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Customer Review

TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 20 October 2005
Noreena Hertz's basic principle is that the rights of creditors do not stand above fundamental human rights.
Debt repayments should not be imposed on governments when they could put in danger a minimum level of food, health care, clothing, water, education and housing for the entire population.
But as US president Calvin Coolidge said to the English delegation after WWI: 'We lent you money. Didn't we?'
The fact is that a lot of money was lent to corrupt and despotic regimes (Suharto, Marcos, Abacha, Ceaucescu, Mengistu, the South-African apartheid regime ...). More, after the end of the cold war, the US asked immediate debt repayment from States which were no longer strategically important.
Democratic governments should not be responsible for irresponsible lending by States or International Organizations.
She remarks that 60-70 % of all World bank projects under Mc Namara were failures and that only 10 % were ecologically and socially sound investments.
For her, debt should be forgiven if it was lent to undemocratic regimes, if the investments were against the interests of the majority of the population and when those who gave the money knew for what it was disbursed.
Ultimately, debt forgiveness will ot only favour the poor but also the rich countries, for it should not force nations to implement unsound policies and should improve security in the world.
By the way, she rightly lambastes massive arms investments (4 stealth bombers represent 1 schoolyear for 155 million children) and agricultural subsidies in the US and Europe (every cow receives 2,20 $ per day, or more that 1 billion human beings on our planet).
This book is a must read about a crucial problem for a massive part of the world population.
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