World Bank

parasites

الاستثمار ليس دائمًا أفضل شيء         Investment, not always good!

كيف يمكن للاستثمار أن يكون شيئًا سيئًا؟ ألا يخلق فرص عمل؟ حسنا، الاستثمار ليس دائمًا أمرًا سيئًا، ونعم هو قد يخلق فرص عمل. ولكنه أيضا ليس دائمًا شيئًا جيد، فهو غالبًا ما يقضي على فرص عمل أكثر من تلك التي يخلقها. فعندما تتحدث عن الاستثمار الأجنبي المباشر، عليك أيضا أن تضع في اعتبارك أنه أيا كان ما تربحه تلك الشركات، فهو يتدفق خارج اقتصادكم، لا إلى داخله. فالاستثمار يمكن أن يكون في كثير من الأحيان مثل الحقنة التي تعتقد أنها غرست في ذراعك لإدخال الدواء، ولكنها في الواقع تسحب دمك.

وعندما يأتي الاستثمار من خلال عملية الخصخصة، فهذا يعني أن خدمات ومرافق عامة هدفها خدمة الصالح العام، وبالتالي هي من صميم مسؤولية الدولة، ستتحول إلى مؤسسات هادفة للربح. وكل القرارات المتعلقة بهذه الخدمات ستهدف بشكل حصري لزيادة الأرباح وخاصة أرباح المساهمين، دونما أي اعتبار للمصلحة العامة. وهؤلاء المساهمين لديهم حصص في شركات أخرى، ولهذا فتذكروا جيدًا أن اتخاذ قراراتهم سيدعم بشكل أو أخر ربحية شركاتهم هذه أيضا. لذلك، على سبيل المثال، إن تم بناء طريق أو كوبري للمشاة، فلن يتم اتخاذ هذا القرار لأن بنائه منطقي أو أن هناك حاجة ملحة وحقيقية له، أو لآنه يخدم مصالح السكان، ولكن فقط سيتخذ القرار إذا كان يعود بالنفع على مصالح المساهمين. فعليك أن تتخيل تأثير هذا النوع من التفكير على المسائل أكثر وأكبر أهمية، مثل التعليم، والرعاية الصحية، والأمن الغذائي، والحصول على الطاقة والمياه؟

لن تتخذ هذه القرارات فقط من قِبَل الأجانب، ولن تتخذ فقط من أجل الربح، ولكنها ستتخذ خصيصًا من أجل إفادة الأجانب.

صندوق النقد الدولي الحكومة يطالب بخفض الإنفاق العام؛ أي أنه يطالب بالتوقف عن إنفاق أموالك عليك!  وبدلا من ذلك يتم إنفاق أموالك على تسديد دفعات القروض الدولية، وهذه القروض ستنفق في المقام الأول على دعم الاستثمارات الأجنبية والاستثمارات التي من شأنها أن تحول الخدمات والمرافق العامة إلى مؤسسات قطاع خاص هادفة للربح وهذه أيضا سيكون هدفها أن تأخذ أموالك. ثم يقوموا بفرض نظام ضريبة القيمة المضافة التي سترفع أسعار السلع الاستهلاكية، فيأخذون المزيد من أموالكم. ثم يخفضون من قيمة عملتكم، مما يعني أنك ستضطر لدفع المزيد من أجل أيا كان ما تشتريه، فيأخذون أكثر وأكثر من أموالكم.

عندما تدخل شركة متعددة الجنسيات في بلدكم، فتذكروا أننا نتحدث عن مؤسسات لديها ميزانيات أكبر من بعض البلدان؛ ففي هذا الحين سنجد أن الشركات المحلية غير قادرة على التنافس معها، وبالتالي ستفلس. وهذا يعني ليس فقط فقد الوظائف، ولكنه يعني فقد وخسارة رجال الأعمال. فحتى إن كان صحيحًا أن معظم الشركات متعددة الجنسيات تدفع أجورًا أعلى من الشركات المحلية، فهي أيضا تعني بصفة خاصة بأمر “الكفاءة”، وهو ما يعني تسريح العمال، وزيادة عبء العمل العاملين الذين تم الإبقاء عليهم.

الحقيقة هي أن الطريقة التي تجتذب بها أي بلد للمستثمرين الأجانب تكون في الأساس من خلال منحهم كل ما يريدونه أو قد يريدونه: العمالة الرخيصة، والحد الأدنى من اللوائح، وفرصة الوصول إلى شراء شركات القطاع العام، وتقليل أو عدم القدرة على المنافسة المحلية، أي في الأساس، تقدم لهم التفويض المطلق إلى فعل كل ما يحلو لهم… أي حصانة كاملة، وعدم مساءلة، وسيادة عملية فوق الحكومة.

لذا، فلا… الاستثمار ليس دائمًا أفضل شيء.

