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Should Donald Trump be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize? 

Should Donald Trump be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize?
Poll ended at Tue Oct 09, 2018 10:52 pm
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Should Donald Trump be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize? 
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Post Should Donald Trump be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize?
From CNN, two days ago:

Trump deserves Nobel for role in talks with North, South Korea's leader says

(CNN) South Korean President Moon Jae-in said Monday that US President Donald Trump would be a worthy winner of the Nobel Peace Prize for his involvement in the warming of relations with North Korea.

A former South Korean President, Kim Dae-jung, won the prize in 2000 for his role in setting up a previous summit with North Korea, and his widow suggested Monday that Moon should also get the award.

Moon demurred in response, saying the US President ought to get it instead. "President Trump should win the Nobel Peace Prize. The only thing we need is peace," Moon said during a Cabinet meeting on Monday, according to the Blue House, the South Korean presidential office.

cnn.com/2018/04/30/asia/south-korea-tru ... index.html

EDIT: I just went back and enabled the feature that allows you to change your vote. Trump can change things in the blink of a tweet, so it's only fair that we should also be able to change. And I think I've set the poll to expire at about the time the award is announced.


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Wed May 02, 2018 10:57 pm
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Post Re: Should Donald Trump be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize?
I'm afraid I don't follow the politics of this administration as thoroughly as I should, so I am not at all certain how much of this progress is actually progress and how much of it he is actually responsible for. I will be listening to the pundits and reading the articles for a few days until the next thing comes along.


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Fri May 04, 2018 12:58 pm
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Post Re: Should Donald Trump be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize?
Based on where things stand at the moment: No. However, if these talks lead to peace / denuclearization and Trump is critical to that process, then he would deserve the Nobel. (Otherwise I expect it would be awarded only to the two leaders of North and South Korea. Or the whole thing could fall apart as with previous initiatives from NK.) But what if Trump also starts a war with Iran, Syria, or elsewhere? That prize would have to be rescinded.



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Post Re: Should Donald Trump be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize?
I have to vote No on this. Trump has killed since becoming president. He may have had sound reasons for killing but still, I have to vote no. And then there's the war cabinet he's assembling for Iran...

But he should be credited for breaking the stalemate on the Korean situation. From what I've read, he 1) insisted on REAL sanctions instead of just lip-service sanctions. He went head-to-head with China over this, and they blinked. NK suffered the loss of supplies even from China. Trump also 2) threatened to annihilate NK. Kim Jong-un seems to have taken him seriously because 3) Trump doubled down on war games that the US and allies were conducting in and around South Korea a few months ago. Kim finally snapped. He asked if he and his family would be spared during regime change. And then the flow of good news began.

In my opinion NK was finally faced with a US president who might actually carry through with regime change. Trump should be credited with a major international success if this works out, but no Peace Prize. I also think that Obama's Peace Prize should be rescinded. Didn't Jimmy Carter serve his entire term without involving the US in armed conflicts? Give him Obama's prize.


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Wed May 09, 2018 9:39 pm
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Post Re: Should Donald Trump be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize?
It's silly in the first place that a peace prize is given every year, regardless of whether a major achievement in advancing peace has really occurred. I'd favor abolishing the whole thing anyway, to avoid absurd situations like Aung San Suu Kyi of Myanmar, the 1991 winner, participating in the Rohingya genocide.



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Post Re: Should Donald Trump be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize?
Makes sense. Let's give Donald a peace prize for not starting a war yet. For not having done really much of anything yet except running his big mouth and getting himself in unnecessary trouble. Well, he has one big accomplishment: He's broken up a record number of families. Give him credit for that one, folks--he earned it.



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Post Re: Should Donald Trump be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize?
youtube.com/watch?time_continue=253& ... 838gS8nwas

Apparently that's a film that the Trump team showed to Kim Jong-un at the start of their one-on-one meeting. It's careful not to insult Kim and it dangles a big carrot in front of him. Trump will always be a real estate huckster. And maybe Kim wants nothing more than to have hotels and bikinis on his beaches. We shall see.


