“I’m asked where is imperialism?” Just look into your plates! You see the imported corn, rice & millet? This is imperialism, Let’s not look any further.”-Thomas Sakara
To the world, Hugh Hefner was the ultimate sugardaddy. Constantly surrounded by a bevy of beautiful women, clad in his signature black pajamas with a red overcoat, he seemed to be a magnet for women who wanted to lead a life of leisure. He drew women from disadvantaged backgrounds that believed in the illusion of a carefree life of glamour and intrigue. And according to former playmate and girlfriend Holly Madison, it was all a beautiful facade. She stated that although the image of the mansion appeared immaculately glamorous, it was actually kinda junky with porn on big screen TVs and the stench of dogshit that was always on the carpet. Although Hef’s playmates seemed to always be so congenial and obedient, he imposed a set of rules designed to keep his “bunnies” compliant with his wishes. He frequently encouraged a culture of irresponsibility and immaturity in the women living in “the mansion.” A culture that kept the women subordinate and in fear of his displeasure. For example, although the women were given a weekly thousand dollar allowance, they were forbidden to save the money or pay bills with it. Additionally, in keeping with the glamorous imagine of a playboy playmate, he required that the women be seen driving expensive vehicles, even if they couldn’t afford it. They were forbidden to drive their own vehicle. So what were they to do? Lease vehicles from him of course, using the money they made during the week. He also forbid them to keep their own tips. All tips were turned into him to be re-distributed back to them in a fraction of the amount of what was received. And if they had any boyfriends, he made sure they were kept as far from the premises as possible. He couldn’t afford to have side pieces interfering with his control over his bunnies. The idea was to prevent the women from obtaining any other revenue outside of his pocket. Simply put, sell them a dream while keeping them broke and dependent.
This model frequently works in an international context as well. However, it’s used by different kinds of sugardaddies. Their names: The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and The World Bank. Formed in 1945 after World War II in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, the IMF and World Bank are international organizations headquartered in Washington, D.C. The purpose of these organizations was to promote high employment, sustainable economic growth, and the reduction of world poverty. While these institutions project an image of benevolence and philanthropy, their practices are indicative of the exact opposite; especially in African countries. One case in particular, was Malawi. Malawi came to the IMF during the early 90’s to obtain a bail out loan to develop the country’s infrastructure (i.e. schools, agricultural exports, hospitals) after it was devastated by the HIV/Aids crises. Malawi’s chief agricultural product was maize (corn). The IMF required a portion of this yield as collateral for the loan. They also imposed something they called Structural Adjustment or Austerity Programs. While these sound benign in theory, they are lethal in practice. Compliance with these programs are required for continued assistance from the IMF or World Bank. In Malawi’s case, as in others, these programs required a reduction in government spending in their social infrastructure like schools, healthcare, agribusiness, and public safety. This is the price of development through the IMF and World Bank loans. When Malawi cut their spending in maize production and development as per IMF requirements, the result was famine. This was because maize was not only a staple of the country’s diet, it was also a chief export. So when yearly harvests were lower than usual, the IMF the took their yearly harvest and sold it for a loan payment, and then made Malawi sell off it’s reserves to private U.S.corporations at a discount. Concurrently, the IMF required that Malawi cut government subsidies used to produce new maize yields and forward those funds to it as well. So when Malawi was stuck with low maize yields that went to the IMF’s exchange departments for loan payments, with no reserves or no means to produce new yields, the country was effectively starving. Deciding that enough was enough, Malawi gave the finger to the IMF’s ban of government subsidies for maize production. A 2-yr government subsidized plan produced an abundance of maize that the country shared with other starving African nations. It is tempting to believe that Malawi is an isolated case of benign ignorance. It is not.
In 1999 Zimbabwe took IMF and World Bank loans for development. Inevitably, the loans went bad due to a lack of economic stability. In 2002, the IMF imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe to pimp slap President Robert Mugabe’ for his programs of land reform. Since most of Zimbabwe’s economy depended on foreign lending and investment, the country slipped into further decline. These are the consequences of upsetting the international sugar daddy. The shocking part is that even though the country was crumbling and heavily in debt, the IMF gave Mugabe a chance to comeback to the stable. In 2009, it approved a $510,000,000 million dollar loan to Zimbabwe for what amounted to a breast enhancement on an aspiring playmate. The loan merely cleaned up some areas near the capital and provided minimal assistance for government based services. Unemployment remained rampant as the government could not invest in job creation. And taxes remained low on western based corporations so the government had no revenue for basic infrastructure like roads, bridges, and schools, which again, led to the aforementioned high unemployment. Additionally, the IMF also required Zimbabwe to reduce interest rates on its’ currency which led to hyperinflation, thus making it worthless. As a result, Zimbabwe based its’ new currency on guess what? The U.S. Dollar. Tadow! In 2017, Zimbabwe found itself too old to continue this kind of economic perversion. Therefore, to escape the all embracing hand of its’ sugardaddy, it sold its’ remaining currency reserves and paid off the IMF to the tune $107.9 million. However, it still owes 1 billion to the World Bank and 600 million to the African Development Bank. Unfortunately, there are also rumors that Zimbabwe is buying a new thong as it intends to borrow more money from: yep! the IMF.
This is not a sustainable form of lending by any means. Far from reducing poverty, it actually increases it. It does not encourage economic independence. It fosters economic addiction. African leaders like the late Thomas Sankara dissented against this kind of foreign assistance. He decried that African countries have more than enough resources to not only develop its’ own infrastructure, but to also create markets for exports. He implored other African nations to not only refuse to pay back these onerous loans, but to pool their resources and develop native African institutions that would assistant African nations in developing an effective and practical model for funding their own infrastructure projects. These was probably one of the biggest reasons that Sankara was hated by the western powers. And probably one of the reasons for his subsequent assassination. Like Hugh Hefner, the IMF absolutely forbids any of its’ playmates from having relationships with other countries that may break their dependency on its economic assistance. After Sankara was assassinated by his best friend, and top general Blaise Compaore, Burkina Faso, Sankara’s country accepted $32.3 million from the IMF. In 2013, it borrowed another $50 million from the World Bank. Again, like Malawi and Zimbabwe the country imploded. But unlike Zimbabwe and Malawi, Burkina Faso revolted. They removed Blaise from power and today, they struggle to give the country a sense of stability. The IMF is the international equivalent of Hugh Hefner. The only difference is that Hef temporarily ruined his playmates for his own interests. While the IMF ruins whole nations for its’ interests. But the game was over when the hoes decided to grow up, escape the illusion, and take control of their own destiny.