تنويه: هذه النسخة منقحة ونهائية!

How can investment be a bad thing? Doesn’t it create jobs? Well, ok, investment is not always a bad thing, and yes, it can create jobs; but it is also not always a good thing, and it often erases more jobs than it creates. When you are talking about Foreign Direct Investment, you also have to bear in mind that whatever money those companies make, it flows out of your economy, not into it. Investment can often be like a syringe, you think it is being stuck into your arm to administer medicine, but it is actually just drawing blood.

And when investment comes through the process of privatization, that means services and utilities that are essentially there for the public welfare, and thus are the responsibility of the state, become profit-making enterprises. The decisions about these services will be made exclusively to boost profits and shareholder dividends, with no regard for the public interest. And these shareholders have shares in other companies, remember, so, their decisions will be made also to support the profitability of those companies as well. So, for instance, a road or a pedestrian overpass, will be built, not where it makes sense to build it, not where it can serve the interests of the population, but where it will benefit the interests of shareholders. So imagine what impact this type of thinking can have on matters of greater importance, like education, healthcare, food security, and access to energy and water?

Not only will the decisions be made by foreigners, and not only will the decisions be made for profit, but they will be made specifically to profit foreigners.

The IMF requires the government to cut public spending; that is, it requires to stop spending your money on you; and to instead spend your money making payments on international loans; these loans will primarily be spent supporting foreign investments, investments that will turn public services and utilities into private sector profit-making enterprises that will also take your money. They will also impose a VAT tax system which will raise the prices of consumer goods; taking more of your money. They will also severely devalue the currency, which means you will have to pay more for whatever you buy; taking more of your money.

When a multinational corporation moves in, remember, we are talking about institutions that have budgets bigger than some countries; local businesses cannot compete with them, and will go out of business. That means not only lost jobs, but lost entrepreneurs. While it is true that most multinationals pay higher wages than local companies, they are also generally more concerned about “efficiency”, which means laying off workers, and increasing the workload for retained workers.

Look, the way a country attracts foreign investors is by basically giving them everything they could ever want. Cheap labour, minimal regulations, access to acquire public sector enterprises, low or no local competitiveness, and basically carte blanche to do as they please. Essentially giving them total immunity, unaccountability, and practical sovereignty over the government.

So, no; Investment is not always a good thing.

Blood in, blood out: you don’t get to just walk away from neoliberalism

 

(To be published in Arabic for Arabi21)

When the AK Party came to office in Turkey under the leadership of Recip Tayyip Erdogan in 2003, they inherited a government obligated to repay over $20 billion in debt to the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and other major international lenders.  The loans had been acquired largely by the former government’s economic minister Kemal Dervish (who had previously worked for the World Bank), and Dervish had put together a “National Plan” for restructuring Turkey’s economy to enable the government to service these loans.  Dervish’s plan was a classic neoliberal formula; the standard macroeconomic structural reforms demanded by the IMF of all its debtors.

The plan included large-scale privatization of state-owned enterprises and banks, and opening them up for foreign investors; as well as slashing social spending, stopping agricultural subsidies, freezing public sector wages, and so on. When the AKP came to power, this plan was already underway, and, since the debts were already hanging around Turkey’s neck. Erdogan’s government continued with the neoliberal program.

As a result of these policies, superficial economic data from Turkey went from strength to strength for the last 10 years.  Foreign investors were happy, the IMF was happy, and the AK government was almost universally praised.  The story of the real economy, as is most often the case under IMF structural adjustment reforms, was rather different.  By 2010 real wages in manufacturing were 12% lower than they were in 1998; household debt has increased, purchasing power has decreased, the gap between rich and poor has widened.  The richest 100 families in Turkey own wealth equivalent to the total wealth of the poorest 15% of the population (about 11.25 million people).

Since the Ottoman times, business in Turkey has functioned under a kind of patronage system, with the state operating as a key facilitator, or even as a sponsor for favored groups of elites. Any type of entrepreneurial activity in Turkey has always been based on government relations.  Thus it has been said that in Turkey they do not have political parties per se, but rather they have patronage networks.  The Islamists have, therefore, always been locked out of this game in Turkey, as the anti-religious government exclusively patronized secular nationalist businessmen.  One of the common features of the neoliberal program is that it redistributes wealth and power within a society disproportionately to a small handful of locals who collaborate with the reform process and reap its benefits.  When the AKP took over the government, this altered the direction of patronage and has led to the creation of a new class of Islamist financial elites in Turkey, aided by the already skewed effects of neoliberal reforms.

