War by Other Means

Added: 08-07-2018

John Pilger’s hour long documentary explores how the debt crisis in many ‘third world countries’ is a contemporary form of slavery. He focuses on the Philippines, where a system of embedded debt began with the creation of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund in 1944. As time goes on, the Philippines continues to be further indebted to other countries, due to high interest rates, with their debt taking priority of basic social services.

International Monetary Fund (IMF) contemporary debt slavery debt crisis international priority cancel structural adjustment programs World Bank systematic Philippines

Type Reading Time Author Date Source
video 52 minutes JOHN PILGER; DAVID MUNRO 01-01-1992 https://topdocumentaryfilms.com/
Type Reading Time
video 52 minutes
Author Date
john pilger; david munro 2018-08-07 00:00:00 UTC
Source
https://topdocumentaryfilms.com/
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Key Takeaways
  • Debt is used by former colonial powers as a form of modern slavery. 
  • As time goes on, countries become further indebted to other countries, due to high. interest rates, with their debt taking priority over basic social services. 
  • The World Bank and IMF should be replaced with a real development agency based on national interest of the countries concerned.

Summary 

In this documentary, John Pilger, a British journalist, argues that it is "like a colonial war. But the difference is that these days people and their resources are controlled not by Viceroys and occupying armies but by other, more sophisticated means of which the principal weapon is debt.” 

His main case study is the Philippines, which in 1992 gave 44% of its GDP towards debt it owed to other countries. For context, Pilger points out that this number is much larger than their 3% of GDP dedicated to health care. 

He traces much of the poverty in the Philippines to a system of embedded international debt that began with the creation of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund in 1944. These organizations loaned the Philippines billions of dollars in the middle of the 20th century and helped the Philippines sell valuable concessions to Western companies to extract resources, all to the benefit of the Philippine leaders, but not the Philippine people. 

As debt from these activities grew, the international banking organizations help ‘third world countries’ pay back their debt by making Structural Adjustment plans. These plans make sure that debt repayment takes priority over everything else. No environmental or humanitarian concern is given greater weight than that goal. 

As time goes on, the Philippines continues to be further indebted to other countries due to high interest rates. This form of debt has been described by Pilger and the UN as a contemporary form of slavery. 

Pilger makes a passionate case for debt cancellation. He argues the World Bank and IMF should be replaced with a real development agency based on national interest of the countries concerned.