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Third World Poverty

Banks and the Third World Elite


 When the protestors march again into Trafalgar Square this month to demand an end to the massive debt repayments said to be causing Third World poverty, it will be left to Socialists, once again, to point out that you cannot expect the world capitalist system to behave any differently. What strikes the socialist most forcefully is the staggering naivety of the call for banks to be nicer to their Third World clients, to Stamp Out Their Debts, as if the bankers' greed alone is the root cause of the present misery into which the majority of the world's population is sunk.

 When the great lending spree to Third World countries began in the early 1970s— taking their collective debt from about $130 billion in 1973 to $612 billion nine years later when the bubble burst—there was a clear and compelling logic driving them relentlessly on.

Exhibition Review: ‘Broken Lives’

The International Slavery Museum in Liverpool (housed in the Maritime Museum) is hosting a display on slavery in modern India. Most of the enslaved are Dalits, which means ‘broken, crushed, oppressed’; the former term ‘untouchables’ is objectionable. The exhibition, which mainly consists of factual information plus extremely moving case studies and interviews, is produced in partnership with the Dalit Freedom Network (www.dfn.org.uk).

Goals and Penalties

In September the UN adopted seventeen Global Goals, intended to build a better world by 2030 (www.globalgoals.org). These include such aims as ending poverty and hunger, promoting clean water and renewable energy, achieving gender equality and combatting climate change. All very worthy, and at least the global nature of problems and solutions is recognised, but let’s step back a bit and look at the background and history of such efforts.

The Global Goals are a follow-up to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) set by the UN in 2000 (www.un.org/millenniumgoals), though with 1990 often taken as a benchmark. There were just eight MDGs, from eradicating extreme poverty and hunger to reducing child mortality and combatting HIV/AIDS. For a discussion of one aspect of this, see Material World in the August Socialist Standard.

Book Reviews: 'Worlds Apart', 'Zapata of Mexico', & 'The Communist Club'

Unequally Poor
Branko Milanovic - Worlds Apart: Measuring International and Global Inequality, (Princeton University Press £22.95)

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