Any proponent of Charles Darwin’s “Theory of evolution” would agree that any evolutionary process inevitably peaked. In our case, the evolutionary process seems to have peaked as it relates to behavior and mentality. Having conquered or subdued nature and a myriad of other challenges, humanity is now regressing toward a revamped feudalism, with multinational corporations and wealthy individuals as the new Lords, even though the need for a new thinking in matters of social justice and economic opportunities is becoming more and evident. This regression can be traced to the aftermath of WWII, when the great powers, aware of the fact that the war started over territorial conquests, adopted a new system meant to prevent such recurrence. Fittingly, the inviolability of a country’s territory is theoretically guaranteed under the U.N Charter, while its political and economic autonomy subordinated to the interests of international finance, with the IMF and World Bank as enforcers.
Since the 16th century during which the notion of modern-states was consolidated in Europe, it seemed that worldwide prosperity was an achievable dream, despite slavery and colonialism. Naturally, the road was fraught with uncertainties because feudalism was an entrenched concept at odds with the notion of national governments being the supreme arbiter and dispenser of social justice. With incremental reforms and sporadic revolts against the status quo, spanning centuries, the great nations of Europe, among them Britain, France and Germany, somewhat managed to achieve the dream, through a balanced partnership between governments and the private sector. Today, the European system of social justice and economic prosperity, although imperfect, remains second to none.
Naturally, the newly independent nations that either liberated themselves from or were artificial creation of colonial rule in the 19th and 20th centuries adopted the system of governments being the center of the new order; unfortunately, most of them have been struggling with the concept. Many countries adopted socialism, which revolved around governments being the sole creator and distributor of wealth, and failed. Others never got to establish the required structures for an efficient and responsible national government, as always been the case with Haiti and Africa; unavoidably they experienced political chaos and other intractable social ills. Out of this dilemma, the IMF and World Bank, two institutions created at the end of WWII on the same principles that facilitated colonial rule, became the overseers of development in the Third World. With the rather benign purpose of aiding undeveloped countries achieving prosperity as their motto, these two institutions engaged in subterfuges that masked their true purpose as agents in charge of perpetuating colonial rule under an assumed vision.
Under the IMF/World Bank dominated system, national governments in the Third World are merely caretakers in charge of implementing the one-system-fits-all economic policy formulated by supranational bureaucrats, regardless of a country’s needs and cultural idiosyncrasies. Once a country becomes too indebted and cannot fulfill its obligations to its creditors, it has no other choice but accepting the harsh conditions of the IMF and the World Bank. Acting as guarantors of the country’s debts, the IMF and World Bank would impose onerous stipulations under a so-called Structural Adjustment Program that not only dilute the recipient’s sovereignty but also sink it deeper into debts.
Only a small number of countries, because of their sizes or aversion to diktats, managed to escape the IMF/World Bank’s overpowering grip, while the rest, too insignificant to protest, became perfect victims of the scam. As condition to extending loans to a country, privatization of its economy is required; national assets ordered sold to local investors, acting as front men to foreigners, only to be close later. More ominously, spending on education, the environment, health care, and other basic infrastructures, which could set a country on a path of self-reliance, is discouraged or in many cases forbidden under the Structural Adjustment Program.
A stark example is Haiti. Despite the abject misery engulfing most of the country, IMF and the World Bank have put Haiti on a financial diet that prevents the government from spending on public projects, which could alleviate its high unemployment and reduce poverty. Under strict recommendations of the IMF/World Bank’s supranational bureaucrats, the country’s government cannot subsidize national production of goods deemed essential to the survival of its population. During the dictatorial reign of Gerard Latortue (2004-06), imposed and supported by the international community, Haiti’s labor laws, a cornerstone of social stability, were systematically weakened or changed to fit the designs of the IMF and World Bank, putting the country on a collision course with perpetual instability and dependency. That is the reality facing Haiti, which would remain destitute, unless it adopts another approach to development, an unlikely prospect because the country may have run out of choices.
When confronted with the prospect of instant or delay gratification, most people invariably chose the former, an inclination that has been the mantra guiding humans since time immemorial.. Because of the adverse effects of the IMF/World Bank’s policies on a recipient country’s population, even well-intentioned governments become illegitimate in the eyes of their people. Therefore, it could be said that the policies of the twin pillars of international finance (IMF and World) Bank are geared toward promoting instability that could be used to justify military intervention on behalf of the New Order. Haiti is just the tip of the iceberg.