Resources on global governance and financial institutions

Books, articles, reports and films about global governance and financial institutions, plus links to publications and websites where you can find reliable information about them, as well as campaign groups taking action against them.

Books | Reports | Articles | Websites | Audio and Video


Books

Debt, the IMF, and the World BankEric Toussaint and Damien Millet, Debt, the IMF, and the World Bank: Sixty Questions, Sixty Answers
Monthly Review, September 2010. ISBN 9781583672228

Mainstream economists tell us that developing countries will replicate the economic achievements of the rich countries if they implement the correct "free-market"policies. But scholars and activists Toussaint and Millet demonstrate that this is patently false. Drawing on a wealth of detailed evidence, they explain how developed economies have systematically and deliberately exploited the less-developed economies by forcing them into unequal trade and political relationships. Integral to this arrangement are the international economic institutions ostensibly created to safeguard the stability of the global economy—the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank—and the imposition of massive foreign debt on poor countries. The authors explain in simple language, and ample use of graphics, the multiple contours of this exploitative system, its history, and how it continues to function in the present day.

Ultimately, Toussaint and Millet advocate cancellation of all foreign debt for developing countries and provide arguments from a number of perspectives—legal, economic, moral. Presented in an accessible and easily-referenced question and answer format, Debt, the IMF, and the World Bank is an essential tool for the global justice movement.

Peter Stalker, The No-Nonsense Guide to Global Finance
New Internationalist, February 2010. ISBN 9781906523183

An incisive introduction to global finance, where money comes from, the current mechanisms and the need for control and reform. The book explains the basic concepts of finance, how money is created, and how decisions by banking and other financial service corporations are determining the fate of billions of people. Right from the introduction the guide sets recent events into context, indicating how the flows of money directed by an unaccountable elite increasingly shape economic, political and social activity. It traces the origins of money, as a source of exchange and a store of value, and the many weird and wonderful forms it now takes, visible and invisible. How banks, investment and retail, make money and profits, and hold countries to ransom when they make losses. How companies finance their operations through stocks, shares and bonds and complex derivatives that are becoming increasingly remote from real-world activities. It also includes chapters on global currency exchange, alternative systems of banking, including microfinance, government regulation or lack of it, international institutions such as the World Bank and the IMF, and crucially a final chapter on ways of bringing global finance under control.

10 Reasons to Abolish the IMF and World BankKevin Danaher, 10 Reasons to Abolish the IMF and World Bank
Seven Stories, 2008. ISBN: 9781583226339. With an introduction by Anuradha Mittal.

A veritable “Globalization for Dummies,” 10 Reasons to Abolish the IMF & World Banklays bare the most common myths of globalization in a clear and understandable way.Looking with hope to grassroots movement-building on a global scale, Danaher presents ten arguments for abolishing the IMF and World Bank and replacing them with democratic institutions that would make the global economy more accountable to an informed and active citizenry.

Conceived as an effort to educate the public about how international institutions of “free trade” are widening the gap between the rich and poor globally, Danaher reveals how the lending policies of the IMF and the World Bank fail to benefit Third World peoples, and instead line the pockets of undemocratic rulers and western corporations while threatening local democracies and forcing cuts to social programs.

Through anecdotes, analysis, and innovative ideas, Danaher argues that the IMF and the World Bank undermine our most basic democratic values, and calls for reframing the terms on which international economic institutions are operated using the principles of environmental sustainability, social justice, and human rights.

Walden Bello, Deglobalization: Ideas for a New World Economy
Zed Books, 2002. ISBN: 9781842775455 (PB) / 9781842775448 (HB). 176 pages.

How to manage the global economy? And more fundamentally, does humanity wish to go in an ever more market-oriented, corporate-dominated, and capital-footloose direction? In this short and trenchant history of the global governance and financial institutions (the World Bank, IMF, WTO and the Group of Seven), which have been promoting this mode of economic globalisation, Walden Bello points to their manifest failings and examines the major new ideas put forward for reforming the management of the world economy. He argues for a much more fundamental shift towards a decentralized, pluralistic system of global economic governance, allowing countries to follow development strategies sensitive to their own values and particular mix of constraints and opportunities.

Robin Hahnel, Panic Rules!: Everything You Need to Know About the Global Economy
South End Press, 1999. ISBN: 0896086100. 125 pages.

