Vulture Funds

I received a very interesting email this morning from the The Jubilee Debt Campaign. It concerns ‘vulture funds’ – these are groups of speculators who continue to demand massive debt repayments from the world’s poorest countries. Although the World Bank and IMF have attempted to co-ordinate debt relief programmes for nations in dire financial conditions, vulture funds are using tax loopholes to pursue third world governments.

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Journalist Greg Palast has conducted an investigation for The Guardian and BBC Newsnight into the vulture fund FG Hemisphere. It’s suing the Democratic Republic of Congo, the second poorest country in the world, for $100 million in a Jersey court.

The investigation has revealed the original debt appears to have been sold for $3.3 million, and has found evidence that it was improperly acquired from Bosnia in the 1990s.

There’s a special in-depth report in today’s Guardian, and you can watch the full report on tonight’s Newsnight at 10.30pm on BBC2 (the photo above shows Greg Palast confronting Peter Grossman of FG Hemisphere).

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Great work from the Guardian – their development blog is really worth following.

Here is a book list it published a few days ago for those interested in Development studies which I am going to slowly work my way through.

• Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson, Economic Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy

• Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo, Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way To Fight Global Poverty

• Jagdish Bhagwati, In Defence of Globalisation

• Ester Boserup, Woman’s Role in Economic Development

• Deborah Brautigam, The Dragon’s Gift: The Real Story of China in Africa

• Ha-Joon Chang, Kicking Away the Ladder: Development Strategy in Historical Perspective

• Paul Collier, The Bottom Billion: Why the Poorest Countries Are Failing and What Can Be Done About It

• William Easterly, The White Man’s Burden: Why the West’s Efforts To Aid the Rest Have Done So Much Ill and So Little Good

• Arturo Escobar, Encountering Development: The Making and Unmaking of the Third World

• Peter Evans, Embedded Autonomy: States and Industrial Transformation

• Paul Farmer, Pathologies of Power: Health, Human Rights, and the New War on the Poor

• James Ferguson, The Anti-politics Machine: “Development”, Depoliticisation and Bureaucratic Power in Lesotho

• Joseph Hanlon, Armando Barrientos, David Hulme, Just Give Money To the Poor: the Development Revolution from the Global South

• Jeffrey Herbst, States and Power in Africa: Comparative Lessons in Authority and Control

• Timothy Mitchell, Rule of Experts: Egypt, Techno-Politics, Modernity

• Dambisa Moyo, Dead Aid: Why Aid Is Not Working and How There Is Another Way for Africa

• Karl Polanyi, The Great Transformation: The Political and Economic Origins of Our Time

• CK Prahalad, The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid: Eradicating Poverty Through Profits

• Adam Przeworski, Michael Alvarez, Jose Antonio Cheibub, Fernando Limongi, Democracy and Development: Political Institutions and Well-Being in the World, 1950-1990

• Walter Rodney, How Europe Underdeveloped Africa

• Jeffrey Sachs, The End of Poverty: Economic Possibilities for Our Time

• James Scott, Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes To Improve the human Condition Have Failed

• Amartya Sen, Development as Freedom

• Joseph Stiglitz, Globalisation and Its Discontents

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