Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Old Article Re World Bank

but it is timely given the relentless onslaught against public education in the United States, including public universities by a bunch of whackos. The focus is Mexico, but it is happening here now:

But this is just the tip of the iceberg as the privatization program as a whole is plagued with similar cases in virtually every sector of the economy being “modernized”: the privatization of the Mexican banking system has been a massive financial disaster. The costs are conservatively estimated in the hundreds of billions of dollars over the last ten years. But the pattern repeats itself in airports, sugar mills, sea ports, railways, airlines, food distribution enterprises, etc. However, much of these schemes have greatly benefited international bankers –such as City Group-, and easily identifiably multinational corporations from the “North” that operate in the “Global South” under the protective umbrella of state instruments of their country or origin, such as the WB, the IFC and other diplo-military and security arrangements.

The educational system as a whole is now being thrown into this scheme. Presented to the public as a major effort at “educational reform”, its privatization is being fostered through highly conditioned WB loans to the public ministry of education, universities and research and development units, such as the National Council on Science and Technology (CONACYT). By encouraging the “entrepreneurial spirit” in the education institutions (at all levels: primary, secondary and tertiary), the Bank is basically eroding the scarcity power that the academy and scientists still exercise in defining study plans and scientific and technological development programs. Since according to the Bank´s reasoning, the “market” (i.e. the private sector) should “decide” on these matters, there is a growing gap between the problems affecting the population at large and the national research and development agenda. The WBs “conventional wisdom”, is really a linguistic code that must be deciphered as it conceals the actors and main beneficiaries of the privatization programs. As James Petras has pointed out, “the market” is an analytic economic category. It does not “demand” nor does it “decide” or “urge”. What we are facing is an anthropomorphic distortion of economic processes. It is the Chief Executive Officers, the decision makers of organisms such as the WB and the IMF who really “demand”, “decide” and “urge”. Not “the market”.19

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