Article by David D’Amato.
Since the embattled former head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Dominique Strauss-Kahn, has occupied the headlines with some consistency as of late, it seems as good a time as any to note the perfectly legal crimes the IMF perpetrates daily. Without at all trivializing the unspeakable crimes that the vermin Strauss-Kahn is accused of, market anarchists regard the IMF itself with similar disgust.
Established by the world’s most powerful states as an agency of empire, the IMF is an inflationary machine designed to make cash all too accessible for the West’s corporate titans. The White Mountains of New Hampshire are the radix of the IMF, having played host to the Bretton Woods conference of nations in the wake of World War II. That summit was conceived to reconfigure the global financial system for the demands of the post-War framework, at the heart of which was the United States as hegemonic authority.
If America’s corporate neocolonialism was to function, then the “developed” world would need an effective way to funnel money to its new outposts, the countries that would host its subsidiaries and sweatshops. The loans, of course, were — and have ever since been — channeled to infrastructure projects that dilute currencies and cheat the taxpaying common man to benefit a handful of oligarchs.
Like the Federal Reserve System on the domestic level, the International Monetary Fund and its companion, the World Bank, are the counterfeiting mechanisms of the ruling class. And as Murray Rothbard trenchantly observed of such counterfeit bank notes, they are not neutrally and uniformly conferred on society at large. Rather, Rothbard contended, “those who get the money early in this ripple process benefit at the expense of those who get it late or not at all.”
Tin pot dictatorships the world over have used the Bretton Woods institutions as an ATM to line the pockets of elites and lay the groundwork for the Western state capitalism. In return, all that the American imperialists and their collaborators in Europe have asked is for a bit of prime real estate on which to site their military compounds, or submissive compliance when a new “free trade” agreement comes around.
And the Third World’s isolated elites have happily and predictably obliged them. The standard apologetics for the specious, corporate variant of “free trade” often argue that the professed goals of the IMF — something like aiding the development of global markets—are not in themselves the problem.
These arguments suggest that the governments of the developing world just need a more central role in decision-making, that Western multinational corporations are today too dominant in the process through which IMF and World Bank funds are dispersed. What these well-meaning critics fail to comprehend, however, is that the relationship between corporate and state power is not an inverse one, but rather a symbiotic one whereby they grow in tandem.
Vehicles of corporate welfare such as the IMF and the World Bank, among many, many others, are the hallmarks of state domination of the economy. Today’s business giants depend quite completely on the active fraud of governments against their own citizens, and their conceptions of “development” give little regard to the living conditions of people in the “developing” countries.
The corrupt governments of the weak countries are no different from those of the Western powers, caring little for ideas of national self-direction as long as they’re cozy in the lap of luxury. Genuine free markets, that is, real free trade between individual producers, function opposite the state capitalist system represented by the Bretton Woods system and its corporate welfarism.
Market anarchists regard true deregulation and freedom as empowering of those in the economy that actually carry the weight. For these people, bank credit and favors are not so easy to come by. So when you consider Strauss-Kahn’s flashy, sleazy lifestyle, consider also the unsavory policies of these hallowed institutions that have become symbols of global free enterprise.
Consider that they don’t at all represent free markets, but instead a corrupt game of upward redistribution. And, upon consideration, perhaps you will conclude that the entirety of the IMF belongs behind bars.