Academic journal article Law and Contemporary Problems

Foreword

Academic journal article Law and Contemporary Problems

Foreword

Article excerpt

In January 2007, Law and Contemporary Problems held the Odious Debts and State Corruption conference at Duke University School of Law. Odious Debts and State Corruption was the first conference of its kind, (1) pioneering new legal territory by bringing together top scholars to engage a critical, interdisciplinary discussion of odious debt.

A term of early twentieth-century origin, "odious debt" has a meaning--and a significance--every bit relevant to the twenty-first century. Coined in 1927 by jurist Alexander Sack, (2) "odious debt" refers to debts imposed upon countries by prior repressive regimes, when such regimes borrowed from creditors that were on notice of the regimes' repressive conditions and purposes. Through the confluence of modern infamous governments--such as the Saddam Hussein regime in Iraq--and current developments in legal thought, the doctrine of odious debt recently has been revitalized as a theory of international finance and international justice.

Issues three and four of this volume are dedicated to the articles discussed and developed at the Odious Debts and State Corruption conference. The exceptional scholars contributing to this double issue represent a cross-section of thought on the history, application, and future of the odious debt doctrine. They originally presented their ideas in a series of panels that addressed the economics of odious debt, the problem of despotic leaders, odious debt as a doctrine of international law, private domestic-law analogies and solutions, and the relevance of transnational justice. …

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