Posted by: r.m. | January 14, 2011

ALBA – a cooperative economic plan!

From the excellent (marxist) Monthly Review:

Existing international economic institutions and relations operate in ways detrimental to third world development. That is why eight Latin American and Caribbean countries—led by Venezuela, Cuba, and Bolivia—are working to build the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas (ALBA), a regional initiative designed to promote new, nonmarket-shaped structures and patterns of economic cooperation.

ALBA does this, in part, by providing a framework for member governments to create partnerships between existing national state enterprises as well as new regional public enterprises. The resulting initiatives, although still few in number, have helped member governments strengthen planning capacities, modernize national industrial and agricultural operations, and provide essential social services to their citizens.

At present, ALBA offers the most promising, if not the only meaningful, attempt at cooperative development anywhere in the world. Consistent with the organization’s state-centered orientation, most ALBA activities have, to this point, involved bilaterally negotiated agreements between state enterprises in which one country provides the other with goods, technical or financial support for investments in core industries, affordable energy resources, and/or assistance in delivering critical social services. However, ALBA’s declaration of intent to create an integrated trade and currency zone, backed by a new regional currency, appears to signal a serious commitment by member countries to move beyond existing bilateral efforts to foster a regional development process.

Significantly, ALBA’s early steps to concretize its People’s Trade Agreement contain echoes of the EPU experience. Although negotiations on zone operating principles continue, ALBA appears close to establishing a sucre system with a Regional Monetary Council, a Central Clearing House, a regional reserve and emergency fund, and the sucre itself.

Several countries have already deposited agreed upon amounts of their respective national currencies into a special sucre fund. These monies are then converted into sucre. At this point, the sucre exists only as a virtual unit of account, with an exchange value of $1.25, and is being used only for targeted trade of specific commodities. The first sucre-denominated transaction, involving Venezuelan rice exports to Cuba, occurred in January 2010. Bolivia, Nicaragua, and Ecuador also have plans to engage in sucre-denominated trade. ALBA’s long-term goal is for the sucre to become an international reserve currency much like the euro.

Check out the article in full  here

Once again, there is inspiration from Latin America

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