News Release

G-8 and Genoa: Key Issues

As leaders of the G-8 countries gather in Genoa, the following policy analysts are available for interviews:

ELLEN FRANK
Author of the forthcoming book Money Illusion and a professor of economics at Emmanuel College in Boston, Frank said today: “The U.S. is sliding into a recession, Europe is stagnant, Japan is in a depression. Argentina and other major developing countries face debt problems that are insurmountable without a coordinated international response…. We sit on the brink of a serious world economic crisis that will require imaginative and thoroughgoing policy coordination between the major countries. But the political will to undertake such serious action seems nowhere in evidence. The leaders of the G-8 will likely agree to write off a few more billion dollars in already-bad loans to the poorer nations, but they are unlikely to fully address the serious economic issues before us — the collapse of world demand, the irrational and speculative financial system, environmental problems of a global nature.”
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NEIL WATKINS
Coordinator of the World Bank Bond Boycott, Watkins is in Genoa.
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MARA VANDERSLICE
Vanderslice, outreach coordinator of the Jubilee USA Network, said today: “We applaud President Bush and Secretary O’Neill’s support of grants for developing countries instead of loans. They acknowledge exactly what we have been saying — that these countries’ debts are unpayable and the current debt relief initiatives have not gone far enough. All 23 countries that have received debt relief are still paying more on debt service than on health for their citizens. Africa is paying out $13 billion annually in debt service payments, forcing countries there to cut back on health care and education…. Voices for full debt cancellation from the World Bank and IMF have included the bipartisan Meltzer congressional commission and the key Vatican committee on the issue. G-7 nations, which basically control the IMF and World Bank, should have those institutions stop taking the money and cancel the debt now.”
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ADAM TAYLOR
Executive director of Global Justice, a new student organization, Taylor said today: “Bush’s statement that he wants to increase the amount of grants made to developing countries from the World Bank rings hollow since the U.S. gives the least of all the wealthy countries — about 0.1 percent of our GDP goes to foreign assistance. The $200 million pledged by the administration for the UN Global Health Fund so far is a pittance of what is needed and sends the wrong signal to other potential donors. AIDS exposes other deeper inequalities our world is faced with, including a lack of respect for human rights, deepening poverty and debt.”
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PAUL DAVIS
Coordinator of domestic government affairs for the Health Gap Coalition and a member of ACT UP Philadelphia, Davis said today: “At a recent WTO meeting, almost all rich nations joined with the countries of the South in asking the WTO to reform its drug monopoly rules so that affordable generics could quickly become available to address the devastation caused by the AIDS epidemic. The representative of Pope John Paul stated that ‘The law of profit alone cannot be applied to that which is essential for the fight against hunger, disease and poverty. Hence, whenever there is a conflict between property rights, on the one hand, and fundamental human rights and concerns of the common good, on the other, property rights should be moderated…’ Only the U.S. opposed this.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; David Zupan, (541) 484-9167