Lagarde: the new face of the IMF

IMF appoints new managing director by Cherokeetears

Christine Lagarde, finance minister of France, was voted in as the new managing director to the IMF today. 1 She will be the first woman ever appointed to the position, after Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s resignation due to allegations of sexual assault by women.2 Unfortunately, the IMF, World Bank, and Washington Consensus are all the of the worst aspects of liberalism and imperialism, and any effort to push the terms and conditions of the IMF by any managing director, man or woman, will only further slow the development of the Third World and continue the exploitation of the poor countries by the rich countries (led by the US, which has the largest share of authority in the IMF/World Bank).

What is the IMF? Well the International Monetary Fund is an international liberal organization founded on the concept of economic interdependence and trying to even out the backlash of interdependence on a global market. When a country goes into a long term period of debt, the IMF offers long term financial aide to the country in order to “improve” the economic conditions of the country. However, the IMF also has terms which countries are subject to called “structural adjustments.” These SA’s are determined by the countries that contribute to the IMF from the lender position: the larger of a percentage a country provides, the more influence it has on defining the SA’s for the receiving countries. So which country has the largest percentage of aide invested? You guessed it – the United States. So the US gets to decide the structural adjustments that a country must make in order to receive aide. The United States’ terms in which it gives aide include: increased privatization (including key government industries like health care), halting inflation, increased economic interdependence (which creates dependency in underdeveloped countries), and Foreign Direct Investments. What are Foreign Direct Investments? It is basically the idea of allowing corporations – like Nike, Apple, and Nestle – into the country, permitting them to exploit the labor of the working poor for subsistence levels or worse. The US “standards” given in the IMF are referred to as the Washington Consensus, and make up one of the worst examples of imperialism by the First World against the Third World.

It’s important to note that Dominique Strauss-Kahn is a member of the “socialist party” and a former member of the “communist party.”3 But what kind of “socialist” earns $420,000 a year plus pensions?4 DSK is an example of the hypocritical nature of First Worldism. He claims to support the oppressed while simultaneously representing the interests of imperialists. This is social-imperialism at its worst. Will Christine Lagarde be any better? Well no, because the IMF itself is a coalition of imperialist forces, headed by the US, that exploits the public policies and economic systems of countries to encourage economic dependence, underdevelopment, and “market reforms” that hurt the countries receiving “aid.” A real socialist would oppose the IMF and the US because at the center it only hurts countries: it is, in fact, more imperialism.

The social-imperialist Dominique Strauss-Kahn

The Washington Consensus is the US “big stick” strategy for the economic sphere of international relations. When the US isn’t marching its troops in, using the cover of NATO to drop bombs on civilians, or embargoing countries into economic failure, it uses the idea of “economic relief” to push liberalism, and foreign direct investment into countries that are powerless in the face of corporate state sponsorship. Countries are only given loans if they allow these FDI’s into their countries. The “structural adjustments” that have been brought to these countries has negatively impacted countries including Mexico, Latvia, Turkey, Indonesia, Brazil, Thailand, and Russia.5 The IMF hasn’t acknowledged sovereignty, self-determination, worker’s rights, women’s rights, or the importance of sustaining the environment, what will change with Lagarde? The answer is nothing. She makes no mention of fixing these ills, and even if she did, we wouldn’t be able to support her because the IMF is not a positive institution. It simply services imperialism and First World chauvinism. It is headed by the United States, and will never help the countries that it bullies with its structural adjustments and FDI’s.

Therefore, it is important to oppose the IMF/World Bank/WTO, because they are all acts of war against the Third World. They do nothing but further the interests of the exploiters and allow imperialism to continue providing cheap commodities to it’s domestic mall economies. It is using the blood of the Third World to create the riches of the First World.

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