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S.A.P States

Updated on March 24, 2011

After the Second World War, impoverished nations can rejoice as their prays were answer by the IMF and World Bank but only under a new name S.A.P. and like all great things, they normally come with a cost which to most is unbearable. The structural adjustment policies emerged from the Bretton Woods institutions, the IMF and the World Bank, they emerged from conditionalities that IMF and World Bank have been attaching to their loans since the early 1950s.

  In the beginning, these conditionalities mainly focused upon a country's macroeconomic policy. S.A.P originated due to a series of global economic disasters during the late 1970s; the oil crisis, debt crisis, multiple economic depressions, and stagflation. These fiscal disasters led policy members to decide that deeper intervention was necessary to improve a country's overall well being and as good as that seems one must always remember as Lord Acton maxim says ‘Power tends to corrupt and absolute power, corrupts absolutely’, this illustrates how in the purse of power (in all its forms), we will always and inevitably be corrupt because in power, there is an exaggerated sense of the self. And this boosts true for the SAPs advocated by the IMF and World Bank simply because with their help, arise their conditions to “better” your country which in turn incarcerates your country reducing it to a country of beggars. But truth be told, on paper SAPs are sound; they generally implement "free market" programs and policies, these policies include internal changes notably privatization and deregulation of much of the state owned institutions such as education, health care etc and the deregulating of market force thus encouraging entrepreneur to flourish, as well as external policies which reduces trade barriers thus making it easier for the countries to enter the global market and international trade

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In my own opinion, the SAPs insinuated by the IMF and World Bank are in essence the same as the Trojan horse for instance in the space of 10 years (1989 & 1996) in Jordan there were riots caused by the SAPs; riots over increased food prices erupt throughout southern Jordan shortly after announcement of SAP agreed to with IMF, at least five protesters killed by police and also riots break out in Al Karak and other southern cities after IMF demands removal of subsidies, resulting in tripling of price of bread and also protesters targeted Ministry of Education because of hike in school fees connected with IMF program which lead in the King suspending Parliament when it refuses to support price hikes. All the countries the SAPs are advocated in always end up in ruins so begs the question why employ them in the first place? Is it to become a distributor of poverty in abundance or is it really to ensure the hegemonic survival of its ideologies?

 SAPs generally requires countries to devalue their currencies against the dollar; lift import and export restrictions; and remove price controls and state subsidies; devaluation makes their goods cheaper for foreigners to buy and theoretically makes foreign imports more expensive. In principle it should make the country wary of buying expensive foreign equipment. However, the IMF actually disrupts this by rewarding the country with a large foreign currency loan that encourages it to purchase imports.  

   In effect, war no longer privatises poverty anymore but SAPs and the IMF does, creating a huge dependency on the money the IMF gives out; and those who don’t comply are normally met with the most unwelcoming greeting i.e. holding up the country for ransom with the imminent threat of increased poverty but sadly the impoverished countries can’t pay for this so they’re in essence enslaved by the IMF. 

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