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Post Re: Should Donald Trump be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize?
I had to laugh at Trump's assessment of NK real estate potential. "They have beautiful beaches. You can see it whenever they show pictures of them shooting their cannons into the water." Not his exact words, but something genuinely funny there, I thought. There is some great comedy to made from this whole Trump thing, something way better than Alec Baldwin's flaccid imitations.



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Post Re: Should Donald Trump be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZeiIH4IKL0U



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Post Re: Should Donald Trump be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize?
Kim Jong-un’s father was a movie enthusiast. He loved western cinema. He even kidnapped South Korea’s leading film director and held him for years in the north so he could make movies there. So Kim Jong-un probably has a special place in his heart for movies. Trump showing him a 4-minute film where he, Kim, is the hero, well that was probably quite exhilarating for Kim.

And the liberal media’s mocking of Trump for the video is expected. Democrats have been pissed off since they had their slaves freed. They’ve been pissed off since their Bolshevik soulmates lost the Cold War. Now they’re pissed off that Comrade Klinton wasn’t able to cheat her way into the White House.

Trump’s doing what he can to close the deal on North Korea, but I don’t expect he sees much beyond the real estate possibilities. He probably believes, truly believes, that building hotels will lead to a boom in the North Korean economy and the rest will take care of itself.

The problem is, Trump is serving the interests of globalism with this approach. In 20 years NK will be drowning in debt. The World Bank will see to that.

The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund are the United Nations’ banking arms. The IMF has 189 members at the moment, and there are only 195 countries in the world. Back when G.W. Bush listed his 7 Axis of Evil countries, the 7 were ones that didn’t have branches of the World Bank controlling their economies (central banks answerable to the World Bank). North Korea was at the top of the Axis list. So, NK has been in the World Bank’s crosshairs for a long time, and now Trump is showing their insane leader video puff pieces which end with NK as the jet-set’s new vacation spot. Kim won’t be able to resist the Hollyweirdness of it. He’ll sign NK on to ruinous loans, and eventually the World Bank will foreclose and take possession of the country. That’s communist totalitarianism, Rothschild-style.

There’s an interesting article called “The Globalizer Who Came In From the Cold,” written by Greg Palast back in 2001. Nobel Prize Economist Joseph Stiglitz ‘splained to Palast how the IMF and the World Bank take control of countries by bribing corrupt officials:

gregpalast.com/the-globalizer-who-came- ... -the-cold/

That article outlines what’s in store for North Korea if it takes the IMF’s money. Their future will resemble what Argentina’s going through now. The piece below talks about Argentina.

bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-06-07/ ... er-economy

Argentina was OK’d for a 50 billion dollar loan from the IMF a week ago. The IMF gets countries into a position where they can’t repay their loans, then they begin doling out money so that the desperate governments can pay the INTEREST on the loans. Of course that solves nothing, so another loan is arranged, then another... The Palast/Stiglitz article talks about it. Don’t believe the BS mainstream media when it says the IMF is performing humanitarian loans. The goal is to completely gut the borrowing countries.

And the Leftist media is clueless to what’s going on. In fairness I guess the Right is too. And it’s that ignorance that the totalitarian bankers count on. At the end of this Korean “peace process,” NK will be brought into the fold of the World Bank and there will be one less financial loose cannon in the world. The North Koreans’ new “prosperity” will be short-lived, but maybe they’ll be left with a nice golf course or two.


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Post Re: Should Donald Trump be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize?
KindaSkolarly wrote:
And maybe Kim wants nothing more than to have hotels and bikinis on his beaches.


I am in favor of bikinis. All the more so in North Korea.



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Post Re: Should Donald Trump be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize?
KindaSkolarly wrote:
In 20 years NK will be drowning in debt. The World Bank will see to that.

When the Debt Crisis hit in the early 80s, the fourth largest debtor country, measured in terms of medium-term debt vulnerable to the rise in the dollar and the rise in world interest rates, was South Korea. By the time Mexico, Brazil and Argentina were through negotiating theirs down, South Korea had paid theirs down by an equivalent degree (more, actually). I would not be worried about debt in NK.

