Dan on an Answer to WTO GATS: Money Talks?

This one is also by Dan, who quotes:

Earlier this year, Venezuela and Argentina launched the new “Banco del Sur” (Bank of the South), pledging more than $ 1 billion to get the institution up and running in the next few months. Although the details are currently being worked out (a 90-day deadline has been established to define some basic operating rules) several other countries have agreed to join: Brazil, Bolivia, Ecuador and Paraguay will also be founding members. Additionally, Nicaragua, several Caribbean countries and even a few Asian nations have expressed interest in participating in the new multilateral institution.

The Bank of the South’s creation underscores the severity of the disenchantment with the traditional U.S.-dominated instruments for development finance. From the World Bank to the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) (which provides financing exclusively in Latin America and the Caribbean), voting privileges are based on financial contribution, which makes the U.S. Treasury the single largest shareholder, bringing with it the largest share of the vote. In the IDB, the U.S. not only “owns” a whopping 30 percent of the vote, but it also holds veto power—an advantage to which no other member is privy.

In a clear departure from this undemocratic and paternalistic governance structure, Banco del Sur promoters assure, as Cabezas has said, that in the new institution “no one will be the sole owner.” Although not fully defined, there has been indication that voting power will be based on financial need, rather than monetary contribution or political weight. But beyond the critical structural and political delineation, the real challenge will be to create an institution that does not only look different than its predecessors but that it actually thinks and acts differently. This means that member countries will need to think long and hard about how development will be defined and how it will best be achieved.

This item came to my attention and certainly adds a dimension to the post on the WTO GATS, IMF, and IADP loan schemes currently affecting water and other commodity resources. It seems to me there is a battle to determine rules of the market that will affect everyone. Water, oil, food.