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Hidden Repression


How the IMF and World Bank Sell Exploitation as Development


Alex Gladstein

April 13
, 2023


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Hidden Repression:
The IMF and World Bank were created to help countries survive financial crises and to help them develop into prosperous economic actors. But their 75-year track record shows the opposite: their loans and structural adjustment policies have plunged poor countries into impossibly large debt traps and forced the Third World to focus on producing goods for consumption in the West, instead of growing consumption and industry at home. The Bank and the Fund’s “development and assistance” has been anything but. The reality is a history of neocolonial exploitation with shocking results.

Alex Gladstein has a lot to say about Bitcoin, human rights, financial privilege, and personal freedom. In his first book Check Your Financial Privilege, he says it, starting with the fact that anyone born into a reserve currency like the euro, yen, or pound has financial privilege over the 89% of the world population born into weaker systems.

As CSO of the Human Rights Foundation, Gladstein is uniquely positioned to detail the rise of Bitcoin from cypherpunk dream to the real-life Bitcoin stories happening to real people across the globe. For people around the world, outside of Wall Street, Bitcoin offers a means of freedom from inflation, political strife, and an outdated monetary system. For these people, the majority of the world’s population, it might even save their lives.

In reading through Alex's brilliant and comprehensive treatise, you will be investigating the big economic lie of our world at its root: that the powerful help the weak. Following that, you will face an important choice. What system do you choose?
-Jeff Booth
Author, Price of Tomorrow and GP, Ego Death Capitol

Although Gladstein's book rages against the injustice that characterizes the neoliberal economic model and the Bretton Woods institutions, it ultimately offers a glimmer of hope by demonstrating how Bitcoin, with its liberating philosophy, decentralized technology, and immutable functionality can help free nations and peoples from the debt trap.
—Farida Nabourema, Togolese writer, human rights defender, and Pan-Africanist

Alex Gladstein has written a powerful examination of an immensely important question that is usually overlooked in academia and media: What gives the World Bank and IMF such exorbitant power over the politics and finances of developing countries? By examining the monetary foundations of the question, Alex offers an astute assessment of the perverse incentives facing international financial institutions, and a compelling explanation for why the real beneficiaries of their programs are western financial institutions and governments, while the victims are the world's poorest people.
—SafideanAmmous, Author, The Bitcoin Standard and The Fiat Standard

Alex Gladstein is a regular contributor to Bitcoin Magazine and the author of Check Your Financial Privilege. Read more of his insights and analysis at