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Case #751

Democratic Alternatives to Global Capital Concentration


In the current global economy gaps between rich and poor are increasing both within and between nations. The core problem is the concentrated accumulation and control of capital in an ever-decreasing number of hands. This process is now accelerating as capital escapes national controls. A green economy would recognize the link between consumption, poverty and equity and would reduce the poverty gap by breaking the cycle of capital concentration. It would encourage Third World self-reliance by working to reform dramatically or shut down the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).) Changes are beginning with the Bretton Woods Reform Organization (BWRO), launched in 1991 by founder Davison Budhoo. Budhoo is seeking to create the world's first concrete alternative to World Bank/IMF Structural Adjustment Policies (SAPs) - these being Alternative Structural Adjustment Programs or ASAPs. Budhoo calls the ASAP concept 'a people's economic program with equity.' The idea is to combine direct grassroots involvement with the technical skills of governmental officials and other interest groups. These, or similar people's reform economic policies, are now in place in Guyana, Grenada, Nicaragua, Papua New Guinea, Mozambique, India, The Philippines, Trinidad, Haiti, El Salvador, and Mexico.


STRATEGY: Put into place viable economic alternatives to the devastating IMF policies of Structural Adjustment. Return economic power to poor countries and thus unburden them from their massive debts now owed to international entities such as the World Bank and large multinational corporations. The idea is to directly involve grassroots and other interest groups in the reform process. In Guyana, for example, national meetings are bringing together unions, small businesses, women's groups, consumer organizations, manufacturers, teachers, Amerindians and environmental groups. In Mexico, during the autumn of 1995, almost half a million Mexicans cast their ballots in favor of a 'Liberty Referendum'. The vote was organized by a coalition of non-governmental organizations and sponsored by the Mexican Action Network on Free Trade (an alliance of labor, farmer, environment and social organizations) as well as groups representing small and medium businesses, coffee growers and peasants.
WHAT WORKS: Involving small and local producers and business people - those who have suffered the most from the current SAPs implemented by the IMF in recent years - in the planning and decision making processes. Realistic ways of helping poor countries to come closer to economic self sustainability. Empowering poor people and grassroots organizations.
IMPORTANT POINTS: The goal is long-term well-being of all the country's citizens, rather than responding to the short-term demands of the international market. "The IMF/World Bank system is dead." Budhoo says bluntly. "What we are trying to do is manage the transition - to design democratically an economic policy whose main goal is to meet the basic needs of the entire population." Eileen Cox (BWRO Vice Chairwoman in Guyana)says, "We cannot let our democracy be hijacked by two agencies in Washington. It is time for us to reclaim our economic destiny."
Location: global
Action: Economic/Business
Setting: Third World
Extent of Action: International
Issues: Corporate/Economic Abuses
Year(s): 1991
Outcome in progress
Source: New Internationalist, #278


(Internet has several articles - no specific contact)
Prepared By: sl, 11/05
Rating: 1
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