Norwegian State Strategies for Global Justice

Patrick Bond, Professor of Development Studies and Director of the University of KwaZulu-Natal Centre for Civil Society, Durban

In considering Norwegian foreign policy – especially economic and development relationships – the mandate is first to describe key problems and challenges with global governance, with attention to the structure and operations of the United Nations, Bretton Woods Institutions and World Trade Organisation; second to identify the salient positive and negative consequences of globalisation, with attention to how Norway can contribute to positive globalisation dynamics and alleviate the negative processes; and third to ponder how Norway can contribute to appropriate world petroleum development especially through the Oil for Development Programme.

Summary of the response

Since 2006, the Norwegian government has taken several initiatives that could – if amplified - counteract neoliberal dynamics at the global scale. The present conjuncture is ideal for expanding these initiatives, in view of the world financial crises, the failure of global governance initiatives, and the need to support emerging Latin American initiatives along the same lines. In the first instance, this paper argues for a clear identification of the balance of forces and ideologies in world political economy (which in this author’s view comprises five tendencies) so as to assess strategies, tactics and alliances, and in turn to eschew myopic notions of global governance reform. Second, Norway should defund the Bretton Woods Institutions, and instead support enhanced people-people alliances in cooperation with progressive Third World states. And third, Oslo should use petroleum resources and funds in new ways: leaving the Norwegian oil in the ground for economic and climate reasons; making an ecological debt downpayment to Ecuador as part of its ‘leave the oil in the soil’ strategy; and shifting from the volatile world financial system to a new financial and aid system supportive of progressive Third World initiatives, such as the Bank of the South. 

Building on Norway’s success in 2006-07. This paper takes as given an earlier critical analysis (published in early 2007 in the Norwegian Council for Africa’s book Umthetho, attached), which identified Oslo’s progressive initiatives but also posed caveats about how far these could be extended. In short, praise is due Norway’s government for opening up issues associated with Odious Debt (and partially cancelling shipping loans), for defunding a water privatisation scheme at the World Bank, and for raising and researching loan conditionality and illegitimate debt, in partnership with a wide variety of progressive organisations such as SLUG, conventional thinktanks such as the Centre for International Policy, and left-leaning governments such as Ecuador. These allow Oslo, perhaps uniquely, to position as a unifying force in various campaigns for global justice, and to offer alternatives to the existing multilateral initiatives which have proven worthless in gaining genuine reforms.

Beyond multilateralism – towards unilateral precedent-setting innovation in alliance with international progressives. Norway appears to this author as the leading Northern Hemispheric national state promoting global justice, ahead of Italy albeit far behind four others in Latin America (Bolivia, Cuba, Ecuador and Venezuela). Decisions made in Oslo in coming months and years are absolutely crucial for the broader objective of pulling the world polity to the left. The emphasis should be on unilateral innovations instead of multilateral strategies, in view of the prevailing power relations. As witnessed in the November G20 meeting in South Africa, as well as the October meetings of the Bretton Woods Institutions, the September United Nations heads of state summit and ongoing failures to address structural trade imbalances and the environment (such as Bali on climate change next month), the multilateral system is profoundly corrupted with little hope of improvement. The adverse global balance of forces leaves even the relatively mild reforms Norwegian officials have promoted in the past year as utopian with regard to global public policy.

Given opposition by so many powerful interests, it is probably impossible to scale up debt cancellation on Odious Debts (e.g. the case of shipping) or roll back neoliberal Bretton Woods Institution conditionality using conventional top-down routes. The limits of existing reform options in the multilateral agencies are the result of the political fusion of neoliberal and neoconservative forces. These two political ideologies – which are philosophically in conflict over roles of state and market, over varieties of freedoms, and over the fractions of capital that win/lose from their policies – have found a surprising harmony in maintaining Northern power over multilateral institutions at a time of incipient Third World challenges. Table 1 illustrates how these two ideologies relate to three others. From this author’s perspective, the Norwegian government has lined up in the ‘Post-Washington Consensus’ reform camp which has struggled to achieve genuine progress in various initiatives. The Third World nationalist approach has achieved somewhat more impressive gains in relation to the International Monetary Fund (which has weakened dramatically as a result of middle-income countries withdrawing) and the World Trade Organisation (which has failed to achieve closure on the damaging Doha Round in part because of Third World countries’ opposition). The fifth approach is the global justice strategy of progressive civil society and to some extent the new Latin American Left governments. The challenge for Norway is to initiate and support efforts to bring the three blocs on the left into alignment, rather than assuming its influence will pull the neoconservative and neoliberal blocs to the left. We begin the argument by considering the major multilateral fora that came under fused neoliberal and neoconservative rule in recent years.

