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The Progressive

The IMF Chief’s Rape Charge: Metaphor for the IMF’s Abuse of Power

I don’t like using the word rape as a metaphor, but the charge against the head of the International Monetary Fund is almost a perfect metaphor for the IMF’s role in the world.

IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn is accused of attempted rape against an African maid in a luxury hotel in New York City.

And while the truth of this allegation remains for the legal system to sort out, screwing helpless people over in the Third World (and Eastern Europe: see Naomi Klein’s “The Shock Doctrine”) is what the IMF is all about.

For decades now, the International Monetary Fund — this instrument of the U.S. Treasury and global capitalism — has required developing countries that are in financial trouble to devalue their currency, slash employment in the public sector, and slash government subsidies for such essentials as food and fuel.

If the countries refuse to follow this advice, they don’t get the IMF’s bailout money and their economies continue to go down the drain.

This is coercion of the worst sort.

It results in drastic cuts in the living standards of millions of people literally overnight. It leads to mass unemployment— and often to food riots.

And while the IMF twists the arms of these developing countries, it also demands that they open up their economies to multinational corporations and banks, which imperils their sovereignty.

The IMF abuses power to get its way.

And that’s what the IMF’s chief is accused of doing, too.

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Matthew Rothschild

Matthew Rothschild

Matthew Rothschild is senior editor of The Progressive magazine.

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