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Friday, 21 April, 2000, 11:38 GMT 12:38 UK
Poor economics?

As leading financial organisations meet in Washington, protesters say the 'globalisation' of the world economy is harming developing countries.

Organisations like the IMF say they understand those concerns and that their objective is to tackle poverty across the world.

What do you think? Are the world's economic priorities all wrong? Are developing countries suffering because of plans imposed by global financial organisations? Or are those organisations applying sound economic principles, that in the long term will benefit everyone?

HAVE YOUR SAY Anyone who does not see beyond the well orchestrated hypocrisy of the money mandarins of Wall Street and the City of London in their use of their "brokerage institutions"- The World Bank and the IMF, in perpetuating financial imperialism on the rest of the world is simply naive. How can anyone fathom the meaning of such help which renders countries more impoverished than they were before the help?
Larry Eyong-Echaw, Southern Cameroon

If Tony Blair plans to dump Prudence Brown - perhaps he would me - Reckless Ricky - run the economy. Europe would soon breathe easy as I would single handily revive the fortunes of the Euro - while driving the Pound into cowering submission below the mighty French Franc!
Richard, UK

Everyone has a choice about joining the world economy. I personally don't have to buy the latest gadget whether it be a mobile phone, CD, DVD, designer clothes, Dish washer or even a car. I do admit to buying the odd bicycle puncture repair kit but I don't think this adds much to globalisation. I spend a large proportion of my income on providing cataract operations in India and penicillin for Charitable Hospitals overseas. If I lose my job tomorrow I'll manage. I don't need to join the rat race and neither does anyone else.
Anthony, England

Unless profits are available people won't work

John B, UK
I believe in global capitalism but it should have some restraints. I am sick to death of dealing with the commercial behemoths who refuse to even talk to me. When I call them, navigate my way through so many automated choices until finally some lackey deigns to talk to me, said lackey has no authority to do anything other than tell me why I am being charged for a service I may not even be receiving. Unless profits are available people won't work, but let's remember where the profits are coming from and, when profits reach all-time highs, perhaps look at cutting prices?
John B, UK

Globalisation is the future. Good thing of course! But to impose economic regimes to the third world is a shame for us. Can't people see that because of those measures of commerce thousands of children are dying every day?
Panos, Greece

The IMF and the WB have put the developing countries under great economic stress. The dwindling economies of the developing countries have touched the bottom line due to hard line policies of these institutions. The poorer are getting poorer. The unethical and cruel policies of these donor agencies are literally killing the people and have done them more harm than good. The Developed countries should come forward in solving the ever-increasing miseries of people of the developing countries by reducing the debt burden on them.
Gohar Latif, Pakistan

They do not have to show consideration by scrapping debts but they should scrap debt as their moral duty as humans.

Ruchit Mehta, India
The world does have it's economics wrong. The third world countries are just caught in a terrible situation. They pay interest to the few rich, while they could keep on using that money for self-development. We use money for defence, new weapons, to fight wars. But we do not spend for heath, food, for saving human life. The rich are too rich. They do not have to show consideration by scrapping debts but they should scrap debt as there moral duty as human's.
Ruchit Mehta, India

Get real! International frontiers are an outdated concept. Technology will drive globalisation whether the bleeding hearts like it or not. Best thing most of them could do is stop whining and put in a day's work.
Graham, Philippines

Global free trade would benefit everyone in the world through cheaper goods and greater demand for them. The way to have global free trade isn't through bureaucrats and governments deciding who can trade what, when and how much, it's for them to get out of the economics business and free every citizen of the planet to trade with any other citizen they want to trade with.
Mike Holmes, Scotland

If only the IMF and WTO were exporting Thatcherism, i.e. freedom, to the world.

Peter, Australia
If only the IMF and WTO were exporting Thatcherism, i.e. freedom, to the world. When will these silly do-gooders realise that it is governments in developing countries that are the problem. Go to any third world country and you can bet your bottom dollar that the government there is causing the starvation, the war, the poverty and the lack of opportunity. Government is a health hazard.
Peter, Australia

Few people are aware of the direct connection between the IMF and the collapse of the Rwandan economy or the Yugoslav economy. The IMF "lends" money to "countries" (i.e. governments) under strict terms. This always involves the lowering of wages, the reduction in public spending and the increased access for foreign "investors".
It is absurd to think that the population of a country should suffer at the hands of foreign creditors when pro-west leaders actually borrowed the cash, like in Indonesia for example. As we now know Rwanda and Yugoslavia collapsed socially during 90s, but it was IMF's structural adjustments in the decade preceding that ignited these fires.
Hugh Gleaves, UK

I see at first hand the way that such global companies wield enormous power often beyond that of most countries.

