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Abstract

In 1991, the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) held

their joint international conference in Bangkok, bringing over 10,000

delegates from more than 160 countries to the city. In the months before the

event, the Thai government forcibly removed over 2,000 slum dwellers

from the areas immediately surrounding the new $90 million Queen Sirikit

National Convention Center that hosted the conference.2 Hundreds of

shanties in informal settlements were destroyed and a huge metal wall was

erected to conceal the devastation left behind.3 Similarly, when the World

Bank and IMF held their conference in the Philippines in 1976, President

Marcos initiated a "beautification" campaign in which 400 families were

evicted from slums in Manila during the months preceding the event.

Despite the array of slum improvement programs financed by the World

Bank,5 Thailand and the Philippines both relied on shortsighted strategies

of forced removal in order to conceal the existence of slum dwellers and, in

doing so, protect national claims of "development."

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