News Release

Critics — Some Unexpected — of IMF and World Bank

Critics of the IMF and World Bank include Jeffrey Sachs, director of the Harvard Institute for International Development and an advisor to countries around the world. Today he told “Inside Capital” that the IMF, “with the very heavy backing of the U.S. government, really tries to run countries all over the world, and they don’t do a very good job of it.” Also, the former World Bank chief economist Joseph Stiglitz, now at the Brookings Institution, has written a New Republic piece quite critical of the IMF.

Here are other critics of the IMF and World Bank, available for interviews:

MARIE DENNIS
Chair of the Religious Working Group on the World Bank & IMF, a coalition of 45 organizations, Dennis said today: “This is a Jubilee year. It’s a Biblical concept, explicitly referred to in Leviticus and Isaiah but underpinning much of Scripture. It’s a call for a Sabbath, when business as usual stops, when people are allowed back to their land, when those imprisoned by debt or in prison are set free, when the earth is allowed to rest and things are set straight again. Following this tradition, we are calling for a cancellation of the burden on heavily indebted countries.”

TREVOR NGWANE
Representative of Soweto in the Town Council of Johannesburg, Ngwane said today: “The ordinary American citizen is not aware that the policies of the World Bank and IMF are anti-poor and anti-working class. Their structural adjustment policies discourage government spending on social welfare and demand the commodification of essential services like water, electricity and education. When the ANC government took over, we had a policy that every citizen was entitled to 50 liters of water per day since during apartheid many people did not have the water they needed. The World Bank said no, they said there should be user fees for water and advocated outhouses instead, but the water table is high and the soil is porous — the World Bank plan would have had disastrous health effects. Only through protests were we able to stop it. In South Africa, our vision was to make education free, but the World Bank came with this idea that the user must pay, so schools are being forced to charge. This year, due to budget constraints, the government stopped funding kindergarten.”
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ORONTO DOUGLAS
Co-author of the forthcoming Where Vultures Feast: Forty Years of Shell in the Niger Delta, Douglas was one of the Nigerian lawyers for Ken Saro Wiwa, an activist who was executed in 1995 by Nigeria’s military dictatorship because of his opposition to Shell’s drilling. Douglas, who is deputy director of Environmental Rights Action, said today: “In Nigeria, through structural adjustment policies, the IMF and World Bank have wiped out the middle class, destroyed our educational system, impoverished the people and been a source of pain in our country. What we have right now is a tiny cabal of extremely rich people and millions of people who are extremely poor. This was not the case before the IMF and World Bank started tinkering with our economy.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy: Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020

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