SAN FRANCISCO, USA, September 29 (IPS) – The World Bank announced on September 16, 2021 that it had stopped publishing the Doing Business Report (DBR) a major victory for humans and the planet.
Since 2002, the DBR has ranked and ranked countries on the basis of “ease of doing business”, meaning regulatory changes and reforms that make them more attractive to private investors. These “reforms” include reducing corporate taxes, reducing environmental protection, reducing social and labor standards, cutting administrative procedures, and lifting restrictions on trade and commerce.
The DBR was canceled after receiving information irregularities in the reports of 201 and 2020. Audits have revealed serious ethical concerns about data manipulation – breaking trust in rankings. An explosive external review given to the bank’s board of executive directors reveals how senior bank officials exerted pressure to manipulate data to improve the rankings of selected countries.
Significantly, the independent report revealed that then-CEO (and current IMF managing director) Kristalina Georgieva had pressed for “certain changes to China’s data points in an effort to increase the 2018 DBR’s ranking.” The financial contribution to the capital of the country’s banks was expected to increase. The then President of the World Bank, Dr. Jim Jim Yong Kim, was also indirectly involved in China’s efforts to increase its ranking.
Simeon Jankov, one of the founders of DBR and a senior official of the bank, was also involved in changing the data of Saudi Arabia to increase the country’s ranking in an effort to reward the country for its “important role in the banking community”.
Saudi Arabia has previously implemented a series of Rewards Advisory Services (RAS) projects – bank-provided advisory services, some of which focus on improving the economic indicators obtained in the DBR. Saudi Arabia has been ranked first on the top controversial list “to demonstrate the effectiveness of the bank’s efforts and to verify the amount of money Saudi Arabia has spent on the RAS project related to the Doing Business Report.”
Tragically, these revelations are not the first allegations of data manipulation brought against the bank’s flagship publication. In 2018, Paul Roma, then chief economist at the World Bank, revealed how DBR scores for Chile were manipulated politically to dislike Michelle Bachelet’s progressive government.
Although Roma admitted that “business conditions in Chile have not deteriorated” under Bachelet, the country’s DBR rank dropped from 25th to 57th while he was in power. The bank denies Romer’s allegations and he later resigns.
Clear evidence of ranking manipulation is a slap in the face to poor countries that gain the favor of banks to control their economies. As consumers rise in the rankings, policymakers around the world prioritize reforms that will improve their scores rather than pursuing policies that benefit the people or the environment.
Before the level of data manipulation became public and any credibility of the DBR was lost, rankings were created on a flawed basis that gave countries easy access to degrading their labor, destroying the environment and corporate theft and land grabbing. .
For example, DBR ranked Sierra Leone as “one of the top 15 economies that have improved their business regulatory environment the most.” Deprives them of the land they need for their livelihood.
Similarly, the DBR ranked Liberia as one of the “top ten global reformers” in 2010, when it prioritized tax cuts for corporations, guaranteed investors “against unjust confiscation” and “ensured investors’ ability to recoup capital and profits”. . As a result of this policy change, giant palm oil and rubber producers acquired more than 1.5 million acres of land – again at the expense of the community’s livelihood.
Sustainable Civil Society Mobilization Driving Force at DBR Ending
Banks and the IMF’s Structural Adjustment Program (SAP), implemented in the 1990s and 1990s, impoverished millions in developing countries after withdrawing state intervention and imposing massive liberalization of the economy. Consistent integration from civil society in the same year finally ended the SAPs, the bank re-packaged the same neo-liberal doctrine and created the DBR.
For the past 18 years, the DBR has faced intense resistance from the global labor movement and groups advocating for more equitable development policies in the Global South. Since 2001, NGOs, unions, farmers and consumer groups from over 100 countries have called for an end to the ranking of our Our Land Our Business Campaign.
For more than seven years, Hour Land Hour Business has run a steady advocacy campaign around the world, including letters, petitions and mass protests. Coordinating the campaign, the Oakland Institute has produced dozens of reports and advocacy materials that provide detailed analysis and monitoring of the impact of DBR for people around the world.
Pressure on the bank to close the DBR increased in March 2021 when more than nine civil society organizations, academics and trade unions called on the bank to end the program. The business report is not supported by evidence and opposes the objectives of a just recovery from the ongoing Covid-1 pandemic epidemic.
Despite being a groundbreaking victory, these campaigns remain vigilant as the World Bank exploits its influence and pressures countries to prioritize reforms that benefit corporate interests over actual development. The scandal over the removal of the DBR reveals the underlying institutional flaws of the World Bank and continues the path of biased, corporate ideology and development.
Subsequently, the bank will have to discontinue the Enabling the Business of Agriculture (EBA) program. Created in the image of the DBR, the EBA rewards countries for implementing reforms in the agricultural sector that actually benefit the agribusiness on the small farmers who feed the world. The termination of the DBR has undoubtedly insulted the EBA and added to the crisis of legitimacy of the program. The Hour Land Hour Business Campaign will continue its steadfast advocacy until EBA joins DBR in the dustbin of history.
Despite the work ahead, the demise of the DBR should be widely celebrated as it marks the culmination of a tool that has driven global capital interests for nearly two decades. Its death was long overdue and paved the way for policies that first served man and the planet.
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© Inter Press Service (2021) – All rights reservedOriginal Source: Inter Press Service