Odious Debts
Loose Lending, Corruption and the Thirld World's Environmental Legacy

Adams, Patricia
Publisher:  Earthscan
Year Published:  1991
Pages:  252pp   Price:  $24.95   Resource Type:  Book
Cx Number:  CX8142

In the past decade Patricia Adams has tracked the activities of international institutions such a the International Monetary fund (IMF) and the World Bank to determine if they act in the bests interests of their clients. She suggests that both these institutions are moribund and accountable to no one but themselves. With no accountability they have provided unwise loans to corrupt Third World governments while supporting environmentally destructive projects. The debtor nations made the loans without public knowledge and consent. The result is the money going into the coffers of the officials and not the people for whom it was intended to benefit. Adams' solution is to say firstly that there should be no debt forgiveness because that would let dictators off the hook and not take responsibility for saddling their countries with a staggering dept load paid by the people and that debt should be differentiated: if the loans have been used to aid the people then they should be repaid. If the debts are deemed "odious" that is they went to the government officials they should not be repaid. Paradoxically that would ensure that the IMF, World Bank and other financial institutions would be much more careful about loans-they would be more accountable and less willing to exploit the people they should be serving if they knew they would never see their money again.

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