Debt relief 'hoax'
"IT IS justice, not charity, that is wanting in the world," says the United Nations Human Development Report published last week. The authors were quoting the 18th century radical Mary Wollstonecraft, but the figures to back up the case are only too modern. The wealth of the world's 200 richest has now reached over $1 trillion (670,000 million). That is seven times greater than the combined income of the 582 million people in the 43 poorest countries.
There are 1.2 billion people living on less than 65p a day. The divide is not just between the rich countries and the Third World. There are also sharp class differences inside countries. Over 17 percent of people in the United States are below the poverty line. This is the record of capitalism. This is what it offers for the future. The pro-market politicians are doing precisely nothing-or rather they are making matters worse.
A report this week from the anti-debt coalition Jubilee 2000 exposed that "in Cologne last June the G8 rich countries promised to write off $100 billion of debt. But since then no country has actually had any debt cancelled." The report says the result of the failure to cancel debt is that every day the very poorest countries pay 40 million to the richest. Some 19,000 children die every day as a result of money going on debt repayments rather than basic health, education and clean water.
As Zie Gariyo, coordinator of the Uganda Debt Network, says, "The debt relief initiative is becoming one of the scandals of the 21st century. Debt relief is a hoax." It is a hoax carried out by Tony Blair, Bill Clinton and all the other smiling leaders who claim to care about the world but have allowed nearly four million children to die so far this year rather than upset the financiers of the IMF and the World Bank.
- Jubilee 2000 were set to protest at the Treasury, Parliament Square, London, at 12.30pm on Thursday 6 July. It was to call for cancellation of debt as the G7 finance ministers met in Japan to prepare the agenda for the Okinawa summit later this month.