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The Coming First World Debt Crisis [Paperback]

Ann Pettifor
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
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Book Description

1 Nov 2006
In this book Ann Pettifor examines the issues of debt affecting the first world or OECD countries. She traces the history and roots of where the current international debt crisis comes from--economic liberalization--and the restructuring of the international financial architecture in the early 1970s. The book goes on to explore the implications of high international indebtedness for governments, corporations, households and individuals. An important and unique contribution is Pettifor's discussion of the justice and morality of debt.

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The Coming First World Debt Crisis + The Real World Economic Outlook 2003: The Legacy of Globalization: Debt and Deflation
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Product details

  • Paperback: 200 pages
  • Publisher: Palgrave Schol, Print UK (1 Nov 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0230007848
  • ISBN-13: 978-0230007840
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 1.1 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 603,535 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

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Product Description


'This insightful book examines how the current international trade in goods and finance that is making the rich richer and the poor poorer and threatens ecosystem and societal collapse is no accident.' - Jonathan Essex, Green World

About the Author

ANN PETTIFOR has been synonymous with the issue of cancelling third world debt. She was the co-founder of Jubilee 2000 which campaigned for debt relief at the turn of the millennium. After an intense campaign involving the Pope, Bill Clinton, Tony Blair and Bono, in 1999 the G8 leaders agreed to write off $110bn of debt for 41 of the world's poorest countries. She is now a Director of Advocacy International, which works with debtor governments, and has helped countries like Nigeria, Ethiopia and Guyana write off millions of dollars of debt. She frequently speaks at conferences including those of the IMF and World Bank and was recently invited to speak at the Hay-on-Wye festival. She also writes for journals, The Guardian, The New Statesman and prepares policy briefs for NGOs. She has a strong following with NGO groups and a high profile in the media.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
If you've ever looked at headlines in the newspapers about the enormous profits of banks, hedge funds and private equity companies and wondered 'just how do they do this' and 'is it really sustainable'?, then this is the book for you.

Ann Pettifor takes the reader lucidly through the complexities of global financial developments since the 1950s, laying out in clear but passionate terms the great challenge facing modern economies and societies today: how to reform capitalism so that it puts productive activity and investment over the 'making of money from money'.

A truly enlightening read, illustrated with a host of powerful case studies and quotes from the world's great thinkers and economists, past and present, which gives hope that a better world is possible.

The book covers vast ground in a concise 180 pages and the chapters on the nature of money lending and how the deregulation of global capital, driven by US political interests, have led to the erosion of public and democratic control of money supply and the setting of interest rates are particularly important for anyone wishing to understand the strange world that we live in.

Buy it, and tell your friends about it.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars highly recommended 24 Sep 2007
This book analyses the nature, the historical context and the potentially horrific consequences of the enormous levels of debt that have grown in the so-called First World countries during recent times. Ann Pettifor shows us clearly the unsustainable structure and dynamics of our global debt-based financial systems, how Third World countries are already enslaved by irredeemable debt and how, unless we act swiftly and decisively, we will be next. She adopts an ethical stance and contrasts and compares the accepted and now orthodox laxity towards money creation and lending practices with the more controlled and conservative traditions of Islam and earlier Christianity. Towards the end of the book she outlines a five-step programme of action through which we can alleviate and manage the coming crisis by radically changing our beliefs, morals, politics, economics and personal behaviour.

Sometime within the next few years at most it is mathematically certain that there must be fundamental change of one sort or another to the current runaway global debt-laden financial system. Ann Pettifor's book alerts us to this fast approaching massive global dislocation and shows us how we might turn it into a change for the betterment and spiritual uplift of humanity rather than allow a world of misery dominated by universal debt-slavery to engulf us. Her message is that we need not be passive victims of the coming crisis and that radical change is both essential and possible. She shows that we all need urgently first to understand the nature and causes of our predicament, and then to influence and encourage those presently in power to undertake the necessary changes. Her tone is compassionate and hopeful, the issues and arguments are presented in clear and jargon-free language and I thoroughly recommend this book.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Ann Pettifor's background appears to be in church groups campaigning for debt cancellation. Her take on debt, in particular third world debt, is primarily a moral one. This is right, as the question only has importance as it is a moral issue. She is also being proven right that, despite what the mainstream news will tell you, the debt crises are gradaully coming closer to the "first world" nations, and will inevitably occur there just as they have done everywhere else.

That said, her understanding of economics and history is a little shaky. In some cases this is only a minor problem, like saying Thatcher was PM in 1978, or the UK lost the Boer War. However, her account of Keynes is a bit mangled, and although she pitches for a moral Guardian-reader audience, her economic understanding probably owes more to writers like Michael Rowbotham. Moreover, although she is justifiably outraged at the dehumanising effects of massive debts, her strident moral tone sometimes reads as if she believes that the banks are run by sadists suicidally bent on causing mayhem for the sheer hell of it. Her attempts at a historical analysis of the development of the modern economy doesn't take into account the fact that economic pressures force people, even those in high places, to act the way they do or else to face bankruptcy themselves.

That said, this is a very timely book, and I'm not sure what other book on this topic is available just now.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars mundane analysis 18 April 2011
While the book is worth reading, it has to be said that Ms Pettifor's analysis is fairly conventional in that she comes from a left leaning church group and as such she takes a moral standpoint. The analysis given is one you would find in a Guardian column
For those of us who are already familiar with the exorbitant power the banks enjoy in the money creation process, this book does not address the historical context of the banking houses' repeated attempts to control and take over the money supply in various countries at various times.

I also took issue with the contention that inflation is a transfer of wealth from the rich (the creditors) to the poor (the debtors). This is only true in the context of fixed interest rate over the terms of a mortgage for instance. In Britain, fixed rate mortgages account for only 20% of all long term lending.

More generally, my understanding of inflation is that it is a tax the debtors pay to the issuers of the money (ie private banks).

All in all, the book is worth reading if you are new to all this but I would suggest that you turn to "The Web of Debt: The Shocking Truth About Our Money System And How We Can Break Free" by Ellen Hodgson Brown when you are done.
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