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Press release
CADTM denounces the exponential enrichment of the few while the fundamental rights of billions go unheeded
13 March 2007

Forbes magazine has just published its annual list of the world’s richest individuals, and CADTM cannot remain silent in the face of the out-and-out scandal that lies behind these figures.

According to Forbes, there are currently 946 billionaires (in dollars) in the world, as against 793 last year, thus demonstrating once again that the very rich keep getting richer. The cumulative fortune of these 946 billionaires amounts to some 3,500 billion dollars.

By comparison, the external public debt of all the developing countries is a modest one at just 1,500 billion dollars. Yet this debt, which is largely odious in nature, and which has not benefited the populations concerned, is a colossal burden for the economies of these countries. Each year, the respective authorities pay out over 200 billion dollars in debt servicing.

For CADTM, the present economic model is incapable of taking into account the common good and of providing a solution to the poverty and corruption that is strangling whole sections of the planet. The IMF, the World Bank, the leaders of the most industrialized countries, and the big multinationals are defending a structurally iniquitous system bent on constantly increasing the profits of a few, with the active connivence of the elite of countries in the South.

CADTM calls for wide-sweeping change so that the interests of the many are not constantly being thrust into the background by the private interests of a handful of very rich individuals. CADTM calls for the application of four measures designed to open up a radically different path:

- total and immediate cancellation of the external public debt of all developing countries and an audit in each country identifying the different responsibilities in the current situation;

- an end to structural adjustment policies (liberalization, privatizations, cuts in social spending) which the major powers are able to enforce thanks to the debt mechanism;

- the removal of tax havens and expropriation of the funds concealed there;

- finally, an exceptional 50% tax to be levied on the fortunes of the 946 billionaires listed by Forbes and to be used in the fight against poverty.

Translated by Judith Harris.