Sunday, 26 April 2009

A Jubilee for the West?

I've just had an idea which has got to be worth a go.

The Jubilee Debt Campaign has long been pushing for the cancellation of debts owed by the Third World, for reasons outlined here.

However, it is now surely the case that countries like Great Britain owe (or will soon owe) sums that dwarf the debts of typical Third World nations. Moreover, they too owe this money to wealthy lenders in wealthy countries. Again, as in the Third World, it is the average citizen, not the super-wealthy minority, who will ultimately have to pay the interest and the capital of these loans and who will suffer the consequences of indebtedness entered into by their governments.

The solution, however, is obvious: extend the Jubilee to the West. Indeed, I am rather warming to the Jubilee Debt Campaign's proposal here:
9. How do we prevent future debt crises? We need economic justice - covering debt, trade, aid, tax, etc - and responsible financing in the future. There must be international action to ensure that we never return to a debt crisis like the one which has now been crushing poor countries for decades. After the 'clean slate' of cancellation of unjust ('illegitimate') and unpayable debts, this will mean firstly that there must be just trade rules, a just tax system, and sufficient, high-quality aid – with a bias towards grants not loans – so that countries are not forced back into indebtedness. It also means that any future loans should be given responsibly, on fair terms, and in a transparent way which is open to scrutiny by parliaments, media and citizens. Any loans given on unjust terms should be considered the responsibility of the creditor and therefore eligible for cancellation in future.
In fact, if we can combine the principles of the Jubilee Debt Campaign with the approach of our present government, everybody wins (almost)! We can borrow the money, return to full prosperity and not be saddled with endless repayments. Magic!

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  1. John Mann, Kinlochbervie27 April 2009 at 22:37

    Absolutely brilliant!

  2. That's just wonderfully simple! - -too simple?