Something interesting is happening in the new global system. A number of private organizations have now taken it upon themselves to publish assessments and rankings of countries, usually under the rubric of ‘Country Reports.’ The reports make for interesting reading, but closer examination reveals something quite disturbing. The following points come to mind in this regard.
1. Private organizations, such as the Heritage Foundation and the Economist, have been attempting to usurp the authority of multilateral institutions (such as the IMF) in the provision of reliable economic data and analyses.
2. The country reports are not provided simply for the sake of the public good, but are actually commercial products. These reports are actually commodities sold to subscribers. They are very expensive.
3. The products are produced with zero transparency because there is no disclosure about the sources of the information. This is a travesty because so-called think tanks like Heritage actually measure transparency. Heritage Foundation will get a score of zero for transparency from any independent auditor.
4. More often than not, the scores and rankings generated are not based on actual performances, but on narrow ideological criteria. The Economist and Heritage Foundation are noted worldwide for their biases against mixed economies.
5. These organizations have their roots in the Cold War era when they were used as ideological weapons in the global confrontations of that time. After the Cold War, organizations like Heritage became useless and irrelevant (on the global stage) and they thus looked around for other ways to stick it to countries that do not share their right-wing ideologies.
6. Some of these organizations have torturous histories and have been widely accused of racism, nativism, anti-immigrant hysteria, union bashing, and a plethora of other intellectual atrocities against minorities and progressive governments.
7. It is widely known that the Heritage Foundation has deep connections with the extreme right wing in the United States. A big one from Heritage once told a group of African American businessmen that they should be thankful that they were taken from Africa and brought to the United States.
8. These organizations give muster to opposition forces and no one would be shocked if they work hand in hand with conservative forces in order to extract the most damaging information when writing their so-called Country Reports.
9. The Country Reports are full of basic mistakes, many of them easily identifiable by a grade six Guyanese student.
The public should make a concerted effort to find out more about organizations like the Heritage Foundation. It is in the interest of all Guyanese to do some research and only then decide on the supposed independence of information provided through these Country Reports.
For now, I have no hesitation in pronouncing that organizations like the Heritage Foundation are neo-colonial ideological extremists. These organizations are the most vicious critics of President Obama.