Work and production stoppages broke a system long ripe for change, accelerating the decline of an economic system shaped for decades by big business, world powers, and international finance institutions–including by the United States- and Japan-led Asian Development Bank (ADB).
Trans-national corporations (TNCs) continue to amass massive profits despite the pandemic. Walmart topped the revenue list of Fortune 500, with registered profit increase of 123.1%, reaching 14.9B USD, while Royal Dutch Shell, despite a decline in its profits, still raked in 15.8B USD in profits.
The gap between rich and poor has become scandalous, with only a few billionaires having more than the combined wealth of 4.6 billion people in 2020. As the majority of the world’s population lives in extreme poverty, the world’s richest become wealthier with 5.1 trillion increase in worth from 2020 to 2021.
Developing member countries (DMC) were already debt-ridden even before the pandemic. Governments are desperate to salvage their economies and International Financial Institutions (IFI) including the ADB are exploiting the situation to dangle more loans and bury the DMC in debt. Myanmar for instance received USD 1.7M loan in accordance with the business plan of ADB for the country. In Uzbekistan, ADB is discussing scaling up public-private partnerships (PPPs) in energy and financial services. And in Fiji, ADB recently approved a policy-based loan of USD 200M to boost private sector.
Amidst the worst economic crisis since the global recession, ADB’s incessant corporate agenda clearly prevails Business closures and slowdowns under the pandemic led to massive job loss, work reduction and wage cuts. Estimates peg global loss of jobs to 114 million in 2020. Unemployment rates are skewed towards women and young workers, with hundreds of millions of workers from the less developed economies denied of social protection and health care.
Government under the debt trap will impose further liberalization of the economies and push for increased privatization. To be able to repay debts from ADB, new and higher taxes will be imposed on workers and the people, furthering their economic decline.
As developing countries struggles to mitigate the economic impact of COVID-19, ADB is chock-full on grants and policy loans purportedly for pandemic response and post-pandemic recovery. The increase in ADB lending and financing which are subject to conditionalities are mere debt-traps placed to protect and solidify donors’ power over elite-led governments. These conditionalities follows the obsolete neoliberal orientation that has more detrimental effects to the people.
ADB’s focus in the so-called “green recovery” means liberalization and privatization of agriculture which has long been plagued by the same system. Furthermore, green infrastructure investments will intensify the development aggression, will escalate militarization, land-grabbing and displacement. Contrary to its claims that ADB’s policy loans under this agenda will ensure food security and lower prices, workers and the poor will be overburdened by deeper labor flexibilization, low wages and high prices of commodities.
Amid a global socio-economic crisis, people’s movements must rally together to strike down ADB and its efforts that further oppress the toiling masses and force them into destitution, and collectively forge genuine people-powered sustainable development.
A. Stop big corporate bailouts! Bail out workers and the people! Support the development of local basic industries and small and medium enterprises !
B. Prioritize rural development programs and strategies! Halt all environmentally unsound ADB-supported infrastructure projects!
C. Redirect funds to unconditional assistance to public health and other social services!
D. Cancel all onerous debts!
Join our campaign!