new photo blog

i started this blog in 2006, and it's shifted along with my interests through the years. it's been witness to a lot of learning for me...

still, i feel that i need a home for my photography -- so from now on, i'll be posting my pictures on the journal on my reworked website. if you like my photos, you might decide to follow me there!

my first post is here -- check it out!

as for this blog, i'm not sure what will happen. i don't think i'm willing to let it go, and certainly i'll keep it as an archive, but i need some time to figure it out.

for those of you that pop in from time to time, thanks for the visits and encouragement.

Friday, June 10, 2011

johann hari: it's not just dominique strauss-kahn. the IMF itself should be on trial

at the independent:


so when in 2001 the imf found out the malawian government had built up large stockpiles of grain in case there was a crop failure, they ordered them to sell it off to private companies at once. they told malawi to get their priorities straight by using the proceeds to pay off a loan from a large bank the imf had told them to take out in the first place, at a 56 per cent annual rate of interest. the malawian president protested and said this was dangerous. but he had little choice. the grain was sold. the banks were paid.

the next year, the crops failed. the malawian government had almost nothing to hand out. the starving population was reduced to eating the bark off the trees, and any rats they could capture. the bbc described it as malawi’s “worst ever famine.” there had been a much worse crop failure in 1991-2, but there was no famine because then the government had grain stocks to distribute. so at least a thousand innocent people starved to death.

at the height of the starvation, the imf suspended $47m in aid, because the government had ‘slowed’ in implementing the marketeering ‘reforms’ that had led to the disaster. actionaid, the leading provider of help on the ground, conducted an autopsy into the famine. they concluded that the imf “bears responsibility for the disaster.”
then, in the starved wreckage, malawi did something poor countries are not supposed to do. they told the imf to get out. suddenly free to answer to their own people rather than foreign bankers, malawi disregarded all the imf’s ‘advice’, and brought back subsidies for the fertiliser, along with a range of other services to ordinary people. within two years, the country was transformed from being a beggar to being so abundant they were supplying food aid to uganda and zimbabwe.

the malawian famine should have been a distant warning cry for you and me. subordinating the interests of ordinary people to bankers and speculators caused starvation there. within a few years, it had crashed the global economy for us all.



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