On the IMF leader’s downfall

Posted: June 2, 2011 in Labour Fight, Political Views

On the IMF leader’s downfall

Dominic Strauss-Kahn, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), was recently arrested inNew Yorkon charges of sexual abuse and attempted rape. Strauss-Kahn was previouslyFrance’s finance minister and was a possible ‘Socialist’ Party candidate for the upcoming French presidential election. As head of the IMF, one of the main arms of imperialism, Dominic Strauss-Kahn (DSK) has recently been in meetings inBrusselswith the finance ministers ofPortugalandGreeceto discuss the provision of financial assistance to these countries (or more precisely, the imposition of austerity programmes on the Portuguese and Greek working class). Moral opprobrium has now ‘forced’ him from office and from Presidential candidature.

If true, the attempted sexual assault against a 32-year-old African hotel worker by a 63-year-old married man is nothing but a brutal act and one against women in general. Theories of political conspiracy about the incident cannot be true because DSK has repeatedly used his wealth and influence to extricate himself from scandals. So far 14 women have levelled accusations at DSK for predatory sexual behaviour. Clearly the DSK’s of this world believe that they are above the law and the social norms that apply to the rest of us.

DSK was a leading figure in the French Socialist Party, along with millionaires such as Martine Aubry, daughter of Jacques Delors, the former leader of the European Union; or François Hollande, former Presidential candidate Ségolène Royal’s husband. Their claim to be pro-worker and socialist is simply outrageous when their policies in government were in the interests of French capitalism alone.

DSK took up his position at the IMF in November 2007. During his time as Managing Director the total capital held by the IMF was increased four times from $250 billion to $1 trillion at the peak of the recent global economic crisis.(1) This could only be achieved by stealing the assets of millions of the world’s poor and then applying economic austerity policies on their ‘debtor’ countries. Mr Strauss-Kahn played a decisive role in this historic act of plunder. TheNew Yorkcourt should punish him as the head of an organisation that stole so much from so many people. However, this will never happen because the imperialist system of courts and judges are at the service of institutions such as the IMF. For example, Wall Street inNew Yorkwas the centre of a major economic crisis some years ago. Wall Street dictates the financial, domestic and foreign policies of theUSgovernment. In the final analysis it is Wall Street and not the President that decides.

What must be stressed is that in the world today there are two opposing poles. On the one hand, capitalists and managers of the financial institutions and, on the other, the working people of the world. In Britain, the first High Pay Commission report shows that by 2025, 10% of the annual national income will be concentrated in the hands of one-tenth of a percent of the highest income earners, the corporate managers and bankers. The top 100 CEOs’ annual income is on average £4.2 million. Apparently the recent economic crisis of capitalism did not create any change in the income of these people. The average wage of senior managers in 2010 was 145 times the average wage of workers. At the same rate this ratio will increase by 214 by the year 2025. By the end of the decade high income earners will be earning an average of £1 million a year, while the bottom 50% will have to make do with £18,700. In another study, by the Institute of Fiscal Studies shows that the Gini coefficient, a tool for measuring income inequality, is now at its highest level in Britain since its use began. (2)

The situation in theUSis no different. For example, according to the Tax Policy Centre reports, the real income of the richest 400 taxpayers increased 277% between 1992 and 2008. That is almost four times faster than the real income growth of everyone else in society. Payment of tax from the richest has since 1995 reduced from 30% to 18%. (3)

This is the world we live in today. It is no accident that the likes of Strauss-Kahn, a major public figure, would engage in such a rash and reckless act as an attack on a young, black woman working in the hotel in which he was staying. Mr Strauss-Kahn’s room that night cost $3000, a sum that could feed a large African family for a month.

Maziar Razi

(1) http://www.cepr.net/index.php/op-eds-&-columns/op-eds-&-columns/strauss-kahns-legacy-at-the-imf-less-than-meets-the-eye

(2) http://thenextrecession.wordpress.com/2011/05/19/rulers-of-the-universe/

(3) ibid.

Original version published here.

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