Debt Study Kit

Publisher:  Ten Days for World Development
Year Published:  1988
Resource Type:  Book
Cx Number:  CX3380

This kit, one of a series examining the causes of hunger and possible responses, contains a variety of materials to aid groups who want to study such issues in more depth than mainstream news sources allow.
An overview essay by Anne Bareta (Resources Co-Ordinator for Ten Days) points out that the billions of dollars lent to developing countries were not necessarily spent wisely. Most frequently, says Ms. Bareta, "decisions were made without consideration of, or consultation with, the poor majorities. The government listens to technocrats and their countries' elites. This is, of course, not surprising, but it is painfully ironic when it is the poor...who must bear the burden of the debt." As for the IMF (International Monetary Fund), she says it "cannot be blamed for the entire crisis. The IMF was created to operate within, and to serve the system; it does so not with overt malevolence, but rather with dehumanizing indifference. It must also be said that the governments in poor countries have failed to make commitments to the degree of diversity allowed by the IMF."
An excerpt from a longer study by John Dillon of GATT-Fly presents a number of proposals for change. "As a general rule," he says, "measures offering debt relief--whether in the form of debt forgiveness, interest rate reduction or writedowns of principal--are supported, since they would free local resources for development. Our ultimate goal is not simply to resolve the debt crisis, but to enable people to pursue self-reliant development, so that they can enjoy fully human lives."
Other items in the kit include instructions for a role-playing game, prepared by GATT-Fly, dealing with the debt crisis in the Phillipines; guidelines for Biblical reflections on the problem of debt; a case study on Peru; a fact sheet with charts from various sources; a bibliography; and a glossary of debt terminology. Altogether, this is an impressive collection of materials for studying the "debt crisis," not as a problem for the northern world's financial institutions, but as a problem for social justice for the poor and powerless in southern countries, who are its real victims.

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