While Europe’s leaders gathered in Brussels with satisfying bankers atop their list, in Paris the Committee for The Cancellation of Third World Debt met with far different ambitions. The three-day summit featured discussions and reports that uncover the illegitimacy of the developed world’s debt and why many feel it should be cancelled.
The North/South debt divide exploded in the 1980s thanks to the neoliberal Washington Consensus, a set of economic prescriptions for indebted developing countries. The results? According to the International Monetary Fund, in the past three decades emerging nations have paid nearly 8 trillion dollars in debt servicing, yet their principal payment had increased fivefold to 3 trillion dollars.
In colonial times indebted nations soon found themselves under military occupation, but nowadays technocratic governments are imposed, often staffed with foreign “financial advisors”. Corruption grows, development projects are mismanaged and raising living standards takes a back seat to debt repayment, even if the debt was incurred by dictators or western puppets.
Across the Middle East, Europe and United States a political revolution is taking place but an economic revolution is needed to prevent the continued exploitation of the poor, whether they be indebted nations or individuals, because freedom cannot be complete without economic freedom.