From the book: "Among economic systems, capitalism is the manic-depressive patient. Exuberance, unbridled optimism, and euphoria are followed by gloom, listlessness, and depression. But no matter how often the cycle is repeated the patient always believes the latest boom will last forever, only to feel foolish again when the bubble bursts."

Cheryl Payer, The Debt Trap: The International Monetary Fund And The Third World
Monthly Review, 2006. ISBN: 9780853453765

While old (originally published in 1974), the explanations of how the most powerful supranational government in the world today operates, is as valid today as it was 30 years ago. What is perhaps still vital, is the case studies the book documents, of the efforts of poor nations to gain some control over their own economies, and and the role of the IMF in frustrating those efforts, and the complicity of their elites in that betrayal. These case studies provide a fresh interpretation of the modern history of the Philippines, Indonesia, Brazil, and India from the point of view of their foreign exchange needs and resources, their balance of payment crises, and the effects of the intervention of the IMF.

Capitalism in the Age of GlobalizationSamir Amin, Capitalism in the Age of Globalization: The Management of Contemporary Society
Zed Books, 2006. ISBN: 9781856494687 (PB) / 9781856494670 (HB). 176 pages.

Samir Amin is one of the world's most profound thinkers about the changing nature of capitalism, North-South relations and issues of development. In this book, he provides a powerful understanding of the new and very different era which capitalism has now entered with the collapse of the Soviet model, the triumph of the market and accelerating globalization. His sophisticated analysis brings within its ambit the increasingly differentiated regions of the South, the former Eastern bloc countries, as well as Western Europe. He also integrates his economic arguments about the nature of the crisis with political arguments based on his vision of human history not as simply determined by material realities, but as the product of social responses to those realities. His innovative analysis of the rise of ethnicity and fundamentalism as consequences of the failure of ruling classes in the South to alter the unequal terms of globalization is particularly compelling. And his deconstruction of the Bretton Woods institutions as the managerial mechanisms protecting the profitability of capital has profound implications for the likelihood of their being reformed in any meaningful way. Looking ahead, Amin rejects the apparent inevitability of globalization in its present polarising form, and instead asserts the need for each society to negotiate the terms of its inter-dependence with the rest of the global economy.

Noam Chomsky, Profit Over People: Neoliberalism & Global Order
Seven Stories Press, 1998. ISBN: 1888363827.
with an introduction by Robert W. Mcchesney

Chomsky discusses the doctrines and the development of a pro-corporate system of economic and political policies that restrict the public arena and support private power. He also demonstrates how harmful are the policies prescribed to poor countries by the global institutions such as the IMF, WTO and the World Bank.

Dark VictoryWalden Bello, Shea Cunningham and Bill Rau, Dark Victory: The United States, Structural Adjustment, and Global Poverty
LPC Group, 1994. ISBN: 0745308333

On the roots of rising poverty and inequality in the South in a sweeping strategy of global economic rollback unleashed by the US to shore up the North's domination of the international economy and reassert corporate control. Hailed as a classic study of global poverty, Dark Victory is one of the best analyses of structural adjustment, from all sides. Bello argues that lower barriers to imports, removal of restrictions on foreign investments, privatization of state owned activities, reduction in social welfare spending, and wage cuts and devaluation of local currencies - all conditions of structural adjustment loans from the North - have had disastrous consequences.

Walden Bello and Shea Cunningham, A Siamese Tragedy: Development and Degradation in Modern Thailand
Zed Books, 1999. ISBN: 1856496635. 288 pages.

Even before the catastrophic collapse of 1997-98, the Thai economic miracle of the previous decade had feet of clay. The authors provide a comprehensive and cogent examination of the country's economic, environmental and human record. The book opens with the economic collapse that started in 1997. Is this a mere short-term blip in Thailand’s race to build a modern industrial economy or is there a real prospect of the country being pushed back into Third World status? The authors explore the role of foreign investment and the consequences in terms of pollution and environmental destruction. They also present the human effects of the Thai model on workers, rural villagers, women and child labor. What emerges is a sustained critique of the vested interests, local and international, which have propelled the Thai people down this particular path, and a clear picture of how unsustainable it has been in terms of human exploitation, social disruption, ecological damage and economic fragility.

Patrick Bond, Against Global Apartheid: South Africa Meets the World Bank, IMF and International Finance
Zed Books, 2004. ISBN: 1842773925. 352 pages.