Throughout the rise of Erdogan and the AKP, the Gulen Movement (Hizmet) played a key role.  In fact, it would not be inaccurate to say that the AKP harvested the political crop planted by the social and educational work of Hizmet in Turkey. Erdogan and Fethullah Gulen were essentially allies in the effort to loosen the grip of religious intolerance and to revive Islamic feeling in the society. As long as this was the case, the AKP had no objection to Hizmet members moving up the ranks in state institutions, replacing hardline anti-religious elements in the army, the police, the judiciary, and in higher education and the media.  Tensions between Erdogan and Gulen began when it started to emerge that Gulen had political ambitions himself, and that placing Hizmet members in key state institutions was actually part of a coordinated plan to seize power and declare his version of an Islamic state in Turkey, with himself as supreme leader.

Both because Erdogan is a democrat and because the sincerity of an Islamic state is questionable when its leader is living in luxurious, self-imposed exile in the United States, the tacit alliance between Hizmet movement and the AKP was broken.

Just prior to the split, in 2013 Erdogan successfully completed full repayment of the IMF loans because of which the government had subordinated its economic policy for a decade; and almost immediately, Erdogan’s attitude towards neoliberalism appeared to change. He rails against the IMF, relentlessly criticizes the Central Bank, advocates a zero percent or a negative interest rate, advocates much more populist economic policies, and wants greater economic sovereignty for Turkey. International business suspects that Erdogan is not the committed neoliberal they thought the was.

Within the AKP, there are at least two factions now; the neoliberals, and the populists.  Erdogan’s neoliberal advisors talk about “restructuring the industrial sector to boost value-added exports”, which is a complicated way of saying “suppress wages”, while the populists talk about trying to increase household savings and grow domestic consumer activity, which is another way of saying “raise wages and improve the quality of life”.  Whenever Erdogan does something politically which is perceived as consolidating his personal power, foreign investors get nervous, and this can only be because they are dubious about whether he will use that power to serve their interests or instead the interests of Turkey.  In fact, you can almost trace when Erdogan started to face criticism in the international media to the moment he released Turkey from IMF bondage and started to express a different economic vision.

All of this is important background to understand what happened on July 15th, the failed coup attempt by Gulenists, and the subsequent crackdown on their members within state institutions.

Fethullah Gulen is being hosted by the United States, living in a compound in Pennsylvania; and the popular perception in Turkey is that he has become an asset to American intelligence.  When the coup attempt was underway, the US embassy in Turkey issued an emergency warning to Americans in the country under the title “Turkish Uprising”; a rather conspicuously premature description of a strictly military attempt to overthrow the government.

It would seem to indicate that US intelligence anticipated that Gulenist  civilians would turn out in support of the puschists, to make the seizure of power appear like a popular uprising. It was reported on CNN during the night of the coup attempt in an interview with former CIA agent Bob Baer, that he had actually discussed the possibility of a coup in Turkey with Turkish military officers just a few months earlier. So, it appears that something of a consensus may have emerged regarding the desire to remove Erdogan from power because of the increasing doubts about his commitment to neoliberalism’; and it was believed  that the sprawling Gulen network would be able to deliver this result.

عبودية الديون – DEBT SLAVERY

(مقال عربي 21)

واحدٌ من أقوى الأسلحة التي تستخدم لنشر وتعزيز سيطرة النظام الإمبراطوري الجديد، أو إمبراطورية رأس المال، هو سلاح الديون، فمن خلال خلق الديون تقوم المؤسسات المالية الدولية بانتزاع سلطة القرارات السياسية المفصلية من الحكومات الوطنية؛ مثل القرارات المتعلقة بتخصيص الموارد والإنفاق الحكومي والسياسات التجارية والضوابط النقدية، وما إلى آخر هذه القرارات. فالديون يمكنها أن تُخضِع أي بلد أكثر بكثير من الاحتلال العسكري.

على عكس غزو القوات الأجنبية ودخول الدبابات لتجوب الشوارع، سنجد أن الخداع الكامن وراء القروض هو ما يوهم بأنها شكل من أشكال المساعدات المالية، أو أنها دفعة لتعزيز الاقتصاد الذي بدوره يغذي الاستقلال، فخطاب الجيوش الأجنبية التي كانت تدعي أنها تغزو البلاد لتحررها من الطغيان لم يعد نوع الخطاب الذي يصدقه أي مخلوق هذه الأيام، ولكن عندما يقدم صندوق النقد الدولي والبنك الدولي أو بعض الدائنين الآخرين مليارات من دولار في شكل قروض، فهؤلاء يتم الترحيب بهم مع شعور بالامتنان متفق عليه بالإجماع تقريبا.الشروط التي يتم فرضها من قبل الاحتلال العسكري مثل:

يمكنكم قراءة المقال كامل من هنا

screenshot_2016-03-05-17-32-58-01.jpeg

(to be published in Arabic for Arabi21)

One of the most powerful weapons used to spread and consolidate the control of the new imperial system, the Empire of Capital, is debt. By creating debt, international financial institutions wrest authority from national governments over crucial policy decisions; decisions over allocation of resources, government spending, trade policies, monetary controls, and so on. Debt can subjugate a country far more comprehensively than a military occupation.

