Neoliberal solution to poverty?

Linked with Eric Toussaint – Belgium. – Published on Socialist Worker, from a speech of Eric Toussaint, Oct. 12, 2010.

I. Despite the fact that the millennium goals are exceedingly modest, they will not even be achieved … //

… VI. Concrete alternatives or recommendations that can be implemented either by the international community or by sovereign states:  

  • Global taxes such as a kind of Tobin tax (on financial transactions).
  • Increased development aid to reach 0.7 percent of the GDP of industrialized countries (in 2010 OECD countries devoted at most only 0.35 percent, i.e. half of their commitment); its conversion into reparation funds for damages resulting from the despoiling of peoples of the South by powers of the North over the past 500 years.
  • A new financial discipline that would prevent any transactions with tax havens.
  • A redistributive tax reform in all countries.
  • The restitution to peoples of the South of goods that had been unlawfully acquired by ruling elites who placed them in countries of the North or tax havens.
  • A drastic reduction of military expenditure with saved amounts invested in social policies.
  • Auditing public debts to determine their illegitimate parts and then to cancel or repudiate them. In 2006, Norway unilaterally canceled the debt of five countries of the South (Ecuador, Peru, Jamaica, Egypt and Sierra Leone). Norway considered that the loans that had been granted had not been used to develop these countries; it actually acknowledged that they had in fact been used to help Norwegian shipbuilding and exportation. In 2007 Ecuador set up a committee for an integral audit of internal and external public debt (of which I was a member) that worked from July 2007 to September 2008[9]. On the basis of the conclusions of this audit, Ecuador decided to unilaterally suspend the payment of a $ 3.2 billion debt [in the forms of bonds] and could thus save over $2 billion.
  • Setting up new institutions at the regional level such as the Bank of the South.
  • Replacing institutions such as the World Bank and the IMF with genuinely democratic institutions that adhere to the UN Charter and all international pacts and treaties related to human rights.
  • Regaining control of natural resources.
  • A land reform, distributing land to those who till it and thus ensuring food sovereignty.

The current climate crisis is affecting and will affect everybody, but people in the south will suffer more. We must be inspired by the conclusions of the summit of peoples on climate change that was held in Cochabamba in April 2010 on an initiative of the Bolivian government.

Yes, we can eradicate poverty and injustice but within a new international order and following an alternative development model that would respect nature. (full long text and Notes 1 – 9).

(Translated into English by Francesca Denley and Christine Pagnoulle in collaboration with Judith Harris).

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