For Your Entertainment (FYE)
“The Bretton Woods system of monetary management established the rules for commercial and financial relations among the world’s major industrial states in the mid 20th century. The Bretton Woods system was the first example of a fully negotiated monetary order intended to govern monetary relations among independent nation-states.
Preparing to rebuild the international economic system as World War II was still raging, 730 delegates from all 44 Allied nations gathered at the Mount Washington Hotel in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, United States, for the United Nations Monetary and Financial Conference. The delegates deliberated upon and signed the Bretton Woods Agreements during the first three weeks of July 1944.
Setting up a system of rules, institutions, and procedures to regulate the international monetary system, the planners at Bretton Woods established the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), which today is part of the World Bank Group. These organizations became operational in 1945 after a sufficient number of countries had ratified the agreement.
The chief features of the Bretton Woods system were an obligation for each country to adopt a monetary policy that maintained the exchange rate by tying its currency to the U.S. dollar and the ability of the IMF to bridge temporary imbalances of payments.
On August 15, 1971, the United States unilaterally terminated convertibility of the dollar to gold. As a result, “[t]he Bretton Woods system officially ended and the dollar became fully ‘fiat currency,’ backed by nothing but the promise of the federal government.” This action, referred to as the Nixon shock, created the situation in which the United States dollar became the sole backing of currencies and a reserve currency for the member states. At the same time, many fixed currencies (such as GPB] for example), also became free floating.”
“Globalization refers to the increasing unification of the world’s economic order through reduction of such barriers to international trade as tariffs, export fees, and import quotas. The goal is to increase material wealth, goods, and services through an international division of labor by efficiencies catalyzed by international relations, specialization and competition. It describes the process by which regional economies, societies, and cultures have become integrated through communication, transportation, and trade. The term is most closely associated with the term economic globalization: the integration of national economies into the international economy through trade, foreign direct investment, capital flows, migration, the spread of technology, and military presence However, globalization is usually recognized as being driven by a combination of economic, technological, sociocultural, political, and biological factors.The term can also refer to the transnational circulation of ideas, languages, or popular culture through acculturation. An aspect of the world which has gone through the process can be said to be globalized. Against this view, an alternative approach stresses how globalization has actually decreased inter-cultural contacts while increasing the possibility of international and intra-national conflict.”
“Unregulated market forces encounter parochial (tribal) forces. These tribal forces come in many varieties: religious, cultural, ethnic, regional, local, etc. As globalization imposes a culture of its own on a population, the tribal forces feel threatened and react. More than just economic, the crises that arise from these confrontations often take on a sacred quality to the tribal elements; thus Barber’s use of the term “Jihad” (although in the 2nd edition, he expresses regret at having used that term).
Barber’s prognosis in his 1995 book, Jihad vs McWorld: How Globalism and Tribalism Are Reshaping the World, is generally negative — he concludes that neither global corporations nor traditional cultures are supportive of democracy. ”
“The debt of developing countries is external debt incurred by governments of developing countries, generally in quantities beyond the governments’ political ability to repay. “Unpayable debt” is a term used to describe external debt when the interest on the debt exceeds what the country’s politicians think they can collect from taxpayers, based on the nation’s gross domestic product, thus preventing the debt from ever being repaid.
The causes of debt are a result of many factors, including:
Legacy of colonialism — for example, the developing countries’ debt is partly the result of the transfer to them of the debts of the colonizing states, in billions of dollars, at very high interest rates.
Odious debt, whereby debt is incurred as developed countries loaned money to dictators or other corrupt leaders when it was known that the money would be wasted. South Africa, for example shortly after freedom from apartheid had to pay debts incurred by the apartheid regime.
Mismanaged spending and lending by the West in the 1960s and 70s.
Some of the current levels of debt were amassed following the 1973 oil crisis. Increases in oil prices forced many poorer nations’ governments to borrow heavily to purchase politically essential supplies. At the same time, OPEC funds deposited in western banks provided a ready source of funds for loans. While a proportion of borrowed funds went towards infrastructure and economic development financed by central governments, a proportion was lost to corruption and about one-fifth was spent on arms.”
