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The Debt Scam
by Eric Toussaint , Damien Millet
16 February 2004

For the last 20 years, despite their innumerable natural and human resources, the Third World countries have been milked dry. The debt is also a subtle mechanism of domination and a new method of colonisation, hindering any sustainable human development in the South. The policies adopted by the indebted governments are more often decided by the creditors than by the parliaments of the countries concerned. The limits of the so-called debt-reduction initiative launched with great pomp by the G7, the IMF and the World Bank, were shown up by the greatest petition ever known (24 million signatures collected between 1998 and 2000, co-ordinated by the Jubilee 2000 campaigns).

A radically different approach needs to be adopted - cancel the debt, pure and simple. It is immoral and often odious anyway.

The authors provide answers to various objections to this proposal. The authors argue tant debt-cancellation is necessary but not sufficient, and must be accompanied by other measures such as the recovery of “ill-gotten gains” and their restitution to the despoiled people. They suggest alternative sources of finance, both local and international. They also ask who owes what to whom? They support the demands for reparation put forward by social movements in the South.

In the answers to fifty pertinent questions, this book explains in clear, simple terms how and why the debt impasse has come about. Graphs and charts are used to illustrate the responsability of those who uphold neo-liberalism and corporate-driven globalisation - the international financial institutions, the industrialised countries and also the leaders of the South.

The authors:

- Damien Millet teaches mathematics. He’s the General secretary of CADTM France, a member of Attac and collaborates on the magazine ’Alternative’ (Niger).

- Eric Toussaint is a historian and political scientist, President of the CADTM, member of the International Council of the World Social Forum and of the Scientific Advisory Board of Attac France, author of “Your Money or Your Life! The Tyranny of Global Finance” (1999), co-author of “Le bateau ivre de la mondialisation. Escales au sein du village planétaire” (2000), of “Afrique : abolir la dette pour libérer le développement” (2001).

Translated from french by Vicky Briault Manus, Professor at the University of Grenoble.

This edition was published by Vikas Adhyayan Kendra (VAK), Mumbai, India, 2003.

Eric Toussaint

is a historian and political scientist who completed his Ph.D. at the universities of Paris VIII and Liège, is the spokesperson of the CADTM International, and sits on the Scientific Council of ATTAC France.
He is the author of Greece 2015: there was an alternative. London: Resistance Books / IIRE / CADTM, 2020 , Debt System (Haymarket books, Chicago, 2019), Bankocracy (2015); The Life and Crimes of an Exemplary Man (2014); Glance in the Rear View Mirror. Neoliberal Ideology From its Origins to the Present, Haymarket books, Chicago, 2012, etc.
See his bibliography:
He co-authored World debt figures 2015 with Pierre Gottiniaux, Daniel Munevar and Antonio Sanabria (2015); and with Damien Millet Debt, the IMF, and the World Bank: Sixty Questions, Sixty Answers, Monthly Review Books, New York, 2010. He was the scientific coordinator of the Greek Truth Commission on Public Debt from April 2015 to November 2015.

Damien Millet

professeur de mathématiques en classes préparatoires scientifiques à Orléans, porte-parole du CADTM France (Comité pour l’Annulation de la Dette du Tiers Monde), auteur de L’Afrique sans dette (CADTM-Syllepse, 2005), co-auteur avec Frédéric Chauvreau des bandes dessinées Dette odieuse (CADTM-Syllepse, 2006) et Le système Dette (CADTM-Syllepse, 2009), co-auteur avec Eric Toussaint du livre Les tsunamis de la dette (CADTM-Syllepse, 2005), co-auteur avec François Mauger de La Jamaïque dans l’étau du FMI (L’esprit frappeur, 2004).