Imperial power relations. The neolib-neocon fusion is personified by leadership choices in the multilateral institutions over the past three years or so.[1]

This is not to say that the fusion of neoliberalism and neoconservatism so apparent is permanently hegemonic and crisis free. Walden Bello recounts three problems in the maintenance of empire, starting with ‘a crisis of overextension, or the growing gap between imperial reach and imperial grasp.’ For Bello, ‘Hugo Chavez’s scintillating defiance of American power would not be possible without the Iraqi resistance’s successfully pinning down US interventionist forces in a war without end.’ Second, the global overaccumulation of capital continues, based upon generalized overproduction but under the new circumstances of rising Chinese and Indian output.

According to Bello, ‘Efforts by global capital to regain profitability by more intensively exploiting labor in the North or moving out to take advantage of significantly lower wages elsewhere have merely exacerbated the crisis’ because the long neoliberal austerity lowered the rates of increase in global demand to levels lower than in earlier decades. Third, ‘the crisis of legitimacy of US hegemony’ is reflected in ‘the US no longer wanting to act as a primus inter pares, or first among equals, in the WTO, World Bank, and the IMF, and wishing to unilaterally pursue its interests through these mechanisms, thus seriously impairing their credibility, legitimacy, and functioning as global institutions.’ The US undermines its own internal credibility through its illiberal Patriot Act, new systems of repressing dissent, ‘the massive hijacking of elections by corporate financing that has corrupted both the Republican and Democratic parties and the systematic disenfranchisement of poor people’. Bush was comfortable ‘doing the bidding of US industry in torpedoing the Kyoto Protocol, awarding his vice president’s corporate allies such as Halliburton with no-bid contracts, going to war for his oil cronies, and creating a free-market paradise for US corporations in Iraq.’

Beyond Bretton Woods reform myopia. At the IMF, meanwhile, the new Managing Director, former French Finance Minister Dominique Strauss-Kahn, has the agenda of recapitalising and relegitimising an institution in deep trouble. At the G20 meeting, he promised some mild reforms to give Third World countries more voice; however, there are far too many institutional barriers, including European ownership of the MD position and US veto clout, to justify any expectations for substantive power shifts. Over the past several decades, all efforts to reform the Bretton Woods Institutions have been rebuffed, in areas ranging from environment to post-Washington economics to governance to civil society inputs and transparency. This is particularly evident in the crucial resources sector, where Norway has world leadership through its hosting of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative. A Bank-sponsored, multi-stakeholder ‘Extractive Industries Review’ chaired by former environment minister Emil Salim of Indonesia argued in December 2003 that public funds should not be used to facilitate private profits in the terribly destructive minerals and energy sector, and hence the Bank should phase out oil and coal lending by 2008. Bank staff vigorously opposed the recommendations, and the institution’s board rejected the main Commission recommendations. According to Samuel Nguiffo of Friends of the Earth Cameroon, ‘The World Bank’s response is a deep insult for those affected by its projects.’ Again, the strategic implication for Norway is to accept that the IMF and Bank are inappropriate institutions, and work with other social forces ranging from emerging market governments to civil society forces, for their disempowerment. 

