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From The Socialist newspaper, 29 June 2006

G8 leaders fail to make poverty history

LAST JULY, members of the Socialist Party and our counterpart organisations in Europe took part in the week-long protests at the 'Make Poverty History' summit of the G8 (rich) countries.

In our literature and at the numerous demos and meetings we pointed out that to make poverty history it was necessary to make capitalism history. As long as the profit system existed, inequalities of health and wealth between rich and poor, unemployment, poverty and indebtedness would grow, both between countries and within countries.

Twelve months later all the hype by Chancellor Gordon Brown and the other capitalist politicians about debt relief and eradicating poverty has been, unsurprisingly, shown to be rubbish. A report by the charity Action Aid says: "One year on, the world's richest countries are moving too slowly, or not moving at all, on most of their key commitments to tackle poverty."

Economic aid from Britain has actually decreased during the last year. There has been some debt relief to the heavily indebted poorest countries but much of this 'debt' comprised of interest charges - the original loans having been repaid many times over.

Moreover, the World Bank estimated last year that the total amount of debt of the 'developing countries' was $2.5 trillion, with nearly two-thirds of that figure being owed to private Western investors.

So by cancelling debt stock payable to Western governments, many countries would still be massively in debt and Gordon Brown would just be ensuring that private banks and companies got paid.

Also, much of this debt relief is tied to forcing 'neo-liberal' policies (privatisation of public services and access to local markets for multinationals etc), onto poor countries.

Trade injustice also looks set to continue. The much vaunted reduction in billions of dollars in subsidies to agribusiness in the advanced capitalist countries, which undermine agriculture and industry in poorer countries, has been blocked in the World Trade Organisation.

 

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