Jeffery Sachs, who spoke at the Oxford Union on Sunday, is the intellectual guru of the ‘Drop the Debt’ campaign and the world’s most famous development economist. He began his career as a hard-line free marketeer. As an advisor to Boris Yeltsin’s government in the early nineties he was responsible for the introduction of the disastrous “shock-therapy” of instant deregulation and privatisation which sent the Russian economy into freefall. A market Bolshevik no longer, Sachs has since turned his attention to Africa and the elimination of global extreme poverty within twenty years through a combination of debt relief, increased aid, and trade reform. For Sachs, democracy is not a part of this equation. He states bluntly in his new book, The End of Poverty, that “the links from democracy to economic performance are relatively weak” and that “the charge of authoritarian rule as a basic obstacle to good governance in Africa is pass”. Sachs’ fondness for railing against the neo-liberal “Washington Consensus” and the Bush administration might thus be explained by an enthusiasm for an earlier Republican ideologue, Henry Kissinger. Kissinger, who would be brought to the Hague on charges of war crimes if the US ever signed up to the International Criminal Court, did not care about democracy either. For Kissinger, monstrous dictators like Pinochet, Mobutu, Amin, and Papa Doc Duvalier may have been “bastards” but it didn’t matter because they were “our bastards”. Sachs, and his bleeding heart fellow travellers Blair, Bono and Bob Geldof, have their own set of “bastards”: rulers like Meles Zenawi of Ethiopia, Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria and Paul Kagame of Rwanda. None of these have been fairly elected and all are pumped full of praise and aid by Britain and the US. Until recently, Yoweri Museveni of Uganda would have been on this list. His attempts to rid Uganda of condoms no doubt still ingratiate him with the Americans. But now that he has decided to turn twenty years of dictatorial rule into a life presidency, he has been mildly rebuked. At the launch of the Commission for Africa report in Addis Ababa in March, Geldof declared, “Get a grip Museveni – your time is up, go away”. He has since apologised. Sitting alongside Geldof was fellow Commission member, Zenawi, who was returned to office in May courtesy of a rigged election. His security forces mowed down dozens who had the temerity to protest. These men are just the West’s presentable allies. In blatant contradiction with its avowed wish to see democracy flourish the world over, Washington embraces the vile dictator, Obiang Mbasago, of oil-rich Equatorial Guinea. Jacques Chirac, who wants to slap a fiver on every plane ticket to fund poverty reduction, described the brutal Gnassingbe Eyadema, deceased President of Togo, as a “personal friend” when he died in February after 38 years in charge. This may have been related to Eyadema’s generous funding of French political parties and the benevolence shown to individual French politicians who happened to be passing through his palace. Eyadema could afford this because he had amassed a fortune believed to be in the region of $3 billion; that is thrice Togo’s annual GNP.The example illustrates why Sachs’ view that dictatorship is no bar to economic development is false. The reason Africa is so poor is that kleptocratic dictators and elites, often with Western connivance, have looted their own countries. They are also inclined to be incompetent. The simple virtue of democracy is that it allows people to get rid of bad governments peacefully. The number of functioning democracies in Africa can be counted on two hands. Among them are Africa’s most prosperous and stable states: South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Senegal, Ghana, Benin and the Cape Verde islands. Sachs regards China as an example of how a ruthless dictatorship can prosper. However, he admits in The End of Poverty that poverty has increased in rural areas there because of the abandonment of the public health system. A democratic government would never have been able to disregard public welfare so heartlessly. The triumvirate of Sachs, Bono, and Geldof is immensely powerful. Able to influence both governments and public opinion, they are right to attempt to combine high-level lobbying with mass politics. It is thus dismaying that such potential for real change has been squandered on fringe issues in the war on poverty. The only reason debt is a problem is that the money was stolen and dissipated. The torrent of criticism directed against them for endorsing the status quo of Western power is similarly misguided. It is the very Western status quo of democracy and human rights which is lacking in Africa. More than any amount of charity, this is how to make poverty history. ARCHIVE: 1st week MT 2005
Things have not started here in the best way in 2020.No, not really. They have not gone as we expected. It’s getting a little bit against, but we know what we’ve done the first round. We are aware of this, that we can do it again. We have to continue along that path and above all as soon as possible that we cannot afford any more slip. Now comes the Leganés, which we have to take as a final. We have already said before that there were endings and this is another. We have to take it that way. We have to be aware that we are at home and we have to win yes or yes.The results have choked away from Ciutat, but changes have been seen in recent games. How have you faced the bad run?In the end it seems that the entrance of the year catches us a little more unemployed. Yes, it is true that we did self-criticism, that we had to be more competitive above all, because we know what quality we have. In the end we have great players