Defaulting against and defunding the Bretton Woods Institutions

Instead of ongoing recapitalisations of the Bretton Woods Institutions, the alternative approach is a logic proposed by UN economic adviser Jeffrey Sachs. He told heads of state at a July 2004 African Union meeting in Addis Ababa, ‘African countries should refuse to repay their foreign debts’ and instead use the funds to invest in health and education. (At the time, the IMF was controversially prohibiting expenditure of health funds donated to Africa, especially for HIV/AIDS mitigation, on grounds that civil service pay would rise to above 7% of GDP.) Even Joe Stiglitz, former Bank chief economist, admitted to the Financial Times in 2002 that reform efforts at the IMF had proven fruitless: ‘Is the institution so resistant to learning to change, to becoming a more democratic institution, that maybe it is time to think about creating some new institutions that really reflect today’s reality, today’s greater sense of democracy.’ In short, reform strategies by the likes of Sachs and Stiglitz from a position of elite influence did not work, leaving them to advocate much tougher approaches. Likewise, in spite of Norway’s greater financial pressure, there is no greater likelihood of successful reform from within. This was witnessed in February 2007, when a Norwegian NGO - the Association of International Water Studies - and the British World Development Movement campaigning group issued a report, ‘Down the Drain: How aid for water sector reform could be better spent’. The report was one factor that apparently persuaded Minister Eric Solheim to withdraw from the Bank’s Public Private Infrastructure Advisory Facility, which had earlier enjoyed the support of Norway (and funding of $2.85 million) since 1999. The defunding route should be pursued more broadly against the Bank and IMF (it was disappointing that Norway then refunded the Bank in its 2007 budget with far greater resources estimated at $100 million or more). In addition to Stiglitz, leading civil society advocates have suggested defunding the Bretton Woods Institutions.

According to Walden Bello, director of Focus on the Global South in Bangkok, ‘it would be better to abolish an institution that has made a big business out of “ending poverty”’ than to expect extraordinarily well-paid technocrats ‘to do the impossible - designing anti‑poverty programs for folks from another planet.’ Local, national and regional institutions would be ‘better equipped to attack the causes of poverty.’ Cape Town’s Anglican Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane, agrees: ‘[If] we must release ourselves from debt peonage - by demanding the repudiation and cancellation of debt - we will campaign to that end. And if the World Bank and IMF continue to stand in the way of social progress, movements like Jubilee South Africa will have no regrets about calling for their abolition.’

Within civil society, the idea of defunding the World Bank was introduced in 2000 and became known as the World Bank Bonds Boycott. Catalysed by Jubilee South Africa, Brazil’s Movement of Landless Workers, and numerous other Third World activist groups, Bonds Boycott activists pose this simple question that harked back to anti-apartheid disinvestment campaigning: is it ethical for socially-conscious people to invest in the Bank by buying its bonds, responsible for eighty percent of the institution’s resources, hence drawing out dividends which represent the fruits of enormous suffering? Within a few years, the world’s largest pension fund, TIAA-CREF, had sold its bonds under activist pressure, and an impressive array of investment funds committed never to buy another Bank bond again. Other organisations that have endorsed the boycott included major religious orders (the Conference of Major Superiors of Men, Pax Christi USA, the Unitarian Universalist General Assembly, and dozens of others); the most important social responsibility funds (Calvert Group, Global Greengrants Fund, Ben and Jerry’s Foundation, and Trillium Assets Management); the University of New Mexico endowment fund; US cities (including San Francisco, Milwaukee, Boulder and Cambridge); and major trade union pension/investment funds (e.g., Teamsters, Postal Workers, Service Employees Int’l, American Federation of Government Employees, Longshoremen, Communication Workers of America, United Electrical Workers). 

Alternative financial strategies

This point is crucial in considering alternative financing mechanisms, in part because the hard‑currency component of IMF and Bank lending should not be required at present levels in Third World countries for most development activities. Indeed, the motivations for rejecting hard‑currency loans for ‘development’ are the fear of the rising cost of repayment on foreign debt, once the currency declines, and the record of hard currency utilisation in most Third World economies. Foreign currency inflows via new Bank or IMF loans typically do not finance basic needs projects (with their low import-intensity) but instead are used to repay illegitimate foreign debt, import luxury goods for the rich, and replace local workers with inappropriate job‑killing, dependency‑inducing, capital-intensive technology from abroad. In sum, there is no intrinsic merit in taking out a US dollar-denominated loan for – to take an example - building and staffing a small rural school that has virtually no foreign input costs. If most basic-needs development can be drawn from local resources, and if the hard currency needed to import petroleum or other vital inputs can be readily supplied by export credit agencies (competing against each other, in contrast to centralised financial power and coordination in Washington), the basic rationales for the World Bank fall away. To be sure, financing local development by issuing local securities – or even ‘printing money’ (contemporary Zimbabwe being the most extreme case in Africa’s history) – certainly adds a risk of generating inflation, but that risk is usually smaller than the problems of repaying hard-currency loans for the same projects, given the need for greater export orientation and the rising cost of repayment once a local currency depreciates against hard currencies. And instead of relying upon the IMF to maintain a positive balance of payments when fickle international financial inflows dry up or run away frightened, Third World countries that climb out (in future) from under the heel of the IMF and Bank could realistically impose exchange controls and tax unnecessary imports. They would also have more freedom to default on illegitimate debt.