An uncompromising critique of the role that the World Bank and IMF play in developing countries' economies and societies. Following South African leaders who hold positions of influence in the world of international finance (president Thabo Mbeki is the leader of the Non-Aligned Movement and Commonwealth; finance minister Trevor Manuel recently chaired the World Bank and IMF Board of Governors; Mamphela Ramphele is a Managing Director of the World Bank, responsible for social development) Patrick Bond wonders about their impact in the new century. Are these leaders going to "break" the chains of global apartheid? What actions are grassroots acitivists taking around the world? Should key institutions like the World Bank and WTO be eliminated? These are among the questions he asks in this revealing investigation.

John Pilger, The New Rulers of the World
Verso Books, 2002. ISBN-10: 185984393X ISBN-13: 978-1859843932

An examination of the influence of multinational corporations, the IMF and the World Bank on the economy of Indonesia prior to the collapse of its economy in 1998.

David and Rebecca Solnit (ed.) The Battle of the Story of the "Battle of Seattle"
AK Press, 2009. ISBN: 9781904859635
Contributors: Chris Borte, Stephanie Guilloud, with an Introduction by Anuradha Mittal.

With the World Trade Organization in retreat globally, do we remember the seeds of the anti-capitalist movements that blossomed and, on November 30, 1999, brought Seattle to a standstill? Released just in time for the 10th anniversary of the Seattle WTO protests, this collection confronts the challenges of historical memory, and suggests just how much we have to learn from (and about) the past decade of activism against globalization.

David Solnit recounts the story of his consultation with Battle In Seattle: The Movie and tells how a group of Seattle activists intervened in the Hollywood star-studded docudrama to challenge and change the story. He dispels damaging movement myths by highlighting the organizing, strategy, and dynamics that sparked the retreat of corporate globalization.

Rebecca Solnit tells of her battle with the New York Times, challenging their repeated misinformation about the Seattle protests—including her written exchanges with the editors—and reflects on how corporate media's twisting of history impacts our future.

Chris Dixon gives a view of Seattle "from the ground," offering an intimate look at N30 and the days surrounding it through the eyes of one of the event's core organizers.

The book also Includes an introduction by veteran activist Anuradha Mittal, as well as the "Come to Seattle: Call to Action," and key articles by Stephanie Guilloud and Chris Borte, from the original Direct Action Network broadsheet that encouraged activists worldwide to join the fray. Profusely illustrated with photos and artwork from Seattle '99.


Reports

No Sweat, G8: Globalisation, Sweatshops, Activist Response
No Sweat, 2005

A short pamphlet produced by the UK anti-sweatshop grassroots campaign, in response to the G8 summit in Scotland. It includes a useful summary of neo-liberalism, and a suggestion of how to combat it. 24 pages, full colour. Everything you didn't want to know about the corporate carve-up of the world's economy - how workers in Africa and around the world make massive profits for rich corporations and receive poverty in return; how the IMF, World Bank and WTO operate and a critical discussion on the Make Poverty History campaign. Sponsored by the GMB London union.

You can download the pamphlet from www.nosweat.org.uk.


Websites

Afrodad: http://www.afrodad.org

Eurodad: http://eurodad.org

Latindadd: http://www.latindadd.org

ALTER-EU: The Alliance for Lobbying Transparency and Ethics Regulation: http://www.alter-eu.org

Bank Information Center: http://www.bicusa.org

Bretton Woods Project: www.brettonwoodsproject.org

Committee for the Abolition of Third World Debt: http://www.cadtm.org

Corner House: http://www.thecornerhouse.org.uk

Corporate Europe Observatory: http://www.corporateeurope.org

Global Exchange: http://www.globalexchange.org/campaigns/wbimf/facts.html

Global Trade Watch: http://www.tradewatch.org.au

History of Money: http://www.xat.org/xat/moneyhistory.html

IFI Watch: http://www.ifiwatchnet.org

IFIwatch TV: http://www.ifiwatch.tv

Just Peace: http://www.justpeace.org/wbimf.htm

Open Democracy: http://www.opendemocracy.net

Public Citizen: http://www.citizen.org/Page.aspx?pid=3147

Third World Network: http://www.twnside.org.sg

Trade Justice Movement: http://www.tjm.org.uk/

War on Want: http://www.waronwant.org

WDM: http://www.wdm.org.uk/world-trade-organisation

World Development Movement: http://www.wdm.org.uk

ZNet's Globalization section: http://www.zcommunications.org/znet/topics/Globalization

