Initiative against Economic Globalization - Prague 2000
issued on the occasion of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund summit in Prague
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About twenty thousand of the world's bankers, economists and investors will arrive on 26. - 28. September 2000 to Prague in order to take part in the 55th Annual Meetings of the World Bank Group (WB) and the Board of Governers of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). This prestigious event of the global economic elite, the first one of its kind in the Central East Europe, is of a special importance. The delegates will gather so as to propose the scheme of the complete liberalization of the global economy, which they present as a single instrument for the solution of the world's problems.
We do not endorse this opinion. On the contrary, we consider the economomic globalization as well as the policy of WB and IMF as a major cause of the serious problems of today's world and not as a chance for the majority of mankind living in destitute or as an opportunity for the deflection of the global environmental crisis. This summit is a challenge to those who are concerned about the destiny of today's world. For IMF and WB influence it negatively for more than 50 years. In this connection we remind that the summit will cost at least 935 million crowns from the public money which are desperately needed in the social programs, healthcare, education, environmental protection, etc.
In the process of economic globalization which involves progressive curtailment of the state influence upon the circulation of transnational capital play both institutions crucial roles. By means of its economic policy does IMF as well as WB and its groups open the developing countries (among which they count with regard to its GNP also the Czech Republic) to the foreign investors and their speculative interests. IMF and WB openly acknowledge that they are led only by the economic regards and thus willingly support various authoritative or dictatorial regimes. No wonder these institutions are not democratic themselves - the decission rights of single members depend upon amount of invested money according to the principle "more dollars, more votes."
Within the framework of the so called Structural Adjustment Programs the IMF and the WB determine strict conditions for providinig loanes to the developing countries including deregulatization, liberalization and privatization. These measures stregthen the position of the transnational capital but worsen the situation of the majority of population in the developing world. The removal of social and envirommental regulations (which might "discourage" the investors) and cuts in public spending result in the inaccessibility of health care and education, sharp increases of living costs, job-reductions, unemployment and curtailment of union rights.
The impacts on agriculture are especially devastating as productions aimed at local self-sufficiency are suspended and the countries are compelled to raise monocultures for export, which leads to food shortage and in some countries even to famine. The impacts of the IMF and WB activities on the environment are also tragical - the megalomaniac projects of WB result in the destruction of local ecosystems as well as in the enforced relocations of millions of people.
The principal objective of these programs is to allow for the entrance of foreign speculative capital which does not contribute to the creation of any values. It only utilizes the absence of social and environmental regulations, takes control of the markets and sometimes destroys entire industrial branches. The recommendations the IMF and WB thus mostly do not lead to the promised economic growth. The only thinge left behind would be a huge debt and in order to check its further increase, the separate countries have to pay considerable sums at least for amortization of interests. Arguments pointing to the influx of foreign investments sound insincere and unconvincing.
Today roughly 40 thousand members of the global financial oligarchy control 80 % of the world's trade. Possessions of 200 richest people is larger than the total income of 41 % of the world░s population. More than 250 million children have to work in the most inhuman conditions for bare survival. About 17 million children dies every year from easily curable diseases. The desperate condition of today's world is not natural - it is merely a logical consequence of the system in which heightening of the profits of the most rich is the only respected value.
We do not think that we can oppose this development only through lobbying at the institutions like the IMF and the WB. We rely rather upon the movements from below made up from diverse groups like trade-unions, unemployed, small or landless peasents, environmental initiatives, radical democratic political organizations, etc. Finding an alternative to the current social model is in our view an urgent necessity. However, we do not think that globalization could be opposed by the protective policy of the national state which has already shown how willingly it succumbs to transnational corporations. We believe that the alternative is a society which is based not on the profit of a few but on the genuine needs of many, on the principles of solidarity, mutual assistance and sustainable development.
Although our viewes on the origins of the serious problems of today's world and their solution differ, we regard the September summit of IMF and WB as such a crucial challenge that we have founded a common platform Initiative Against Economic Globalization - Prague 2000. It is not a new organisation with an independent program, but a democratic instrument of mutual communication and coordination between diverse groups which plan to react to the IMF and WB summit. It should contribute to the wider publicity of actions organized by these groups. Together we want to organize some protest(s), lectures, educational and cultural events. The main event should be a counter-summit during which the specific harmful aspects of the economic globalization as well as the search for alternatives could be discussed.
Initiative Against Economic Globalization - Prague 2000 is open to all liberal-minded individuals and groups that would like to express their opinions regarding the summit of IMF and WB. We propose this initiative as a common platform which, while maintaining the program autonomy of the separate groups, strengthens their voice even more. Similar gatherings of the institutions of economic globalization are attended by increasing resistance of general public. Let the voice of protests echo also in Prague. Let us face the globalization of capital with the globalization of solidarity.
Support or aproval with General Position of Initiative Against Economic Globalization - Prague 2000 may be expressed via e.mail address Prague2000_cz@hotmail.com. We will also welcome any information about the form of cooperation and assistance you can offer. This concerns also distribution of this statement.
Prague, March 1st, 2000
Initiative Against Economic Globalization - Prague 2000