KindaSkolarly wrote:
The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund are the United Nations’ banking arms.

Don't know where you get this. Neither one has any connection to the UN or follows any UN policy. There is some coordination on development strategy, but any high level policy resemblance is due to the same countries being influential in both.

KindaSkolarly wrote:
and eventually the World Bank will foreclose and take possession of the country. That’s communist totalitarianism, Rothschild-style.
The World Bank hasn't "foreclosed" on anyone yet. Their big threat is to be first in line for repayment in front of private banks, which is pretty much by everyone's common consent.

KindaSkolarly wrote:
Their future will resemble what Argentina’s going through now.
Argentina remains the only significantly-sized country to have completely defied the IMF. When they negotiated a private debt write-down in 2003 while defaulting on IMF loans, some people predicted economic disaster for Argentina, others predicted IMF irrelevance. Neither happened.

Argentina got itself in trouble by following monetarist (e.g. Wall Street Journal editorial page) advice to use a currency board to fix its exchange rate and money supply in the 90s. After six years of steady deterioration they gave up, not surprisingly, and actually began following sensible policies. The result was pretty good until Herbert Hoover Bush gave us the Great Recession in 2008.

KindaSkolarly wrote:
Argentina was OK’d for a 50 billion dollar loan from the IMF a week ago. The IMF gets countries into a position where they can’t repay their loans, then they begin doling out money so that the desperate governments can pay the INTEREST on the loans.

Actually, the IMF is a small-time lender. 50 billion sounds like a lot. Argentina owes something like 240 billion. But the 50 is a "war chest" to resist those betting against the peso. The government can draw on this credit line to buy pesos from those trying to unload them. If things go as expected (and since Argentina has put interest rates up to seriously high levels, they probably will) the loan will be easily repaid in a couple of years.

The serious problems come when countries try to resist devaluations in times when the U.S. dollar is rising, like the current one. (Most international debts are denominated in dollars. The combination of rising interest rates and a rising dollar is a tough one, but unlikely to replicate 1982, when the cost of debt service pretty much quadrupled in one year). Given that the IMF is on board, and Argentina's finances seem to be in the hands of well-trained economists (unlike some countries I could name), they will allow the peso to fall but at a measured rate. No panic at the exits. And before long the peso will reach a level at which exports exceed imports and it can make debt payments.

I staffed the Mexican peso crisis for our "political level" boss in 1995. I told him that the most likely outcome was early repayment of the loans, and that is what happened. Once you get a handle on the basic forces at work, these things are not so difficult to suss out.

I have a lot of respect for Stiglitz, but not so much for some of the people who interview him and write up their versions of his comments. He has some good critiques of IMF and World Bank policies, but he does not, in general, argue that they intentionally subvert governments or use corruption to increase their own power.

By the way, the IMF has not yet claimed to extend a loan on humanitarian grounds. They can be criticized for insisting that debts be repaid, but the enforcement is simply that a country which is not creditworthy won't get loans - from them or from the much larger flow of private lending.

The World Bank is also pretty hard-nosed, lending for long-term priorities like roads and dams and ports, not for humanitarian crises. In general, loans are not used for humanitarian crises by anyone, on the reasonable grounds that if the country had the resources to repay they would not have to borrow for food and tents in the first place.



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Post Re: Should Donald Trump be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize?
Try to justify the rapine all you want, but it can't be justified. The IMF and World Bank are the financial hammers of the U.N. They claim that they're helping to alleviate poverty and so on, but that's not true. The countries they "help" are left in debt, with the IMF at the head of the line demanding repayment. But that's not by "common consent" as you say, it's by consent of the corrupt officials who take out the loans on behalf of their countries.

