Should 3rd World debt be written off

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Should 3rd World debt be written off?

  • No

    Votes: 5 23.8%
  • Yes

    Votes: 3 14.3%
  • Yes - with conditions

    Votes: 13 61.9%

  • Total voters
    21
  • #1
Art
The G8 countries are meeting shortly in Scotland. High on the agenda will be world poverty and 3rd world debt.

It is estimated 19,000 African children die every day as a direct result of poverty whilst their governments are forced to find $37 million a day for debt servicing.

My own vote is yes, with conditions -

Britain introduced an initiative in 2000 which I support whereby those countries which met certain fiscal, poverty programs and democratic standards would have their debt written off. Those who didn't meet the conditions would have their repayments saved in a Poverty Fund to be returned to the country at such time as the conditions are met.

As of 2000 figures from the world bank showed 3rd world debt at $3000 billion and on a steeply rising curve. The average daily GDP per capita for these countries is less than $1. Much of this money was lent as personal loans to whichever dictator happened to be in power at the time and so is it justifiable that the impoverished citizens of these countries should have to repay this money?
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
3,763
9
yes with conditions : no chinese over-export

marlon
 
  • #3
PerennialII
Science Advisor
Gold Member
898
1
I very much agree with you. I interpret the whole process of forcing the 3rd world countries to live with their debts immoral considering the conditions they are enduring - ever more so since the developed countries and their "post-colonialistic" policies have, unfortunately, had an active role in the builtup and the conditions the 3rd world is forced to suffer. This isn't a complete solution for problems of the 3rd world, there isn't one single miracle potion, but it could be a meaningful step in the right direction.
 
  • #4
russ_watters
Mentor
20,570
7,219
I also voted yes, with conditions, but there is a problem: guys like Burnsys will tell you that countries like Argentina are already too much under the control of the IMF and foreign countries/banks. To require economic reforms in order to forgive debt would just increase that level of control. Frankly, I consider an increase in foreign control a good thing, since such countries are doing a miserable job of managing their own economies, but it is understandable that citizens of such countries would get squeamish about it.
 
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  • #5
russ_watters said:
I also voted yes, with conditions, but there is a problem: guys like Burnsys will tell you that countries like Argentina are already too much under the control of the IMF and foreign countries/banks. To require economic reforms in order to forgive debt would just increase that level of control. Frankly, I consider an increase in foreign control a good thing, since such countries are doing a miserable job of managing their own economies, but it is understandable that citizens of such countries would get squeamish about it.

but this is precisely the problem...the IMF/WorldBank give tons of money to the 3rd world with hardly any stipulations. The corrupt leaders pocket the money, and then...whoops, out the backdoor. Repeat this cycle over and over and this is the economic state of the 3rd world.

The fact that the 3rd world countries cannot seem to manage their own economies is actively promoted by this system.

on the surface, it looks like IMF "loses" their investment, when in reality they have just insured their economic dominance in the modernized countries, whom they have far more investment in.

THIS CYCLE IS PERPETUATED BY MAINTAINING THE CURRENT SUBCYCLE OF WELFARE GIVING/FORGIVENESS.

The whole point of this cycle is to keep the 3rd world poor. The irony is that this schema is largely maintained by the UN and opposed by the USA, yet the world seems to love the UN and hate the USA.

What a masterful trickery this truly is!! To think that 75% of the world's population is completely under control this way..
 
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  • #6
Pengwuino
Gold Member
4,989
16
Yes with 50,000 pages worth of conditions

sorry, im just realistic here ;)
 
  • #7
374
2
I voted no. Writing off debts isn't the solution to corruption and mis-management.

A far better idea would be repeal the EU's common agricultural policy that dumps cut-price food on the world market and doesn't allow third world countries to compete. The CAP is an absolute disgrace and removing this, and opening Europe's markets to the third world countries, would enable those countries to make themselves richer.

Refusing trade from poor countries, then throwing them morsels of 'aid' or debt relief may well make the Western leaders feel better, but it certainly solves nothing.
 
  • #8
691
1
Adrian Baker said:
I voted no. Writing off debts isn't the solution to corruption and mis-management.

A far better idea would be repeal the EU's common agricultural policy that dumps cut-price food on the world market and doesn't allow third world countries to compete. The CAP is an absolute disgrace and removing this, and opening Europe's markets to the third world countries, would enable those countries to make themselves richer.

Refusing trade from poor countries, then throwing them morsels of 'aid' or debt relief may well make the Western leaders feel better, but it certainly solves nothing.

Yes, but much of the debt incured by many poor countries is a direct result of trade subsidies in place in most industrial nations. US sugar subsidies have been hurting S.America for years. Cotton subsidies hurt many regions in the world.... The fact is much of the debt in poor countries is a result of trade policies. Granted corrupt governments are at fault here to but that is where the Yes, with conditions option plays in.

my 2 cents.
 