As a result, it is reasonable for Norway to extend further its initiatives for international financial transformation (not ‘reform’ since such is not feasible from above). Civil society groups like Norway’s SLUG debt campaign and Jubilee South have advanced important arguments already, such as the slogan ‘Don’t Owe Won’t Pay’, whose obvious policy implication is systemic Third World default, a policy successfully carried out in earlier periods by at least one third of all debtor countries (1840s, 1880s, 1930s), and also hinted at by Argentina’s contemporary example of successful default following its 2001-02 economic crisis. As for addressing uneven private sector capital flows to the Third World, there are also well-tested strategies – such as prescribed assets – that can force the domestic reinvestment of pension and insurance funds as well as other large institutional investment reserves. For controlling capital flight and dangerous inflows of portfolio capital, it will be crucial for Third World countries to critique offshore tax havens through national-scale regulation and even prohibition of financial transfers from these sites, as part of a more general reestablishment of exchange controls to limit currency convertibility, and through revitalized state financial regulation. 

From small steps to serious leaps

Norway is beginning to develop official positions and collect research on these matters. The Foreign Ministry’s Multilateral Bank and Finance Section is considering convening an international task force on combating tax haven abuses and capital flight, alongside the STAR programme aimed at recovery of assets illicitly stashed away in tax havens. Norway and the government of Ecuador are exploring an inter-governmental task force on illegitimate debt (as well as further research in this area), building upon the cancellation of shipping export debts and Norway’s recognition of lender co-responsibility. Potential appeals on this and related issues may be submitted to the International Court of Justice of the Hague, and there is an interesting court process in the United States (via the Alien Tort Claims Act) through which the Jubilee movement and apartheid victims have been able to get a hearing on illegitimate profits and interest taken from South Africa prior to 1994. For Norway to more fully address international financial transformation in this spirit, may entail listening more closely to groups like Jubilee South. In 2004, a Cape Town meeting of Jubilee Africa members from Angola, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, the DRC, Kenya, Mozambique, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia, Tanzania and Zimbabwe, and partners from Brazil, Argentina and the Philippines working on a comprehensive Illegitimate Debt Audit demanded:

  • full unconditional cancellation of Africa’s total debt;
  • reparations for damage caused by debt devastation;
  • immediate halt to the Highly Indebted Poor Country initiative and Poverty Reducation Strategy Papers and the disguised structural adjustment program through the New Partnership for Africa’s Development and any other agreements that do not address the fundamental interests of the impoverished majority and the building of a sustainable and sovereign Africa; and
  • a comprehensive audit to determine the full extent and real nature of Africa’s illegitimate debt, the total payments made to date and the amount owed to Africa. 
Trade reform and ‘deglobalisation’ of capital

The notes above cover international finance. A similar failure to generate change in the global trade regime – e.g. removal of damaging subsidies and proper accounting for ecological damage associated with long-distance ship or air transport of tradeable goods – reflects another global governance deficit. If climate change is to be seriously addressed, it will require a fundamental reorientation of the world economy back towards local production to meet local needs, a reality that global elites are simply not interested in complying with. Norway should take seriously the argument by John Maynard Keynes, made in an important Yale Review article in 1933: ‘I sympathise with those who would minimise, rather than with those who would maximise, economic entanglement among nations. Ideas, knowledge, science, hospitality, travel – these are the things which should of their nature be international. But let goods be homespun whenever it is reasonably and conveniently possible and, above all, let finance be primarily national’ (emphasis added).  

Globalisation of people

What, then, are the positive consequences of globalisation and how can Norway contribute to these? Keynes listed several useful technological aspects of globalisation (in the quote above) but did not dwell upon the single most important: people-people alliances. This is obviously more than just ‘travel’, for Norwegians have shown leadership in people-people solidarity (e.g. in relation to the anti-apartheid struggle). In these regards, Norwegians have had enormous influence in shaping international debates, through groups like SLUG on debt, Attac on global economic justice more generally, Norwegian Church Aid and Norwegian People’s Aid on various issues, Publish What You Pay on the resource curse, as a few examples. There are myriad others.