And the system is acidic, always chewing away. Couple of months ago, this. Tell me again how the U.N. and the World bank aren't joined at the hip:

The United Nations and the World Bank Group Sign a New Partnership Compact for Lebanon
worldbank.org/en/news/press-release/201 ... or-lebanon

And blaming a reporter for misrepresenting...come on. If anything he held back. From his interview with Stiglitz, four steps were outlined. This is how the World Bank and the IMF "help" countries:

Step One is privatisation. Stiglitz said that rather than objecting to the sell-offs of state industries, some politicians - using the World Bank's demands to silence local critics - happily flogged their electricity and water companies. 'You could see their eyes widen' at the possibility of commissions for shaving a few billion off the sale price.

Step Two is capital market liberalisation. In theory this allows investment capital to flow in and out. Unfortunately, as in Indonesia and Brazil, the money often simply flows out. ... Stiglitz calls this the 'hot money' cycle. Cash comes in for speculation in real estate and currency, then flees at the first whiff of trouble. A nation's reserves can drain in days.

Step Three: market-based pricing - a fancy term for raising prices on food, water and cooking gas. This leads, predictably, to Step-Three-and-a-Half: what Stiglitz calls 'the IMF riot'. ... The IMF riot is painfully predictable. When a nation is, 'down and out, [the IMF] squeezes the last drop of blood out of them. They turn up the heat until, finally, the whole cauldron blows up,' - as when the IMF eliminated food and fuel subsidies for the poor in Indonesia in 1998. Indonesia exploded into riots. ... There are other examples - the Bolivian riots over water prices last year and, this February, the riots in Ecuador over the rise in cooking gas prices imposed by the World Bank....

Step Four: free trade. This is free trade by the rules of the World Trade Organisation and the World Bank, which Stiglitz likens to the Opium Wars. 'That too was about "opening markets",' he said. As in the nineteenth century, Europeans and Americans today are kicking down barriers to sales in Asia, Latin American and Africa while barricading our own markets against the Third World 's agriculture. ... In the Opium Wars, the West used military blockades. Today, the World Bank can order a financial blockade, which is just as effective and sometimes just as deadly....

Stiglitz has two concerns about the IMF/World Bank plans. First, he says, because the plans are devised in secrecy and driven by an absolutist ideology, never open for discourse or dissent, they 'undermine democracy'. Second, they don't work. Under the guiding hand of IMF structural 'assistance' Africa's income dropped by 23%.

theguardian.com/business/2001/apr/29/bu ... iness.mbas

Another system at play in all of this is the "Core and Gap Theory." Thomas Barnett came up with it and outlined it in his book The Pentagon's New Map, in 2004. The book justifies war. Basically, he says the first-world countries owe it to the third-world countries to destroy them and then expend first-world money on rebuilding them. In the process a grand redistribution of wealth will take place and the world will settle into some kind of second-world utopia.

nationalreview.com/2004/07/core-gap-map ... mas-owens/

Barnett's Core and Gap crap fits hand in glove with the IMF's rebuilding of devastated countries. The redistribution of wealth is Marxist, and the IMF practices are predatory capitalism. I don't know what that hybrid would be called except murder. In the end, once the wars are waged and the money is stolen, life expectancies go down, people die off. Depopulation is the motivator for the people who own and run the world. They kill us off any way they can. Defending their methods is self-destructive.


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Sun Jun 17, 2018 9:56 pm
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Post Re: Should Donald Trump be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize?
KindaSkolarly wrote:
The IMF and World Bank are the financial hammers of the U.N. They claim that they're helping to alleviate poverty and so on, but that's not true.

Countries don't normally approach the IMF unless they have already gotten themselves in debt, usually to private banks. The other main case is currency stabilization, against the hot money that Stiglitz discussed. Currency stabilization was the purpose for which the IMF was established, but its expertise in international finance, and its experience negotiating with governments, meant it was the only organization available to be the broker in the debt reductions of the 80s debt crisis.

The World Bank does alleviate poverty. By borrowing at favorable rates from the capital markets, due to its diversified portfolio and managed lending, it makes loans available to developing countries at concessional rates (although right now the rates to a typical emerging market are low enough that the World Bank can't offer them much of a benefit). A one or two percent reduction in the borrowing cost for a port or a power station, over 30 years, can make a substantial difference in the cost of the final service.

