The World Bank and The International Monetary Fund

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Through loans, often to governments whose constituents suffer the most under the global economy, and "structural adjustment" policies, the World Bank (WB) International Monetary Fund (IMF) has kept most nations of the global south in poverty. Conditions on accepting loans ensure open market access for corporations while cutting social spending on programs such as education, health care and production credits for poor farmers.

Created after World War II to help avoid Great Depression-like economic disasters, the World Bank and the IMF are the world's largest public lenders, with the Bank managing a total portfolio of $200 billion and the Fund supplying member governments with money to overcome short-term credit crunches.

But when the IMF and the WB lend money to debtor countries, the money comes with strings attached. These strings come in the form of policy prescriptions called "structural adjustment policies." These policies—or SAPs, as they are sometimes called—require debtor governments to open their economies to penetration by foreign corporations, allowing access to the country's workers and environment at bargain basement prices.
 
Structural adjustment policies mean across-the-board privatization of public utilities and publicly owned industries. They mean the slashing of government budgets, leading to cutbacks in spending on health care and education. They mean focusing resources on growing export crops for industrial countries rather than supporting family farms and growing food for local communities. And, as their imposition in country after country in Latin America, Africa, and Asia has shown, they lead to deeper inequality and environmental destruction.
 

 
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