Jordan is broke, thanks to falling tax revenues due to tax avoidance and low taxes on the super-rich, and the country is seeking to bridge the gap in its finances by borrowing from the International Monetary Fund, which backed a bill that imposed crushing cuts on public services to ensure that money could be found to pay back Jordan's creditors.
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The people of Greece have rejected the debt-finance terms offered by the "troika" (European Central Bank, IMF, European Commission), which would have required the country to slash its social services as a condition of continued loans to support the debt that previous governments amassed in the runup to the 2008 crisis. Read the rest
In The Independent, Johann Hari describes the IMF's catastrophic pattern of "helping" poor countries by ordering them to abolish programs that help people so that the financial sector can take home more money. Hari suggests that while Dominique Strauss-Kahn's rape accusation needs to be taken seriously, the IMF has been raping whole countries for its whole existence.
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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.