Posted tagged ‘international organizations’


May 27, 2008

Erle Frayne Argonza y Delago

Plans are now afoot at merging the World Bank and the IMF, the two economic pillars of the post-war alliance of nations to foster cooperation and development. They came straight out of the Breton Woods agreement, and were rightly called the ‘Breton Woods Agencies’ then.

The merger is among the responses of the technocratic-financier-political elites of the North to the crashing global economy. The ‘virtual economy’ based on financier speculation and worthless bubbles, or otherwise ‘casino economy’ of the wealthy, had burst so badly. The implosion of the financial system had seen the closure of big banks and the alarming loses of others most specially those that had enormous exposures to the subprime realty market in the USA.

The question is whether this merger is really the appropriate response to a system problem. Many experts and quarters the world over have been clamoring, since way back 1990s yet, for the convening of a ‘new Breton Woods’ and the institution of a new global financial architecture. I was among these experts on the Philippine side, and many of us are inside government as executives and legislators.

However, an IMF-World Bank merger is farthest from our mind. The IMF particularly has this notoriety for prescribing shock treatment on economies in crisis, particularly the developing countries or DCs, that do not at all mitigate the long term impact of structural problems. On the contrary, the austerity pills of the IMF were shown to have caused further contraction, depression, and deterioration of once thriving emerging markets.

Let’s face it, the IMF and World Bank are largely the institutional agents of the global financial cartels. They do not represent the true interest of sovereign nation states, do not exercise any accountability at all except to the financier sponsors behind the backs of the IMF-World Bank boards and leadership, and are instruments to encumber nations into perpetual debt peonage. The IMF-World Bank group represents the forces aimed at destroying sovereign nation-states and no less.

The North does not have a monopoly of wisdom in salving the ailments of the global economy, and so we peoples of the south  may just have to push for actions that would see how the catastrophic impact of the global economic implosion will be mitigated. Let the OECD propel their own oligarchs’ self-aggrandizing actions, while we patriots of the South move on to save our people, nations, environments and institutions from further predatory onslaughts by the greedy global oligarchs.

The IMF-World Bank merger is a hideous monstrosity. Be forewarned!

[Writ 26 May 2008, Quezon City, MetroManila]


May 19, 2008

Erle Frayne Argonza y Delago

Callous! Mad and utterly callous up to the end!

This is what I can say of the praetorian leaders of Burma. The country has been clearly devastated by the powerful typhoon that razed through the Irrawady area recently, killing past the 100,000 death mark as of a couple of days ago. Humanitarian work had almost halted as the praetorians have focused their efforts more on preparing the electorate for the democratization process and forthcoming polls.

Sure, there is no lack of merit for democratizing Burma and widen the political stream to include state players from among the other competing political parties and interest groups. But to over-focus on  vote-gaining democratization issues at a time of catastrophe, contingency and national mourning for the dead escapes our comprehension and will only lead to a cul de sac of greater catastrophe. For sure the great men U Thant and Aung San must be squirming in their graves right now.   

By ‘more catastrophe’ we don’t only mean deaths on the victims. We mean that, after the typhoon relief tasks are over, and the country indeed moves on to that phase of public choice of new political forces and leaders, the military will be crashed by its own callousness in the relief operations days. Then, unwilling to admit the results of the polls, the praetorians would again move on to crash legitimate efforts to replace the military in power.

Sad! How tragic and sad are the affairs of life in Burma. This once citadel of growth right after Britain left the country in cognition of its full sovereignty, turned into a developmental nightmare of unfathomable poverty when the praetorians took over power through the might of the gun.

“Political power comes from the barrel of the gun,” Mao once declared. Following such a dictum, we may add that “perpetual violence from the barrel of the gun causes more vicious cycles of misery.” That’s my line, fellows, and I’m citing the dictum based on experiences in my own country and elsewhere wherever ceaseless violence happens: more misery and economic collapse.

Meantime, we can only hope that the international pressures on the Burmese praetorians to open up the gates for humanitarian work by international players will be heeded. Strategically, in the long run, the ASEAN may have to equip itself with a regional armed force that can serve as equalizer against any tyrannically abusive political group—topped by the Burmese praetorians and the Khmer Rouge—that only knows how to bring down their respective country to graveyard status after centuries of glorious High Culture and greatness.   

[Writ 19 May 2008, Quezon City, MetroManila]