  • #9
Art
I see Blair and Bush have announced agreement on debt relief. Dues for Britains support in Iraq perhaps?
http://www.sky.com/skynews/article/0,,30000-13366380,00.html [Broken]
 
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  • #10
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/8123802/

Some protectionism is required for reasons of national security for all countries, so I disagree with Bush that everyone should have completely free markets, whether the US, or whether to qualify for debt relief. However, I do agree that “Nobody wants to give money to a country that’s corrupt, where leaders take money and put it in their pocket,” as Bush said. There needs to be monitoring/proof of some kind that the funds are being used 'to learn to fish--not just giving them fish' forever. A balance needs to be found.
 
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  • #11
356
3
quetzalcoatl9 said:
The whole point of this cycle is to keep the 3rd world poor. The irony is that this schema is largely maintained by the UN and opposed by the USA, yet the world seems to love the UN and hate the USA.

What a masterful trickery this truly is!! To think that 75% of the world's population is completely under control this way..
You make it sound like the USA is the good guy. They're both just two sides of the same die. The US and UN are competing/cooperating with eachother for power and money. The two big ones used to be the USSR and USA, each scaring their own citizens with the crimes of the other. Now it's the UN and USA, and we can see them both throwing punches at eachother now, afterwards it'll be two other large blocs. It's all just different power blocs vying against eachother for politics and business. It's dominated by the west right now, but if the west wasn't the big boy the east would be, or south america would be, or Eskimo's would be. Humanity is simply incapable of taking care of it's self in a decent and reasonable manner.
 
  • #12
5
0
in reply to Smurf's post...
"The US and UN are competing/cooperating with each other for power and money"
Power and Money, eh? the US supplies 2/3 of the UN's budget...in fact thats the only reason we haven't been kicked out yet...On that note, how can they be competing AND cooperating? The UN is just an afterthought to the US at the moment. Why do you think Bush is pressing for John Bolton....so he can piss off the UN!! Futhermore, the UN is completely pointless at this time. can you name the last time the UN did ANYTHING beneficial? the leading power, or about to be, is the EU, assuming that they clear up this constitution and France gets off their duff to help ratify it...

wow, my first post and i've probably just pissed off alot of people...
 
  • #13
Pengwuino
Gold Member
4,989
16
Lol yah, how can you really cooperate and compete with something?
 
  • #14
Smurf said:
You make it sound like the USA is the good guy. They're both just two sides of the same die. The US and UN are competing/cooperating with eachother for power and money. The two big ones used to be the USSR and USA, each scaring their own citizens with the crimes of the other. Now it's the UN and USA, and we can see them both throwing punches at eachother now, afterwards it'll be two other large blocs. It's all just different power blocs vying against eachother for politics and business. It's dominated by the west right now, but if the west wasn't the big boy the east would be, or south america would be, or Eskimo's would be. Humanity is simply incapable of taking care of it's self in a decent and reasonable manner.

can we agree on 2 axioms before further discussion is possible?

1) ALL nations act ONLY in their self-interest, including acts of generosity
2) It is not such a bad thing to be making money off of someone, as long as they benefit in the process.

If so, then we could agree that the USA has in recent years been trying to consolidate its power AND elevate the status of the 3rd world at the same time, mainly in the form of removing trade barriers (e.g., S. America, India, Malayasia, China, etc.) and also in aid (AIDS, Tsunamai disaster, eastern earthquakes, etc.). This shift in US policy, away from cold-war thinking, has the UN very pissed off, since they wish to be the ones to play such a role. So clearly the US and the UN are NOT the same thing (we disagree there) but they ARE vying for the same interest (we agree there).

So in the end, it all depends upon whether you see the USA as a source of benefit, support and dependability for the entire world, or merely just another "evil empire" (in which case, let the inevitable Bush-bashing resume so that this conversation can degenerate like most of the other threads in this forum do).
 
  • #15
5
0
quetzalcoatl9 said:
can we agree on 2 axioms before further discussion is possible?

So in the end, it all depends upon whether you see the USA as a source of benefit, support and dependability for the entire world, or merely just another "evil empire" (in which case, let the inevitable Bush-bashing resume so that this conversation can degenerate like most of the other threads in this forum do).


here here!!! *applause* well-put...
 
  • #16
356
3
quetzalcoatl9 said:
can we agree on 2 axioms before further discussion is possible?

1) ALL nations act ONLY in their self-interest, including acts of generosity
2) It is not such a bad thing to be making money off of someone, as long as they benefit in the process.