Share the Worlds Resources: http://stwr.org

Counterbalance: http://www.counterbalance-eib.org

CEE Bankwatch: http://www.bankwatch.org

The Democracy Center: http://www.democracyctr.org

Business and Human Rights Resource Centre: http://www.business-humanrights.org

International Trade Union Confederation: www.ituc-csi.org


Audio and Video

Activist Media Project (Director) and Jay Finneburgh (Contributor), This Is What Free Trade Looks Like: The NAFTA Fraud In Mexico, The Failure Of The WTO, And The Case For Global Revolt (DVD), 2006
Activist Media Project

Filmed in Cancun, Mexico on the occasion of the 5th WTO ministerial in September 2003. An hour of footage from the protests, streets, and halls of a troubled place in troubled times. Designed for use as a companion film to This is What Democracy Looks Like, this is one of the first activist films to carefully explain how free trade operates. It does so frm the perspective of the Mexican experience with ten years of NAFTA. DVD extras include three shorter versions of the film. Camera by Jay Finneburgh, Doug Johnson, Brian Jones, and Sabin Portillo. Written and directed by Amory Starr. All music from the streets of Cancun.

Stephanie Black (Director), Life and Debt (DVD), 2007
New Yorker Films, ISBN: 9781567303117

Jamaica, land of sea, sand and sun? and a prime example of the complexities of economic globalization on the world's developing countries. With twenty-five years of "help" from the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank intended to bring Third World nations such as Jamaica into the fold of free market economies, these "restructuring" policies have crippled Jamaica's efforts toward self-reliant development while enriching the lenders. This scathing film is an unapologetic look at the "new world order" from the point of view of Jamaican workers and farmers, as well as government and policy officials. Featuring a dynamic reggae soundtrack and a searing voice over based on text by Jamaica Kincaid, as well as interviews with former Jamaican Prime Minister Michael Manley, Deputy Director of the IMF Stanley Fisher and the late President of Haiti Jean-Bertrand Aristide, Life and Debt portrays the relationship between Jamaican poverty and the practices of the World Bank while driving home the devastating consequences of globalization. DVD extras include: Additional footage from Michael Manley's interview; Director's commentary; a music video; Photo Gallery on the Anti-Globalization Movement. 86 minutes.

Zach de la Rocha (Contributor), Michael Moore (Contributor), Susan Sarandon (Contributor), Vandana Shiva (Contributor), Big Noise Films, and Whispered Media, Breaking The Bank, 2004
Whispered Media

Breaking The Bank is a remarkable independent account of the April 2000 protests against the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank. Drawing on the hard work of eight activist production groups and scores of volunteer videographers, this 74-minute documentary is filled with dramatic, inspiring footage from the streets of DC. Scenes of confrontation and police harassment are inter-cut with the protests, puppets, and the passionate actions of thousands upon thousands of protestors. Breaking The Bank goes beyond the activists' slogans and corporate media's sensationalism to achieve an in-depth examination of the issues behind the protests. Included are segments on: IMF/World Bank policies and international militarism, ecologically devastating development projects, food production, and poverty within the "First World." Breaking The Bank features interviews with people such as Dr. Vandana Shiva, Susan Sarandon, Michael Moore, and Zack De La Rocha of Rage Against the Machine. Breaking The Bank will serve as a testament to the creativity and conviction of the growing movement against corporate globalization. Produced in April of 2000 by Big Noise Films, Changing America, Headwaters Action Video Collective, JustAct, Paper Tiger TV, Sleeping Giant Productions, VideoActive, Whispered Media, and Wholesome Goodness in conjunction with the Independent Media Center.

Susan Sarandon (Narrated By), Vandana Shiva (Contributor), Noam Chomsky (Contributor), and Big Noise Films (Producer), This Is What Democracy Looks Like (DVD), 2005
Big Noise Films

Produced by the Independent Media Center and Big Noise films, with footage shot by over 100 media activists, this is yet another great film on the Seattle/WTO protests. It's certainly the most "professional" of the videos, with narration by Michael Franti and Susan Sarandon, and music from the likes of Rage Against the Machine, Company of Prophets, DJ Shadow, DJ Moosaka, Jim Page, and more. Actually, you should just get all the independent videos that are being made about the various protests. They are all a crucial piece of independent documentation. DVD special features include new interviews with Noam Chomsky and Vandana Shiva, Spanish and French subtitles, indymedia coverage from the WTO protests in Cancun, Mexico 2003, and activist resources.