The deceptive appeal of loans, unlike the invasion of foreign troops and the arrival of tanks patrolling the streets, is the illusion that they are a form of financial assistance; a boost to the economy that fosters independence. The rhetoric of foreign armies, declaring that they are invading your country to liberate you from tyranny, is seldom believed by anyone in the invaded country; but when the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, or some other creditor offers billions of dollars in loans, they are welcomed with almost unanimous gratitude.

The conditions imposed by a military occupation; curfews, checkpoints, restrictions on movement, and so on; are obvious and immediate. The conditions imposed by economic occupation; public spending cuts, privatization, modification in the tax system, etc; are less immediate, and often hard for average citizens to understand. But, the ultimate impact of these conditions is far greater, and longer-lasting, than any level of domination achievable by conventional military invasion.

After any revolution, when a corrupt, dictatorial regime has been overthrown, the standard move is to cancel the former dictator’s debts, or at least subject them to a meticulous audit to determine to what extent the funds received from international lenders were actually utilized for their stated purpose. This is an essential step; this is what guarantees that what has taken place is a genuine revolution, and not merely a transfer of power. The new government must make a clean break from the relationship between the former regime and its international backers, and redefine the framework of any new relationship. It must, in a word, begin with a clean slate.

Obviously, this did not happen in Egypt. It did not happen in Tunisia, or in any of the Arab Spring countries. Rather, the new governments that came to power following the overthrow of long-standing dictators, made every effort to affirm their commitment to the dictators’ obligations to their financiers. This stance was enough to transform what could have been revolutions into little more than transfers of power from one party to another, while maintaining the overall stability of the system. In my view, this was the single biggest mistake of the opposition party beneficiaries of the uprisings; they did not follow through on the overthrows, they simply replaced the deposed rulers, leaving all else basically the same.

Today, most obviously in Egypt, there is mounting pressure to force devaluation of the local currency, with an end goal of converting the currency to a floating exchange rate. At least one of the primary reasons for this effort is to arbitrarily increase the leverage of debt. When the market determines the value of your currency, the market also controls the value of your debt, and therefore, your ability to pay it back. If you received a loan, for example, of $100 million in 2011, because of the devaluation of the Egyptian Pound, today you owe 150 million more Pounds than you did when you first took the loan, though the dollar amount has not changed. It is a mechanism for making debt unpayable, because the amount you have to pay, in your own currency, can be arbitrarily increased by lowering the currency’s value; and the value of your currency will be determined, essentially, by your creditors.

There is no way out of this quicksand except unilateral debt cancellation. That is what makes a revolution victorious, and without this step, that is what renders a revolution null and void.

 

Debt slavery – عبودية الديون

(مقال عربي 21)

واحدٌ من أقوى الأسلحة التي تستخدم لنشر وتعزيز سيطرة النظام الإمبراطوري الجديد، أو إمبراطورية رأس المال، هو سلاح الديون، فمن خلال خلق الديون تقوم المؤسسات المالية الدولية بانتزاع سلطة القرارات السياسية المفصلية من الحكومات الوطنية؛ مثل القرارات المتعلقة بتخصيص الموارد والإنفاق الحكومي والسياسات التجارية والضوابط النقدية، وما إلى آخر هذه القرارات. فالديون يمكنها أن تُخضِع أي بلد أكثر بكثير من الاحتلال العسكري.

يمكنكم قراءة المقال كامل من هنا


image

 

(to be published in Arabic for Arabi21)

One of the most powerful weapons used to spread and consolidate the control of the new imperial system, the Empire of Capital, is debt. By creating debt, international financial institutions wrest authority from national governments over crucial policy decisions; decisions over allocation of resources, government spending, trade policies, monetary controls, and so on. Debt can subjugate a country far more comprehensively than a military occupation.

The deceptive appeal of loans, unlike the invasion of foreign troops and the arrival of tanks patrolling the streets, is the illusion that they are a form of financial assistance; a boost to the economy that fosters independence. The rhetoric of foreign armies, declaring that they are invading your country to liberate you from tyranny, is seldom believed by anyone in the invaded country; but when the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, or some other creditor offers billions of dollars in loans, they are welcomed with almost unanimous gratitude.

The conditions imposed by a military occupation; curfews, checkpoints, restrictions on movement, and so on; are obvious and immediate. The conditions imposed by economic occupation; public spending cuts, privatization, modification in the tax system, etc; are less immediate, and often hard for average citizens to understand. But, the ultimate impact of these conditions is far greater, and longer-lasting, than any level of domination achievable by conventional military invasion.

