26 January

Paris, France and Online

Debt System

January 26 / 16 h 15 min — 18 h 30 min CET

Event : https://www.epog.eu/event/266-debt/

Eric Toussaint, International spokesperson for the CADTM (Committee for the Abolition of Illegitimate Debt – formerly called Committee for the cancellation of Third World debt).

Discussants: James LUBWA (EPOG+, Major B), Assel OMAROVA (EPOG+, Major A), Leonard WEBER (EPOG+, Major C).

For online (live) attendance: https://live.epog.eu

For the replay: https://videos.epog.eu

Related document(s)
Eric Toussaint (2022), “Chapter 5 — Debt”, in Kearrin Sims, Nicola Banks, Susan Engel, Paul Hodge, Jonathan Makuwira, Naohiro Nakamura, Jonathan Rigg, Albert Salamanca, Pichamon Yeophantong (eds), The Routledge Handbook of Global Development, Routledge, London.


Additional documents
Eric Toussaint (2022), “Two centuries of sovereign debt Sovereign debt Government debts or debts guaranteed by the government. conflicts”, CADTM. Link
Eric Toussaint (2022), “A Book that brings odious debt Odious Debt According to the doctrine, for a debt to be odious it must meet two conditions:
1) It must have been contracted against the interests of the Nation, or against the interests of the People, or against the interests of the State.
2) Creditors cannot prove they they were unaware of how the borrowed money would be used.

We must underline that according to the doctrine of odious debt, the nature of the borrowing regime or government does not signify, since what matters is what the debt is used for. If a democratic government gets into debt against the interests of its population, the contracted debt can be called odious if it also meets the second condition. Consequently, contrary to a misleading version of the doctrine, odious debt is not only about dictatorial regimes.

(See Éric Toussaint, The Doctrine of Odious Debt : from Alexander Sack to the CADTM).

The father of the odious debt doctrine, Alexander Nahum Sack, clearly says that odious debts can be contracted by any regular government. Sack considers that a debt that is regularly incurred by a regular government can be branded as odious if the two above-mentioned conditions are met.
He adds, “once these two points are established, the burden of proof that the funds were used for the general or special needs of the State and were not of an odious character, would be upon the creditors.”

Sack defines a regular government as follows: “By a regular government is to be understood the supreme power that effectively exists within the limits of a given territory. Whether that government be monarchical (absolute or limited) or republican; whether it functions by “the grace of God” or “the will of the people”; whether it express “the will of the people” or not, of all the people or only of some; whether it be legally established or not, etc., none of that is relevant to the problem we are concerned with.”

So clearly for Sack, all regular governments, whether despotic or democratic, in one guise or another, can incur odious debts.
back into the limelight”, CADTM. Link
Eric Toussaint (2022),“Why the Elites in the Global South Favour Indebtedness, How Creditors Have Eroded National Sovereignty, and How States are Beginning to Fight Back”, CADTM. Link
Eric Toussaint (2022),“Another look at the debt of Tunisia and Egypt in the 19th century and the colonization of those countries by France and Britain”, CADTM. Link
Université Paris Cité — Building: Olympe de Gouges (Room: Amphi 2)
Place Paul Ricœur
Paris, 75013

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