China has billionaires and Russia , according to Forbes. The area has billionaires, up from a year ago. Meanwhile the US has 10 more billionaires than a year ago but 56 fewer than in The global economic meltdown of the past few years was caused by reckless financial speculation by banks and wealthy investors. But somehow we let them get away with it. We bailed them out with public funds and now, a few years later, the rich are firmly back in the saddle. CEO salaries are on the rise, global banks are making healthy profits, stock markets are booming.
Yet the rich fend off tax increases while governments axe public spending and tell the rest of us to pull in our belts. Patreon is a platform that enables us to offer more to our readership. New Internationalist is a lifeline for activists, campaigners and readers who value independent journalism. It is free to read online — please support us so we can keep it that way.
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About us Ethical shop. The No-Nonsense Guide to Globalization. In their important book, The Spirit Level , authors Richard Wilkerson and Kate Pickett, show a clear link between rising inequality, social disintegration and a whole host of associated ills — from higher infant mortality rates to higher rates of violence and reduced life expectancies. It seems to me we have a choice to make if we want to change things for the better in this world. You can count on one thing: Carlos Slim is not going to lead the charge. Help us produce more like this Patreon is a platform that enables us to offer more to our readership.
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Requiem 4 Grenfell. Why natural disasters are not natural. There was some debt cancellation in and , but there were also massive new debts in response to the global financial crisis. As a result, the latest figures are bound to be even higher. This gave the World Bank and IMF a degree of control that even the most despotic of colonial regimes rarely achieved.
In nations as far apart as former Yugoslavia, Rwanda and Peru, the privations suffered in the name of debt repayments lay concealed behind outbreaks 59 Debt and structural adjustment of violent civil unrest. But the HIPC initiative has a checkered history.
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Most of these countries continue to spend more on debt service than on public health. A study by the Washington-based group, Development Gap, looked at the impact of SAPs on more than 70 African and Asian countries during the early s.
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The study concluded that the longer a country operates under structural adjustment, the worse its debt burden becomes. In Africa, external debt has more than quadrupled since the Bank and the IMF began managing national economies through structural adjustment. In Angola, where the average person lives to 42 years of age and 12 per cent of all babies die at birth, debt payments 60 are nearly five times greater than spending on healthcare. In the late s, half of all primary-school-age children in Africa were not in school yet governments spent four times more on debt payments than they spent on health and education.
Sub-Saharan Africa has just 1.
In , Ecuador spent 12 per cent of its GDP on debt service compared to 2. A year later, when a new government decided to direct oil money towards social spending, the IMF and World Bank balked. SAPs may not have put Third World countries back on a steady economic keel but they have certainly helped undermine democracy in those nations.
Critics call it a new form of colonialism. The institution can actually become an interest group itself, 61 Debt and structural adjustment concerned with maintaining its position and advancing its power.
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The institutions are not representative of the nations they serve. But especially so in the South, where there are far fewer dollars to spend: debt has become a major brake on development. In , 52 developing countries spent more on debt service than on public health. Ten spent more on debt service than on education. Dissenting voices With the break-up of the Soviet Union and the boom times of the early years of the new millennium the triumph of capitalism seemed complete.
But with the great financial meltdown that began in late that victory is no longer so certain. Nonetheless, memories are short. Deficit fetishism is on the rise, even as unemployment hits record levels. What is certain is that structural adjustment is an integral part of a globalized economy. Indeed, SAPs make sense when seen through the lens of an economic globalization that puts the economy ahead of people, rather than the other way round.
People in the South are resisting structural adjustment through violent opposition and grassroots 62 organizing. Protest too is coming from the millions uprooted by World Bank mega-projects, particularly the building of huge hydroelectric dams. Opposition to free trade is on the rise. Many are calling for reform. Others are going much farther and demanding the outright abolition of these agencies and a complete restructuring of the global economic system. The most jarring aspects of travel today are not the cultural differences — though thankfully those still exist — but the commercial similarities.
Increasingly, where we travel to feels more and more like the place we just left. Young people use the same mobile phones, drink the same soft drinks, smoke the same cigarettes, wear identical branded clothing, play the same computer games, watch the same Hollywood films and listen to the same Western pop music. As corporations market the consumer dream of wealth and glamor, local cultures around the world are marginalized and devalued.
The vast, earth-straddling companies dominate global trade in everything from computers and pharmaceuticals to insurance, banking and cinema. Their holdings are so numerous and so Byzantine that it is often impossible to trace the chain of ownership. Even so, it is estimated that a third of all trade in the international economy results from shuffling goods between branches of the same corporation.