What Free Trade Is Doing to Africa!

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New African

June 2010

So often we are told that the free market is the path to economic prosperity. All an impoverished nation needs to do is privatize, deregulate, reduce the size and role of government, cut tariff protections and open its economy to foreign investors, and it too can become a developed model economy. This gospel is preached by the U.S. and Western European nations and enforced through international financial institutions such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank and World Trade Organization (WTO). The neoliberal economic model, it is claimed, is beneficial for all nations and in all circumstances. But is it true? These assertions never acknowledge the actual experience of developing nations that implement these policies. To do so would dispel such notions. The effect of free trade on agricultural development in Sub-Saharan Africa provides a characteristic example.Read More »

Devastating Free Market Reforms Imposed on Serbia

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Nine years ago, neoliberal political forces took power in Serbia, promising a radical transformation of the economy. Today, deep into that transformation, Serbia is foundering from its effects, exacerbated by the worldwide economic downturn. Industrial production has fallen 15 percent compared to the average of last year, while unemployment remains high.[1]

A delegation from the IMF is now in Belgrade, negotiating over Serbia’s 2010 national budget and how best to deal with the economic crisis. The two sides are not far apart, in that both parties envision more of the usual neoliberal prescriptions as the way out of an economic crisis brought about in large part by those very same measures. Read More »