By Lloyd D'Aguilar
Empress Christine Lagarde of the IMF -- International Monetary Farce -- has come to Jamaica to assure her faithful officials that she is mighty pleased with the way they are screwing the subjects in order to make sure that creditors -- international and of course local ones -- get their pound of flesh.
Lloyd D’Aguilar is a freelance journalist and a member of the Campaign for Social and Economic Justice (CSEJ) firstname.lastname@example.org
The JLP grumbled about devaluation but was proud that Lagarde saw them as a responsible opposition -- which is exactly what she came to counsel them about -- to ensure that her grateful officials (US$400 million loaned so far) loyally support the plan to screw the people, even while allowance is made for a little political posturing here and there. She was not to be disappointed.
The head of the UWI economics department, Dr Damien King, clothed in a demeanour to suggest economic intelligence, introduced Lagarde as only well trained house slaves can do, masking his intellectual grovelling with commonplace Economics 101 observations. God bless the poor young minds at UWI being groomed for a future life as economist clowns.
Lagarde herself was patronizing, as was to be expected. She approvingly mentioned Usain Bolt and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Bob Marley and Tessanne Chin and Claude McKay -- but not Juan de Serras (who was the ultimate Maroon warrior) and Tacky (who terrorized planters in St Mary) and Sam Sharpe (the man who could have been a Toussaint L'Ouverture) and even George William Gordon (Governor Eyre's constant irritant) -- all of whom most symbolize the future -- i.e. a non-grovelling, revolutionary struggle against a neo-colonial style deception and oppression which Lagarde represents.
The highlight of Lagarde's very polished attempt at deception was of course that she mentioned but never analyzed the "unsustainable" level of debt.
She wants to give the impression that "growth" will result from the grinding sacrifice by the people and, in so far as that happens, all is well. A typical Anancy story if ever there was one.
Lagarde, as the face card for international finance capital, knows that economic growth is possible with a little statistical manipulation, but it is sustainable economic development that the people want, and for which they are being forced to sacrifice, in vain.
For starters the debt will never stop being an obstacle to development unless it is repudiated and all that that implies. Lagarde's IMF policies are the very antithesis of sustainable economic development and hence the idea of repudiation is tantamount to treason.
Thus, she is here to assure her faithful officials never to entertain such ideas, which can only come from discontented and ungrateful subjects. Her dutiful finance minister gets it. He shakes in his boots at the thought that repudiation would create a cash economy!
Lagarde presents herself as the moderate alternative to potential ingrates because she is also against global income inequality (so she says!); she mouths stuff about the perils of climate change; and of course she wants equality for women; and protection for the poorest (i.e. PATH -- wow!); and for that frightened UWI student who sees government cuts potentially hampering his education -- she expresses a hope that the finance minister will see education as the path to growth. How enlightening and progressive!
The biggest contradiction and even hypocrisy is the fact that the IMF has expressed opposition to US courts scuttling the deal that Argentina made with its creditors after having repudiated their public debt, and forcing creditors to accept a radical reduction in the debt Argentina is prepared to pay them.
Of course, that is something not to be publicly discussed as part of the options available to Jamaica.
Despite the carefully crafted show, Lagarde and her Jamaican courtiers may fool a few gullible ones, but not the vast majority of the people, who are daily burdened by oppressive austerity measures. The daily cry for justice continues.
No wonder Her Highness and her courtiers did not want questions asked. Correction, they allowed about four questions, which Lagarde waffled over, showing that even gods have intellectual limits.
Commonsense tells us, though, that the debt is not only unsustainable, it cannot be repaid. It must be repudiated if only for the reason that most of it is odious, illegitimate, or constitute irresponsible lending by those who want to enslave us.
Christine Lagarde is only a show. The real struggle over unsustainable debt that must be repudiated continues.