Multinational Monitor

SEP 2002
VOL 23 No.9


Obsessed: The Latest Chapter in the World Bank’s Privatization Plans
by David Tannenbaum

The Hand-Off to Big Tobacco: IMF Support for Privatization of State-Owned Tobacco Enterprises
by Anna White and Robert Weissman

Anatomy of a Deal: A Close Look at the World Bank’s Plans to Privatize Ghana’s Water System
by Robert Weissman


Dying for the Job: The State of Workplace Health and Safety in the United States
an interview with
Lisa Cullen



Behind the Lines

The Bush Victory in Iraq

The Front
Environmental Liabilities - Advertise This!

The Lawrence Summers Memorial Award

Book Notes
Activist Tools

Names In the News


World Bank/IMF Privatization Mania

Obsessed: The Latest Chapter in the World Bank's Privatization Plans

By David Tannenbaum

It is hardly news that the World Bank is a major proponent of privatization. But a new Private Sector Development Strategy (PSDS) promises to intensify the Bank's support for privatization, extend its privatization advocacy to sectors still generally conceived of as quintessentially public, and introduce novel approaches to create private markets where none now exist.

Drafted by Bank staff in 2000, the PSDS faced immediate controversy. Non-governmental advocacy groups worldwide objected to the rough proposal, urging it be ditched. That recommendation was ignored. The Bank redrafted and refined the PSDS, but its fundamental approach remained unchanged. The World Bank Executive Board approved the PSDS in February 2002. The World Bank will initiate the PSDS in Africa, East Asia and South Asia in fiscal year 2002, and all Bank regions will be included in the plan by the end of fiscal year 2004. MORE>>

The Hand-Off to Big Tobacco: IMF Support for Privatization of State-Owned Tobacco Enterprises

By Anna White and Robert Weissman

An estimated 4 million people will die worldwide from tobacco-related disease this year, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). By 2030, WHO projects 10 million will die from tobacco-related causes, with 70 percent of those deaths occurring in developing countries. Because of the costs of treating the disease associated with smoking, it is generally the case that tobacco-related policies which prioritize public health will also be economically sound decisions.

The World Bank has been an international leader in recognizing that tobacco use is an impediment to development. Despite the Bank's embrace of a pro-public health position on tobacco, the Bank's sister institution, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), has in many cases supported privatization of state-run tobacco companies, and has even supported reduction of tobacco excise taxes and tariffs - policies universally agreed among public health advocates to undermine public health goals. MORE>>

The Anatomy of a Deal: A Close Look at the World Bank's Plans to Privatize Ghana's Water System

By Robert Weissman

Having successfully pushed developing countries to sell off most of their government-owned enterprises, the World Bank is now urging poor countries to privatize basic service provision.

Although water delivery is assumed as a public responsibility in much of the industrialized world - 80 percent of the water works in the United States are publicly owned and operated - the Bank is aggressively pushing privatization of water systems in the Third World.

Citizen movements across the planet are rising to challenge the World Bank and corporate schemes to wrest control of now-public water systems. One the hottest flashpoints in the conflict between the people and the Water Barons is in Ghana. MORE>>



Mailing List


Editor's Blog

Archived Issues

Subscribe Online

Donate Online


Send Letter to the Editor

Writers' Guidelines