Towards the end of 2008, a research group studying trends in tuberculosis epidemics in Eastern Europe over the last few decades made their main results public. Having analyzed data from more than 20 states, the researchers from Cambridge and Yale established a clear correlation between loans made to these states by the IMF and the rise in cases of tuberculosis---once the loans stop, the TB epidemics recede. The explanation for this apparently weird correlation is simple: the condition for getting IMF loans is that the recipient state has to introduce "financial discipline," i.e., reduce public spending; and the first victim of measures destined to reestablish "financial health" is health itself, in other words, spending on public health services. The space then opens up for Western humanitarians to bemoan the catastrophic condition of the medical services in these countries and to offer help in the form of charity.
Thursday, January 20, 2011
More on "charity"
From Slavoj Zizek, First as Tragedy, Then as Farce (p. 81):