Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/390/4423
End world poverty
Fight for a socialist alternative to free-market madness
WORLD POVERTY Day on 24 April was the opening shot of another New Labour campaign. A campaign that will be wrapped up by a summit of the G8, the eight richest nations on the planet, in Gleneagles, Scotland in July.
This campaign is not for your vote, nor is it to determine who runs Britain or the world; the aim of the campaign is to convince the general public that capitalist politicians are serious about tackling world poverty and global warming.
Tony Blair and Gordon Brown never miss a chance these days to stress their commitment to end world poverty. They have promised to raise foreign aid to 0.7% of GDP by 2013. Gordon Brown has another idea; he wants to allow third world countries to borrow even more money on the capital markets against the promise of future aid budgets.
This is like asking the poorest countries to jump on a rollercoaster of speculation, tie themselves to the whims of the financial markets with only 'credit' as aid, which may or may not arrive.
This is a continuation of failed free-market "relief" policies New Labour has been pushing since 1997. Then, with the creation of the Department for International Development (DFID), it made aid conditional on the privatisation and commercialisation of public utilities and services in the poorest countries on earth.
A study as recent as March 2005, by among others Friends of the Earth, proves that the DFID uses public money to subsidise oil projects by the likes of BP and Exxon Mobil in countries like Chad, Cameroon and Azerbaijan. It is not sustainable, it is not development and the only things it subsidises are private profiteering companies with public money.
The same free market logic is devastating the fight against deadly diseases. How will Britain, or any of the other seven powerful nations, stop the carnage caused by HIV/Aids? More then 6.000 people a day, 92% of them in Africa, die a terrible death and all the free market politicians do is ask million dollar companies to show 'good practice'.
Incredibly, the failure of the 'free market' and the drug companies means that 1.7 billion people have no access to essential medicines. This, in absolute terms, is the same number as in 1975.
In The Socialist 28 April 2005: