Magazine article The Nation

The Ideology of No Ideology

Magazine article The Nation

The Ideology of No Ideology

Article excerpt

These are scenes from the inferno. We pass from them to the judicious sentiments of well-fed First World observers. Back on January 29, in a column titled "The End of Ideology," Anthony Lewis reproached Jesse Jackson for telling a crowd in Zambia that I.M.E men are "slave masters:' Lewis said that with respect to Africa the I.M.E's "disciplined advice has value:' in contrast to "the exhaustion of Marxism." Jackson's description was entirely appropriate. In the three years that followed the "debt crisis" in 1982 more than one hundred I.M.E loan agreements were put in place in the Third World. Structural Adjustment Facilities, new projects to realign economies through the joint efforts of the I.M.E and the World Bank, had by mid-1988 entrapped almost thirty of the world's poorest countries, the majority in Africa. According to Walden Bello, "It is no exaggeration to say that under the guise of providing aid, an IMF-world Bank condominium has been imposed over much of subSaharan Africa. . . . in 1986 and 1987 the net transfer of resources from sub-Saharan Africa to the IMF was close to $1 billion."

It was ideology in the form of laissez-faire economics that disposed the British to allow a million people to die in Ireland in the great famine of 1845. lt is ideology today that prompts the I. M.E to impose the export strategies and austerity programs that shrink domestic consumption, eviscerate public services and leave the elite untouched.

On average over the past decade the Third World has exported to the First about $20 billion a year; $43 billion in 1988. …

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