Nobel Economist and 100 Experts Condemn Corporate Action against Argentina and Bolivia after Rollback of Failed Pension Privatization

The World Bank, a corporation that goals to finish poverty, hosts the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) the place firms are suing Argentina and Bolivia over pensions.
  • Opinion by Joseph Stiglitz – Juan Somavia – Jeffrey Sachs – Jose Antoni (big apple)
  • Inter Press Service

“We the undersigned —economists, social safety and improvement consultants— strongly condemn and oppose the instances:

Private insurance coverage firms are suing Argentina and Bolivia for loss of potential income consequently of the reversal of privatization of pension applications.

Financial firms began administering the pensions of Argentinians in 1993 and of Bolivians in 1996. Argentina and Bolivia are amongst solely 30 international locations (of the world’s 192) that experimented with privatization of their pension programs. Today, the bulk of these international locations are reversing the privatization of pensions. In accordance, the Government of Argentina returned to a public pension system in 2008 and Bolivia in 2009.

Pension coverage will not be about securing income for personal insurance coverage firms. Pension programs exist to offer revenue safety in outdated age—to make sure that older individuals retire with sufficient pensions.

It is the responsibility of the governments of Argentina and Bolivia to finest make sure the welfare of their residents. In 2008-09, this concerned reinstating a public pension system. They didn’t act alone; different governments additionally reversed pension privatization as a result of of demonstrated inadequacies/failures within the personal pension system:

  • Coverage charges decreased or stagnated below personal pension programs.1
  • Pension advantages deteriorated, making personal pensions very unpopular.2
  • Old-age poverty worsened on account of low pensions.
  • Gender and revenue inequality elevated.3
  • Private programs have been costly: The excessive transition prices of privatization created massive fiscal pressures.4
  • Private pension directors incurred excessive administrative prices and extracted extreme income by these extraordinary administrative charges.5
  • Financial and demographic dangers have been transferred to people; pensioners needed to endure the loss of advantages when these dangers occurred, resembling throughout the international monetary disaster.
  • Social dialogue severely deteriorated.

The governments of Argentina and Bolivia took official choices within the curiosity of their residents that should be revered, as half of a rustic’s sovereignty. It is reprehensible that funding treaty arbitration permits firms to provoke dispute settlements against governments —and in the end individuals— so as to proceed profiting.

We additionally oppose the shortage of transparency of the method on the World Bank’s International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID). While firms could argue that procedural protections are wanted, these instances have an effect on the lives of thousands and thousands of Argentinians and Bolivians. They should be open and clear.

If Argentina and Bolivia lose the disputes, it implies that their residents —peculiar individuals who have needed to endure low pensions as a result of of the privatization— will now must pay thousands and thousands of {dollars} to rich monetary firms.

These authorized instances ought to function a warning for almost all of international locations of the world that haven’t privatized obligatory pensions however could have pressures to take action: On high of struggling decrease pensions, extra old-age poverty, and excessive fiscal prices, it’s possible you’ll be sued by the personal insurance coverage directors. We hope that different international locations are dissuaded from pension privatization by this company assault on authorities’s proper to set coverage to advertise the welfare of their residents, an assault made in pursuit of revenue and on the expense of impoverished residents and aged pensioners.

1 In Argentina, protection charges for males fell from 46% (in 1993, previous to the reform) to 35% (in 2002) and for ladies to solely 31%; in Bolivia, they stagnated.
2 In Bolivia, after privatization, the alternative price fell to twenty% of the common wage throughout working life; that is far under ILO worldwide requirements.
3 In Bolivia, the proportion of aged ladies receiving a contributory pension fell from 23.7% in 1995 to 12.8% in 2007 consequently of privatization.
4 In Argentina, preliminary estimations put the associated fee at 0.2% of GDP; later the World Bank elevated the associated fee estimate to three.6% of GDP, 18 instances the unique estimate; in Bolivia, the precise transition prices of the reform have been 2.5 instances the preliminary projections.
5 In Argentina, administration prices jumped from 6.6% of contributions in 1990 earlier than privatization to 50.8% in 2002; in Bolivia, from 8.6% in 1992 to 18.1% in 2002 after privatization.

This letter has been signed by greater than 100 high-level economists and social safety/improvement consultants. See the complete listing of signatories right here.

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© Inter Press Service (2021) — All Rights ReservedOriginal supply: Inter Press Service


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