According to the IMF, Ghana is a case of success! The government, after faithfully following the IMF's recommendations for shrinking the public sector, fully liberalizing the market and carrying out privatizations, has now “achieved its goals”. Nowadays, the country's economy is among the world's 20 fastest growing economies and the first in Africa!
However at the same time, 4,000 schools do not have any facilities and the students are having their lessons under the trees. At the clinics in the country's northern parts there is one doctor per 161,000 inhabitants! And small scale farmers, without any support from the state, have been left to starve, struggling alone in the free market's vast sea.
Growth… for whom?
In December 2001, in Buenos Aires, great crowds of people are heading towards the historic square Plaza de Mayo. Argentina, once amongst the richest economies in the world, has gone bankrupt. The government has resigned and Argentina's president, Fernando de la Rua, flees from the presidential residency in a helicopter, amidst a storm of enraged people clashing with the police, breaking banks, looting super markets and shouting “Out with the lot of them!” The 2001 social explosion marked the end of a neoliberal economic model which lasted 10 years and left a toll of 35 deaths (murdered by the police and the private guards of the banks), 30,000 collateral damages (suicides, heart and brain attacks) and approximately 20,000,000 (over half the population) submerged in poverty and misery.
Almost 10 years later, the Greek documentary filmmaker Yorgos Avgeropoulos, who had been working in Argentina in 2001-2002 during the crisis, returns for a new autopsy of the country's economy and political and social situation.
For almost two decades, Ireland had been a global model of neoliberal development. A test lab to legitimize its application, with the country's cheap and specialized labor force as the guinea pig. The government, banks and constructors were intoxicated by the nectar of money, dragging along with them the reflexes of the entire social tissue. The “Celtic Tiger”, as the Irish economy was named, was openhandedly promising prosperity to a society that has historically suffered from poverty, immigration and unemployment. And it was doing just fine, as it seemed!
However, after years of impressive growth rates, the country has suddenly and roughly landed in the arms of the European support mechanism and the IMF. It now finds itself in the same position as Greece and Portugal, albeit for different reasons which, nevertheless, caused the same result: from being at the top, a true model to be followed, Ireland suddenly woke up on the brink of bankruptcy.
In 2008, Iceland was confronted with an unprecedented economic disaster. The country's three banks collapsed, dragging with them to ruin the country's whole social, economic and political life.
Four years later, in 2012, Iceland has begun to show signs of recovery. Unemployment rates are declining and growth rates have reached approximately a 2,5%. However, in order to reach this positive outcome, some quite unorthodox methods were implemented. The measures taken were completely different from what the E.U. and the IMF enforce on member states of the Eurozone that suffer from the effects of the recession. Many times, these handlings brought Iceland up against the International Community and the markets. Nowadays, even the IMF admits that the different methods used in handling the crisis in Iceland have come into fruition. How did the Vikings' descendants achieve these results?