Mainstream economists tell us that developing countries will replicate the economic achievements of the rich countries if they implement the correct “free-market” policies. But scholars and activists Toussaint and Millet demonstrate that this is patently false. Drawing on a wealth of detailed evidence, they explain how developed economies have systematically and deliberately exploited the less-developed economies by forcing them into unequal trade and political relationships. Integral to this arrangement are the international economic institutions ostensibly created to safeguard the stability of the global economy—the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank—and the imposition of massive foreign debt on poor countries. The authors explain in simple language, and ample use of graphics, the multiple contours of this exploitative system, its history, and how it continues to function in the present day.
Ultimately, Toussaint and Millet advocate cancellation of all foreign debt for developing countries and provide arguments from a number of perspectives—legal, economic, moral. Presented in an accessible and easily-referenced question and answer format, Debt, the IMF, and the World Bank is an essential tool for the global justice movement.
As this fine study demonstrates, the debt that is strangling the world is largely an ideological fiction, devised in the service of wealth and power, without legitimacy or moral force. The authors unravel the layers of deceit and distortion that conceal the ugly reality with skill and precision, and provide an important tool for liberating the mass of suffering people who are caught in its shackles.
An important, accessible, and powerful book. Toussaint and Millet provide an in-depth look at debt in the global south, including the origins of the debt, its impact on people around the world, and possible solutions. But the book is about much more than debt, as the authors explain the historical context behind the debt crisis, including the role of key players and the way in which debt is linked to foreign policy, war, corruption, and economic agendas. Toussaint and Millet provide a key intervention at a moment when we must all rethink the way the global economy should function.
This excellent handbook on the Washington-based international financial institutions and the debt mechanism by means of which the Global South is subjugated is not only an indispensable tool for pro-poor anti-debt activists, but also a very useful synthesis that can and should be used in classrooms.
This timely new book rightly proposes radical, pro-development alternatives to the current order of things, not least via calls for the cancellation of the illegitimate international debts made to developing countries. Critics of the global financial architecture and students and teachers of development economics will find in this important new book an empowering and accessible intellectual framework for their work.
Éric Toussaint is one of the brightest and most influential economists of his generation. He is the founder of the CADTM, and has gained a worldwide reputation for his exemplary struggle against the ‘odious debt’ strangling countless countries in the South.