It is an article exhorting the countries of the Arab Spring to resist Western countries pressure to implement neo-liberal economics in the name of ‘freedom’.
It cites sociologists from the universities of Cambridge and Harvard (the world’s top 2 universities) who:
claim to have established a “direct link” between the mass privatisation programmes followed by around half the countries of the region – enthusiastically urged upon them by western economists and western financial institutions – and the “economic failure and corruption that followed”. The more closely the countries followed western advice, and the more they privatised, the worse things became.
As those countries suffered an average 30% GDP slump and mass unemployment in the early 90s following western advice, their governments faced bankruptcy as they no longer had the income from their state assets. State assets that were by then making a handful of oligarchs very rich and powerful at the expense of the rest of the citizens. Corruption quickly worsened.
While coming from a world away from our position freedom-wise, it shows the fallacy of asset sales being the solution to pretty much anything.
I say our country is much more democratic, but worryingly Treasury had prepared their report on the “Mixed Ownership Model Bill” before the Select Committee had finished hearing submissions. Apparently those citizens who took time to present their evidence on why asset sales weren’t a good idea weren’t going to affect the pre-ordained result.
Which hardly seems very democratic.
Best we get on with gathering signatures for the asset sales referendum to make sure we get our say.