who bring us that, but we had to be competitive, we had to bite and we went to El Sadar, we competed, but it didn’t give us. In the end for a penalty the game is gone. They fail to generate, because it is a team that generates a lot at home, constantly entering bands and we were able to stop them. Then you go to Camp Nou and in the first part it is true that we are not fine in the pressure, they searched us between the lines and generated spaces behind us that they took advantage of. In the second part we could correct it, we could even draw a draw. We were not successful in the face of goal but the second part was another story. We have to focus on trying to get them to be 90 minutes instead of 45 and I think we are capable. How is it going?Good, personally good. The truth is that with my wife everything perfect, every day everything is good and as a player, the truth is that good, trying to get out of this little bump as soon as possible.How are the new ones?Already as one more. Bruno looks good boy. In the end it takes very few days and, as they did to me, I try to make it as easy as possible to adapt as soon as possible. Also to Koke, but we all know him already. He is a player who can bring us a lot and he already knows that there is a great wardrobe and I think he will integrate quickly. The errors are penalizing the team a lot for not passing the 26-point line.Yes. You are there the whole game, you endure and any situation seems that instead of going in favor you are against it. They are situations of the party that the rival is also looking for and they come out. We have to continue along that line, as I told you before, trust us and in the end everything will come face to face.After the injury is costing him, he was very self-critical after his performance in the Sadar.Well, in the end it is my personality. I don’t know, each one will wear his day to day as he sees. I am very self-critical, especially in football. I know what I am capable of and I demand it, I do not allow myself many failures. I am aware that many times that can lead to frustration and I try to handle it. But I know what kind of player I want to be. It also came from an injury, I am aware of it, but still the criticism of my match is that. I am aware of my ability and that I can give more. It was just that, I don’t fall apart, far from it. From there I work to improve. It is what it touches.What a beast Ansu Fati at 17.It is very electric. He is clear where he is and I think he knows his virtues. But I think that in the goals Messi makes it perfect. In the first goal it turns very fast and in the second we think that it will not give the pass, it gives it and it takes the back to us. Yes, it is true that in the first one I can find him more, but I quickly loose thinking that he is ahead and that the referee can interpret that he is red and I thought ‘to see if he is going out of control or whatever’, but what He did very well. In the second Messi is driving horizontally, he closes you and gives it to you to finish. In the end I think Leo is the differential. And if he can learn from Messi he will be a great player.Now Leganés plays, where he lived the year of the historic ascent.I have a magical memory. It is a beastly football environment, everyone likes football in Leganés. They infect you. It is always a very positive environment. The year I was, huh. We didn’t start the year well, but we ended up amazing. We got to ascend and that for Leganés was something historical. It was brutal, I remember it with love. The Leganés gave me the possibility of reaching Second Division and I will always remember him with special affection.In the end they were the ones who opened the doors of professional football after many years in Segunda B.I arrive and already in the preseason I notice the change from Second B to Second. The change of intensity, rhythm … I was missing a lot and I put the batteries in preseason, gym and everything, to get to the first game. I did not play, but I remember the feeling of being in the dressing room of Almeria thinking ‘you are here, now it is up to you to work more or less and give everything’. I remember it was very special. Then as I know the year. Omar and I were in that position and Mr. Asier Garitano, when he was not Omar, was counting on me. I had that confidence in me and I really enjoyed the minutes I had.And now, from a distance, how do you see them?Well, they did the hardest thing, which is to settle. Because when they went up they looked like the firm candidate to go down. You always say that of the one who goes up. They are a small team that do things well, they have grown a lot and now a totally different Leganés is seen. I have talked with former teammates and Garitano and they have explained to me that the club is totally different from when we were in Second. The start has been badly given, but I think that if things go well for him and he can face it, they can reverse the situation. I am very fond of you, I have always said so, and if Levante does not interfere, I hope they do their best.How was that conversion to the side?It was inside. In Leganés I played there and I signed the Reus for the position with Mr. Natxo González. A brutal tactical coach, I learned a lot from him. Due to situations, both right sides were injured and he came and said: ‘Jorge, I have thought of you to be lateral’. I replied that if I had to play, I played; but I said ‘know that I have no idea’. He explained a little about the concepts, the situations that could be given to me and that I was calm. It helped me a lot and from there he put me on the side and I stayed there.What part of the blame do you give to that change to reach First?Let’s see, I didn’t think I was going to get there anymore because in the rise of