Oil strategies

Because of the vast build-up of financial reserves in the Oil Development Fund in recent years, there is no fiscal pressure on the Norwegian government to exploit petroleum resources. On the contrary, the windfall oil profits that have emerged during the 9-year rise of oil prices (from $12 to nearly $100/barrel) are a negative force in Norway’s economy, as they strengthen the Kroner excessively, creating a ‘Dutch Disease’ and reducing competitiveness of other sectors. This situation provides Norway with opportunities to use resources associated with petroleum in new ways that can continue Oslo’s recent record of innovation in global financial reform. As one example, Norway might follow the lead of the Ecuadoran government’s ‘Keep the Oil in the Soil’ initiative, both for longer-term economic and climate reasons. This entails not only keeping the Norwegian oil in the North Sea so as to permit its future conversion to something more valuable than car gasoline. In addition, ecological debt payments to the Third World would be appropriate, given Norway’s historic overuse of the greenhouse gas sink commons.[2] A crucial site to start would be Ecuador’s Ishpingo-Tiputini-Tambococha oil reserve, in Yasuní National Park. As discussed already with Minister Solheim, President Rafael Correa’s efforts to retain roughly $12 billion in oil reserves in the Park, cordoned off from exploitation permanently, would be secured if $5 billion is provided as a copayment from the North.  

Oil funds for genuine development finance

Finally, another crucial strategy that Norway should consider is shifting the $300+ billion in the Oil Fund away from dollar investments in the volatile world financial system into a new financial and aid system supportive of progressive Third World proposals. For example, funding for global renewables investments is needed, which could be set against Norway’s ecological debt. The new Bank of the South requires capitalisation and financial management support. But it will be crucial to ensure the Bank of the South’s management and projects do not simply reproduce Bretton Woods Institution practices, and here Norway has made sufficient investments in issues as neoliberal conditionality and Odious Debt so as to provide financial and technical support of an appropriate sort. 


In sum, Norway has taken several initiatives that deserve to be widened and deepened. Crucially, it is up to Norway to build links between the three ideological blocs to the left of the neoliberal and neoconservative elites. In all areas which cry out for global governance reform, these elites do not have the political will to make the necessary changes the world requires. Norway could be crucial as a supporter and initiator of other measures advocated by progressive civil society and the new Left governments of Latin America. Without putting at least as much effort into these options as Norway makes in the elite multilateral fora, a huge opportunity will be lost.  

Table 1: Five International Ideological Currents

(Patrick Bond, , November 2007)


Political current:


Global Justice Movements


Third World Nationalism


Post-Wash. Consensus


Washington Consensus


Resurgent Rightwing


socialism, anarchism

national capitalism

social democracy



Main agenda



‘deglobalisation’ of capital (not people); ‘globalisation-from-below’ and international solidarity; anti-war; anti-racism; indigenous rights; women’s liberation; ecology; ‘decommodified’ state services; radical participatory democracy

increased (but fairer) global integration via reform of interstate system, based on debt relief and expanded market access; reformed global governance; regionalism; rhetorical anti-imperialism; and Third World unity

fix ‘imperfect markets;’ add ‘sustainable development’ to existing economic  framework via UN-centric global state-building; promote a (limited) degree of global Keynesianism; oppose US unilateralism and militarism

rename  and reimpose neoliberalism (PRSPs, HIPC, PPPs) with provisions for ‘transparency’, self-regulation and bail-out mechanisms; co-opt potential emerging-market resistance; offer financial support for US-led Empire

unilateral petro-military imperialism; crony deals, corporate subsidies, protectionism and tariffs; reverse globalization of people via racism and xenophobia; religious extremism; patriarchy; homophobia

Leading institutions

social movements; environmental justice activists; indigenous people; autonomists; radical activist networks; leftist labour movements; liberation theology; radical think-tanks (e.g., CCS, Focus on the Global South, Global Exchange, IBASE, IFG, IPS, Nader centres, TNI); radical media (Democracy Now! GreenLeft, Indymedia, Pacifica, Pambazuka,; semi-liberated zones (Bolivaran projects, Kerala); sector-based or local coalitions in the World Social Forum; some Latin American states

Non-Aligned Movement, G77 and South Centre; self-selecting regimes (often authoritarian): Argentina, Brazil, China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Libya, Malaysia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Palestine, Russia, South Africa, Turkey, Uganda, Zimbabwe ; AlJazeera, some supportive NGOs and thinktanks

some UN agencies (e.g., Unicef, Unifem, Wider); some INGOs (e.g., Care, Civicus, IUCN, Oxfam, TI); large enviro. groups (e.g., Sierra and WWF); big labour (e.g., ICFTU and AFL-CIO); liberal foundations (Carnegie, Ford, MacArthur, Mott, Open Society, Rockefeller); Columbia U. economics department; the Socialist International; Norway

