A selection of articles on history, politics, art and literature.
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Watch out Ireland - Here comes aid
The Irish economy has well and truely crashed and the situation looks dire. That much is clear. Now the news is that aid is arriving, thanks to the good graces of the European Union and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). If that sounds like good news to you, well think again. A research paper published by academics from the University of Cambridge and Yale University this summer concludes that IMF aid in the former communist countries of Eastern Europe resulted in an increase in tuberculosis, including increases in mortality form tuberculosis. The higher the IMF loans, the higher the increase in death from tuberculosis. Countries that took bigger loans experienced a proportionally higher rate of TB than countries that took smaller loans. When the "aid" stopped, the TB levels returned to their pre-IMF level. This should not surprise us; IMF aid usually comes in a package which invariably includes a process euphemistically called "restructuring", whereby public spending in areas like education, welfare benefits and public heath are cut. IMF loans aim to save capitalism, not lives. An incompetent Irish prime minister (he is the former minister of finance - can we expect a man who is part of the problem to provide a solution?) can now throw up his hands and cry that Europe and the IMF are forcing him to make the further cuts that will be coming. If the researchers from Cambridge and Yale are correct, we will see the number of cases of death from TB rise. You can read their report here. If the full report is a bit much, you can read this article from Scientific American.