SPECIAL ISSUE ON THE ETHICS OF SOVEREIGN DEBTHow should governments decide when and how much to borrow? What are the responsibilities of official, multilateral, and private creditors that lend to governments? Who should bear which risks? When debt crises occur, how should they be resolved? What makes processes of debt restructuring, debt cancellation, or the enforcement of debt contracts more or less just, or the outcomes of such processes better or worse?
The essays in this special issue of Ethics & International Affairs contribute to these pressing policy debates, but also take a step back from the political fray to examine some more fundamental considerations that seem relevant to assessing the fairness of current arrangements related to sovereign debt contracts and alternatives that might be proposed to them.
Introduction: The Players and the Game of Sovereign Debt [Abstract]
This essay characterizes the main actors and how they operate during a buildup of government foreign debt.
International Debt: The Constructive Implications of Some Moral Mathematics [Abstract]
Modified rules for the accumulation and discharge of international sovereign debt can codify the moral and legal basis for existing ad hoc deviations and present a justifiable framework within which international lending and borrowing can take place.
The Due Diligence Model: A New Approach to the Problem of Odious Debts [Full Text]
Odious debts are debts incurred by a government without either popular consent or a legitimate public purpose. There is a debate within academic circles as to whether the successor government to a regime that incurred odious debts has the right to repudiate repayment.
National Responsibility and the Just Distribution of Debt Relief [Abstract]
The Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative is the largest multilateral effort aimed at providing debt relief. this essay, we address the question of whether this program is consistent with a view of justice commonly known as liberal egalitarianism.
Risks of Lending and Liability to Others [Abstract]
This essay analyzes why risk and liability are necessary mechanisms of well-functioning markets, and discusses how risk can be handled. In the U.S., inappropriate regulatory norms hindered providing against risk in the case of sovereign debt. The absence of liability has produced debts no decent legal system would recognize as legitimate domestic debt.
Making the Case for Jubilee: The Catholic Church and the Poor-Country Debt Movement [Abstract]
Since the late 1970s, an increasingly global coalition of churches and nongovernmental organizations has pressed for reduction if not outright cancellation of the foreign debt of highly indebted poor countries, because of its deleterious impact on poor people. The movement achieved limited yet substantial success in the Jubilee 2000 campaign.
Argentina, the Church, and the Debt [Abstract]
The Argentine debt crisis of 2001–2002 and its aftermath are examined in the light of the moral framework of Catholic social teaching on the debt problems of poor countries.
- RELATED COUNCIL RESOURCES ONLINE (Ethics & International Affairs, Volume 21.1 (Spring 2007))