US state (Fed, Treasury, USAid); corporate media, IT and financiers; World Bank, IMF, WTO; elite clubs (Bilderburgers, Trilateral Commission, World Economic Forum); some UN agencies (UNDP, Unctad, Global Compact); universities and think-tanks (U. of Chicago economics, Cato, Council on Foreign Relations, Adam Smith Inst., Inst. of International Economics, Brookings); BBC, CNN and Sky; most of G8

White House and Pentagon; Republican Party populist and libertarian wings; Project for a New American Century; right wing think-tanks (AEI, CSIS, Heritage, Manhattan); Christian Right institutions and media; petro-military complex and industrial firms; rightwing media (Fox, National Interest, Weekly Standard, Washington Times); proto-fascist European parties - but also Zionism and Islamic extremism

Political current:

Global Justice Movements

ThirdWorld Nationalism

Post-Wash. Consensus

Washington Consensus


Internal disputes

role of state; party politics; fix-it vs nix-it for int’l agencies; gender and racial power relations; divergent interests (e.g., Northern labor or environment vs Southern sovereignty and indigenous rights); tactics (e.g., merits of symbolic property destruction)

degree of militancy versus the North; divergent regional interests; religion; large vs small countries; internecine rivalries

some look left (for alliances) while others look right to the Wash. Consensus (in search of resources, legitimacy and deals); which reforms are optimal

Differing reactions to US empire due to divergent national-capitalist interests and domestic political dynamics

Disputes over US imperial reach, religious influence, and how to best protect culture, patriarchy, and state sovereignty

Exem-plary propo-nents


F.Castro H.Chavez R.Correa E.Morales


C.Abugre, Z.Achmat E.Adamovsky M.Albert T.Ali E.Altvater S.Amin C.Augiton D.Barsamian A.Ben-Bela M.Barlow H.Belafonte W.Bello A.Bendana M.Benjamin P.Bennis F.Betto H.Bonafini A.Boron J.Bove J.Brecher R.Brenner D.Brutus N.Bullard A.Buzgalin L.Cagan A.Callinicos L.Cassarini J.Cavanagh C.Chalmers N.Chomsky T.Clarke K.Danaher M.Davis D.Dembele A.Dorfman A.Escobar L.Flanders R.Fisk E.Galeano G.Galloway S.Gill S.George D.Glover A.Goodman M.P.Giyose A.Grubacic M.Hardt D.Harvey D.Henwood J.Holloway W.Kaara B.Kagarlitsky J.Kelsey N.Klein J.LeCarré S.Longwe T.Mkandawire M.Lowy M.Mamdani Marcos A.Mittal G.Monbiot M.Moore L.Nacpil R.Nader V.Navarro A.Negri T.Ngwane N.Njehu A.Olukoshi O.Ongwen G.Palast L.Panitch M.Patkar J.Perkins J.Pilger A.Roy E.Sader D.Sari J.Sen C.Sheehan V.Shiva I.Shivji J.Singh B.Sousa Santos W.Soyinka A.Starr J.Stedile H.Sumnono T.Teivainen A.Traoré V.Vargas H.Wainwright N.WaThiong’o L.Wallach I.Wallerstein P.Waterman M.Weisbrot R.Weissman C.Whitaker E.Wood H.Zinn


J.Aristide M.Gaddafi HuJ. N.Kirchner R.Mugabe D.Ortega V.Putin



Y.Graham M.Khor




M.Bachelet W.Maathai E.Solheim G.Verhofstadt K.Watkins


A.Adedeji N.Birdsall Bono G.Brundtland

B.Cassen P.Eigen B.Geldof A.Giddens W.Hutton P.Krugman K.Naidoo

M.Robinson D.Rodrik J.Sachs W.Sachs

A.Sen G.Soros N.Stern J.Stiglitz J.Sweeney



B.Bernanke T.Blair

G.Brown M.Camdessus H.Clinton


L.daSilva A.Krueger P.Lamy M.Malloch-


T.Mbeki A.Merkel H.Poulson R.Prodi



D.Strauss-  Kahn



E.Cardoso J.Chirac B.Clinton H.DeSoto

T.Friedman B.Gates A.Greenspan H.Kissinger K.Rogoff





K.Adelman G.W.Bush D.Cheney  R.Gates N.Gingrich J.Haider S.Harper J.Howard Z.Khalilzad

