“You talk about the CIA and American foreign policy during the Cold War…that’s like level one. We’re on a second level here, the IMF and World Bank are operating on a meta-level, like we’re above Cold War politics, we’re at the level of timeless, strong countries abusing poor countries; this is way beyond the Cold War.”
— Alex Gladstein
Alex Gladstein is Chief Strategy Officer at the Human Rights Foundation. In this interview, we discuss the IMF and World Bank - two powerful multinational institutions that have shaped the post-war world for developed nations' benefit. Alex uncovers the exploitation hidden from view and the ongoing real-world costs for the developing world.
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The IMF and World Bank are two major multinational institutions that have perhaps shaped the workings of the global economy more than any other. The issue is that, over the course of the past few decades, the IMF’s and World Bank’s roles and impacts have largely been forgotten.
Whilst casual observers are distrustful of the IMF and World Bank, in the main, people’s concern is vague, lacking facts or evidence. It’s hard to know why this is, but it’s worth noting that internally produced IMF and World Bank content dominates google search results at the expense of independent content.
And yet, the impact of the IMF and World Bank has been catastrophic for many developing nations. Specifically, it has been problematic for those outside the gilded circles of power in such countries who have had to carry the burden of debt through significant assaults on public services, food security and other fundamental quality-of-life provisions.
The reason? Neocolonialism. Extraction of resources from the periphery for the benefit of the centre. Indebtedness has been the tool used. A Ponzi scheme of debt relief to support debt servicing, designed to keep countries subservient to those controlling the IMF and World Bank. The cost is dictatorships, corruption, environmental degradation, and the destruction of potentially millions of lives.
It is uncertain whether Bitcoin can fix this. But, it acts as a powerful disincentive and disruption by weakening the exorbitant privilege of the dollar and enabling the innocent people subjugated by the IMF and World Bank and their own elites, an opportunity to opt-out of this system. Our role within Bitcoin is to discuss this history and help free those still bound by its constraints.
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