Tim Eldridge, UK
I work for one of the 10 largest companies in the world - I see at first hand the way that such global companies wield enormous power often beyond that of most countries. The days of a state's sovereignty are numbered.
The two monsters of 21st century life will be the global financial markets and the global multi-media circus. However these ugly sisters will not marry the prince who comes to save us!!! That'll be the world wide church that will sooner or later get a wake up call and emerge as the largest organisation on the planet. Then global capitalism, media and greed will give way to the rule of Christ.
Tim Eldridge, UK

I agree with those who say Globalisation is irreversible. Those who are now in charge of Planet Earth have finally achieved the goals which have taken well over a century to succeed. It is they who will decide who works and at what wage; where factories will be located preferably in the lowest wages countries; what the wealthy countries will pay the under-developed nations for their raw materials. We can thank President George Bush who told the entire world, "What WE say goes." This arrogance did not cause any outrage over here as all we saw were fools waving flags in support.
Steve Block, USA

I have no problem with there being institutions such as the IMF or World Bank. However, I see no evidence of localised economies being encouraged within the poorer countries, all I can see is people being tied to mono cash cropping to supply the wealthy countries.
If we aren't going to forgive the debts of these countries and assist them to fully integrate into the global economy, at least we should help them to develop sustainable local economies. Much more money has been lost, by the greedy, on the stock markets in the last few days than is owed by poor debtor countries, we will recover from both.
Tom, Australia

The world economic system, in the guise of the IMF, the World Bank and now the WTO are causing immense suffering and poverty amongst the poorest people in the world, and have done since their formation. Instead of asking bankers, economists and politicians whether these institutions are a good idea, why not ask organisations such as OXFAM or Christian Aid? They could explain the true impact of these institutions' policies on the poor.
Patrick, UK

Business Competitive warfare could be the economic terrorism and wars of the future.

Pearl Morrison, US/UK
Globalisation, open markets, and unregulated business poses two threats:
1. To permanently establish a money-power-base which nullifies democracy and individual inalienable rights of man.
2. Globalised open-market competition is a reason for efficiencies gained through human rights abuses, exploitations, and domination and control of absolute-power.
Unregulated global open/free-market businesses would very soon gain power enabling them to hold governments to ransom for business demands and to eliminate individual's rights for all but the very rich and/or business elite. Business Competitive warfare could be the economic terrorism and wars of the future.
Pearl Morrison, US/UK

Globalisation of economy is good for everybody. All of us will be in the same ship. If stocks in New York fall, stocks fall everywhere. If economy booms, that will lead to a global equilibrium not just ripples! Trade will improve. Even though in the short term, developing countries do suffer, in the long run, developing countries will have enormous opportunities. Software and India is a good example who got benefited because of globalisation of IT industry. If you listen to demonstrators in New York, we all will go back to old USSR kind of isolated economy, where people do not have food to eat. Isolated and localised economy is very dangerous, which hampers growth for common man.
V.V. Srinivasu, Japan/India

Economics for the betterment of the international trade are studied and planned. When the governments of the trading agreements have balance then the plan for the import and export is fair. To plan the balance of the international trade requires a meeting of representatives from the interested countries of commerce. No one is free to collect funds for goods that are not customed to approval. Now we wait for international agreement of trade.
Catharine Hannover, England

The World Bank and the IMF are necessary institutions to provide the means for people to develop.