KindaSkolarly wrote:
The countries they "help" are left in debt, with the IMF at the head of the line demanding repayment.
There are no cases I am aware of in which IMF intervention was followed by an increase in indebtedness, and not many for the World Bank. The stories of high indebtedness are not due to lending by those two, but by the banks of the rich world.

For the most part this was because of loans to the private sector, which, until about 1993, were typically guaranteed by the national government of the borrower because of difficulties with things like asset seizure by foreigners in case of default. In the late 70s, huge amounts of money poured into Latin America from "recycled petrodollars" (earnings by OPEC states which had insufficient local projects to invest in, and so placed their money with the international money center banks). This was lent to the firms in the rapidly growing LDCs, but when U.S. and U.K. policy changed in 1978, the world economy slowed and these companies began to go broke. The governments were left with the debt.

KindaSkolarly wrote:
But that's not by "common consent" as you say, it's by consent of the corrupt officials who take out the loans on behalf of their countries.
Subordination of other debt to IMF and World Bank debt requires no consent by the borrowing countries. The private banks accept it because lending to a developing country with access to good advice and basic finance is a better bet. Subordination is win-win, unless the country is on the brink of default, in which case most foreign lenders aren't interested in lending.

KindaSkolarly wrote:
The IMF gets countries into a position where they can’t repay their loans, then they begin doling out money so that the desperate governments can pay the INTEREST on the loans. Of course that solves nothing, so another loan is arranged, then another...

There were cases, mostly African toward the end of the 90s, of the IMF lending money for debt service. In general that was part of a deal for the country to put its financial house in order and get back to a creditworthy basis.

Often it was part of a deal to write down large amounts of debt that had become unpayable (like what Argentina did without IMF brokerage, in 2003) but in the case of some African countries the bulk of the debt was long-term concessional debt from the World Bank and from foreign governments (private banks, for the most part, would not lend to, say, Mozambique or Central African Republic). In those cases the principal payments would have been negligible, and if the country was restructuring, they would need temporary help with meeting interest payments or their cost of borrowing would rise.

It helps if you know the history of African economies in the 90s. For most of them it was a lost decade - universities and roads deteriorating, no investment in infrastructure, etc., etc. The reason was almost entirely the fall in commodity prices worldwide, with African nations highly dependent on exports of commodities such as minerals, oil, coffee and cocoa to earn foreign exchange.

And why did commodity prices fall? Europe and America had shifted to fiscal austerity (Gramm-Rudman in the U.S., Maastricht in the EU) and the whole world economy slowed. Add to this the end of supply restraint in the U.S. agricultural markets in 95, and the result was tumbling prices across the board. We mostly associate the 90s with the DotCom bubble, but the Clinton budget surpluses were the result of austerity, and the Economist ran a cover story near the end of the decade asking if oil would fall to $5 per barrel (it had briefly dropped to 10 from 45 at the beginning of the decade).

KindaSkolarly wrote:
Tell me again how the U.N. and the World bank aren't joined at the hip:
For the sake of simplicity, the UN and the World Bank do often negotiate strategy simultaneously. The UN has little meaningful money to dole out these days - UNDP and UNICEF still count for something in the really poor countries, but in many countries in Africa and most countries outside Africa, their main effort is to slightly influence government budget priorities using the little leverage they have. I am not familiar with Lebanon's case, but I would guess that the World Bank non-concessional arms, such as the IFC, count for something, and that the blessing of the financial organizations (including the Asian Development Bank, which has serious money to lend) would help leverage private flows.

KindaSkolarly wrote:
And blaming a reporter for misrepresenting...come on. If anything he held back.

Umm, no, I read the Palast piece, and he distorted constantly. It reminded me of reading communist propaganda from before the wall came down - a grain of truth here, a salting of spin there, and presto, the result is essentially a lie.

