“may create an economically and politically marginalized population whose government is unwilling or incapable of responding to their needs. This may undermine the legitimacy of democracy for those who are marginalized…”
The article said research indicated a declining proportion of Latin Americans preferred democracy to any other form of government. In emerging economic powerhouse Brazil, citizens of the world’s fifth most populated country showed only 41% preference for democracy. This compared to 74% in Venezuela, a nation that offends the world’s financial elites and refuses to follow dictates of the IMF. Congressman Andrés Eloy Méndez said last year,
“Venezuela doesn’t owe a single Bolívar to the IMF or the World Bank… because we said goodbye to a type of debt that went along with lack of investment in society and in human beings.”
Two years before the noted survey of support for democracy, Brazil had taken a $30 billion bailout from the IMF, one that injured disadvantaged Brazilians because it demanded cuts to social programs. Interestingly, the IMF funding was a little more than the debt owed to American banks such as Citigroup and J.P. Morgan.
The above is a lengthy introduction to small items in Canada’s news today. The IMF, worried that housing rents in Canada are too low compared to the cost of housing stock, suggests the federal Conservative government end its 60 year-old Mortgage Insurance Fund, a program that helps Canadians secure residential mortgages. The IMF, always vigilant in protecting interests of the 1%, prefers housing that involves landlords and tenants. Private home ownership is a central element of wealth accumulation for individual Canadians and while that may serve our common welfare, it does not match goals of the financial elites who stand behind the IMF.
Political clout of the privileged is shown also by the federal government’s direction to diplomats that the first order of business is advancement of Canada’s commercial interests. Service to travelling citizens and humanitarian issues like health, food, water quality, human rights, peace and democracy are now subservient. Prosperity of private investors and traders matters most.
“There is one thing that money doesn’t seem to have bought: an understanding that their fate is bound up with how the other 99 percent live. Throughout history, this is something that the top 1 percent eventually do learn. Too late.
“Alexis de Tocqueville once described what he saw as a chief part of the peculiar genius of American society—something he called “self-interest properly understood.” The last two words were the key.
“Everyone possesses self-interest in a narrow sense: I want what’s good for me right now! Self-interest “properly understood” is different. It means appreciating that paying attention to everyone else’s self-interest—in other words, the common welfare—is in fact a precondition for one’s own ultimate well-being.
“Tocqueville was not suggesting that there was anything noble or idealistic about this outlook—in fact, he was suggesting the opposite. It was a mark of American pragmatism. Those canny Americans understood a basic fact: looking out for the other guy isn’t just good for the soul—it’s good for business.”