Decoding the Lingo

Trade technocrats try to hide behind a veil of boring, but you can get beyond the jargon.

• Neoliberal economics, aka "market fundamentalism." The idea that we are better off eliminating all barriers to trade (and commerce in general), all the time.

• Policy space. Letting governments choose the economic policies that actually fit their circumstances, instead of restricting them with one-size-fits-all trade agreements or harmful conditions attached to aid or loans.

• World Bank. An international body, controlled by wealthy countries, that lends and grants money to poor countries in order to fight poverty. It is slowly getting over the destructive habit of imposing harmful conditions.

• International Monetary Fund. An international body controlled by wealthy nations. When its original goals (having to do with currency exchange rates and short-term balance-of-payments problems) became obsolete in the 1970s and after, the IMF started strong-arming poor countries into accepting damaging conditions.

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