KindaSkolarly wrote:
From his interview with Stiglitz, four steps were outlined. This is how the World Bank and the IMF "help" countries:

Step One is privatisation. Stiglitz said that rather than objecting to the sell-offs of state industries, some politicians - using the World Bank's demands to silence local critics - happily flogged their electricity and water companies. 'You could see their eyes widen' at the possibility of commissions for shaving a few billion off the sale price.
Almost all of the "steps" that Palast was criticizing apply mainly to the structural adjustment process of the 90s. It is hard for us now to credit, but up until at least 1980 and the beginnings of the Asian Tiger surge, most developing countries followed the heavily statist line of Russia and the main academic economists in the field of development. The belief (not totally foolish) was that the government could make better decisions than the private sector would, and could extract current resources, through taxes, commodity marketing boards, and profits from industry, to fund investment that the private sector would hold back from due to coordination failures.

By 1990 most of them had realized, as Gorbachev did, that the model was not working. But they were trapped into controlled prices, fixed exchange rates, high tariffs on imports (so that a broad range of manufactured goods cost much more than if they imported them, as part of a strategy to develop their industry, again not totally foolish), capital controls and a host of other government tools that were hurting more than they helped. So the "Washington Consensus" began to leverage them away from such distortions with structural adjustment lending. Stiglitz had a lot of complaints about that process, as well as about the IMF strategies for fighting currency crises, but at no point did he argue that the Washington institutions were corrupt or were trying to "take over" developing countries.

Privatization was a problem in many countries. It was a shortcut to get the government out from under money-losing industries, in most cases. Yes, some water companies and some electricity companies were privatized, often with results pleasing to the average citizen (one reason the old companies were losing money was that the price was kept low, but as a result they could not make needed repairs and often couldn't get even middle class consumers to pay for usage). Plenty of privatization was of mineral extraction, feeding the commodity output boom that cut prices for African exports.

In the former communist countries, privatization (of industry that had been part of the planned economy) was completely corrupt in Eastern Europe but, in theory, not corrupt in Russia. The Yeltsin government issued stock to the citizens in the newly private companies, making tractors, steel, coal, shoes, and on and on. But many of the companies could not compete with imports and went bankrupt, and the oligarchs went around buying up the shares in companies, such as Lukoil, which they shrewdly deduced would not go bankrupt and ordinary citizens would not know to hang onto stock in. Before long there was plenty of corruption, what with permits needed and extortion by organized crime, but it did not suffer from the E. Europe problem of selling off to consortia of foreign investors who would bribe the government to win the bidding. In no case did Washington pressure cause privatization. It's just that the governments were broke and the state-run enterprises were hemorrhaging money. If they wanted to be credit-worthy, they needed a plan.

In hindsight, people like Anders Aslund and Jeffrey Sachs acknowledge that the transition was too much too fast, but the logic behind the drastic transition was sound. These economies had already turned into corruption factories for the bureaucrats, who knew how to extract funds for permission to do anything (including to get the resources planned for a business). If uncompetitive companies were kept propped up behind tariffs, the ordinary person would be soaked mainly for bribes, rather than for investment funds to ever get the industry on a paying basis.

If things had been done that way, we might be shaking our heads over an entirely different set of disasters, and tsk-tsking at experts who didn't know the transition needed to be all at once. What was not understood in the West was how systematically uncompetitive the firms were, due to decisions like location and production process having been taken for political, rather than economic, reasons. (Not to mention they did not know the first thing about producing to please customers - but it was believed that with foreign investment that could be quickly overcome, as it mostly was in E. Europe and China.)

KindaSkolarly wrote:
Step Two is capital market liberalisation. In theory this allows investment capital to flow in and out. Unfortunately, as in Indonesia and Brazil, the money often simply flows out. ... Stiglitz calls this the 'hot money' cycle. Cash comes in for speculation in real estate and currency, then flees at the first whiff of trouble. A nation's reserves can drain in days.
The order is a bit odd: step Two? It's true that countries were pressured to let their currency value fall to a market level, rather than overvaluing it and rationing the foreign exchange allowed in. This (rationing) had been another good idea mainly gone wrong. Rationed foreign exchange should be directable to machinery and other investment goods. In some countries, like Tanzania, that more or less worked. But the more typical case was black market foreign exchange and bribes to get official permission for importing BMWs for the elites.

