Latest Issue

In praise of debt

There are sound reasons for countries to incur debt. Relief is not always helpful

By Alan Shipman   July 2005

Once a truth is universally acknowledged, some economists feel a duty to shoot it down. Many of those who have wrestled longest with the plight of the world’s poorest believe that debt cancellation is often bad for those receiving it. They have strong reasons to dispute the consensus on debt relief set to be crowned at the G8 meeting in Gleneagles this July.

The economist Jeffrey Sachs has been a key inspiration behind the $51bn debt cancellation plan that will write off all the multilateral debt of, eventually, 27 mostly African countries. Debt relief is a major component of Sachs’s…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to

More From Prospect