Brief #52—Foreign Policy

Policy Summary
In a show of bipartisan support, the “Better Utilization of Investments Leading to Development Act of 2018”, or the BUILD act, was passed on October 5th and later signed by President Trump.. First introduced in February by Republican Senator Bob Corker and Democratic Senator Chris Coons, the act creates the International Development Finance Corporation (IDFC) as a successor to the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), with an increased budget of $60 billion, and the intent to facilitate public spending and federal support to encourage private investment in foreign markets. Supporters have promised that this will lead to sustainable, broad-based economic growth, and an increase in public accountability and transparency.

The most apparent absence from the BUILD act is the lack of enforceable restrictions preventing investments from supporting regimes which participate in the abuse of human rights and/or have corrupt ineffective governance systems.. The bill promises to ensure an increase in social stability and decrease in poverty, but it’s mostly worded in vague aspirations. It’s also questionable whether the intent of the bill is even to benefit the host countries of these investments. Part of the billions in taxpayer money apportioned to the IDFC will be used to reduce risk for companies investing in foreign countries, but many of these risks are caused by the instability created by US exploitation of the labor and resources of the global south. The strategy of funneling private capital into these economies has been the modus operandi of the US for years, and rather than resulting in greater development in poor countries, it has reduced access of the residents of those countries to their own land and resources, while pushing them further into debt. If there is a surplus of taxpayer money which can be used to benefit those living outside our borders, perhaps it could be better allocated canceling foreign debts and supporting foreign businesses trying to build a stable economy within the confines of their own border.

Resistance Resources:

  • International Labor Rights Forum: The ILRF is a US-based nonprofit advocacy organization working to develop a safe working environment for the international working poor.
  • International Centre for Trade Union Rights: The ICTUR is an international NGO that brings together trade unions, human rights organisations, research institutions, and lawyer’s associations to defend the rights of workers around the world to organize.

This Brief was submitted by USRESIST NEWS Foreign Policy Analyst Colin Shanley: Contact

Photo by unsplash-logoJoakim Honkasalo

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