Capital market liberalization is one way to cut the cord, but the IMF and World Bank in general did not push for that, but for the exchange rate to be allowed to be set on a market basis. Flexible exchange rates. There are some problems with those, especially when needed imports are rising in price and export earnings are sagging, but it isn't clear that rationing foreign exchange is much of a solution even in those problematic cases. Basically, if your country is less able to afford imports, you are going to have to import less.

KindaSkolarly wrote:
Step Three: market-based pricing - a fancy term for raising prices on food, water and cooking gas. This leads, predictably, to Step-Three-and-a-Half: what Stiglitz calls 'the IMF riot'. ... The IMF riot is painfully predictable. When a nation is, 'down and out, ((the IMF)) squeezes the last drop of blood out of them.
When I supported continuing funding for structural adjustment lending at the IMF, the State Department called me to inform me that "people die when these prices rise." And it is true. Subsidized food sometimes keeps people alive who would otherwise die, and subsidized gasoline sometimes lets people get to work who otherwise couldn't. But it turns out there are ways to hold down prices for the poor without the middle class reaping a huge windfall in the form of regulated prices (and the middle class is in a better position to see that they get the limited supplies of the price-controlled good.) Off-price government food stores, sometimes with certification of poverty status for customers, sprang up to stop people from starving when prices rose to market levels. IMF riots can be avoided by using such methods in the first place, rather than pandering to crowds by promising to fix prices in inflationary times.

The reason it happens when the country is "down and out" is, of course, that they are not running things in a very orderly way, and so they run out of money. Also because nobody bails you out when your exports aren't selling. All you can do is go to the lenders and say, "we can't pay anymore", but if you do that while subsidizing gasoline, the lenders will slam the door on you and tell you not to ever come back looking for another loan.

KindaSkolarly wrote:
They turn up the heat until, finally, the whole cauldron blows up,' - as when the IMF eliminated food and fuel subsidies for the poor in Indonesia in 1998. Indonesia exploded into riots. ... There are other examples - the Bolivian riots over water prices last year and, this February, the riots in Ecuador over the rise in cooking gas prices imposed by the World Bank....
All cases where the government had been pursuing unsustainable policies. The Indonesian riots, by the way, followed the contagion crisis from the 1997 Thai crisis, and led to the introduction of democracy in Indonesia, with, so far, quite satisfactory results. Not so good for the Chinese minority which owned much of the business sector, but then, they had been sustained by corruption and really had not reached out to the indigenous population at all.

KindaSkolarly wrote:
Step Four: free trade. This is free trade by the rules of the World Trade Organisation and the World Bank, which Stiglitz likens to the Opium Wars. 'That too was about "opening markets",' he said. As in the nineteenth century, Europeans and Americans today are kicking down barriers to sales in Asia, Latin American and Africa while barricading our own markets against the Third World 's agriculture. ... In the Opium Wars, the West used military blockades. Today, the World Bank can order a financial blockade, which is just as effective and sometimes just as deadly....
There have been no financial blockades organized for refusing to open markets. Mostly countries have opened them voluntarily, and when not completely voluntary, these moves were usually in exchange for lower barriers by the industrialized countries against the LDC exports.

It's true that structural adjustment programs usually called for discontinuing the money-losing import substitution programs, which tried to foster industry behind tariff walls. Bad enough to soak the consumers that way, but a fair share of the bill often went to the government, to keep money-losing enterprises going. You might think they could pay for it with tariff revenue, but in a typical case the tariff would have been so high that imports of the product were choked off, so no revenue from imports. It's difficult to make a case for propping up industries that overcharge consumers, run at a loss despite having a monopoly in the local market, and (in most cases) produce shoddy goods, when allowing imports would meet people's actual needs. If these "infant industries" had been in the habit of growing up to be competitive, there would not have been an issue, but it turns out that "export promotion," as practiced by Korea, Japan and Malaysia, was much more sensible than import substitution.

