When you’re talking about global financial players, it doesn’t get much bigger than the high-level executives of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. So what were these ultra-big-wigs talking about at a meeting in Washington earlier this month? The critical importance of public services in creating economic growth.
Rosa Pavanelli, general secretary of Public Services International, made the presentation:
“In circumstances of recession and under-employment, public sector spending has a clear stimulus effect,” said Pavanelli. “We have known this for a long time and anyone who has witnessed the impact of austerity measures in Europe can acknowledge this today. Even the IMF has eventually reckoned the importance of public spending as a multiplier.”
“In addition to that, public services contribute to labour productivity, to less inequality, to macro-economic stability necessary for growth, and especially guard against shocks. The Ebola crisis is a clear example of the effects on the economy at large of not investing in public, universal health care services.”
Pavenelli criticized these international financial institutions for promoting policies that favor private interests—such as eroding workers’ rights, undermining job stability, and legalizing tax avoidance—at the expense of the common good. The question now is, were any of the ultra-big-wigs listening?