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2014 Forecast - Bill Gates Versus IMF - Economy

2014 Forecast - Bill Gates Versus IMF

Posted by Aneela Shahzad on

2014 Gates Annual Letter says that there will be “almost no poor countries by 2035”, Gates does not particularly give any specific research works behind such prediction, but rather commits to his memory as to how he has found the world different in the decades that he has traveled and worked in different parts of the world. Of course he does have some idea how that ideal may be achieved, he says:

‘Countries will learn from their most productive neighbors and benefit from innovations like new vaccines, better seeds, and the digital revolution. Their labor forces, buoyed by expanded education, will attract new investments’.

Interestingly, this letter has coincided with the IMF forecast for 2014, which also predicts 3.7% global economic growth this year and of 3.9% in 2015.

But the difference is that while the Gates predicts the ‘good news’ for most of the world population turning into a great middle class; the IMF boldly declares higher growth for advanced economies and keeps its outlook unchanged for the developing world.

“There will be more growth rotation from emerging market economies to advanced economies in 2014-15,” Olivier Blanchard, the IMF’s chief economist, said in a statement. “We can expect complex capital movements across countries for some time to come. In that environment, the evidence from last year is that emerging market economies with weak macro frameworks may be most affected,” he said. “While”, he says, “US growth appears increasingly solid”.

Thus the World Bank is forecasting better days for advanced markets such as the US to gain growth and stability, not explaining how that will come to pass when the US has probably the largest debt upon its treasury and is a recurrent loan-seeker. While for the developing economies, for whom Bill Gates is of high hopes, the IMF is preluding that some developing countries, especially those with large current account deficits or domestic weaknesses, could be hit hard by capital outflows this year as the Federal Reserve begins to scale back its pace of US asset purchases; the same Federal Reserves that allocates unconditional loan and incentives to the Western allies every year under the title of ‘securities’.

On one hand, where the allies are pumped up with ‘securities’, the developing and underdeveloped economies that are non-allies are warned with threats of suspension of loans on ongoing projects and forced to open up their economies to foreign entities that should be allowed to bid the resources of these poor countries in an international market where the former can obviously not compete, and all this comes under the ‘structural adjustment programs’. Though idealistically, the IMF vows that competition in the global market will render economies robust and would urge them to come up to global standards, eventually leading to their growth, but in real time, none of the IMF countries have yet seen real growth in the passing decades and most have found themselves crippled of their natural resources while complying to the needs of the multinationals and finding themselves poorer at the same time.

Again, the IMF 2014 forecast report has urged that for the weak economies, “the main policy approach for raising growth must be to push ahead with structural reform” the IMF said.

So does the global philanthropist Bill Gates recommend some other measure to end poverty and destitution in the poor and developing countries? Perhaps one would think that the Gates foundation must have found ways whereby countries could be self-sufficient and debt-free. Perhaps this human-hearted couple must have found out that building and infrastructure or perhaps even GDP figures are not the guarantees that a society may be prosperous in terms of health, education, security or human rights. But no, as the Gates Letter carries on, busting the three myths they focus on, they make it obvious that the way forward for them is exactly what the IMF has been recommending.

Myth 1: Poor countries are doomed to stay poor. The Gates believe that with the advancement of science and technology, humanity is bound to come out of poverty. Gates says that ‘the percentage of very poor people has dropped by more than half since 1990’, and that today only ‘one billion (out of 7 billion) people (live) in extreme poverty’. But this estimate differs slightly with the statement of the UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights which says that ‘Today almost half of the population in developing countries lives in extreme poverty, and are denied basic human rights such as the right to an adequate standard of living, including food and housing, the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health and education’, which has to be something close to 3 billion people around the world.

