South African Finance Minister Admits he was Wrong

Finance minister Trevor Manuel advocated spending cuts, the dismantling of trade barriers and fighting inflation during the past six years, all under the guidance of World Bank economists. He is still waiting for the payoff. South Africa's economic growth has topped 4 percent only once since the mid-1990s. A third of the workforce is jobless. The government has faced a wave of strikes driven by anger at the slow gains in living standards since apartheid ended in 1994. Now, Manuel and even some World Bank officials say Africa's largest economy has not gained as expected from the lender's advice. Their…

Venezuelan Crisis: The oil factor

The oil sector is at the heart of the current political crisis in Venezuela in which President Chavez was first ousted by a coup on April 12, 2002 and then reinstated by a counter-coup, only two days later. Venezuela is the fourth largest oil exporter in the world. The critical importance of the oil sector for the national economy is underscored by the fact that oil generates nearly 75% of Venezuela's export revenue and 50% of its tax income. Additionally, Venezuela is an important overseas source of oil for the US, accounting for 13% of its fuel imports. Incidentally, one…

Excerpts from Argentine President Rodriguez Saa’s Inaugural Speech to Congress Translated by Cynthia Rush

Today, we begin the transformation of our beloved country; starting today, nothing will be the same...we are perfectly conscious that, today, a new republic has been born.' Argentina's new interim President, a very confident Adolfo Rodriguez Saa, spoke these words to the national Congress today, after having been sworn in, and outlined the crucial policy areas to be dealt with as immediate priorities. He acknowledged that the demonstrations which led to the demise of the de la Rua government had a good and bad side. The bad side was the "vandalism, irrational lootings, and absolutely unnecessary deaths"; the good side…

Momentum Returns to Movements against Corporate Globalisations Patrick Bond

I was glad to see Mokhiber/Weissman writing for ZNet last week on the durability of the anti-neoliberal movement. Here in Johannesburg, September 11 came and went, with linkages made between the Left peace movement's urgent agenda--anti-war demonstrations against US consulates in several South African cities--and the broader problem of imperialism's new form. I don't call it 'Empire,' as do some trendy intellectual friends, but I do recognise that the imperialist project is about more than a superpower bully acting on homegrown corporate interests. Imperialism today entails the penetration of neoliberal-capitalist ideology everywhere, as part and parcel of expanding the material…

The New Economy Mark Weisbrot and Dean Baker

In economic history, great myths are often made and sustained not so much by the difficulty of the subject matter, but by the failure of the discussants to look at the readily available data. America's longest business cycle expansion, which has now been officially certified as running from March 1991 to March 2001, is a case in point. In the folklore of the business press, a widely held explanation has already congealed for the upswing that led optimists to proclaim the emergence of a "new economy." The now conventional wisdom flows as follows: together with Congress, the Clinton Administration got…