The BRICS Bank: Part of a new financial architecture (1) Oscar Ugarteche

The Sixth BRICS Summit took place in Fortaleza, Brazil and on July 15 of 2014 they announced the establishment of a bank dedicated to financing large scale infrastructure, and a contingent reserves agreement (CRA) of some one hundred billion dollars distributed in accounts of the five central banks. With a capital base authorized at 100 billion US dollars, and already paid to the extent of ten billion, the New Development Bank is prepared to issue instruments in dollars and access needed funds in the international capital markets at low rates. The object of the Bank, whose seat is Shanghai, is…

Statement by Former Staff Members of UNCTAD: Silencing the message or the messenger …. or both? Geneva, 11 April 2012

Since its establishment almost 50 years ago at the instigation of developing countries UNCTAD has always been a thorn in the flesh of economic orthodoxy. Its analyses of global macro-economic issues from a development perspective have regularly provided an alternative view to that offered by the World Bank and the IMF controlled by the west. Now efforts are afoot to silence that voice. It might be understandable if this analysis was being eliminated because it duplicated the work and views of other international organisations, but the opposite is the case - a few countries want to suppress any dissent with…

We need a New World Order at the World Bank Jayati Ghosh

Already the air is thick with rumours, speculation and calculation. No sooner did Robert Zoellick announce that he would step down as president of the World Bank at the end of June than the jockeying for his position began. US treasury secretary Timothy Geithner quickly announced that the US government would put forward a candidate in the coming weeks. This haste is to establish the US's claim to this post, through the so-called "gentlemen's agreement" of the global elite whereby Europe could put one of its own in the IMF and the US controlled the leadership of the World Bank. The arrangement…

Changing Guard at the IMF? Jayati Ghosh

Christine Lagarde has been busy this June. The French Foreign Minister and European Union candidate for the top job at the International Monetary Fund has been visiting the capitals of ''important'' emerging countries - Brazil, India, China, Russia – to drum up support for her candidacy. For their part, governments in these and other developing countries, after an initial show of being united in irritation at the blatant attempts by Europe to keep control over this slot, have been too wary of each other to agree on a common candidate, at least thus far. The only declared candidate from a…

Combining Bad Economics with Proto-geography Sumanasiri Liyanage

The article analyses a recently released World Bank report on Sri Lanka, titled, ''Sri Lanka: Connecting People to Prosperity''. It points out that the main weakness of the report stems from its neo-liberal premise that places market and market forces at a pre-eminent position. Further, it argues, that economic development anywhere in the world, with the exception of a handful of countries, has resulted from correct industrial policy rather than from unconditional faith in market forces. Combining_Bad_Economics (Download the full text in PDF format) (This article has appeared in The Island, 22 August 2010)

After the Istanbul Meetings: Has the IMF changed? if so, how relevant is that change?

Arguing that the proposed changes of the IMF’s governance structure following the 2009 annual meetings of the Bretton Woods Institutions—the IMF and World Bank—in Istanbul in October 2009, remained, at best, a display of good intentions, the author contends that a failure to provide a re-focused attention away from the neoliberal dogmas to the realities of the global economy will prove all such attempts of change in the governance structure of the IMF or of the financial architecture futile. istanbul_meetings (Download the full text in PDF format)

New Global Poverty Estimates: What do these mean? Himanshu

Recent estimates of poverty using the data from the latest ICP have led to an upward adjustment of the estimate of poor in the world by 400 million. Although better than previous such estimates, the assumptions behind these adjustments and the quality of data obtained from the ICP limit the usefulness of such exercise for cross-country poverty comparisons. For India, these estimates suggest severe under-estimation in the official estimates of poverty. poverty_estimates (Download the full text in PDF format)

The World Bank’s New Poverty Estimates – Digging Deeper into a Hole Sanjay G. Reddy

The World Bank has today[1] released what it refers to as ‘updated’ global poverty estimates. These new numbers are based on a new worldwide price survey and a new benchmark international poverty line of $1.25 2005 PPP which replaces earlier benchmark poverty lines (of $1.08 1993 PPP and $1.00 1985 PPP, both widely referred to as “$1 per day”) corresponding to earlier base years. The revised figures purport to estimate world poverty figures for a range of years since 1981, and thus crucially affect our understanding of the world over the last quarter century of globalization. Many aspects of the global…

The World Bank: Development agency, credit union, or institutional dinosaur? Chan Chee Khoon

As an agent of global social reproduction, the World Bank itself is also subject to forces pushing for privatization (in this case, divestment of its development lending role to private capital markets), much in the way that welfarist states are urged to selectively offload their more profitable (or commercially viable) social services to the private sector. Jessica Einhorn’s call to wind down the IBRD (Foreign Affairs, January/February 2006) follows upon the recommendations of the Meltzer Commission (US Congress, 2000) for a triage of borrower countries: debt cancellation, performance-based grants for the most destitute of highly-indebted countries, as opposed to the…