The Most Revolutionary Act

Diverse Ramblings of an American Refugee

Dr Stuart Jeanne Bramhall

Dr Stuart Jeanne Bramhall
New Plymouth, New Zealand
December 02
Retired psychiatrist, activist and author of 2 young adult novels - Battle for Tomorrow and A Rebel Comes of Age - and a free ebook 21st Century Revolution. My 2010 memoir The Most Revolutionary Act: Memoir of an American Refugee describes the circumstances that led me to leave the US in 2002. More information about my books (and me) at

MARCH 28, 2012 5:06PM

The IMF’s Fairy Tale Princess

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IMF chief Christine Lagarde

IMF chief Christine Lagarde

(This is the second of three posts about the new female head of the IMF, which the business press is promoting as a “rock star of the economic world,” and how we are being deceived about the real cause of the debt crisis in Europe)

LaGarde isn’t without her critics. Former IMF chief economist Simon Johnson refers to her appointment as “the fox guarding the henhouse.” Johnson, like former World Bank economist Joseph Stiglitz, has been highly critical of the extreme concentration of financial power and it threat it poses to the global economy. This is the subject of Johnson’s recent book, Thirteen Bankers.

His criticism of Lagarde centers mainly around her proposal to solve the Eurozone crisis by issuing additional loans to the debt-ridden “peripheral” countries (Greece, Spain, Italy, Portugal and Belgium). He maintains all these countries are looking at a default scenario, no matter how much money she throws at them. He accuses her of allowing EU leaders to use the IMF to conceal from their voters major flaws in the Eurozone structure. As senior fellow at a Washington DC think tank (Peterson Institute for International Economics), he also complains about the unfairness of expecting US taxpayers to bail out the IMF for the sake of European politicians (and Greeks “who don’t like to pay taxes”). In Johnson’s view instead of spending other peoples’ money on struggling Eurozone economies, the EU leadership needs to make some a hard choice – either to integrate their fiscal systems in a way that allows fiscal transfers to poorer, less competitive countries or to create two tiers of Eurozone participation, in which only tier 1 members can borrow from the European Central Bank (see Fox in the Hen House and The Problem with Christine Lagarde).

Lagarde Gets the Cold Shoulder

Thus far Johnson’s arguments have resonated with most non-European IMF member countries. Despite Lagarde’s aggressive lobbying to add $500 billion to the IMF rescue fund at the recent G20 meeting in Mexico City, she came away empty handed. Most finance ministers agreed with the response U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner gave her: the European Central Bank must make a much larger financial commitment before asking other G20 countries for money.

Fairy Tale Economics

The problem with mainstream media coverage, which continues to center around Lagarde and her “rock star” persona is that it’s a fairy tale – complete with a fairy princess – that never addresses the fundamental structural problems that caused the world economic collapse. The corporate media never tells the back story – that fossil fuel scarcity has effectively ended global economic growth, rendering our debt-based monetary system totally inoperable. Richard Heinberg convincingly makes the case that Peak Oil is responsible for the global economic collapse in his 2011 The End of Growth, as do Richard Douthwaite David Korowicz, Chris Vernon and Tom Konrad in Fleeing Vesuvius (see Will Peak Oil Spell the End of Capitalism?).

Instead the mainstream media promotes cruel myths about lazy Greek workers and a Greek middle class that refuses to pay taxes, obscuring the reality that much of the Greek debt is likely “odious; and fraudulently incurred.

To be continued.

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I'm glad that you are writing about this, it is important
I worry about the WTO because there is NO LABOR representation.

"I guess it's a small world of who really gives a fuck, because I bounced onto Simon Johnson's site from Dr. Bramhall's blog about the IMF, scrolled down to Johnson's article about H.R. 3606, googled that abject monstrosity, found this blog at #2 among the google returns, and there's Dr. Bramhall's comment!

But with all due respect for Open Salon, don't you think it's strange that this very low-traffic blog-post came in at #2 for a bill that could cost us all hundreds billion dollars?

So I added Watching Frogs Boil to my list of favorites, and where have you been all my life, you beautiful blogger?

But do I really give a fuck any more? Six years of blogging with more than a thousand posts, and meanwhile I ran down to Iowa to promote the "candidacy" of my culture-heroine Elizabeth Warren in the caucuses, and so on, and here we are, with nothing and less than nothing to show for any of it!

Okay, now that I vented, it may be worth mentioning that even the editors at Bloomberg were putting a stink on H.R. 3606, e.g. in an unsigned editorial March 18...

"The JOBS Act goes too far. It would gut many of the investor protections established just a decade ago in the 2002 Sarbanes-Oxley law. A wave of accounting scandals -- think Enron and WorldCom -- had destroyed the nest eggs of millions of Americans and upended investor confidence in Wall Street. The relief would extend beyond small businesses and apply to more than 90 percent of companies that go public."

But now it's a done deal, and the only remaining question is...

When will Obama sign it?

And really...

Who gives a fuck?"
Jacob, I so identify with the feeling that nothing is being accomplished through your activism. It's something nearly all my activist friends have expressed at some point over the last 30 years. I wish I could say something that would make it all better but I don't think I can. I console myself by burying myself in all the historical precedents that show ordinary people bringing about real change.

Just as an aside, if you said anything at those Iowa caucuses, I'm sure you influenced the other people who were there - even if you didn't change their vote. It just seems to take a really long time and lots of repetitions to get people to really think about the effect politics has on their lives, instead of accepting the propaganda put out by the mainstream media.
[r] thanks, stuart. obama is on the tube recently castigating big oil. HAH! what a joke.

thanks for focusing on this latest celebrity. the celebrity, consumer culture. don't talk news, talk gossip or political gamesmanship. crony up to the rich and famous and powerful. accountability and reality? not here. not now. i realize as i type this that "cronyism" does not belong in journalism, if i can still call it that, since it doesn't deserve it.

and when will meryl or helen mirren play her and put a positive spin on her life, add more smoke and mirrors to the bottom line truth? getting ahead of myself, but sadly not that far. best, libby