By J. Yanqui Zaza
Multinational corporations and institutions, particularly the World Bank and IMF have and continue to deceptively coerce poor countries into prohibiting government’s role in managing profit-making assets, but at the same time tolerate the governments of Japan, Germany, Botswana, etc. who own and, or manage profit-making-lucrative assets.
For instance, Germany owns about 34% shares in the Mercedes Benz car company and, or Japan owns shares in countless profit-making companies. In the case of Japan, the Government does not just buy shares to make profits, but also it buys stocks in order to influence the market, according to Wolf Richer.
In another instance, in 2014, at the request of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the Bank of Japan (BOJ) and Government Pension Investment Fund (GPIF), bought $350 billion worth of stocks in 2014 and later purchased $59 billion worth of stocks at a time the stock market was tanking, Mr. Richer stated.
I have not heard about or read any letter of protest or disapproval by capitalists of Japan’s attempt to influence the stock market. Neither has the World Bank along with its allies condemned the purchase of stocks by government bureaucrats or the economic arrangement of Germany under which the government of Germany owns shares of companies.
It is not clear whether the World Bank has one standard for poor countries and a different standard for certain countries such as Japan, etc. However, certain things are clear. Government’s purchase of shares will increase government’s influence in the stock market; it is also clear that the government, like any other investor, will receive revenue from corporations.
And, of course with additional revenue, a country will have no need to borrow money and will use its cash to manage its currency exchange rate. As in the case of Germany, policy makers used the additional revenue from companies to finance social programs such as the tuition-free-university programs.
Do multinational institutions not refer to Japan as an example of a capitalist economy, whose economic fundamentals of achievements should be embraced? If yes, why are multinational lending institutions allowing certain countries to earn revenue form profit-making activities; but prohibiting other countries such as Liberia from generating revenue from gold, diamonds, etc.?
More so, the World Bank is not just coercing Liberia into privatizing utility entities, but it has encouraged Liberia to give its messy educational system to profiteers. But results of Public Exams indicate that private-run-schools are also messy. It is not only Liberian private-run-schools that are messy, private-corporations were bailed out in 2008 after creating a messy global financial situation.
Yet, the World Bank insists that only profiteers should invest in profit-making activities such as food production. In fact, in Ghana, the Bank told the government that, they (the World Bank and the IMF) would not give Ghana any more loans unless the government cut the farming subsidies completely. (http://www.africaw.com/how-the-world-bank-and-the-imf-destroy-africa).
The main reason behind this was that, profiteers had to import rice from western countries like United States (who’s a major partner of the World Bank and the IMF). Ghana is said to lose over US $500 million every year through the importation of foreign rice. Why would the World Bank stop Ghanaians from producing rice and encourage food importation when the IMF (its ally) stated in its Report 18/172 that increase in importation is not good?
This is because investment in importation contributes to the depreciation of a country’s currency exchange rate, thereby, forcing the country to borrow money from outside the country, the Report stated? The IMF also stated that exports usually generate revenue for the country, but importation requires using up a country’s “rainy-day-cash.”
Deceiving the weak and poor in order for a few privileged people to get rich and, or maintain power is not new. For instance, in 64 AD, Emperor Nero, looking for way to deflect accusations by his subjects that he was responsible for the fire that burned Rome for six days and seven nights, placated the ruling elite and laid blame for the fire on the Christians.
He then ordered the arrest of a few members of the sect who, under torture, accused others until the entire Christian populace was implicated and became fair game for retribution. (www.history.com/this-day-in-history/neros-rome-burns). Prior to black slavery, European merchants had realized that they could increase profits if they enslaved some of their kinsmen. So, they propagated the myth that those whites who were vulnerable, poor, unemployed, etc. were inferior and should be controlled.
Later, the masters forcibly shipped a large number of white slaves from Europe into North America. Unable to continue enslaving their kinsmen, they discovered black slaves. Intimidation, fear, and or death was not sufficient to continue enslaving the blacks. So, in order to keep making money, they lied and stated that enslaving blacks was necessary because blacks needed to be saved from harming themselves.
Profiteers might have abandoned the cruel method of making profits, but their desire to exploit the poor has not changed, according to Ms. Saskia Sassen in her book called “Expulsion-Brutality and Complexity in the Global Economy.” She argues that capitalists nowadays do hire scientists, mathematicians, engineers, lawyers, and accountants to hide their deception in order to make profit.
Continuing, she stated that it was the $62 trillion-dollar Credit Default Swap (i.e., a complex financial arrangement that is understood by a few handful people) that destroyed wealth in 2008, and not the $10 trillion-dollar subprime mortgage foreclosures that began in August of 2007. Guess what, even after people realized that poor-home-owners were not the culprits, rather chief executives were responsible for the 2008 financial meltdown, U.S. President Barack Obama awarded them (chief executives) $13B as bonuses, she added.
Liberians should not expect profiteers to willingly trickle down any share of the profits from gold, etc., because mankind, by nature, is greedy. Japanese, Germans, Tswanas, etc. are not getting revenue from companies because profiteers are generous or benevolent. If you have any doubt, let us review the past twelve years. Guided by international experts from 2006, former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf limited the role of government in the economy as herpredecessors have done since 1847.
More so, she added another lie that is excessive payment to a few economic advisers would reduce the demand for bribes. Well, in fact, it was the President herself, who openly began the bribery scheme when she bribed Liberian Lawmakers with vehicles on behalf of Mittal Steel. And today, instead rather than having reduced bribery,solicitation, exploitation is on the rise in Liberia.
If Ms. Sassan and others are right in stating that profiteers will never abandon the exploitation of the poor, then Liberia must institute an economic system that will guarantee its share of the income generated from gold, etc. Additionally, the Pro-Poor government should invest, at least, in food production since profiteers prefer to invest in import/export, gold, diamonds, etc. As the old saying goes, freedom is acquired through hard work, and not by appeasing the rich and the powerful.