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IOU: The Debt Threat and Why We Must Defuse It

IOU: The Debt Threat and Why We Must Defuse It [Kindle Edition]

Noreena Hertz
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

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‘A searing critique…Noreena Hertz is angry – and wants you to get angry too.’ Observer

‘Cuts through the jargon and acronyms to show that the debt crisis is not just about money but about people, and its solutions are not about charity, but justice.’ Bono

'In this brave and provocative book Noreena Hertz weaves together a compelling argument against an unjust international order with a groundbreaking and empowering agenda for change. Something can be done to create a better and safer world for all of us. Everyone should read this book.'
Bob Geldof

Product Description

We are bombarded with images of poverty, terrorism, war and collapsing states. Do we ever question what the root cause of these problems might be? Noreena Hertz, one of the world's leading experts on economic globalization, tackles Third World Debt as a problem which must be resolved if we are ever to see global stability.

For every $1 the west gives to developing countries in aid, developing countries pay the west $9 in debt service.

At the beginning of the new millennium we are witnessing a global debt crisis of unprecedented size. Sub-Saharan Africa owes $200 billion, Brazil $223.8 billion, Argentina $155 billion. Why does this matter? In this shocking, ground-breaking book, Noreena Hertz shows that these numbers matter because they account for millions of people dying of AIDS; for the rainforests being cut down; for poverty, illiteracy, terrorism and war. These numbers matter because they will affect all of our lives if the balance is not redressed.

‘IOU’ is a story of avarice but also of vulnerability; of power asymmetries and misuse of power; of corrupt dictators and careless lenders; of Cold War interests and Wall Street pressure; of third world governments who get given it, and third world people who have no access to it. Noreena Hertz, one of the world's leading experts on economic globalisation, argues that this is not an issue of left or right: it is an issue of right versus wrong; of peace versus war. It must be addressed now.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 546 KB
  • Print Length: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Fourth Estate (12 Aug 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004071XXC
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #350,224 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Noreena Hertz is a bestselling author, academic and thinker whose economic predictions over the past 15 years have proven to be visionary.

Her internationally best-selling books, "The Silent Takeover" and "I.O.U.", have been translated into 18 languages. The Observer has named her "one of the world's leading thinkers". Vogue calls her "one of the world's most inspiring women", the Guardian has identified her as "one of the top British Public Intellectuals".

Noreena's latest book, "Eyes Wide Open: How to Make Smart Decisions in a Confusing World" will be published in September 2013 by Harper Collins.

Hertz is a sought after broadcaster and commentator and regularly appears on flagship television programmes globally including on the BBC and CNN. She has been interviewed on shows including Charlie Rose, and Hard Talk; and her work has been the subject of three broadcast documentaries. Her op ed pieces have been published in such places as The Financial Times, The Times, The Guardian, Der Spiegel and The Washington Post.

Noreena is also an accomplished keynote speaker and has provided keynote addresses at such forums as TED and the World Economic Forum. She regularly speaks at major corporate events all over the world.

Noreena advises multinational corporations, CEOs, NGOs and politicians, as well as start-up companies, and sits on various corporate and charitable boards. She played an influential role in the development of (RED), an innovative commercial model to raise money for people with AIDS in Africa, having inspired Bono (co-founder of the project) with her writings.

She is Chair of Globalisation and Finance at Duisenberg School of Finance, Amsterdam and is Associate Director of the Centre for International Business at the Judge Business School at the University of Cambridge.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Developing world debt was high on the international agenda around the millenium, with the Jubilee Campaign enjoying some remarkable success. Much was promised. Several years later, Noreena Hertz explains, very little has happened, and the issue has slipped out of the public eye.

IOU is a useful overview of debt, of where it came from and how it came to be - lending the absolute maximum to the developing world has been a very profitable strategy. The crippling debt may look like a terrible mistake now, but it was and remains entirely deliberate, with richer countries and banks aggressively touting loans, and reaping the rewards.

Hertz' account of the various chapters of lending, first governments, then banks flush with dollars from the 1970s oil crisis, and then the IMF, captures all the complexity of the issue without making it overly dense. She also unpacks the potential consequences of the debt problem, both for the developing world as it struggles to keep up payments, but also what happens in the developed world when a country defaults. Suffice to say that with commodity prices rising and debt becoming increasingly painful, the problem is getting worse, not better.

Fortunately, the last chapters deal with solutions, and there are some. The scale of international cooperation is daunting, but there are precedents and possibilities. All that's missing, like so many of these things, is the will to act.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Debt Hertz 10 Oct 2004
By Matt
This is certainly no Moore-esque rant about the dark side of capitalism. Hertz exposes then ruthlessly demolishes the almost criminal system which has allowed so much debt to be accumulated. Her meticulous research and accessible prose make this an informative and understandable book on what is a complex economic subject. In her conclusion she goes the extra mile and, unlike many other commentators, comes off the fence to suggest radical solutions. Buy this book .Read this book. Then make sure everyone you know does likewise.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I.O.U. by Noreena Hertz 19 Sep 2004
This is an incredible book: candid, readable, true.
Noreena Hertz manages to convey the complex subject of Third World Debt with such effortless elegance that one is left wondering why the world's richest counties cannot see the wood for the trees.
Perhaps the real question though is why debt ever fell out of public consciousness. The book questions this along with the complex politics lurking behind the debt issue. And it makes the issue very, very current.
Whether your politics swing to the right or the left, I highly recommend this work. It is an accessible and compelling read - a mystery story based on fact, with a solution as brilliant as it is simple.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You must buy this book 19 Sep 2004
By A Customer
I thought a book about third world debt might be boring. I.O.U. is in no way that. At times really funny - Noreena Hertz's descriptions of ADD suffering traders with twitches and tics had me in stitches. As did as her Bono-Schwarzenegger-Kennedy-Reverand Billy Graham story. Often moving , the stories of the casualties of the debt crisis really touch. And often shocking, her story of what the World Bank said to the new Rwandan government after the Rwandan genocide, was extremely disturbing. Noreena Hertz's beautifully written book raises the issues around third world debt in an easily accessible way. She also, unlike many others critical of the current system, lays out a groundbreaking and actionable agenda for change. I.O.U. is a really important book of our times, that everyone should read.
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