If so, then we could agree that the USA has in recent years been trying to consolidate its power AND elevate the status of the 3rd world at the same time, mainly in the form of removing trade barriers (e.g., S. America, India, Malayasia, China, etc.) and also in aid (AIDS, Tsunamai disaster, eastern earthquakes, etc.). This shift in US policy, away from cold-war thinking, has the UN very pissed off, since they wish to be the ones to play such a role. So clearly the US and the UN are NOT the same thing (we disagree there) but they ARE vying for the same interest (we agree there).

So in the end, it all depends upon whether you see the USA as a source of benefit, support and dependability for the entire world, or merely just another "evil empire" (in which case, let the inevitable Bush-bashing resume so that this conversation can degenerate like most of the other threads in this forum do).
I can agree on your Axioms, however #2 is largely inconsequential since it rarely (if ever) happens. It all depends on what you think of as 'helping' 3rd world countries. Removing Trade Barriers is not universally accepted as a good thing, in many parts of the world what N. America calls 'Globalization' is synonymous with 'Americanization' (as I'm sure your aware). I for one am totally opposed to neo-liberalism. Just look at all the controversy in Canada and Mexico around NAFTA, Mexico had a civil war over it that still isn't resolved today.

I would also argue that often times the USA's methods of 'removing trade barriers' seem to be very unconventional and suspicious for so-called good intentions. Which wouldn't be necessary if it was truely and obviously in everyone's interest and not just the USA's.

I don't think we disagree at all that the UN and USA are different things, it's quite obvious that they are completely different, I just don't see either of them as a 'good guy', so group them all in the 'bad' category.
 
  • #17
PerennialII
Science Advisor
Gold Member
898
1
quetzalcoatl9 said:
can we agree on 2 axioms before further discussion is possible?

1) ALL nations act ONLY in their self-interest, including acts of generosity
2) It is not such a bad thing to be making money off of someone, as long as they benefit in the process.

If so, then we could agree that the USA has in recent years been trying to consolidate its power AND elevate the status of the 3rd world at the same time, mainly in the form of removing trade barriers (e.g., S. America, India, Malayasia, China, etc.) and also in aid (AIDS, Tsunamai disaster, eastern earthquakes, etc.). This shift in US policy, away from cold-war thinking, has the UN very pissed off, since they wish to be the ones to play such a role. So clearly the US and the UN are NOT the same thing (we disagree there) but they ARE vying for the same interest (we agree there).

So in the end, it all depends upon whether you see the USA as a source of benefit, support and dependability for the entire world, or merely just another "evil empire" (in which case, let the inevitable Bush-bashing resume so that this conversation can degenerate like most of the other threads in this forum do).

Smurf beat me to it ... to add, don't really see removal of trade barries turning into a synonym of fair trade towards the developing countries. And on the basis of those axioms I find it hard to agree on much, if we aid someone who doesn't have anything what can we expect from them (which is typically true for those in the most desperate need) ... and surely shouldn't be a prime basis in deciding who to aid and how. US is the greatest provider but doesn't really compete with UN what comes to the thinking behind its agenda and motifs.
 
  • #18
Smurf said:
I can agree on your Axioms, however #2 is largely inconsequential since it rarely (if ever) happens.

how so? what about india? india gets tons of business from the US due to outsourcing of jobs, americans get cheaper goods/services but they also lose their jobs. clearly india is benefitting, and (overall hopefully) the USA is benefiting.

It all depends on what you think of as 'helping' 3rd world countries. Removing Trade Barriers is not universally accepted as a good thing, in many parts of the world what N. America calls 'Globalization' is synonymous with 'Americanization' (as I'm sure your aware).

I just don't understand...when we have trade barriers in place, we are accused of keeping everyone poor by blocking their entry into the market. When we remove trade barriers, we are accused of "americanization"...it is a no-win situation for the USA.

is this accusation then truly fair?

I find it hard to agree on much, if we aid someone who doesn't have anything what can we expect from them (which is typically true for those in the most desperate need)

ok, if that is true, then we are surely quite generous since the USA expends great amounts of economic aid. so maybe we are not the Great Satan after all?

which is it? you can't have it both ways.

let's use an analogy...my car breaks down. i call your auto shop, you come and tow my car and give me a ride home to boot; not for free of course, maybe i pay you $100 for this. should i be any less grateful, afterall, the tow trucker driver has to have income too.

doesn't really compete with UN what comes to the thinking behind its agenda and motifs (motives?).

do you mean to suggest that the UN doesn't have an agenda? i would disagree with this. Here it is in a nutshell: since the USA is so wealthy, lets make sure we distribute that wealth amongst the rest of the world, cuz it's just "not fair".
 
