Saturday, January 29, 2011

Payday Loans For Countries

One way to execute a perfect crime is to make it impossible to understand. The crime is virtually invisible in the midst of exhausting and confusing details. Few of us understand how the Bretton Woods institutions, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (both founded in 1944), use debt to subjugate entire nations of human beings, to extract their resources, make them dependent on imports from the northern countries, and stabilize them against popular revolution and democracy.

French economists Eric Toussaint and Damien Millet do us a tremendous service in offering this book, organized around 60 questions an informed adult might ask, demystifying the economics and politics of debt and interest. What is the Paris Club, and how does it exert so much unaccountable power in the world? What are vulture funds? What is "structural adjustment" and how does it affect the lives of the poor around the world? What is legitimate debt, and what is "odious debt?" How do countries become enslaved by debt, and what are reasonable alternatives? We are given an excellent course in the economic science and the law -- to the extent that international law even applies to institutions like the World Bank.

Finally, there is the case for debt cancellation in the interests of meaningful human development, and a comparison of the moral hazard in forgiving some countries' debt to the moral hazard of continuing to strangle the majority of the world's population.

It is an eye-opening explanation of how the world really works, and who holds power. This is likely one of the most important books to have appeared in 2010, and possibly will be one of the most important books of the decade.

Debt, the IMF, and the World Bank: Sixty Questions, Sixty Answers. By E. Toussaint and D. Millet. New York: Monthly Review Press. 2010.

1 comment:

Kelly said...

Thanks for providing the link to your upcoming shows. Even though I don't live near you to see the stage work, I can keep track of your movie availability.