Life is going to get a lot harder, a lot faster for the world’s poor as countries, battling sinking economies and soaring food prices, look to tighten their purse strings when it comes to social-work funding.

“End Austerity: A Global Report on Budget Cuts and Harmful Social Reforms,” which was put together by the European Network on Debt and Development, found that 85 percent of the world’s population will live under new austerity measures by 2023 and the trend will likely persist until at least 2025. 

The people who will be most impacted will be society’s most vulnerable: women, children, and the elderly.

“Decisions on budget cuts affect the lives of millions of people and should not be taken behind closed doors by a few technocrats at a Ministry of Finance, with the support of the IMF,” Isabel Ortiz, the director of the Global Social Justice Program at the Initiative for Policy Dialogue, said. “Policies must instead be agreed transparently in a national social dialogue, negotiating with trade unions, employer federations and civil society organizations. Austerity cuts are not inevitable; in fact our report presents nine financing alternatives that are available, even to the poorest countries.”

The Trends Journal has long reported on how the COVID-19 outbreak resulted in the BIGS getting BIGGER, and the poor seeing their conditions worsen. (See “ECONOMIC SHOCK WAVE TO HIT WORLD’S POOR COUNTRIES” 25 Jan 2022, “COVID WAR: RICH GOT RICHER, POOR GOT POORER” 21 Sep 2021 and “REPORTS GALORE, CLARITY POOR” 20 Sep 2022.)

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said last month that the several key factors that are putting new pressure on the world’s poorest are the Ukraine War, COVID-19 and the fallout, and climate change. (See “ECONOMIC SPECIAL: NATURE’S WILD CARD,” 27 Sep 2022.)

The report found that 143 countries around the world are seeking austerity measures, including 94 that are considered developing nations, CommonDreams.org reported. The report noted that many of these countries are forced to pay back loans that the International Monetary Fund doled out during the coronavirus outbreak. 

The report cited an Oxfam paper that said 87 percent of IMF loans during COVID force these countries to employ austerity measures under the terms of the loan agreements.

“This epitomizes the IMF’s double standard: it is warning rich countries against austerity while forcing poorer ones into it. The pandemic is not over for most of the world. Rising energy bills and food prices are hurting poor countries most. They need help boosting access to basic services and social protection, not harsh conditions that kick people when they are down,” Nabil Abdo, Oxfam’s international senior policy adviser, said in a statement.  

TRENDPOST: The Trends Journal has reported extensively on the oppressive lockdowns that have not only proven to be ineffective but also damaging to the public’s health and economy. (See “COVID-19 LOCKDOWNS: COMPLETE POLICY FAILURES,” “LOCKDOWNS CREATE CHILD SUICIDE EPIDEMIC” and “W.H.O NOW SAYS ‘WE DO NOT ADVOCATE LOCKDOWNS.”)

The financial burden on the middle class and poor has become too extreme while the super-rich saw their wealth exceed their wildest dreams. (See “COVID WAR: RICH GOT RICHER, POOR GOT POORER,”  “SPOTLIGHT: BIGS GET BIGGER, RICH GET RICHER” and “AMERICANS PUMPS UP THE RICH, CHINA PUSHING THEM DOWN.”)

David Malpass, the president of the World Bank, noted a Poverty and Shared Prosperity report that showed a “deterioration in development progress” even before the outbreak hit. Global poverty declined in the 1990s and 2000s, but the progress slowed by 2015. Extreme poverty rose by about 70 million after lockdowns were put into place. The report also noted that there was a 4 percent decline in global median income, which was the first decline since the measurements began.

Bigs Get Bigger

The poorest in developing countries missed out on COVID-19 recovery funds that were swallowed up by large corporations, according to a newly released report by the Financial Transparency Coalition. 

The report found that these companies collected the benefits and essentially left small businesses and the poor blowing in the wind. The Trends Journal has long reported that the COVID-19 outbreak made the poor poorer and the rich richer. (See “COVID WAR: RICH GOT RICHER, POOR GOT POORER,” 21 Sep 2021.) 

MarketWatch, citing the report, said there are about 2 billion people categorized as informal workers around the globe. 

These individuals often work without any security or benefits, and are usually exploited as a result. 

The report also noted that the worsening financial conditions in these countries means there’s less money to dole out. The report noted that there was about one-third less spent on COVID relief compared to 2020.

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