Neoliberal Jihadist at the World Bank
Posted on: Wednesday, June 6, 2007
This spring, World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz was forced to resign because of a scandal. Of course, the real scandal is the World Bank's flagrant violation of its own mission. Charged with fighting global poverty, the Bank has consistently pursued policies that worsen poverty and inequality, in order to further enrich big corporations based mainly in the US and Europe.
The World Bank demands that poor governments privatize water supplies, healthcare, and education, violating people's human rights to these critical resources. The Bank forces governments to abandon protections for small-scale farms, businesses, and industries, threatening millions of people's livelihoods and traditional ways of life. These neoliberal policies have had a detrimental impact on women, who are responsible for meeting the basic needs of most of the world's people, and who grow and produce most of the world's food.
In late May, George Bush exercised one of the unwritten prerogatives of US presidents and hand-picked the new head of the World Bank. He chose Robert Zoellick. Who is Zoellick and what will his presidency mean for women and families in the world's poorest countries?
- Robert Zoellick is a hard-line neoconservative, a cheerleader for the Iraq War, and a devotee of neoliberal economics.
- In the 1990s, Zoellick was part of the Project for a New American Century, which called on the US to invade Iraq and project its military power across the world.
- Zoellick shares Bush's contempt for international cooperation and the rule of law. According to Zoellick, "...international agreements and institutions [are] means to achieve ends, not forms of political therapy".
- As US Trade Representative during Bush's first term, Zoellick exploited the 9/11 attacks to push his free-trade agenda. His opportunistic "countering terror with trade" campaign portrayed corporate profiteering as a moral imperative and free trade as an antidote to terrorism and a matter of national security.
- Zoellick vilified economic justice activists by equating anti-globalization protesters with the 9/11 attackers. He helped aim the expanded powers of US militarism at peaceful demonstrators in Miami, where a November 2003 protest against the Free Trade Area of the Americas was broken up with tear gas and rubber bullets.
- At the World Trade Organization meetings, Zoellick tried to bully governments of the Global South into accepting trade agreements that would bankrupt millions of farmers in their countries (most of them women). He prioritized pharmaceutical industry profits over the lives of millions of people by pushing for trade rules that increase the cost of lifesaving medicines to treat AIDS and other diseases that mainly threaten people in the poorest countries.
The one thing we can look forward to with Zoellick heading up the World Bank is clarity about the Bank's real role in the global economy. This is no development agency working to fight poverty, but an arm of the world's richest corporations and governments working to ensure their own interests, even if they trample human rights in the process.
During this period, MADRE will continue to work with our sister organizations to enhance women's capacities to formulate and demand progressive alternatives to World Bank policies.
Archives"Press Room" Home August 2014 July 2014 June 2014 May 2014 April 2014 March 2014 February 2014 January 2014 December 2013 November 2013 October 2013 September 2013 August 2013 July 2013 June 2013 May 2013 April 2013 March 2013 February 2013 January 2013 December 2012 November 2012 October 2012 September 2012 August 2012 July 2012 June 2012 May 2012 April 2012 March 2012 February 2012 January 2012 December 2011 November 2011 October 2011 September 2011 August 2011 July 2011 June 2011 May 2011 April 2011 March 2011 February 2011 January 2011 December 2010 November 2010 October 2010 September 2010 August 2010 July 2010 June 2010 May 2010 April 2010 March 2010 February 2010 January 2010 December 2009 November 2009 October 2009 September 2009 August 2009 July 2009 June 2009 May 2009 April 2009 March 2009 February 2009 January 2009 December 2008 November 2008 October 2008 September 2008 August 2008 July 2008 June 2008 May 2008 April 2008 March 2008 February 2008 January 2008 December 2007 November 2007 October 2007 September 2007 August 2007 June 2007 May 2007 April 2007 March 2007 February 2007 January 2007 December 2006 November 2006 October 2006 September 2006 July 2006 June 2006 April 2006 March 2006 January 2006 December 2005 November 2005 September 2005 August 2005 July 2005 April 2005 March 2005 November 2004 October 2004 April 2004 March 2004 January 2004 December 2003 October 2003 September 2003 June 2003 April 2003 January 2003 September 2002 June 2002 January 2002 November 2001 October 2001 September 2001 August 2001 January 2001
MADRE & Our Partners Make News
In Iraq, women 'are the battlefield' (Women Under Siege , August 12, 2014)
Haitian woman faces death threats for speaking out about violence against women (WBEZ Worldview, July 16, 2014)
Media Spotlight Turns Away from Iraq, as Concerns Mount Over Human Rights and Political Stalemate (Uprising Radio, July 11, 2014)
Iraq: The women left behind (Aljazeera, July 3, 2014)
Under Isis, Iraqi women again face an old nightmare: violence and repression (The Guardian, July 3, 2014)