Leganés, not having the chance to play in the First Division was a stick for me. In the end it is normal in football, they looked for the best and I at my age thought it would be difficult. But I love football and I would continue to play. And then I do believe that the conversion was fundamental, because I think that if I had continued playing inside I would not have reached First. You never know, but hey, the possibility has given me to play sideways. I think it has been fundamental.Natxo González now trains Pepelu in Tondela.Yes. I saw him very little in preseason and the little that I agreed I saw many details and many things of a very good footballer. Yes it is true that there were others that because of their age could improve and had that range of improvement. But in the end, age is going to give it to you, especially with Natxo González, who is a coach who tactically brutal is what he can teach you. It shows you where the spaces are, how they are generated, where, according to who jumps … explains everything. I think Pepelu is going to come perfect for a quality player like him.Now that it takes a few months, what is your assessment of your first steps in the Levant?Very happy. Already since I arrived the incredible costumes. Very good people, good soccer players … The club sincerely did not know him, they had spoken to me very little and the truth is that very familiar. All the world. Anyone you talk to within the club treat you very well. The truth that everything I’ve found has been positive to this day. I’m very happy.It is striking that they are only two years of contract in their signing.I don’t remember right now. I don’t remember very well why, I wouldn’t know how to tell you. I have always been accustomed to signing year by year. I have had almost all the contracts of one year and, well, there was the situation of two, I do not know if there was a possibility of three, now I do not know, I do not remember. But well, it is two years and if we are happy both will continue, if not continue. In the end football is like that. They are circumstances, but right now I am super happy.How do you lead the competition with Coke? It shows that they have good chemistry.In the end football is competition, you always have a partner. Coke is a great uncle, a great person, it makes everything easy for you. I try with my partner, as with others, to have a good relationship. And with Coke it’s very easy because he is an exemplary person in the locker room for how he is and how he pulls the car. Then as a footballer what am I going to say. Yes, it is true that I thought he was another type of player, I thought he was more defensive. But what is going on, I was surprised how easy it is to join, how it is associated. I am learning many gestures that he has to associate, to filter balls inside … The truth is that it is wonderful to have him as a partner and to learn from him.In sports, he has taken over the ‘2’ lane.I’m very happy. There is Coke of competition and I would have assimilated to play, not play, play more or play less. Because at the end of that, soccer is about getting used to the situation that touches you. But I am very happy and I am trying to improve. In the end the injury came to me at a time that was pretty good and nothing, now picking up the rhythm again, taking good feelings and the truth is that I am very happy for the confidence that the coach has given me.It gives the feeling that he has fallen standing on the team and is very loved in the locker room.Who me? Well, I do not know. I try to be normal, I make jokes, I try to contribute everything I can, I try to have good vibes within the demand that exists and the truth is that I am very happy with all the partners because they are also great people. They make your day to day easier and I’m glad you think like that.In the end he is one of the veterans of the locker room.Well, yes, I am 30, but I really have experience in First I have last year and this one. As for that little I can help. I can help with everything I have lived in Second B, in Second … and I try to transmit those experiences to my classmates and help on a daily basis. In the end I had colleagues who also helped me with 30 and I try to help others.To finish, he studied something related to computer science, right?Yes, I studied a medium degree of microcomputer systems and networks. I also liked to ignore football, but I left it a bit out of the way and now I started with the coach course. That I think that with age, it has also led me to that terrain and to see if I like it or not. I got into computer science because it was what I liked and for going out a little from the world of football, but in the end football has thrown me.You reach the elite with 29 years. How do you rate that process by looking back?I’ve thought a thousand times. Because in the end you see my situation at the beginning, because of everything I’ve been through, to even think about leaving football many times because I saw that I was going nowhere and thinking ‘if even if I leave it I will continue playing even if I am amateur’. In the end I threw everything into football, because it is what I liked, and you look back and in the end I have done everything from the heart, with feeling. I have not moved for anything other than for the love of the game and what comes will enjoy it and what does not, because here I have come. And in the end, look, they’ve given me the chance to reach the First Division. Already last year I said in Huesca that it was a dream and I still think about it. And, even now, I still think it’s a dream for me. I see myself playing with the best. I have companions that watched them on TV and I thought they were great players and now I am with them. The truth that I am enjoying very much.