In one corner you have these guys: ...my real job was deal-making. It was giving loans to other countries, huge loans, much bigger than they could possibly repay. One of the conditions of the loan–let's say a $1 billion to a country like Indonesia or Ecuador–and this country would then have to give ninety percent of that loan back to a U.S. company, or U.S. companies, to build the infrastructure–a Halliburton or a Bechtel. These were big ones. Those companies would then go in and build an electrical system or ports or highways, and these would basically serve just a few of the very wealthiest families in those countries. The poor people in those countries would be stuck ultimately with this amazing debt that they couldn’t possibly repay. A country today like Ecuador owes over fifty percent of its national budget just to pay down its debt. And it really can’t do it. So, we literally have them over a barrel. So, when we want more oil, we go to Ecuador and say, “Look, you're not able to repay your debts, therefore give our oil companies your Amazon rain forest, which are filled with oil.” And today we're going in and destroying Amazonian rain forests, forcing Ecuador to give them to us because they’ve accumulated all this debt. So we make this big loan, most of it comes back to the United States, the country is left with the debt plus lots of interest, and they basically become our servants, our slaves. It's an empire. There's no two ways about it. It’s a huge empire. It's been extremely successful... In the other, the result: ...The first target – enrolling all girls in primary and secondary school by 2005 – is certain to be missed. The poorest people will pay the price for this failure. If the world fails to act to meet even these minimal goals, and current trends areallowed to continue: • 45 million more children will die between now and 2015 • 247 million more people in sub-Saharan Africa will be living on less than $1 a day in 2015 • 97 million more children will still be out of school in 2015 • 53 million more people in the world will lack proper sanitation facilities. Tackling global poverty requires more than money: poor countries’ prospects are also undermined by unfair trade rules, the violent consequences of the arms trade, and the impacts of global warming. Poor-country governments must also fulfil their commitments to fight poverty. But, without finance, these countries will not be able to take advantage of global trade and investment opportunities, or protect their citizens’ basic rights to life, good health, and education... Which side do you come down on, and do you agree that the "back side" to the EHM policy abroad is the same as it is domestically, where the failure to address this issue in deference to "up-front costs" costs more to society on the other side, where it comes back to us in crime, in health, in social services, etc.? Where do you stand? What are you willing to do? Before you ask, I don't do enough. We tithe 10% of our income to charities like Oxfam and Cancer Research, because cancer hit my family hard, but no, I don't do enough. I'm prepared to explore the questions and the possibilities surrounding what more I can do, however. And regardless of the attack the messenger attacks that are due any minute now, the mode of being in the world where the IMF and World Bank saddle poorer nations with the machinations of empire while telling them this is the way out is so morally repugnant as to be almost beyond discussion. But discuss it we must. Because we - specifically Americans, and "the West" generally - are doing this to the world...to prop up, to maintain...what, exactly? Sitcom production? Steady supplies of Tickle-Me-Elmos? What, exactly?