Special Meditation Focus: The IMF and World Bank Annual Meeting in Prague

THE IMF AND WORLD BANK ANNUAL MEETING IN PRAGUE


Web posted on September 24 for a 30 minute global meditation
on September 26, at 12 noon Universal Time



Hello

This is a special issue from the Global Meditation Focus Group.

THE IMF AND WORLD BANK ANNUAL MEETING IN PRAGUE

1. Summary
2. Meditation Times
3. More information on this Special Meditation Focus




1. SUMMARY

The World Bank and International Monetary Fund will hold their annual meeting in Prague in the Czech Republic on September 26-28. To coincide with this meeting of the world's most powerful economic institutions, tens of thousands of people will take to the streets in Prague and elsewhere around the world on September 26 to protest against these institutions.

The IMF and World Bank offer loans and financial assistance to countries to allegedly help promote an orderly balance of international trade and payments and relieve poverty. However, there is a widespread belief that these institutions primarly serve corporate interests and encourage rather than relieve social and ecological devastation, since the loans are provided to developing countries on the condition that they adopt policies that undermine their sovereignty and prise open their previously protected economies to global capitalism and transnational corporate investment. Such policies often include cutting government spending on healthcare and education, the building of an infrastructure of roads, dams, and power plants, and the implementation of World Bank projects that may involve the use of genetically modified organisms in agriculture. Since the 1980s, these policies have helped create a net outflow of wealth from the developing world, which has paid out five times as much capital to the industrialized countries of the North as it has received, according to Corporate Watch.

Please hold in your heart and mind a vision, as guided by Spirit during your meditation, of the relief of all suffering and the ending of all exploitation resulting from economic globalization. May the economic delegates, street protesters, and all of the world's economic players be touched by the power of Spirit, so that together we can co-create a future based on love, peace, wisdom, and sharing; may the integrity and self-determination of all individuals and communities be valued, and the voice of the Earth heard in all of us, for the highest good of all.




2. MEDITATION TIMES

i) September 24-28: Daily, at the top of any hour, or whenever it better suits you.

ii) September 26 (the Opening of the IMF/World Bank meeting): 12 noon Universal Time (GMT), noon local time, or at any time of your choice. Suggested duration: 30 minutes.

Note: The opening ceremony on the 26th is expected to take place at 10am Prague time (08.00 UT) followed by an address by the IMF and World Bank. The annual discussion is expected to take place at 3pm Prague time (13.00 UT). See www.amp2000.cz/meeting.html

Differences from Universal Time are as follows, and are in Daylight Saving Time where applicable:

Honolulu = -10 hours / Los Angeles = -7 hours / Denver & San Salvador = -6 hours / Mexico City, Houston & Chicago = -5 hours / New York, Toronto, Montreal, Asuncion & Santiago = -4 hours / Rio de Janeiro & Montevideo = -3 hours / Reykjavik & Casablanca = 0 hours / London, Algiers & Lagos = +1 hour / Geneva, Rome, Berlin, Paris, Johannesburg & Madrid = +2 hours / Athens, Helsinki, Jerusalem, Nairobi & Istanbul = +3 hours / Moscow & Baghdad = +4 hours / Tehran = +4 and a half hours / Islamabad = +5 hours / Calcutta & New Delhi = +5 and a half hours / Dhaka = +6 hours / Rangoon = +6 and a half hours / Hanoi, Bangkok & Jakarta = +7 hours / Hong Kong, Perth, Beijing & Kuala Lumpur = + 8 hours / Seoul & Tokyo = +9 hours / Brisbane, Canberra & Melbourne = +10 hours / Wellington = +12 hours

To confirm your time difference from Universal Time (GMT) please visit www.worldhealing.co.uk/risingearth/timezone.html




3. MORE INFORMATION ON THIS SPECIAL MEDITATION FOCUS

i) The role of the IMF and the World Bank

ii) The Impact of the Policies of the IMF and World Bank

iii) Commentary

This section is for those who wish to understand in more detail the situation of this week's Meditation Focus. For those who wish to read on, we would encourage you to view the following information from a positive perspective, and not allow the details to tinge the positive vision you wish to hold in meditation. Since what we focus on grows, the more positive our mindset, the more successful we will be in manifesting a vision of healing. We provide the details below because we recognise that the knowledge of what needs healing can assist us to structure our awareness to maximise our healing effect.


i) The role of the IMF and the World Bank

The International Monetary Fund and World Bank were created at the Bretton Woods Conference in 1944. The IMF seeks to maintain an orderly balance of international trade and payments by regularly assessing economies and making short-term loans to those with balance of payments difficulties. The World Bank Group is comprised of five agencies that make loans or guarantee credit to 177 member countries. It aims to help countries reduce poverty by making long-term loans to governments for projects such as dams or bridges, or to back economic reform programmes. The two agencies determine whether developing countries get access to aid money and how it is spent.