KindaSkolarly wrote:
Stiglitz has two concerns about the IMF/World Bank plans. First, he says, because the plans are devised in secrecy and driven by an absolutist ideology, never open for discourse or dissent, they 'undermine democracy'.
There is some reason to push for greater openness in negotiations, but the kinds of negotiated details that are often kept silent can be pretty important to actually getting the deal. In Ghana, two years ago, the IMF insisted that the government put in place "full cost recovery" for electricity. Prices jumped by more than 40 percent. But the power outages that had been common just about disappeared, and the petrol now goes to the power stations, where it is much more efficiently used than in all the middle class generators. Poorer people pay more and are forced to be careful what it goes to, having to take turns hosting school kids for homework after 6 pm, for example, but they don't find it just shutting down on them for days on end (so that water pressure for the toilet disappears, and refrigeration fails, for example).

There were some nasty demonstrations, and the government ended up taking back around a quarter of the price increase (but lost the next election anyway). This made me wonder if the government had negotiated a secret Plan B with a fallback for political reasons. You can't publicize that sort of thing.

But anyway it isn't clear anyone is really worse off. People just get mad when their budget is hurt, and governments should not be trying to stop market price increases in the first place, so that customers are being shielded from the harsh realities of the world with no actual basis for the chosen level of the price.

KindaSkolarly wrote:
Second, they don't work. Under the guiding hand of IMF structural 'assistance' Africa's income dropped by 23%.
Dani Rodrik, who has been more critical than Stiglitz, argued that the privatization of mines caused the mineral price collapses of the 90s. Private producers were so much more efficient than the old government producers, in copper, iron ore, and trace minerals, that the export earnings dropped by as much as half due to the lower prices. The problem, he observed, was a fallacy of composition: greater efficiency for any one producer would make that producer better off, but greater efficiency for all of them at once makes them all worse off.

There's some truth to that, but the falls in coffee, cocoa, tea and cotton prices indicate that the world macroeconomy was just as much responsible (World Bank investment in Vietnamese coffee production also hurt that market). At any rate, such privatization was happening, for example in Chile's copper sector, without any IMF or World Bank inducement, and countries who had not privatized would have been still worse off, with their old high costs exceeding the new lower prices as others privatized.

KindaSkolarly wrote:
((url=https://www.theguardian.com/business/2001/apr/29/business.mbas))
Glad to see you reading a left wing rag like the Guardian, but aren't you afraid it will rot your brain?

KindaSkolarly wrote:
Basically, he says the first-world countries owe it to the third-world countries to destroy them and then expend first-world money on rebuilding them. In the process a grand redistribution of wealth will take place and the world will settle into some kind of second-world utopia.
Hmm. Maybe the rot has already happened. On the other hand, Robert Tulip has been known to advocate something reminiscent of this notion, so maybe it is not entirely crazy. Just mostly.
KindaSkolarly wrote:
The redistribution of wealth is Marxist,
Depends on the method. Land reform is usually very helpful, although feudal lords are not known for their support of it. Marx has nothing to do with either its efficiency improvement or its populist appeal.
KindaSkolarly wrote:
the IMF practices are predatory capitalism.
You are confusing them with Wall Street. The IMF is usually called in when resources are running out, and the people who fault them for, for example, ending subsidies on basic goods usually have nothing in mind as an alternative except redistributing wealth from rich countries to pay the bills for them. I can see how that would go over with the Tea Party.

It is not usually understood that while inequality within nearly every country has risen due to globalization, overall world inequality has actually fallen. The reason is the huge uplift in average income in the low income countries in the 90s and 2000s. Asia accounts for the bulk of it. ("Oh, Asia!" I can hear people say. "I thought you were talking about poor countries." China and India were both desperately poor in 1990. Half of each country below the dollar a day income level. Globalization has helped immensely, though in both cases there have been barriers to penetration of the benefits into the subsistence economy of the countryside.)

With headquarters functions such as marketing and engineering concentrated in the rich countries, those educated parts of the rich countries have done really well from globalization. The working class of these countries is arguably worse off, but not obviously much worse off. Sure, they feel left behind, but in most cases they can still afford the standard of living they could in 1980, with the internet added.



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My reply to Harry Marks' comment on this thread about development banking is at development-economics-t29130.html


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