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article imageOp-Ed: The Lagarde controversy — austerity should begin at home

By Alexander Baron     May 28, 2012 in Politics
Washington - The recent remarks by International Monetary Fund head honcho Christine Lagarde has caused a storm of controversy in Greece. Maybe she and her organisation should practice the austerity she preaches?
Without Greece what would there be, or rather what wouldn't there be? How about the Olympic Games? How about π? What would we have learned in our geometry classes but for this universal transcendental? We could also name a few philosophers and such. Today, what does Greece give the world? Olives, tomatoes, tourism...Okay, let's stop there and ask what the International Monetary Fund gives the world? The answer is nothing: it is all take.
The headquarters of the IMF is based in Washington, probably so that when the head of this august organisation wants something done she can take a cab to the White House and give the most powerful man in the world (yeah, sure) his orders.
Mrs Lagarde's less than illustrious predecessor was none other than Dominique Strauss-Kahn. While it is a racing certainty that she does not share his penchant for amorous encounters with hotel staff - consensual or otherwise - we can be reasonably certain that she patronises the same £600 a night hotels. The big question is: who pays for her (first class?) airline tickets and hotel bills?
IMF staff - the important ones - drive, or rather are chauffeured around in limousines. In Britain, former Mayor of London Ken Livingstone used to ride the Underground regularly. His successor, Boris Johnson, rides around on a bicycle. Even our Prime Minister rides a bike to keep down his carbon footprint (while his car follows behind with his papers).
The IMF collates and publishes a huge range of statistics; assuming they are reasonably accurate, what use are they to man or beast?
According to its website, the IMF employs around 1200 economists. An economist is a person like Richard D. Wolff; he has no solutions to the economic problems of the world or anyone's except his own. On the other hand, this 12 year old girl knows precisely what is wrong with the Canadian financial system, and by inference the Greek one and every financial system in the world. And she knows what must be done to solve this problem. Why don't we sack those 1200 economists and do what she says?
The IMF is a bureaucracy; while all governments require some bureaucracy, the world does not need a financial bureaucracy, one that produces nothing in its own right but steals the wealth of nations through so-called special drawing rights and redistributes it to others as its leaders see fit while taking a hefty cut for itself.
Mrs Lagarde's reference to Greek tax evasion may indeed be true, but as Chris Tame said, taxation is theft. The Greek people are better of spending their own money than handing it over to their government, who will give much of it to the banksters and thereby impoverish the country even more, especially when a portion of it will go towards funding the IMF and its 2400 staff including Mrs Lagarde, her net salary of $467,940 and her £600 a night hotel rooms.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
More about International monetary fund, Christine Lagarde, Austerity, Imf, Bureaucracy
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