Every year the World Bank and its regional counterparts lend $45 billion to the so-called developing world. World Bank policies serve corporate interests in five key ways:

* Large corporations receive lucrative contracts for World Bank projects.
* Roads, electrical grids, dams and power plants are built to lay the groundwork for further transnational investment.
* The World Bank is absorbing the ecological question into their agenda.
* Making loans conditional on the privatization of national industries, the removal of barriers to foreign investment, the gutting and privatization of social and environmental services, and the redirection of economies toward exportation.
* Lending to or investing in transnational corporate projects.

Decisions at the World Bank and IMF are made by a vote of the Board of Executive Directors, which represents member countries. Unlike the United Nations, where each member nation has an equal vote, voting power at the World Bank and IMF is determined by the level of a nation's financial contribution. Because of the scale of its contribution, the United States has always had a dominant voice and has at all times exercized an effective veto. At the same time, developing countries have relatively little power within the institution, which, through the programs and policies they decide to finance, have tremendous impact throughout local economies and societies. Furthermore, the President of the World Bank is by tradition an American, and the IMF President is a European.


ii) The Impact of the Policies of the IMF and World Bank

Many agree that from the 1980s onward, these institutions were able to dictate macroeconomic policies and effectively wrest sovereign control of entire economic sectors from Southern governments, prying open previously protected economies to escalating transnational corporate investment.

The IMF and World Bank's control of the debt issue preserves their power to impose unpopular austerity policies, which are required by the World Bank and the IMF as a condition of loans. These policies (Structural Adjustment Programs) often include high interest rates and reduced access to credit, which result in slower economic growth as well as increased poverty and unemployment. Other adjustment policies include cuts in government spending on healthcare and education, increases in the cost of food, healthcare and other basic necessities, mandates to open markets to foreign trade and investment, and privatization of state-run enterprises. In most Sub-Saharan African nations, governments spend four times as much on debt repayment as on healthcare, despite the rapid spread of HIV and AIDS.

Structural adjustment has exacerbated poverty in most countries where it has been applied. Since the 1980s, it has helped create a net outflow of wealth from the developing world, which has paid out five times as much capital to the industrialized countries of the North as it has received. Structural adjustment is also causing widespread environmental degradation. This is shown by the following three examples:

* Most of the World Bank's investment has been in the energy sector, with about 80 percent of these loans financing continued construction of carbon-intensive, coal-burning power plants.

* After granting Nicaragua a loan in 1994, the IMF supported the expansion of the logging industry, causing an increase in Nicaragua's already high rate of deforestation (370,000 acres/year).

* World Bank projects involve the use of genetically modified organisms in food and agriculture.

Source:

IMF and World Bank Agenda:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/business/newsid_925000/925126.stm

World Bank Factsheet:
www.corpwatch.org/trac/globalization/bretton/wbfacts.html

The World Bank and Corporations:
www.corpwatch.org/trac/feature/planet/fact_4.html

September 26 Call to Action:
www.corpwatch.org/trac/headlines/2000/321.html

The World Bank - Environmental Protection or Destruction? www.greenpeace.org/politics/wto/WBfinal.html

Speeding Debt Relief:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/business/newsid_923000/923267.stm

Attacking World Poverty:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/business/newsid_924000/924640.stm

Historic Prague Braces for Turbulent IMF Meeting:
http://foxnews.com/world/091700/imf_prague.sml

Globalisation and the World Economic Forum:
www.s11.org/s11.html


iii) Commentary

The IMF and World Bank are global financial institutions set up to promote the growth of global capitalism. They are therefore ideologically biased, so that any talk of debt relief, while appearing on the surface to be a gesture of goodwill, is in fact accompanied by conditions that undermine a country's self-determination and benefit a corporate elite.

This crisis of dependency and exploitation, which is causing social and ecological devastation, dates back to 1970s, when loans were given irresponsibly by commercial banks and borrowed recklessly by foreign governments, most of which were not popularly elected and which no longer hold power. The advent of the debt crisis, which occurred in the early 1980s due to a worldwide collapse in the prices of commodities that developing countries export and to rising oil prices and interest rates, forced these countries into a position where they were unable to make payments. So in stepped the IMF and World Bank.

On a spiritual level, money represents energy, and banking systems based on unsustainable rates of interest effectively steal people's energy, leaving them devitalised and disempowered. The IMF and World Bank seem to exploit the debt situation on behalf of multinationals, yet their policies are not actually forced on anyone, but agreed to by the developing world because they seem the only way out for these countries. We suggest that the underlying crisis is not actually one of financial poverty, but of a poverty of love. It is not a crisis for those in debt - it is a crisis for everyone, rich or poor, for we are all interconnected. By working together as co-creators, the countries of the world have the means and the power to eradicate all poverty and to revitalise and enrich the human spirit, for the good of all. What is required is a shift of viewpoint, away from the underlying assumptions that are grounded in divisive materialistic values, and towards the spiritual values of love.




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