Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Destined to be poor

Here is a fragment of the book "Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent" by Eduardo Galeano:

"Testifying before the parliamentary commission on the denationalization of Brazilian industry, two government ministers admitted that indigenously owned factories had been put at a disadvantage by the Castelo Branco regime's measure permitting the direct inflow of external credit. They were referring to the famous Order 289 of early 1965, which allowed foreign concerns operating in Brazil to get loans from abroad at 7 or 8 percent interest, with a government-guaranteed exchange arrangement in case the cruzeiro was devalued. Brazilian concerns had to pay almost 50 percent interest on credits they obtained -- with difficulty -- at home. The inventor of the measure, Roberto Campos, offered this explanation; "Obviously the world is unequal. Some are born intelligent, some stupid. Some are born athletes, others crippled. The world is made up of small and large enterprises. Some die early, in the prime of life; others drag themselves criminally through a long useless existence. There is a basic fundamental inequality in human nature, in the condition of things. The mechanism of credit cannot escape this. To postulate that national enterprises must have the same access to foreign credit as foreign enterprises is simply to ignore the basic realities of economics . . ." [This testimony appeared in the report of a parliamentary commission investigating transactions between national and foreign enterprises, dated September 6, 1968. Soon afterward Campos published a curious interpretation of the Peruvian government's nationalist stance. According to him, the Velasco Alvarado government's expropriation or Standard Oil was no more than an "exhibition of masculinity." The only objective of nationalism, he wrote, is to satisfy the human being's primitive need for hate. However, he added that "pride does not generate investments or increase the flow of capital . . ."21] [241] According to this brief but meaty "Capitalist Manifesto," the law of the jungle is the natural code governing human life; injustice does not exist, for what we know as injustice is merely an expression of the cruel harmony of the universe: poor countries are poor because . . . they are poor; our fate is written in the stars and we are born only to fulfill it. Some are condemned to obey, others are appointed to command. Some put their necks out and others put on the rope. The author of this theory was the creator of International Monetary Fund policy in Brazil."

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