In theory the world's wealthiest countries and supra-national institutions like the IMF, World Bank and WTO want to see all nations developing into modern industrial societies. In practice, though, those at the top are 'kicking away the ladder' to wealth that they themselves climbed. Why? Self-interest certainly plays a part. But, more often, rich and powerful governments and institutions are actually being 'Bad Samaritans': their intentions are worthy but their simplistic free-market ideology and poor understanding of history leads them to inflict policy errors on others.
The government is currently debating a $700 billion bailout of distressed banks under a plan that initially proposed to give Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and the Bush administration unprecedented power. How did all this happen? The root of the problem can be traced back to the deregulation era that began during the Reagan administration.
Complaining about the weather is about as American as apple pie, sitcoms and rock and roll. But while the rest of the world has been noticing for years that our increasingly unstable weather is an initial sign of potentially devastating global climate changes, our nation's collective heads have mostly remained in the sand. Finally, over the past year or so, things have begun to shift a little.