Erle Frayne D. Argonza

The world watches as the director of the International Monetary Fund or IMF, Strauss-Kahn, was arrested for rape case. As the case proceeds, talks have been circulating concerning the reform of the IMF, with the option of enlarging the voting powers of the developing countries in it.

Reforming the IMF for this long-time development worker and analyst isn’t the option. Knowing the IMF as a harbinger of cruel austerity measures on debt-burdened member countries, the option for me is the closure of this inutile bank.

IMF conditionalities, imposed upon member countries that are on IMF programs via ‘letters of intent’, have resulted to appalling pauperism on the debt-burdened countries themselves. Studies done in the 1980s and 90s have shown that many countries put under the IMF programs declined in incomes to as low as half of their previous GDPs or gross domestic products.

The same studies have also shown that wherever the IMF made its presence so strong, more people slide down below the poverty line. Often than not, these were struggling developing countries or DCs such as the Philippines that have been under IMF programs for many decades. Today European countries such as Greece are among the IMF guinea pigs for austerity, and already wages were slashed by 30% as part of the austerity measures.

The IMF, in reality, is an ensurer for the stakes of global financiers whose have installed their puppet technocrats to the echelon of the bank. That it is always headed by a European, notably French, is testimony to the nature of the IMF as a criminal bank that legitimizes the lootings by European financier oligarchs of currencies and assets, legitimized via enforced liberalization, privatization, and deregulation policies.

It used to be the sole definer as to whether a DC can qualify for new rounds of IOUs from western creditors. The latter, acting as a syndicated group, would then compel debtors to pay the loans at unreasonably usurious rates, which alone guarantees that the same DC debtors will be so burdened with debts their fiscal health will falter for a long time to come.

Low fiscal health, high debts, and low foreign exchange reserves are then used as yardsticks by investors to decide against investing in the affected DCs. Those foreign companies that are already inside the DCs concerned, may decide against diversifying investments or even pull out their investments altogether.

Knowing the dire impacts of IMF programs on my own country, and likewise knowledgeable about IMF’s thuggish reversals of development trends in other countries, I can only but fume with contempt every time I think of this criminal organization. Not only should the IMF be foreclosed, its leaders should be criminalized and punished, while its assets be redistributed back to the member countries.

There is no room for this predatory bank in the new multipolar global economy emerging. Close it down before its too late that more countries will experience grinding poverty among its masses due to the predator’s policies.

[Philippines, 18 May 2011]
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