Many people know what it feels like to owe money, even if only to a building society for a mortgage. But it's a different matter altogether to be deeply in debt and unable to repay it. And even worse to be in that situation if someone else ran up the debt and left you to carry it.
When individuals become deeply indebted, we draw a line under the debt. That line is called bankruptcy. It is a line beyond which we do not allow people to fall.
No such line can be drawn in international law. When poor countries become deeply indebted they fall into an abyss of economic degradation. Their governments owe vast sums to Western governments and international, Westernócontrolled institutions. These same institutions then take on responsibility for determining levels of debt relief.
This is unjust and itís time we did something about it.
This guide gives you a quick lesson on what exactly caused the debt crisis and why itís important for you to hold the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, and other international financial institutions responsible for unsound debt.
What are SAPs? Does bilateral debt have you confused? Jubilee USAís glossary gives extensive definitions to words we use to discuss the need for debt cancellation.