works the same way everywhere. Kirshner spoke truth to power. Disturbing ones explained publicly aren’t welcomed.
In the 1980s, ordinary Bolivians suffered hugely under Victor Paz Estenssoro.
Force-fed austerity included wage freezes, lost food subsidies and price controls, oil prices hiked 300%, deep social spending cuts, unrestricted imports, downsized state enterprises, mass privatizations, and sharply higher unemployment.
The decade through the early 1990s saw Latin American debt rise from $110 billion in 1980 to $473 in 1992.
Interest payments tripled. It grew from $6.4 billion to $18.3 billion. Worker livelihoods, health and welfare suffered enormously.
Millions lucky enough to have work endured sub-poverty wages. Corporate predators profited hugely on human misery.
Things replicated globally. From sub-Saharan Africa to Latin America to Russia and Asian Tiger countries in 1997/98.
Looting them turned Asia’s miracle into disaster. The International Labor Organization estimated 24 million lost jobs.
State enterprises were sold at fire sale prices. Western brands replaced local ones. Corporate predators benefitted from what The New York Times called “the world’s biggest going-out-of-business sale.”
Asian workers became human wreckage. IMF scoundrels perpetuate the myth about offering troubled economies help.
Their mandate is plunder for profit. The more the better. No matter the human wreckage caused.
Today’s Greece is a model example. Legitimate rule is absent. Western banker interests come first.
Governance combines travesty, tragedy and shame. Democracy’s birth place spurns it.
Unprincipled disregard for human need continues. It does so at a time of horrific depravation, rampant corruption, prioritized military spending, and paying bankers first.
Transparency International earlier said “Greek people live in a state of ‘corrupt legality.’ ” It’s endemic. It thrives in a culture of impunity.
Oversight is entirely absent. Privileged elites benefit hugely. They hide stolen wealth in offshore tax havens.
Unaccountability lets them get away with what no one should tolerate. Especially at a time of economic crisis and appalling human deprivation.
Force-feeding more pain exacerbates deplorable conditions. Greece is a failed state. A zombie country. Only its obituary remains to be written.
Eurozone membership comes with strings. No country should accept them. They include forgoing rights to:
• to devalue currencies to make exports more competitive;
• sovereignty over members’ own money; and
• expansive fiscal policies to stimulate growth.
Mandated bondage prevents effective counter-cyclical fiscal policies. Growth, stability and human welfare suffer.
Structural adjustment harshness exacerbates conditions. It makes bad situations worse.
It requires new loans to service old ones. Social injustice writ large follows. In December 2001, Argentina bucked systemic unfairness.
It halted all debt payments to domestic and foreign creditors. Months earlier, an IMF loan didn’t help.
Nearly $100 billion in debt was restructured. It was completed in 2005. It was on a take it or leave it basis.
Bondholders had to accept stiff haircuts. Recovering about one-third of invested capital was better than nothing.
In 2010, most holdouts capitulated. They did so on similar terms. From 2003 – 2007, sustained growth followed.
Restructured debt and devaluated currency turned things around. Other troubled economies can recover the same way.
Portugal, Spain, Italy and Greece can do it. Troika EU/ECB/IMF power decides things. Euro straightjacket policy rules. Banker-imposed diktats.
Member countries have no say. Combining 17 dissimilar ones under one monetary/fiscal system assured disaster.
One size fits all rules don’t work. So does paying bankers first. Michael Hudson calls predatory finance “war by non-military means.”
“It’s objective is the same as military conquest.” It’s mainly though privatizations. Selling off state enterprises at fire sale prices.
Eliminating social benefits at the same time. Neoliberal harshness works this way. Predatory bankers run things.
Strip-mining countries for profit is official policy. Ordinary people suffer most.
So-called free market fundamentalism is everywhere. Margaret Thatcher’s dictum applies. “There is no alternative,” she said.
Anti-New World Order ones aren’t tolerated. People are sacrificed for profits. It’s the US-led Western way. It’s the wrong way.
Inside the bubble it’s paradise. Outside it’s neoliberal hell. Kirchner calls it “financial terrorism.”
She urged IMF reform. Vulture funds reigned in. Who are they, she asked? Defaulted bond buyers, she said. For exorbitant profits.
They’re blocking payments to other Argentinian sovereign debt holders. She called them the 92% who accepted restructuring.
“I thus celebrate that the UN General Assembly has faced the issue and hopefully by the next assembly we should have concluded a regulatory framework for sovereign debts, so that no other country has to go through what Argentina” experienced, she said.
“(W)e are going to pay despite the harassment from the vulture funds,” she added.
“Terrorists are not only those putting bombs. (They’re) those who cause misery, poverty and hunger.”
“The great powers change the concept of friend and enemy far too easily.”
She called for independent UN leadership. It’s “the only way we can leave a better world to our children,” she said.
It’s not what Western governments wanted to hear. Or supportive scoundrel media.
They silenced her through non-coverage. Her message is too important to ignore.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. His new book is titled “How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War”. www.claritypress.com/Lendman.html Visit his blog site at www.sjlendman.blogspot.com.