Category: Odious Debts

It’s time to shut down the World Bank

(October 4, 1994) Celebrating its 50th anniversary this year along with the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank was part of the postwar reconstruction program John Maynard Keynes helped set up in 1944. Lord knows what Lord Keynes would make of the World Bank today.

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The World Bank’s Finances: An International S&L Crisis

(October 3, 1994) The World Bank, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, has long enjoyed a sound financial reputation. But its AAA credit rating is not justified. Because of the perverse incentives under which the World Bank operates, the quality of its loan portfolio has diminished significantly, and because the bank is backed by rich-country governments, its irresponsible lending exposes Western taxpayers to a possible World Bank bailout on a scale comparable to the U.S. savings-and-loan bailout. That would leave taxpayers in the industrialized countries on the hook for $100 billion; U.S. citizens would be liable for nearly $30 billion.

Dictatorship, democracies and the debt crisis

(June 1, 1993) The fall of the Saddam Hussein regime in Iraq has called on lenders to account for their funding decisions as never before. Only two decades ago, the prevailing wisdom held that loans to governments were the least likely to go sour because government guarantees eliminated commercial risk. Dictators, in other words, posed no more or less risk than anyone else.

Great Britain v. Costa Rica

(October 18, 1988) Held: (a) In respect of the Banking Transactions: That the Costa Rican Law of Nullities, which in effect relieved Costa Rica of any obligations in respect of these transactions, did not constitute an international wrong. The transactions in question, which in themselves did not constitute transactions of an ordinary nature and which were ” full of irregularities,” were made at a time when the popularity of the Tinoco Government had disappeared, and when the political and military movement aiming at the overthrow of that Government was gaining strength.