BOTH COMMON SENSE AND MORALITY DICTATE THAT WE HELP TO END THE DEBT CRISIS : Jubilee 2000: Paying Our Debts

By Edgar, Bob | The Nation, April 24, 2000 | Go to article overview

BOTH COMMON SENSE AND MORALITY DICTATE THAT WE HELP TO END THE DEBT CRISIS : Jubilee 2000: Paying Our Debts


Edgar, Bob, The Nation


A massive natural disaster reminds us why people worldwide have been engaged by the issue of debt relief. Mozambique, along with several Southern African neighbors, faces years of reconstruction in the wake of recent storms and floods that government officials say did more damage than sixteen years of civil war. Although Mozambique has been granted some debt relief in recent years, when the storms struck it was still paying $1.4 million a week in interest. Mozambique has been granted a temporary moratorium on its debt payments, but it will still have to pay its creditors back. It is due for additional debt relief in April, but this may be delayed if Congress doesn't contribute.

The reality in highly indebted countries is grim. Half of Africa's population--about 300 million people--live without access to basic healthcare or a safe water source. In Tanzania, where 40 percent of the population dies before age 35, the government spends nine times more on foreign debt payments than on healthcare. In 1997, before Hurricane Mitch, Nicaragua spent more than half its revenue on debt payments. Until recently, it has taken countries in structural adjustment programs six or more years to get debt relief. For lenders this seems like common sense--make sure the country has its economic house in order before canceling debts--but the human cost is tremendous. Six years is a child's entire elementary school education. If governments are forced to cut subsidies for public education and charge fees that make schooling too expensive for the poor, it cheats a whole generation of children. In contrast, in countries where some debt relief has already been provided there is evidence of the potential benefits. For example, Uganda established a Poverty Action Fund, into which it pledged to deposit all the savings from debt relief. One goal is achieving universal primary education. With the resources freed from debt relief, combined with other sources, primary school enrollment has more than doubled, to 5.3 million children since 1997.

Concern about the need to provide deeper and faster debt relief gave rise to an international movement--under the banner of Jubilee 2000--to cancel the debt of the poorest countries by the end of this year. Grounded in biblical mandates of jubilee calling for the forgiveness of debt, the freeing of slaves and the return of lands so as not to perpetuate generations of impoverishment, this movement seeks to promote meaningful debt cancellation for the world's poorest nations in order to reduce poverty and prevent further environmental degradation. There are now Jubilee 2000 campaigns in more than sixty countries, creditor and debtor alike. We in the faith community here in the United States have added our voice to those of other religious leaders, including Pope John Paul II and Bishop Desmond Tutu, who have eloquently stated the principles being raised by their churches regarding the need to set economic relations right. Almost all the major religious bodies in the United States--including Catholic, Protestant, Jewish and Muslim--are working together on this initiative. This commitment crosses the spectrum: Even the Revs. Billy Graham and Pat Robertson have endorsed the need to provide debt relief to poor countries.

Providing debt cancellation also makes good common sense. For example, there is a direct relationship between the debt and rampant deforestation, as governments sell off natural resources and chop down forests to plant cash crops to earn foreign currency. The drug trade is protected in many countries because it provides valuable foreign currency for their interest payments. And the United States is losing out on future markets of hundreds of millions of people that so far remain unable to afford basic schooling, much less to buy products made in America.

Jubilee 2000 has placed the issue of debt relief at the forefront of the international development agenda. The human consequences of poor countries' debt burden have become a moral concern for millions of US citizens. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

BOTH COMMON SENSE AND MORALITY DICTATE THAT WE HELP TO END THE DEBT CRISIS : Jubilee 2000: Paying Our Debts
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.