This week the world’s Ministers of Finance and Central Bank Governors meet virtually at the 2020 Annual Meetings
of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank and decide on the fate of the world.
This year’s gathering is particularly important, given that the world is confronting an unprecedented crisis. Governments are struggling to finance emergency care and urgent socioeconomic support to cope with the COVID19 pandemic.
On 27 August the World Bank announced
that it will suspend the Doing Business Report over data irregularities, until it conducts a review and audit. The halting of the report was welcomed by trade unions, academics and human rights groups.
Failing to help those in most need
COVID19 is devastating on older persons. The numbers are staggering, more than 80 percent of the fatalities due to coronavirus in the US and East Asia occurred among adults aged 65 and over. In Europe and Australia, the figures are even higher, 94 and 97 per cent of the deaths were persons aged 60 and over.
The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has created an unprecedented human and economic crisis. Governments are taking strong actions, enforcing quarantines to reduce contagion, testing populations, building emergency intensive care units. Governments have also launched large fiscal stimulus plans to protect jobs and the economy, as well as temporary social protection programs such as income/food support, subsidies to utilities and care services.
Austerity policies pushed by international financial institutions have weakened public health systems, despite current financial support packages, condemning many people to die.
After years of austerity, a number of Eurozone countries are now considering expansionary
fiscal policies. And in the UK, government spending is set to return to levels last seen in the 1970s
. But austerity abounds elsewhere in the world, including in some of the poorest countries.
While this week Ministers of Finance and economists meet in Washington to confront global economic challenges at the IMF and World Bank Annual Meetings
, the majority of the world population lives with austerity cuts and see their living standards deteriorating. World leaders must reverse this trend.
Analysis of the latest International Monetary Fund (IMF) expenditure projections for 187 countries between 2005 and 2020 reveals that there have been two distinct phases of government spending patterns since the onset of the global economic crisis.