Friday, 20 January 2012
IMF - chutzpah or blether?
Here's the Guardian's report on today's IMF Chutzpah report:
'With more than 200 million people currently unemployed around the world, the call to action said policymakers should "address youth and long-term unemployment to provide decent work prospects, along with country-specific structural reforms that are fairly implemented to achieve faster growth. Through dialogue, labour market reforms can be agreed that can both raise employment levels and ease fiscal adjustment."
It added: "Boosting jobs and investing in human capital is the most promising way of tackling inequality. We support the work of the ILO and others in assisting governments to examine realistic policy options, including cost-effective social policies to cushion the most vulnerable from adversity. Investment should target skills and education and thus equip people for the future.
"Rising inequality calls for heightened consideration of more inclusive models of growth. We must deliver tangible improvements in material living standards and greater social cohesion."
The call for action urged governments to resist the temptation to resort to trade barriers in an attempt to safeguard jobs. "Countries must reaffirm that none will resort to growth-destroying protectionism and demonstrate that trade restrictions introduced in response to the economic crisis will be rolled back."'
This had me gasping.
First the horrific figure of 200 million people unemployed. That's 200 million people deliberately taken out of earning money, deliberately taken out of production because capitalists have no other way of organising the making of things. They produce so many goods and work so hard competing with each other to produce them at less and less cost (lower wages, more 'productive' machinery) that in the end, there aren't enough people with enough money to buy the goods. So they start destroying 'capital' - closing factories, laying off people.
Of course none of this has anything to do with what we need in terms of food, housing, clothes, energy supplies, transport, health care, education and useful goods and services. 200 million people are laid off because that's the only way this system can think of to keep itself profitable. That's 200 million people in poverty or worse. Capitalists think that unemployment is part of the solution to their problem. No. It IS the problem.
Now the IMF is a longtime proponent of this system and has in the past forced its way into countries, demanded that their public services (healthcare,education, care for the elderly, social housing) be slashed so that firms coming in can be profitable. Governments, hungry for money - often to run wars - have taken their loans and forced the people to accept these 'packages'.
And now they're posing as some kind of Keynesian angels, wittering on about 'social cohesion' and the dangers of inequality...what am I saying, 'Keynesian'?! - they're posing as commies. They're calling for 'investing in human capital'! That's what you and I call 'education and training'. They're calling for 'cost-effective social policies' - that's stuff like housing, disability and unemployment benefits - which most countries are slashing to bits because the bankers (and the governments who love them) have been straining every muscle to claim that the cause of the crisis is...er....'social polices' ie the 'deficit' - that's the money that governments spend...on...er...'cost-effective social policies' and...er...'investment in human capital'!
In other words, all this is contradictory, hypocritical blether.