The manipulation of data by the World Bank is symptomatic of the hegemony of the great powers



By PKBalachandran

Colombo, September 21 (Daily Mirror): The World Bank announced last Thursday that it had “suspended” or temporarily suspended its Doing Business (DBR) report after internal audits of the 2018 and 2020 reports revealed data manipulation. The suspension of the DBR is a welcome development from the perspective of poor and developing countries, says US think tank The Oakland Institute.

The World Bank has used its DBRs to drive policy and regulatory changes favorable to Western businesses and societies, the think tank said. “Ranking countries on the ease of doing business (EDB) scale, the bank urged developing countries to dismantle labor rights, social and environmental safeguards to attract private investors,” the bank said. Oakland Institute in a statement.

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The suspension of the DBR is the result of the efforts of the “Our Land Our Business Campaign” (OLOBC), coordinated by the Oakland Institute. Since 2014, the OLOBC claims that the DBR and the EDB scale have had a disastrous impact on poor countries, manifested in the grabbing of land and natural resources.

OLOBC exposed how World Bank CEO (now IMF Managing Director) Kristalina Georgieva lobbied to “make specific changes to China’s data points to improve its ranking for the 2018 DBR” . It did so because it was expected that China would increase its financial contribution to the Bank’s capital. Then-World Bank President Dr Jim Yong Kim was also involved in efforts to raise China’s ranking.

Simeon Jankov, one of the founders of DBR and senior bank official, was involved in modifying Saudi Arabia’s data to improve the country’s ranking with the aim of rewarding the country for the “important role that he played in the community of the Bank ”.

In 2018, then World Bank chief economist Paul Romer exposed how Chile’s DBR scores were skewed and politically manipulated to disadvantage a progressive government in that country.

Kristalina Georgieva Managing Director of the IMF, formerly Chief Economist of the World Bank

The World Bank has pushed for reforms that would make developing countries more attractive to private investors. These “reforms” have included cutting corporate taxes, reducing environmental guarantees, lowering social and labor standards, reducing administrative procedures and removing restrictions on trade and business, Oakland said. Institute. The institute has extensively documented the disastrous impact of these regulatory changes at the national level in dozens of countries.

Last week Georgieva denied that there had been any wrongdoing on his part. In an explanation to the IMF, her current employer, she said she only asked World Bank staff to “verify or recheck the data, but never change her ultimate message.”

However, Oakland Institute Executive Director Anuradha Mittal helps: “Evidence of ranking manipulation is a slap in the face of poorer countries forced to deregulate their economies to lure investors against spurious promises of aid and money. development.

The manipulation of data to push a Western capitalist line and capitalist interests by the World Bank is just one manifestation of the world order ruled and dominated by the West.

The revelations of Professor Jeffrey Sachs

In a speech at the “United Nations Food Systems Pre-Summit” on July 26 this year, Professor Jeffrey Sachs of the University of Colombia, who is currently adviser to the United Nations Secretary-General on development goals Sustainable Development (SDG), highlighted the broader issue of the inequities perpetrated by Western countries on their own populations as well as on the populations of other countries.

Sachs revealed that the “world food system” is based on the interest of large multinational corporations in making a profit. “It’s based on a very, very small measure of international transfers to help the poor, sometimes not at all. It is based on the extreme irresponsibility of powerful countries with regard to the environment, and it is based on a radical denial of the rights of the poor, ”he said.

Sachs recalled that the CIA assassinated Congo’s first popular leader, Patrice Lumumba, and installed a dictatorship there for the next 30 years so that the Glencore Corporation and other Western companies could suck the cobalt out of the Congo without paying any money. taxes. And yet the West would brazenly ask the people of the exploited countries, “Why don’t you govern well?”

Sachs pointed out that the private sector in the United States has always been supported by the military. It is the “military-industrial complex” that wields real power in the United States. He recalled that Honduras has long been governed by the American company United Fruit (UF). UF’s attorney was John Foster Dulles; and his brother, Allen Welsh Dulles, was the head of the CIA. Allen Welsh Dulles toppled Guatemalan Jacobo Arbenz to ensure United Fruit could have his property.

In a devastating attack on his own country, the United States, Sachs said, “I come from a country that not only does not care about the poor of the world; he doesn’t even care about his own poor. One in seven Americans is hungry right now. All he cares about is cutting taxes for the rich and obstructing any solution. The private sector will not solve this (food) problem.

Sachs pointed out that rich countries had borrowed US $ 17 trillion to deal with COVID but poor countries could not borrow anything. Rich countries can borrow at 0% but poor countries pay 5% or 10% coupon rates or have no access.

“The United States has spent $ 7 trillion in emergency funding but has not given any other country a dime,” Sachs said and suggested that rich countries and institutions like the World Bank lend heavily to people. poor countries at interest rates close to zero.

According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), there is a funding gap of around US $ 400 to 500 billion per year to achieve the basics of the SDGs. The UN should play a big role in fundraising, but the UN is poorer than New York, says Sachs. “The UN’s base budget in 2021 is US $ 3 billion, but New York City’s budget is US $ 100 billion!

Vaccine inequality

A recent editorial in The Guardian Quoted World Health Organization Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus as saying that of the 4.8 billion doses of COVID vaccine delivered globally to date, around 75% had gone to just 10 countries. In Africa, where a third wave of the virus has been underway since May, less than 2% of the population received the first dose.

“Governments that can afford it have secured preferential vaccine deals, ordered excessive doses, accumulated them and restricted exports. Britain has played a leading role in opposing calls for the temporary lifting of intellectual property rights on vaccines. Overall, donations from the richest countries have not come far close to the level required. “

“Covax, the vaccine pooling program, has under-delivered, losing its main source of supply after India’s decision to ban AstraZeneca exports. In the field, too little time, effort and funding has been spent on ensuring that the infrastructure is in place to run the immunization program effectively, when doses are available. The likely outcome is that most people in low-income countries will have to wait until 2023 to get vaccinated. This slow deployment will cost the global economy US $ 2.3 trillion in lost production. The weight of these losses will be borne by the unvaccinated poor ”, The Guardian noted.


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