After any revolution, when a corrupt, dictatorial regime has been overthrown, the standard move is to cancel the former dictator’s debts, or at least subject them to a meticulous audit to determine to what extent the funds received from international lenders were actually utilized for their stated purpose. This is an essential step; this is what guarantees that what has taken place is a genuine revolution, and not merely a transfer of power. The new government must make a clean break from the relationship between the former regime and its international backers, and redefine the framework of any new relationship. It must, in a word, begin with a clean slate.

Obviously, this did not happen in Egypt. It did not happen in Tunisia, or in any of the Arab Spring countries. Rather, the new governments that came to power following the overthrow of long-standing dictators, made every effort to affirm their commitment to the dictators’ obligations to their financiers. This stance was enough to transform what could have been revolutions into little more than transfers of power from one party to another, while maintaining the overall stability of the system. In my view, this was the single biggest mistake of the opposition party beneficiaries of the uprisings; they did not follow through on the overthrows, they simply replaced the deposed rulers, leaving all else basically the same.

Today, most obviously in Egypt, there is mounting pressure to force devaluation of the local currency, with an end goal of converting the currency to a floating exchange rate. At least one of the primary reasons for this effort is to arbitrarily increase the leverage of debt. When the market determines the value of your currency, the market also controls the value of your debt, and therefore, your ability to pay it back. If you received a loan, for example, of $100 million in 2011, because of the devaluation of the Egyptian Pound, today you owe 150 million more Pounds than you did when you first took the loan, though the dollar amount has not changed. It is a mechanism for making debt unpayable, because the amount you have to pay, in your own currency, can be arbitrarily increased by lowering the currency’s value; and the value of your currency will be determined, essentially, by your creditors.

There is no way out of this quicksand except unilateral debt cancellation. That is what makes a revolution victorious, and without this step, that is what renders a revolution null and void.

What’s good for General Motors isn’t necessarily good for Egypt

image

(To be published in Arabic for Arabi21)

So, is the Egyptian economy doing well or not? Do investors want to come to Egypt? If Sisi is doing everything for the sake of business, why does it seem like the economy is doing so poorly? Aren’t foreign companies closing their operations in Egypt? Doesn’t the closure of General Motors mean that the international business community has lost confidence in the regime?

Yes, I can see how it may be confusing.

We can’t be blamed for thinking that the economy should be doing well if businesses are doing well; it seems logical that there is an interdependent relationship between corporate profitability and the health of the overall economy. When we see and experience poor economic conditions around us; when there is high unemployment, increasing poverty, business closures, and so on; it seems fair to assume no one is making money, and the owners of capital must be jumping ship.

But this assumption does not recognize the fact that corporations operate on a logic of their own. Remember, the corporate model is not designed for promoting economic health; it is a mechanism for extracting as much wealth as possible from as many sources as possible, and delivering that wealth upwards into the hands of corporate owners and shareholders. The corporate model is a mechanism for creating and broadening wealth inequality in society. The relationship between profitability and overall economic health is not interdependent; it is symbiotic in the most adversarial way, like a parasite’s relationship with its host organism.

So, yes, the Egyptian economy is deteriorating, and Egypt is among the top 5 countries in Africa attracting Foreign Direct Investment. The more it deteriorates, the more attractive it will be, and the more FDI flows into Egypt, the more the economy will deteriorate; because what is FDI? It is a syringe pushed into the veins of your economy, that you think will inject a vaccine, but which, in fact, sucks out your blood. When a foreign company expands its operations into your country, whether by opening its own facilities or partnering with a local firm as a subsidiary, the more it increases its market share, the more money flows out of your economy; it’s quite straightforward.

And what do you think makes a profit-driven corporation choose to invest in your country? High wages, low unemployment, strong local currency, competitive domestic industry? Why on earth would they want that?

The global owners of capital depend on international financial institutions like the World Bank and the IMF specifically to create conditions beneficial for investment in countries like Egypt. The report that General Motors and LG closed their facilities because of Egypt’s low foreign currency reserves, may or may not be accurate (both companies have denied the reports), but what is clear is that, if there were closures, they were brief, and the facilities are currently operational.

It needs to be pointed out that the foreign currency shortage occurred primarily because Egypt was obliged to make massive payments on debts to foreign firms and institutions over the past 2 years (nearly $700 million to the “Paris Club” creditors, $350 million to BG Group, and bulk payments to other energy companies to pay down an almost $5 billion debt); in other words, the shortage was imposed. Why? To weaken the economy, to force the value of the Egyptian Pound to be determined by market forces instead of government-managed monetary policy, and, yes, to pressure the government to acquiesce quickly and completely to the economic policy demands of the global owners of capital. The apparent temporary closures of GM and LG were, essentially, a strategic maneuver to advance these objectives, which is why you have Prime Minister Sherif Ismail emphasizing the “importance of completing efforts to overcome all obstacles facing foreign investments in Egypt and to implement a comprehensive economic reform program in accordance with a strategic vision to improve investment”. The ‘comprehensive reform program’, being, of course, the World Bank-IMF policy diktats.