B.Ki-moon  I.Paisley J.M.le Pen J.Negroponte E.Olmert

S.Peres O.Reich C.Rice K.Rove


A.Scalia R.Tobias A.Veneman



Z.Brzezinski P.Buchanan


J.Falwell H.Kissinger W.Kristol R.Limbaugh R.Murdoch G.Norquist M.Peretz R.Perle R.Scaife



[1]Some examples are:

  • the European Union chose Spanish neoconservative Rodrigo Rato as International Monetary Fund managing director in mid-2004;
  • the new head of UNICEF, appointed in January 2005, was Bush’s agriculture minister Ann Veneman, although the USA and Somalia are the only two out of 191 countries which refused to ratify the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child;
  • for another key UN post in February 2005, the outgoing neoliberal head of the World Trade Organisation, Supachai Panitchpakdi from Thailand (who served US and EU interests from 2003-05), was chosen to lead the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development;
  • Paul Wolfowitz – the architect of the illegal US/UK/Coalition of the Willing war against Iraq – was appointed by Bush to head the World Bank in March 2005;
  • the European Union’s hardline trade negotiator Pascal Lamy won the directorship of the World Trade Organisation a few weeks after that;
  • the former World Bank neoliberal economist Kemal Dervis took over the United Nations Development Programme;
  • to ensure that Washington’s directives to Kofi Annan continued to be as explicit as possible, Bush appointed John Bolton as US Ambassador to the UN from mid-2005 until he was forced to resign in late 2006 because the Congress would not approve his appointment;
  • so that Washington controlled Annan’s replacement, South Korea’s former foreign minister Ban Ki-moon, Bush appointed Zalmay Khalilzad, the oil executive who was Bush’s ambassador to Iraq; and
  • when Wolfowitz was fired by his board in a nepotism scandal, the successor was Robert Zoellick, who deserves further comment. But Zoellick is more dangerous; he was part of a group of 18 neoconservatives – the Project for a New American Century, including Wolfowitz and Donald Rumsfeld - who on January 26, 1998, wrote to then president Bill Clinton, asking him 'to enunciate a new strategy that would secure the interests of the US and our friends and allies around the world. That strategy should aim, above all, at the removal of Saddam Hussein’s regime from power… American policy cannot continue to be crippled by a misguided insistence on unanimity in the UN Security Council.' Not just a neoconservative ideologue, Zoellick was also overzealous in his promotion of trade liberalisation while serving as US Trade Representative. In 2003, for example, Zoellick filed an ultimately unsuccessful lawsuit against the European Union (EU), claiming $400 million in damages, in an effort to open markets for genetically modified crops. He regularly resorted to armtwisting in bilateral deals, achieving notoriety for tough negotiating that left US capital empowered and Third World people more deeply impoverished.
  • For more, see Toussaint, E. and D.Millet (2005), ‘Multilateral Institutions Taken Hostage’, Le Soir, 15 April, and Deen, T. (2005), ‘ UN Faces New Political Threats From US’, Inter Press Service,, 23 November.

[2]      .According to Joan Martinez-Allier, the ecological debt consists of these categories:

  • unpaid costs of reproduction or maintenance or sustainable management of the renewable resources that have been exported;
  • actualised costs of the future lack of availability of destroyed natural resources;
  • compensation for, or the costs of reparation (unpaid) of the local damages produced by exports (for example, the sulphur dioxide of copper smelters, the mine tailings, the harms to health from flower exports, the pollution of water by mining), or the actualised value of irreversible damage;
  • (unpaid) amount corresponding to the commercial use of information and knowledge on genetic resources, when they have been appropriated gratis (‘biopiracy’);
  • (unpaid) reparation costs or compensation for the impacts caused by imports of solid or liquid toxic waste; and
  • lack of payment for environmental services or for disproportionate use of ‘Environmental Space’, e.g. (unpaid) costs of free disposal of gas residues (carbon dioxide, CFCs, etc) assuming equal rights to sinks and reservoirs ($75 billion/year).
Sist oppdatert: 29.11.2007
Refleks - utenrikspolitisk ordskifte