“According to his book, Perkins’ function was to convince the political and financial leadership of underdeveloped countries to accept enormous development loans from institutions like the World Bank and USAID. Saddled with debts they could not hope to pay, those countries were forced to acquiesce to political pressure from the United States on a variety of issues. Perkins argues in his book that developing nations were effectively neutralized politically, had their wealth gaps driven wider and economies crippled in the long run. In this capacity Perkins recounts his meetings with some prominent individuals, including Graham Greene and Omar Torrijos. Perkins describes the role of an EHM as follows:
Economic hit men (EHMs) are highly-paid professionals who cheat countries around the globe out of trillions of dollars. They funnel money from the World Bank, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and other foreign “aid” organizations into the coffers of huge corporations and the pockets of a few wealthy families who control the planet’s natural resources. Their tools included fraudulent financial reports, rigged elections, payoffs, extortion, sex, and murder. They play a game as old as empire, but one that has taken on new and terrifying dimensions during this time of globalization.
The epilogue to the 2006 edition provides a rebuttal to the current move by the G8 nations to forgive Third World debt. Perkins charges that the proposed conditions for this debt forgiveness require countries to privatise their health, education, electric, water and other public services. Those countries would also have to discontinue subsidies and trade restrictions that support local business, but accept the continued subsidization of certain G8 businesses by the US and other G8 countries, and the erection of trade barriers on imports that threaten G8 industries.”
“In 2009, the documentary film Apologies of an Economic Hit Man featuring interviews with Perkins, was shown at film festivals around the U.S. The film is a Greek – U.S. co-production directed by Stelios Kouloglou, and was filmed in 2007 and 2008. Numerous interview-style statements by John Perkins also appear in the 2008 documentary film, Zeitgeist: Addendum.”
“In 2011, the largest economies in the world with more than $2 trillion, €1.25 trillion by nominal GDP are the United States, China, Japan, Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Brazil, and Italy. The largest economies in the world with more than $2 trillion, €1.25 trillion by GDP (PPP) are the United States, China, Japan, India, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, Brazil, and France.”
“Barter is a method of exchange by which goods or services are directly exchanged for other goods or services without using a medium of exchange, such as money. It is usually bilateral, but may be multilateral, and usually exists parallel to monetary systems in most developed countries, though to a very limited extent. Barter usually replaces money as the method of exchange in times of monetary crisis, such as when the currency may be either unstable (e.g., hyperinflation or deflationary spiral) or simply unavailable for conducting commerce.”
“Countertrade means exchanging goods or services which are paid for, in whole or part, with other goods or services, rather than with money. A monetary valuation can however be used in counter trade for accounting purposes. In dealings between sovereign states, the term bilateral trade is used. OR “Any transaction involving exchange of goods or service for something of equal value.””
“Countertrade also occurs when countries lack sufficient hard currency, or when other types of market trade are impossible.”
“The volume of countertrade is growing. In 1972, it was estimated that countertrade was used by business and governments in 15 countries; in 1979, 27 countries; by the start of 1990s, around 100 countries. (Vertariu 1992). A large part of countertrade has involved sales of military equipment (weaponry, vehicles and installations).”
“More than 80 countries nowadays regularly use or require countertrade exchanges. Officials of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) organization claimed that countertrade accounts for around 5% of the world trade. The British Department of Trade and Industry has suggested 15%, while some scholars believe it to be closer to 30%, with east-west trade having been as high as 50% in some trading sectors of Eastern European and Third World Countries for some years. A consensus of expert opinions (Okaroafo, 1989) has put the percentage of the value of world trade volumes linked to countertrade transactions at between 20% to 25%.”
“According to an official US statement, “The U.S. Government generally views countertrade, including barter, as contrary to an open, free trading system and, in the long run, not in the interest of the U.S. business community. However, as a matter of policy the U.S. Government will not oppose U.S. companies’ participation in countertrade arrangements unless such action could have a negative impact on national security.” (Office of Management and Budget; “Impact of Offsets in Defense-related Exports,” December, 1985).”