So, yes, investment continues to flow into Egypt, foreign corporations are profiting, and no, that does not at all mean that the economy will improve, and you should not expect it to.

الغزو الخفي                                         The conquest by stealth

صرح أحمد هيكل في مقابلة أن أي حكومة مصرية يمكنها أن تختار ( لعدم وجود لفظ أفضل) إما أن تتخذ خطوات لتلبية طلبات التجارة الدولية وإما أن السوق الدولية هي التي ستفرض حلولها على الحكومة، فإذا ركزنا انتباهنا فسنجد انه لا يوجد خيارات أصلا، فإمبراطورية الشركات لسان حالهم يقول: “..ائْتِيَا طَوْعًا أَوْ كَرْهًا!”

يجب أن يكشف لك هذا حقيقة موقف حكومات اليوم وفي المقابل موقف الشركات متعددة الجنسيات والمؤسسات المالية وهذا هو الحال سواء كان حاكمك ديكتاتوريًا أو ديمقراطيًا.

فرض الأجندة الإمبريالية طواعية يسمى ” قيادة” والفشل في ذلك يسمى “عدم كفاءة” ومعارضة ذلك بفعالية يسمى “إرهابًا”.

النيوليبرالية ليست سوى غزو خفي.

سوف يخبرونك أن التمويل يجب أن يتم اقتطاعه من المدارس والمستشفيات والخدمات العامة وما إلى ذلك من اجل تغطية ديون الدولة، وحقيقة ما يخبرونك به هو أن الحاجة لمستثمرين أجانب (وهم الطبقة الأغنى والأكثر تأثيرًا في العالم) له الأولوية على احتياجاتك، ويخبرونك أن الوظيفة الرئيسية للميزانية القومية هي إغناء أسيادك المستعمرين.

يقول هيكل أن نسبة الدين إلى الناتج المحلي تكاد تصل إلى 100%، وهذا شيء لا يمكن تحمله!  في حين أنه في الولايات المتحدة وصلت نسبة الدين إلى الناتج المحلي لـ100% قبل الحرب العالمية الثانية، وحتى في اليابان ( ثالث أقوى إقتصاد في العالم) وصلت نسبة الدين إلى الناتج المحلي لـ230%، حتى أن ديك تشيني قال كلمته الشهيرة صراحة “العجز لا يهم!”. الولايات المتحدة الأمريكية سددت عجزها مرة واحدة فقط خلال تاريخها قبل 180 عاما، وتسبب هذا الأمر في كارثة مالية.

“تغطية الدين” ليست واجبًا ماليًا وإنما هي ستار للنهب ومبرر تستخدمه الحكومة ‘عن طريق التخيير’ لكي تفرض على الناس بالقوة ما تريده إذا رفضوا الإذعان.

يجب أن تعرف أن أي شخص تنتخبه اليوم في مصر سيكون تحت نفس النظام وسوف يُفْرَض عليه أن يخدم نفس الأجندة، فلا تتطلع الى من سيكون في حكومتك ولكن فكر فيمن يتحكم بها ويسيطر عليها.

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Ahmed Heikal stated in that interview that any government of Egypt has the choice (for lack of a better word), to either take steps to satisfy the demands of international business, or else “the market” will impose its own solutions. If you are paying attention, that means there is no choice.The corporate empire is saying “submit, willingly or unwillingly”.

This should reveal to you the actual position of government today vis-à-vis the multinationals and financial institutions. And that is the case whether your ruler is a dictator or a democrat.

Imposing the imperial agenda willingly is called “leadership”, failing to do so is called “incompetence”. Actively opposing it is called “terrorism”

Neoliberalism is nothing but conquest by stealth.

They will tell you that funds have to be cut from schools, from hospitals, from public services and so on, in order to service the country’s debt. What they are telling you is that the needs of foreign investors, the wealthiest and most powerful minority on the planet; take priority over your needs. They are telling you that the main function of the national budget is to enrich your imperial overlords.

Heikal said that a debt-to-GDP ratio approaching 100% is unsustainable. The US has had a debt-to-GDP ratio of 100% since World War II, and Japan (the 3rd most powerful economy in the world) has a debt-to-GDP ratio of 230%! Even Dick Cheney stated plainly, “deficits don’t matter”. The United States only paid off its deficit once in history, 180 years ago, and it caused financial disaster.

“Servicing debt” is not at all a fiscal imperative; it is only a camouflage for plunder. It is the rationale given by governments to do “by choice” what will be imposed upon them by force if they fail to capitulate.

You have to know that anyone you elect in Egypt today is going to be under this same system, and will be obliged to serve this same agenda. Don’t look at who is in your government…look at who is controlling it.

