[Marxism] it's official: the IMF causes TB

Andrew Pollack acpollack2 at gmail.com
Tue Jul 22 10:41:33 MDT 2008

Of course worker and socialist organizations were saying this while it was
happening, but it's good to have statistical confirmation.
By the way, next time that pig Jeffrey Sachs talks about his great plans to
end world poverty, someone should ask him if he's apologized yet for being a
key agent in the events described below.
 [image: The New York Times] <http://www.nytimes.com/>   [image: Printer
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July 22, 2008
 Rise in TB Is Linked to Loans From I.M.F. By NICHOLAS BAKALAR

The rapid rise in tuberculosis cases in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet
Union is strongly associated with the receipt of loans from the International
Monetary Fund<http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/i/international_monetary_fund/index.html?inline=nyt-org>,
a new study has found.

Critics of the fund have suggested that its financial requirements lead
governments to reduce spending on health care to qualify for loans. This,
the authors say, helps explain the connection.

The fund strongly disputes the finding, saying the former communist
countries would be much worse off without the loans.

"Tuberculosis is a disease that takes time to develop," said William Murray,
a spokesman for the fund, "so presumably the increase in mortality rates
must be linked to something that happened earlier than I.M.F. funding. This
is just phony science."

The researchers studied health records in 21 countries and found that
obtaining an I.M.F. loan was associated with a 13.9 percent increase in new
cases of tuberculosis each year, a 13.3 percent increase in the number of
people living with the disease and a 16.6 percent increase in the number of
tuberculosis deaths.

The study<http://medicine.plosjournals.org/perlserv/?request=get-document&doi=10.1371/journal.pmed.0050143&ct=1>,
being published online Tuesday in the journal PLoS Medicine, statistically
controlled for numerous other factors that affect tuberculosis rates,
including the prevalence of
inflation rates, urbanization, unemployment rates, the age of the population
and improved surveillance.

The lead author, David Stuckler, a research associate at Cambridge
defended the study against the fund's criticisms, noting that the
researchers considered whether increased mortality might have led to more
loans rather than the other way around.

Instead, they found that the increase in tuberculosis mortality followed the
lending; each 1 percent increase in credit was associated with a 0.9 percent
increase in mortality. And when a country left an I.M.F. loan program,
mortality rates dropped by an average of 31 percent.

"When you have one correlation, you raise an eyebrow," Mr. Stuckler said.
"But when you have more than 20 correlations pointing in the same direction,
you start building a strong case for causality."

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