Drop the debt

Ethan Burke, The Massachusetts Daily Collegian
April 8, 2005

A commentary arguing for debt cancellation published today examines relief based on the principles of the international legal Doctrine of Odious Debts.

Writes Ethan Burke for the Massachusetts Daily Collegian: In many cases, “those who must bear the debt burden did not receive loans. Funds from loans were mostly sent right back to G7 countries by purchasing military equipment, importing foreign goods and contracting multinationals for large development projects. The beneficiaries are
big corporations, a tiny collaborating class within the developing country, and corrupt leaders who often become fabulously rich. The rest of the population must foot the bill in a system where wealth and profits are privatized and costs are socialized.”

Burke contends that the wealthy nations that dominate international financial institutions encouraged lending to regimes that included Saddam Hussein’s in Iraq and General Suharto’s in Indonesia, as well as the apartheid-era government in South Africa, “knowing funds would be spent on palaces, private jets, torture and repression.”

The situation would be funny if it weren’t so grotesque, says Burke. “People must now pay for their own oppression, with interest.”

Categories: Africa, Debt Relief, Odious Debts

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