صندوق النقد الدولي يحكم بالوكالة                 IMF rule by proxy…

قام السيسي بخفض دعم السلع الغذائية والوقود ورفع أسعار الوقود ورفع الضرائب وخفض النفقات الاجتماعية، كما قام بزيادة الديون وسارع بالخصخصة وسهل للمستثمرين الأجانب الإستيلاء على الأراضي ووافق للشركات متعددة الجنسيات على إقامة المشاريع تشكل خطرًا على صحة وسلامة العامة في حين أنه حظر أي تحديات لأنشطة المستثمرين الأجانب… وكأن هذا كله لا يكفي فقام بمضاعفة عملية الاستثمار الأجنبي المباشر (FDI)، واستدان لدفع القروض وخطط لتنفيذ ضريبة القيمة المضافة (VAT)  لتكون بديل لضريبة المبيعات، ويتجه حاليًا نحو الخصخصة الكاملة لقطاع الطاقة وتسليم الأمن الغذائي المصري لأكثر من شركة أجنبية، والقائمة تطول.

تقوم جميع هذه الإجراءات بناء على توجيهات من صندوق النقد الدولي IMF الذي يعتبر المرجعية الأساسية للنيوليبرالية. (الطريق لخلق اقتصاد المستعبدين).

بالطبع هناك نخب محلية ستستفيد من هذا الاستعباد، وهم المتعاونين مع سادة الامبراطورية، مثل عائلة ساويرس وأحمد هيكل وعائلة منصور وحسين سالم ومنير فخري عبد النور… وغيرهم، ولكن جدول الأعمال لم يتم وضعه بعد.  فالإطاحة بهؤلاء من الاقتصاد لن يكون له تأثير حقيقي إلا خلق مزيد من الفرص للشركات متعددة الجنسيات لزيادة حصتها في السوق والسيطرة عليه.

إن التخطيط لاستهداف سلطة الشركات متعددة الجنسيات لا يهدف لانهيار الاقتصاد، ولكن عندما تترك أنشطة الشركات متعددة الجنسيات والمستثمرين الأجانب بدون أي تنظيم في أي بلد فهذا هو الذي يتسبب في الانهيار فالنيوليبرالية سلاح اقتصادي يدمر سيادة الدولة واستقلالها لأنها تعتبر احتلال أكثر فعالية حتى من الغزو العسكري.

إن تعطيل النظام باستهداف مصالح سادة امبراطورية النيوليبرالية لهو الطريق الوحيد لاستعادة السيادة والاستقلال، وهو أيضا الطريق الوحيد لإنقاذ الاقتصاد.

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Sisi slashed food and fuel subsidies, raised fuel prices, raised taxes, slashed social spending, increased debt, accelerated privatization, facilitated land-grabbing by foreign investors, approved projects for multinationals which endanger the health and safety of the public while he banned any challenges to foreign investor activities; he doubled Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), took out loans to pay loans, is planning to implement a VAT tax to replace sales tax, is moving towards full privatization of the energy sector, handed Egypt’s food security over to foreign corporations, and the list goes on.

All of these measures are based upon directives from the IMF, and they represent textbook neoliberalism; the way to create an enslaved economy. There are local elites who will benefit from this enslavement of course, collaborators with the imperial masters, people like Mounir Fakhry, but they do not set the agenda. Eliminating them from the economy will have no real impact except to create more opportunities for multinationals to increase their market share and domination.

The strategy of targeting corporate power does not aim to collapse the economy. In fact, the unregulated activities of multinationals and foreign investors in a country are what brings about this sort of collapse. Neoliberalism is an economic weapon to destroy a nation’s sovereignty and independence; it is a method of occupation far more effective than military invasion. Not only is disruption of this system, by targeting the interests of the imperial masters, the only way to restore sovereignty and independence, it is also the only way to save the economy.

الخضوع ذو القيمة المضافة                                   Value Added subjugation

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كما كتبت قبل، فقد عقدت مصر اتفاقية قرض مع البنك الدولي في ديسمبر الماضي، الأمر الذي اضطر النظام إلى فرض عدد من إصلاحات التكيف الهيكلي تمشيًا مع البرنامج المعتاد للإخضاع الاقتصادي النيوليبرالي.

أحد الشروط الأساسية المطلوبة من قبل البنك الدولي هي فرض نظام ضريبة القيمة المضافة في مصر، ومن المتوقع أن يعرض مشروع قانون بهذا الشأن على البرلمان الشهر الحالي لاقتراح ضريبة القيمة المضافة ومن المقرر التصديق عليه في وقت لاحق من هذا العام.

يعتبر هذا الأمر أحد أوضح الأمثلة التي تكشف مدى ديكتاتورية السيسي الذي لا يملي شيئًا على أحد، ولكن يتم الإملاء عليه من قبل الدائنين والمستثمرين… فما يأمر به البنك الدولي يطيعه النظام… وبهذا الشكل يعمل “المُلْك الجَبري” طوال الوقت.

