A living debt

 作者:京躞帷     |      日期:2019-03-08 03:05:01
Every week, African countries pay out $200 million in debt repayments—the same amount that Live Aid raised worldwide for famine relief. This month, a new strategy for Third World debt relief was to have been hatched by the richest nations at the G7 meeting in Cologne—but it’s not looking hopeful, according to a new report. The most generous deal on the table comes courtesy of British chancellor Gordon Brown, who wants the G7 to write off debts of $50 billion, with Britain contributing $171 million now to a Millennium Trust Fund that will pay off the debts. The snag is that most of these debts are currently not being serviced, so the rich countries won’t lose any income and the poor countries won’t feel any benefit. The report comes from Jubilee 2000, an international coalition of church groups and other non-governmental organisations that campaigns for debt relief (www.jubilee2000uk.org). It provides some shocking statistics. The organisations everyone loves to hate in this field are the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. The Web is littered with their critics. For example, the IMF’s response to the growing economic crisis in Asia comes under fire in an eloquent essay at www.asienhaus.org/asiancrisis/imfasiakhor4.htm, a German site set up by expatriate Asians. For the other side of the coin, you can visit the World Bank at www.worldbank.org to find out what it believes it’s doing right. The IMF home page (www.imf.int) is not very accessible to the layperson—but hey, who needs to be accessible when you’re holding the purse strings? If you want to find out more about how the global economy functions (as if anyone really knows), the US Air Force provides an excellent list of links at www.saffm.hq.af.mil/SAFFM/FMC/links.html. And if you’ve got debt problems closer to home, www.center4debtmanagement.com offers plenty of advice on digging yourself out of a hole. More on these topics: