Reprinted from www.libertylobby.org, home of The SPOTLIGHT archive
MAI Being Brought Back To Life?
By James Harrer
U.S. Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers, in an alliance with Repub lican congressional leaders, is trying to bring back the discredited Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI) through a hidden trapdoor.
A congressionally chartered Washing ton braintrust, known as the Inter national Financial Institution Advisory Commission (IFIAC) chaired by Prof. Allan Meltzer, an arch-conservative economist, has come up with a set of proposed reforms designed to "improve" the way the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank operate. This comes just in time for the spring meeting of these two institutions.
Behind the closed doors of their Washington headquarters, the assembled global bankers held "intense" discussions of the changes proposed by the congressional reform commission.
A pivotal measure proposed by the Meltzer commission would mandate that in the future the IMF and the World Bank (whose name would be changed to World Development Agency) could extend loans or grants only to applicants that "pre-qualify" for funding.
To "pre-qualify," a nation must agree to lift all domestic curbs or regulatory limitations on the free flow of international investments, precisely the key issue on which MAI was floated by the global financial elites -- and sunk by opponents defending their national jurisdictions.
WHY MAI ALREADY FAILED
"The global financial initiative known as MAI is their favorite project," said retired bond analyst Roger Luckman. "It would wipe out the limited authority governments may still possess to curb frenzied speculation, flim-flam junk bond swindles, market-rigging, currency manipulation and similar popular scams in their jurisdictions."
Under MAI, regulatory structures would be abolished or suspended to ensure that international capital enjoys unfettered free flow around the world. These banking regulations were administered by public officials whose job it is to maintain a measure of order and fairness in the financial markets.
But well aware that this would make them vulnerable to predatory hot-money schemes, raids by Wall Street speculators intent on wrecking the payments systems of smaller economies and other schemes of the global financial elites, enough nations opposed MAI to defeat the measure last year.
In response to the initiative, Dr. Walid Nashabi, a former World Bank economist, now financial adviser to a group of Lebanese financial firms in New York City, warned: "This is another cunning, underhanded 'cover and deception' operation by Larry Summers, the most devious American treasury chief I can remember. It must be resisted, just as MAI was."