Bruce Cockburn – Call It Democracy


Canadian folkie Bruce Cockburn argued back in 1986, that the foreign policy of powerful countries is about making a buck, not lifting people in poor places out of their misery. As well, that international organizations are not benevolent, either. The International Monetary Fund is a target in one verse.

The IMF goes back to 1944, and on the face of it, with almost 200 member countries, seeks to encourage financial stability in countries dealing with low revenues, high debt, inflation, high unemployment, and more. The IMF works to foster international trade.

Cockburn figures the IMF does more harm than good, leaving developing countries in debt.

More generally, the IMF has been criticized for the conditions it has sometimes imposed on countries to get into their version of fiscal shape. This has meant getting troubled countries to reduce public spending to address government debt. The IMF has also been criticized for not been sensitive enough to local conditions and on-the-ground needs of the places it exists to serve.

Also by Cockburn: If A Tree Falls, If I Had A Rocket Launcher

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6 thoughts on “Bruce Cockburn – Call It Democracy

  1. Pingback: Bruce Cockburn – If I Had A Rocket Launcher | Political Tunes

  2. Pingback: Bruce Cockburn – If A Tree Falls | Political Tunes

  3. Pingback: Talkin Bout’ a Revolution | SOUNDS for SOCIAL JUSTICE

  4. I grew up listening to this song! First time I learned about the IMF at UNBC all I could think was “IMF dirty MF, takes away everything it can get.”

    • Thanks for reading and commenting. I’ve become a really big fan of Cockburn the last few years, especially his underrated guitar virtuosity. How he brings his Christian faith to his art is interesting, too.

      • Definitely! My parents used his music to talk to us about righteous anger and social justice. I remember my mom explaining that when he uses bad language it’s because the issues are worth getting angry about. Jesus might very well choose the same words to talk about exploitation and poverty.

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