Myth 2: Foreign aid is a big waste. Bill Gates advocates the IMF lending programs usually labeled as ‘aid’, and trashes many allegations based on in-depth researches that have deemed the IMF lending as exploitative, manipulative and leading to an irreversible debt cycle which never allows the economy it parasites on to come out of its dependency. Instead, he deems aid as a fantastic thing which will help countries become self-sufficient and less aid-dependent in time.

Myth 3: Saving lives leads to overpopulation. Here Gates explains how saving lives of the newly born will encourage parents and governments to come forward to family planning, ‘creating societies where people enjoy basic health, relative prosperity, fundamental equality and access to contraceptives’. Not to mention the GAVI Alliance (Global Alliance for Vaccinations and Immunization) founded by Bill and Melinda, in partnership with the World Bank and WHO; and Bill’s televised interview where he said “… if we do a really great job on new vaccines, health care, reproductive health services, we lower that (world population) by perhaps 10 or 15 percent.”

The Letter specifically states that ‘today there are only three countries left that have never been polio-free: Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Nigeria. Last year the global health community adopted a comprehensive plan aimed at getting the world polio-free by 2018, and dozens of donors stepped up to fund it’. This rings a bell:

Do the Gates want population reduction through a conscious choice of parents and their educated use of contraceptives, or do they want it through the use of ‘vaccines’, that will decrease or diminish fertility without the parents’ will? Which again brings us to the issue of the ‘mistrust’ over the polio-vaccine campaign, being hit hard in Pakistan, with several polio workers attacked and many killed in recent times. It is wrong to counter this ‘mistrust’ that has gone more viral among the people of this country then the polio-virus itself, with anti-narratives such as the people being ‘religious extremists’, as such is also equivalent to degrading a nation that prides upon its religion as just and balanced. And some fund must be spent on clearing doubts with educated and logical debate and reasoning, rather than trying to, in their own way of loving humanity, smash the evil of disease and faith in the same blow.

So coming back to the point of growth and progress, though one must appreciate the contribution of the Gates Foundation in their sincere service to humanity; yet they must revise two of their mannerism.  Firstly, when they go around the world spending their billions, they must not think that their money can buy the will of the people; if they know something to be good for the people, they cannot force their thinking upon them without their consent; that is the basic democratic principle. Secondly, though it may be most altruistic to think that overpopulation is unsustainable and must be gotten rid of at the earnest, but vaccination may not be everybody’s idea to achieve that goal; that is like trying to do a big good by doing an even bigger wrong.

Is Bill Gates predicting a largely middle class world because he thinks the poor vaccinated ones would have died out by 2035, owing to their infertility? Maybe this doubt is based on mass propaganda against the Gates Foundation or maybe not, but one must admit that the ‘mistrust’ is there. Perhaps the reason for the mistrust is a virtual caste-system between the rich and poor of the world, whereby the rich deem themselves better judges of the good of the poor, and disregard the need of the consent of the poor upon matters that will affect their lives and future.

The IMF’s prediction that emerging markets have already grown close to full capacity, meaning they will not grow any more, and an unchanged growth for the developing world, meaning they will remain stagnant as before, serves as another disclaimer from the rich world to the poor world, denying all the pomp and show of the UN for their Millennium Development Goal (MDG).

There is a psychological paradigm here; for a country like Pakistan, with a large black-economy, that serves to feed the poor and engage them in livelihoods that may be traditional and non-progressive by definition, but that keep the cycle of life moving in an agricultural economy which is supposed to be inherently self-supporting; is it a good choice to call in the IMF or the World Bank to ‘aid’ us with their programs, which the people do not trust and doubt as exploitative. Why can we not solve our own problems? Why is intervention a compulsion? Observe the latest of the IMF in our country:

‘Spurred by a $6.6 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund, Mr. Sharif’s government committed in September (2013) to begin privatizing more than 30 public energy, transport and infrastructure corporations over three years. These include Pakistan State Oil, Pakistan International Airlines and Pakistan Steel Mills.’ (Source)

Perhaps Bill has a way to explain this, in another letter.