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March 17, 2005

Reviving the Global Justice Movement

Not that it ever went away, but the appointment of Paul Wolfowitz to head the World Bank will hopefully refocus the energies of antiwar activists to the much more serious issues of global poverty and corporate exploitation.

I've argued in the past that however many Americans were killed by or are even threatened by death from terrorists, or however many people the US may kill in wars, those numbers pale in the face of the millions who die every year from PREVENTABLE disease and hunger. Having Paul Wolfowitz at the World Bank hands the neocons direct responsibility for ending those deaths, and gives global justice activists a new high-profile target for protests on the issue.

Now, the World Bank's actions, while not uncontroversial, are relatively benign unto themselves. Most of the staff do good work, helping poor countries with loans and grants for development. The problem is that those World Bank funds are the "carrot" used by institutions like the IMF and developed governments to coerce poor countries into restructuring their economies to be more open to corporate dominance.

Making Paul Wolfowitz the head of the World Bank is in many ways a more honest recognition of the role of that institution as part of the foreign policy apparatus of rich countries used to dominate poor countries. It's similar to the advantages we had in discussing the reality of civil liberties with John Ashcroft occupying the Attorney General's chair.

Posted by Nathan at March 17, 2005 08:59 AM