Dave, USA
Economic progress always involves harming those at the bottom of the economy. It doesn't matter if you're talking about the poor people of a country, or the poor countries of the world. The World Bank and the IMF are necessary institutions to provide the means for people to develop. They have a very hard job to do, and there are bound to be decisions that people disagree with.
At the same time the protesters are just as necessary to make sure that the job is done in the right way. If these organisations are doing the wrong thing enough public pressure can make it change. A balance between these two sides needs to be reached so that we can truly help those who need it. And we have to be grown up enough to realise that no matter how much we try, no matter how good our intentions, someone, a lot of someone's are going to suffer.
Dave, USA

I think that in today's world of easy travel, diminishing borders and internet communication....Globalisation is an established fact. The clock cannot be turned back, whether we want it to or not. The I.M.F. and the World Bank are living proof of the Global Village that we all inhabit. But, in the economic history of the world they are new players and they represent change, which is seldom a popular concept!
I do believe, based on what I have read of their current policies and future objectives, that given a period of time these policies should help both poorer nations and developed ones. I do think that we should give both of these bodies are chance and a little more time.
Does anybody else have a better alternative? The poor have always been with us, but we just get to see the poverty and disease in our living rooms now, and it is uncomfortable sight.
Pat van der Veer, Canada

Absolutely true, they're all wrong. The IMF's task is to "tackle poverty"? Sure, about as much as oil companies want people to use alternative energy sources. The West and the first world, all democratic nations, have gone from advocating democracy to advocating mere global commerce without regard to what happens outside the first world, Cuba and China are fine examples.
As long as commerce flows, no one cares what happens to the people in the country in question. It's all set up to benefit corporations and the government leaders who have a symbiotic relationship with the corporations. The people, environment, etc, are at best an afterthought.
Stephen Kenney, USA

The advantage of fair trade with poorer countries is a moral one, which in the short term is going to be a disadvantage to us

Matt Evans, UK living in US
Let's face it - the vast majority of politicians are only interested in changes that will occur within their political careers, so they can reap the rewards. This is the limit to their horizons. The advantage of fair trade with poorer countries is a moral one, which in the short term is going to be a disadvantage to us. No politician is going to agree to something that would make us less competitive with other rich countries. Especially when politics is as corrupt as it is, and especially when it is businesses, whose donations fund political parties, who are going to suffer the most. This is the truth, as sickening as it may be. The balance hangs towards the west, and it is not going to change because we enjoy its benefits.
Matt Evans, UK living in US

It concerns me that the G7 are very influential in determining fiscal policy for the world, and we have the likes of one Gordon Brown sat there acting as a mentor for the process.
This being the man that the IMF have recently criticised for delivering an inflationary budget (which he effectively responded to advise that they did not know what they were talking about), and he also called into question the credentials of a major financial consultant who had raised much the same question a short time before. Brown doesn't understand simple economics, heaven help us with him tinkering with world fiscal matters.
Andrew, UK

I have worked very hard to gain the life style I now live. I have been very shrewd with certain business decisions I have made, most of which involves an amount of moving production to the third world. This gives the third world people a chance to work and keeps my wife and I in the manner that we have become accustomed to. These protests are just pure jealousy of the successful people of this world. Why shouldn't I increase my profit by using all the worlds' resources to my benefit?
Robert Newman, United Kingdom

This new trend is here to stay. We are doomed to supply the rich with their ever improving life style, while us low lives work our fingers to the bone. I am unhappy with the way things are, I can't imagine how I'd feel if I lived in the third world. Pure hate I guess. Spread the wealth is my message, but no one in power will listen.
Mark Reilly, USA (from UK)

Globalisation is harming people in both the developed and developing countries.

Steve Mac, England
Globalisation is harming people in both the developed and developing countries. People in the west are losing their jobs and people in the developing countries are being used for slave labour for various products while their standard of living fails to improve. The only winners of globalisation are MDs of large corporate bodies. Surely the great knowledge we have today can be used to help everyone of the world live a good life, not just a few fat cats who think of no one but themselves.
Steve Mac, England

Would people please understand that the bulk of the protesters at Seatle/Davos and now Washington, do not oppose so called globalisation per se, but in particular what it is that's being globalised -Thatcherism.
Tim Boustead, UK

I agree with the protesters mainly in that the global economy seems to benefit the people with money to invest. This seems to be a problem everywhere not only in developing countries - the rich get richer the poor get shafted in the main. In Australia there was an interesting theory, called the trickle down effect. What this supposedly meant if the rich got richer the poor got less poor surprisingly it didn't seem to work!
R.R.A. Scott, Australia

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16 Apr 00 | Business
G7 'bright' on global economy
15 Apr 00 | Asia-Pacific
G7 focus on Japan

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