في موضوع ضريبة القيمة المضافة، توجد فرصة ممتازة لتنظيم المعارضة ضد سياسة محددة بدلا من ترديد شعارات مجردة مثل “الشرعية” أو “إسلامية… إسلامية”.

ضريبة القيمة المضافة ستكون ضارة للمواطن المصري المتوسط عبر كل الأطياف السياسية، وبالتالي فيمكنكم توعية وتعبئة الدعم الشعبي لمحاولة هزيمة هذا القانون.

ضريبة المبيعات ضريبة تخصم مرة واحدة من نقطة البيع بالتجزئة، أما ضريبة القيمة المضافة فهي ضريبة تضاف في كل مرحلة لأي منتج بدأ من التصنيع ومرورًا بالتسليم وانتهاء بالتخزين والبيع، وهذا يزيد من أسعار السلع على لمستهلكين، وهو أيضا يتيح فرصًا متعددة للشركات في الحصول على المبالغ المستردة والإعفاءات على طول الطريق.

واحدة من أكبر مشاكل نظام ضريبة القيمة المضافة هي أنه ينتج عبء ضريبي غير عادل في مختلف القطاعات، فيفيد بعض الصناعات أكثر من غيرها، على سبيل المثال فإن الشركات التي تستخرج النفط تخضع لضريبة القيمة المضافة أقل من الشركات المصنعة للماكينات مثلا، لأن قيمة النفط لا تتغير كثيرًا في الواقع خلال عملية الإنتاج.

وإذا ألقيت نظرة فاحصة على الاقتصاد المصري فهذا سيعني في الأساس أن البضائع المصدرة سيكون لها ضريبة قيمة مضافة أقل، وأن البضائع المعروضة للبيع المحلي سيكون لها ضريبة قيمة مضافة أعلى، مما سيزيد من أسعارها على المستهلكين المحليين الذين يعانون بالفعل من تدهور قيمة الجنيه المصري.

وعلاوة على ذلك فقد ثبت حدوث فساد كثير في النظم الضريبية لضريبة القيمة المضافة مما هو عليه في أنظمة ضريبة المبيعات العادية، لا سيما في البلدان التي تعاني من انخفاض نصيب الفرد من الدخل، ولهذا سنجد أن دولا مثل روسيا تتجه الآن إلى إلغاء ضريبة القيمة المضافة لنفس هذا السبب تحديدًا.

ما تحققه ضريبة القيمة المضافة هو عائدات ضريبية أعلى تسمح للحكومة بتحويل المزيد من الأموال للدائنين الدوليين، الأمر الذي يأتي على رأس قائمة أولوياتهم والسبب لا شيء إلا إصرار البنك الدولي على هذا إصلاح.

As i have written before, Egypt reached a loan agreement with the World Bank last December which obliged the regime to impose a number of structural adjustment reforms in line with the standard neoliberal economic subjugation programme.A key condition required by the World Bank is the imposition of a VAT tax system in Egypt. It is expected that a bill will be introduced to parliament this month to propose VAT, and ratification is due later this year.

This is one of the clearest examples yet to illustrate the extent to which Sisi is a dictator who does not dictate, but who takes dictation from his creditors and investors.  The World Bank ordered it, and the regime will obey.  This is Muk Jabryy in action.

You have, in the VAT issue, an excellent opportunity to organize opposition against a specific policy, rather than around abstract slogans about “legitimacy” or “Islamiyya, Islamiyya”.

A VAT tax will be detrimental for average Egyptians across every political spectrum, and you can potentially educate and mobilize grassroots support for an effort to defeat this bill.

Sales tax is a one-off retail point-of-sale tax. VAT is a tax added at every point from manufacture of a product to delivery to storage to sale, this increases the price of goods for consumers. But it also opens up multiple opportunities for companies to receive refunds and exemptions along the way.

One of the biggest problems with the VAT system is that it produces an unequal tax burden across sectors, benefiting some industries more than others. For instance, companies extracting oil would be subject to lower VAT than, say, manufacturers of machinery, because oil’s value does not really change much through the production process.

If you scan the Egyptian economy that is going to mean basically, export goods will have a lower VAT, and goods for domestic sales will have a higher VAT, increasing their prices for local consumers, who are already struggling with the devalued Egyptian Pound

Furthermore, incidence of corruption in VAT taxation systems has been proven to be greater than in regular sales tax systems, particularly in countries with lower per capita incomes. And, indeed, countries like Russia are now moving to scrap VAT for this very reason.

What VAT does achieve is higher tax revenues which allow the government to remit more money to international creditors…which is the highest possible priority, and the whole reason for the World Bank’s insistence on the reform.