That’s It, Then: It’s All the Chinese’s Fault

Monday, May 11th, 2009

It looks like World Bank released an interesting publication a few weeks ago, the “Global Monitoring Report.” Jørgen Steen Nielsen of the Danish commentary newspaper Information has got it covered, albeit with a title for his review-article that the World Bank bureaucrats would never have dared to formulate themselves: The Chinese saved up for the American binge. Likewise, Nielsen’s lede would probably have not passed muster with the World Bank editors:

The large developing country [i.e. the PR of China] through its loans financed the overconsumption in the USA that launched the global recession and now forces millions in undeveloped countries into unemployment, hunger, and extreme poverty, said the World Bank.

How many millions exactly? The report does provide these numbers: 55-90 million more people in undeveloped countries driven into extreme poverty, 50 million in addition to that made unemployed, and the ranks of the world’s chronically hungry growing to over one billion. China did this (that’s the implication Nielsen draws out from the report) by recycling its dollar earnings from exports to the US through the amassing of incredible quantities of US Treasury debt – $696 billion by the end of last year, now grown to $744 (out of a total amount of foreign-owned US Government debt obligations of $3.1 trillion).

Again, this is probably not the slant that the writers of this report originally intended. It seems clear that their point was rather to warn how the UN’s Millenium Development Goals are in danger of not being achieved by the target date, which is 2015. You probably don’t remember this (I don’t either), but back in September, 2000, there was a “Millenium Summit” held at the UN’s headquarters in New York City, the largest gathering of world leaders in history as of that date, when those leaders committed their countries (192 states in all) to certain anti-poverty/anti-disease goals. But now, the report writes, “it is improbable that most of the eight global goals agreed to can be achieved – among these the goals having to do with hunger, child- and childbirth-mortality, education and progress in the fight against HIV/AIDS, malaria and other serious diseases.” In particular, the report writes off entirely sub-Saharan Africa’s chances of achieving these goals.

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