‘Audacity to Hope’: Egypt Says No to IMF
By Hwaa Irfan
In the darkest hour, reason to hope can appear from anywhere even when the crumbling global system refuses to let go. This news is a few days old, for it was announced on July 01st 2011, but it one that should be marked, even celebrated, and that is the momentous occasion of a country rejecting the Empire that is represented by taking an IMF.
Despite the American’s media to paint all the uprisings in the Middle East as American backed, Tunisia, and Egypt’s Revolution was and is precisely that. Because they were truly a people’s revolt, the U.S. and the rest of the international elite sought all means to undermine the Revolution, and continue to do so. As a result of the global economic crisis, and the endeavours of the international elite to maintain the crumbling system by hook and by crook, and as a result of the Egyptian 25January Revolution 2011 in that context with a compromised economy, and the growing selfishness of self interest groups within Egypt, the second offer of an IMF loan was a very tempting one that in the short term would help to recover the losses made since the January 25th Revolution, and made certain interest groups content, but public debate and the final decision rose above short term benefits, and rejected the U.S.$3bn loan on the basis that in the short term, the loan would compromise Egyptian sovereignty under the guise of the “Deauville Partnership for the Middle East”. Instead, any budget deficit can be covered domestically, but no statement on the other supporting mechanism of the global economic system, the World Bank’s U.S.$4.5bn loan has been made.
Egyptian NGO the Council for Revolutionary Trustees said publicly:
“…outside borrowing contradicts the principles of the Egyptian Revolution that called for freedom from all sorts of local and foreign pressure.”
That pressure, is what led to the people’s revolt in the first place, and in acknowledgement of that, the Egyptian Armed Forces stated it did not want to saddle the sons and daughters of Egypt, in order to feed the parents of today.
Withdrawal symptoms are not easy as many worry about what the future will hold, but the flight of capital out of the country if nothing else acts as a purge of the type of people (Egyptian or not) who are not needed to rebuild a sounder, and safer tomorrow. These people cannot be relied upon, and will only seek their self interests, and a day will come when there will be no place to flee to, and accompanying relatives and friends will also flee. This also heightens the importance of state run industries, which can then act as a foundation from which to re-build the economy from.
As we can see from the anti-austerity measures in Europe how unreliable investors are if their immediate financial gain cannot be sustained. They go, and the money goes with them, while employment , education, and health are slashed in complete disregard for the social consequences, once reaping the massive profits from not paying the huge corporation taxes made in those countries.
The AUC economics professor who was concerned that the 2011-2012 budget only tackled the issue of minimum wage and not a complete review of the wage structure should spend some time amongst low-waged workers. If upper and middle class Egyptians truly love their country, they will pay the small and considerate 5% corporation tax placed upon their shoulders in support of the economic stability of the country they say they love and have benefited from.
Mekay, E. “Egypt Rejects IMF Conditions.”