Bob Zoellick’s A Two-Bit Bore…

Bob Zoellick is really, really sorry for poor people in Asia,
who are really, really going to be hurt the most by a slow-down in global trade.

That’s what he told a Thomson Reuters Newsmaker ahead of the G20 meeting in London on April 1. According to Bobby Z, the global economy is going to contract by 1.7 percent this year, compared to growing by 1.9 percent last year.

He didn’t define growth.

He’s not suggesting that a decline in the velocity of derivative hot-potato is a decline in growth, is he?
I hope not.

But he did define poverty.
A buck twenty-five a day, he says.

Well, here’s what. A buck twenty-five in India is about sixty rupees. Which will buy you enough to eat for a day in India.
Which is all that matters to a poor Indian.

That makes a poor Indian better off than a derivative big-shot in Manhattan, at the end of the day.
He won’t be broke….. with other people’ money.
Or, in the red…. up to infinity

And that’s where you, me, and Bobby Z are now, after several trillion bucks.

I’ll take a buck-fifty in an Indian village, any day.

Maybe we need a new definition of poverty.
Or, we need a new president of the World Bank.

Not yet another axe-man
from the Sachs men.

Especially one who’s gone in and out of Treasury, the Department of State, and practically every US trade delegation in the last twenty years like a cheap suit through a Chinese laundromat and was — get this — an executive vice-president at none other than Fannie Mae.

That would be just around the time (1993-1997) they were shoving every one with a pulse (and many without) into subsidized housing.

Who else would we want cleaning up the nuclear fall-out from the housing bubble, if not one of the leading bubble-heads around, right?

Besides advising Enron on finance and screaming for war in Iraq, I don’t know if you could come up with a more radioactive resume than that.

Oh, that’s right, Zoellick’s got those two wrapped up, as well.

(Wiki: Zoellick signed the January 26, 1998 letter to President Bill Clinton from PNAC that advocated war against Iraq. During 1999, Zoellick served on a panel that offered Enron executives briefings on economic and political issues.)

What a busy fellow. Quite the boy wonder.

And oh — look. He’s into fancy innovations too.
He’s the guy who’s been shoving genetically-modified food down European gullets, like it or not.

(The”Big Five” biotech companies–Monsanto, Dupont, Syngenta, Dow Chemical, and Aventis–control 937 out of 1085 biotech patents).

And he’s shown he can shove it down Asian gullets too.

He’ll do anything to get rid of poverty, will our Bobby, even if it means getting rid of the poor. From high-tech food to high-tech finance, Zoellick’s a big believer in force-feeding.

Now he wants the G-20 to endorse a new $50 billion Global Trade Liquidity Programme (translated from the Higher Financialeze that reads Got To Love These Pigs), which combines a billion from the World Bank with “financing from governments and regional development banks,” which gets “leveraged by a risk-sharing arrangement with major private sector partners.”

We hate to bring cold logic into such a touchy-feely, lovey-dovey arrangement, but does “risk-sharing” mean the private-sector partners could go broke too?

Or, at least, get a fatal SIV? Because that’s what sharing risk usually means.
(Maybe we need a needle-exchange program for credit-heads, but that’s another story).

And all of this risk-sharing is just to help the poor in Asia out?
It brings a tear to our cynical eye, Bobby.

Such sharing. Why, it’s chummier than anything since David and Jonathan, this private-public partnership.

Oh, that’s right. Tim Geithner came up with that brainwave recently too.
(I guess that’s what being a Goldman alum does for you. It gives you the same sort of brainwaves).

And who would they be, these generous Fezziwigs of Finance, these Monetary Mother Theresas?

Standard Chartered, Standard Bank, and Rabobank, we hear.
We feel a brainwave coming on ourselves.
Wasn’t Rabobank one of AIG’s needle-sharers…er…counterparties?

And doesn’t that mean that, one way or other, the Fed has already done one of their hot little private-public lapdances with Rabobank?

I mean, how many private-public partnerships do you get to go through before people start calling you…

you know….

a two-bit bore.

Lila Rajiva is a freelance journalist and the author of The Language of Empire: Abu Ghraib and the US Media (Monthly Review Press, 2005) and Mobs, Messiahs and Markets (with Bill Bonner-Wiley, September 2007). She has also contributed chapters to One of the Guys (Ed., Tara McKelvey and Barbara Ehrenreich, Seal Press, 2007), an anthology of writing on women as torturers, and to The Third World: Opposing Viewpoints (Ed., David Haugen, Greenhaven, 2006). Read other articles by Lila, or visit Lila's website.

3 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. mary said on April 3rd, 2009 at 10:42am #

    Considering how weedy and nerdy he looks, he has certainly been very clever in placing himself in powerful institutions. One glance at his Wikipedia biog page gives his contacts with all the usual suspects in the blue hyperlinks. What’s his secret?

    I spotted him on TV glad-handing acquaintances at the ridiculous G20 circus just finished in London and now moved on to mainland Europe where Obama is rounding up his ‘allies’ to provide more cannon fodder for his AfPak war.

    Thanks for the article Lila.

  2. Mulga Mumblebrain said on April 10th, 2009 at 2:31am #

    The ability of tiny cliques to take control in capitalist economies is deeply disturbing. A little liberating, also. When you read the resumes of the top ten thousand or so global cappi who run the mafia operation known colloquially as the ‘Free Market’, the character traits that reveal themselves are instructive. There is gargantuan, indeed, literally insatiable greed. Any one of these palookas would relish controlling ALL the world’s wealth, if they could manage it somehow. For the moment they must make do with the situation where the several hundred billionaires control more wealth than the bottom half, or three billion human beings. Then there is reflex mendacity, dissembling and hypocrisy, with a few honourable, and some arrogant, exceptions, especially regarding the true nature of the system that immiserates so many to enrich so few. Total indifference to the fate of others, with again a few honourable exceptions, and many fraudulent, ‘philanthropic for the photo-opportunity’ phoneys, in Darfur, but never, ever, Gaza. And indifference’s twin, lack of empathy, even, one suspects, for themselves. Let’s be frank. This constellation of symptoms is the operating manual for the psychopath. We have created, by our stupidity, lack of resolve and ready acceptance of life-long brainwashing, a society ruled by and for crazies, whose only use for us as is consumers, or industrial or military cannon-fodder. Latterly we added being dupes for fraudulent, rigged ‘risk-taking’ as the highest calling in life. Playing the patsy, compulsorily, more or less. The callous, but seemingly insane, total indifference to ecological collapse is also easily explained by this theory of society. Our Masters could not give a stuff what happens to the planet after their ego goes out. When the rulers are facing calamity face on, they may finally act, but I suspect that they will opt for a Malthusian culling, rather than reduce their limitless rapacity and cupidity. Whenever, if ever, the mass of people finally wake from their torpor and see what is happening to our world and species, perhaps something will happen to save us, but can one really imagine a global ‘People Power’ revolt being allowed to succeed, unhindered. Not a snowball’s chance in Hell. Which come to think of it, our world now resembles, which makes our robopathic masters all little Satans, save for the Really Great Ones.

  3. Lila Rajiva said on April 10th, 2009 at 2:56am #

    Psychopathy – you never said a truer word
    My own feeling is that only psychopathic individuals get to the top these days…this goes against the mythology of success..
    But I see it constantly. I am not talking so much about small businessmen and average successful entrepreneurs – who get unfairly lumped into this category..

    I am talking about the very richest – with political connections
    The CIA….or the SEC….or similar groups.
    They are a mafia that’s killing this country…