IMF support for Osborne’s austerity measures

IMF support for Osborne’s austerity measures

Date: 8 June 2011

With a backdrop of a stagnating economy and a population increasingly questioning the logic of his strategy for cutting the deficit, this morning I heard the chancellor, George Osborne, defend his and the government’s policy of fast-reaching, sweeping cuts, many of which are yet to make their teeth fully felt. The IMF, he insisted, were soon to announce their backing for the strategy, and who could be a more independent (and thus compelling) judge than they?

Such a comment would be enough to make most WDM supporters choke on their morning coffee. Those of us who have paid even the slightest attention to the IMF’s policies in the global south over the last few decades will expect nothing but a hearty endorsement for Osborne and his neo-liberal policies from the IMF. More importantly however, we will not give such an endorsement any credit.

Time and time again the IMF has prescribed the same austerity dogma to the world’s poorest countries as a formula for growth. And time and time again these countries have not experienced the growth promised but have been subject to increasing unemployment and ever growing inequality.

Whilst a lucky few have managed to skim off the countries’ wealth and assets, thereby growing rich, it has been at the expense of the impoverished majority. Furthermore, the so called ‘trickle down’ effect, whereby the benefits of the wealth at one end of society slowly work their way down to the poorest, has repeatedly failed to happen.

After nearly four decades of evidence from the global south to discredit the IMF’s neo-liberalist policies you could be forgiven for assuming the time had come for it to admit its error. Sadly, this is not the case. Quite conversely, as George Osborne underlined this morning, the economic crisis has brought these debunked theories into our own back yards.

This is why it is right for WDM to decry the cuts to the public sector here in the UK, which see the most marginalized citizens of our society pay the highest price for the collapse of an economy they were least to blame for. Just as for decades we have decried the injustice of the same neo-liberal austerity agenda in the global south. For the sake of justice everywhere, this dogma needs putting to bed once and for all!