Poverty Crisis in the Third World: The Contradictions of World Bank Policy

  • Paul Burkett
Keywords: Imperialism


While free market ideology is on the rise, both in the developed countries and in the U.S.S.R., Eastern Europe, and China, the global capitalist system is entering the third decade of a profound structural crisis. The costs of this crisis and of the capitalist response to it—borne largely by the exploited and oppressed peoples of the periphery—are reflected in the World Bank's 1990 World Development Report (New York: Oxford University Press, hereafter WDR-90), which finds it necessary to outline a strategy specifically aimed at alleviating third world poverty. Indeed, WDR-90 proposes an intensified effort to ensure that the poor have access to both a safety net of basic social services (food, medical care, primary education, and family planning) and "social and political institutions, infrastructure, and technology" which "promote the productive use of the poor's most abundant asset—labor." (p. 3)