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  • #19
356
3
quetzalcoatl9 said:
how so? what about india? india gets tons of business from the US due to outsourcing of jobs, americans get cheaper goods/services but they also lose their jobs. clearly india is benefitting, and (overall hopefully) the USA is benefiting.
I'm not familiar with India, so I'll assume your story is correct and there's nothing you're missing/leavingout. In which case I will simply list all the countries NOT benefitting from US intervention, Namely South America, where 80% of Brazil's essential industries (water, ect) are owned by American and Europeans, so all the money they make goes back there, creating a constant stream of wealth from this poor country to these already rich countries. besides, It would be possible to liken india with China, they're both about to pass the USA arn't they, they're about to become even worse.
I just don't understand...when we have trade barriers in place, we are accused of keeping everyone poor by blocking their entry into the market. When we remove trade barriers, we are accused of "americanization"...it is a no-win situation for the USA.
This is where my 'Humanity is incapable of taking care of it's self' point comes in, no matter what the rich will abuse the poor. Unless the rich and poor are become the same. But that's taking a very marxist view at it, I believe that, if we actually cared, we could do both without hurting people. It's not open borders that are taking their wealth, it's what we do with them, by buying up their land and giving them crappy wages and stealing their resources (I use the term stealing lightly).

let's use an analogy...my car breaks down. i call your auto shop, you come and tow my car and give me a ride home to boot; not for free of course, maybe i pay you $100 for this. should i be any less grateful, afterall, the tow trucker driver has to have income too.
Here's another analogy. You buy your car from Ford since there's no one else around to buy from. Ford sells crappy cars, so you have to keep buying new parts and new cars from them, forever spending more and more money on their already over-priced purchases because they're the only company that can make cars because they're the only ones that get support from the local government because they're the only government that gets support from foreign powers because if they didn't get that support they'd collapse of corruption. But then, that's just an analogy.
 
  • #20
57
0
Smurf said:
Here's another analogy. You buy your car from Ford since there's no one else around to buy from. Ford sells crappy cars, so you have to keep buying new parts and new cars from them, forever spending more and more money on their already over-priced purchases because they're the only company that can make cars because they're the only ones that get support from the local government because they're the only government that gets support from foreign powers because if they didn't get that support they'd collapse of corruption. But then, that's just an analogy.
Plus, ford start telling you how you should use the car, where can you drive and where you can't, when to fill the tank, how fast can you go and how many people you can carry...

Damn, let's just start building our own cars. (Just money in the analogy)


Why do we need to borrow foreing money when we can make our own.
 
  • #21
PerennialII
Science Advisor
Gold Member
898
1
quetzalcoatl9 said:
ok, if that is true, then we are surely quite generous since the USA expends great amounts of economic aid. so maybe we are not the Great Satan after all?

which is it? you can't have it both ways.

let's use an analogy...my car breaks down. i call your auto shop, you come and tow my car and give me a ride home to boot; not for free of course, maybe i pay you $100 for this. should i be any less grateful, afterall, the tow trucker driver has to have income too.

Guys gave good examples about the conditioning related to aiding, which is the problem, so as in general turning this into a false dilemma doesn't solve it.

quetzalcoatl9 said:
do you mean to suggest that the UN doesn't have an agenda? i would disagree with this. Here it is in a nutshell: since the USA is so wealthy, lets make sure we distribute that wealth amongst the rest of the world, cuz it's just "not fair".

There is a lot of "conflict" between the US and the UN for obvious reasons, but I'm claiming that the founding ideals of the UN direct its actions over grudges with the US, which compared to many problems of the world appear quite small-minded.
 
  • #22
Art
quetzalcoatl9 said:
So in the end, it all depends upon whether you see the USA as a source of benefit, support and dependability for the entire world, or merely just another "evil empire" (in which case, let the inevitable Bush-bashing resume so that this conversation can degenerate like most of the other threads in this forum do).
So people critical of the US administration's foreign policy are now termed as degenerates? Not a very democratic attitude methinks.
 
  • #23
loseyourname
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
1,749
5
Art said:
So people critical of the US administration's foreign policy are now termed as degenerates? Not a very democratic attitude methinks.

Discussions can degenerate without degenerates taking part in it. You shouldn't read so much into what he said looking for an insult.
 
  • #24
Art
loseyourname said:
Discussions can degenerate without degenerates taking part in it. You shouldn't read so much into what he said looking for an insult.
The statement read that criticising Bush = the discussion degenerating. Defn. of degenerating = losing the qualities that are normal, desirable or proper. Hence whoever causes this degeneration is guilty of degenerative behaviour and therefore a degenerate.
 
  • #25
loseyourname
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
1,749
5
Art said:
The statement read that criticising Bush = the discussion degenerating. Defn. of degenerating = losing the qualities that are normal, desirable or proper. Hence whoever causes this degeneration is guilty of degenerative behaviour and therefore a degenerate.

Fine then. Feel insulted when he clearly didn't mean to insult you. Taking things personally that are not meant to be personal is part of the reason these discussions degenerate.
 

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