Relief and Reform in Third World Debt

  • Gerald K. Helleiner


‘If it is not necessary to change, it is necessary not to change.’ On the basis of this fundamental precept of conservative thought there has been a tendency among observers of North-South disputes, particularly those who proclaim themselves primarily interested in positive-sum games (or interdependence), now to write off ‘the debt problem’ as a non-issue. In parts of the international financial community ‘realists’ and ‘pragmatists’ have engaged in a certain amount of self-congratulation with respect to the ease with which the industrialised world weathered the recent shocks of inflation, recession and oil price increases. Yet the debt issues do not and will not go away. They remain for essentially 3 reasons:
  1. (1)

    they cannot be dissociated from the whole range of other trade and financial issues which remain a source of conflict between North and South;

  2. (2)

    the ‘successes’ associated with the financing problems and debt accumulations of the past few years may be irrelevant as guides to the resolution of the debt-related issues of the future;

  3. (3)

    there exist major shortcomings in the way the world financial system at present protects developing countries, and perhaps the industrialised world as well, from major external shocks.



Export Earning Debt Relief Debtor Country Private Creditor Debt Problem 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Bronfenbrenner, M, M., ‘The Appeal of Confiscation in Economic Development’ Economic Development and Cultural Change, vol. III, no. 3 (Apr. 1955); reprinted in A. N. Agarwala and S.P. Singh (eds), The Economics of Underdevelopment (Oxford University Press, 1958 ).Google Scholar
  2. Bittermann, H. J., The Refunding of International Debt (Durham: Duke University Press, 1963 ).Google Scholar
  3. Edelman, John A. and Chenery, Hollis B., ‘Aid and Income Distribution’, in Jagdish N. Bhagwati (ed.) The New International Economic Order: The North-South Debate ( Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1976 ).Google Scholar
  4. Fishlow, Albert, ‘Debt Remains a Problem’, Foreign Policy, no. 30 (Spring, 1978 ).Google Scholar
  5. Group of 24, Press Communique following meeting in Manila (2 October 1976) to be found in IMF Survey (18 Oct. 1976).Google Scholar
  6. Islam, Nurul, ‘The External Debt Problem of the Developing Countries with Special Reference to the Least Developed’, in G. K. Helleiner (ed.), A World Divided, The Less Developed Countries in the International Economy (Cambridge University Press, 1976 ).Google Scholar
  7. Kenen, Peter, ‘Debt Relief as Development Assistance’ in Jagdish N. Bhagwati (ed.) The New International Economic Order: The North-South Debate ( Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1976 ).Google Scholar
  8. North-South Institute, Third World Deficits and the ‘Debt Crisis’ (Ottawa: 1978).Google Scholar
  9. Ohlin, Goran, ‘Debts, Development and Default’ in G. K. Helleiner (ed.), A World Divided, op. cit. (1976).Google Scholar
  10. Overseas Development Council (ODC), Agenda for Action, 1977 (Washington: 1977).Google Scholar
  11. Pearson Lester B. et al., Partners in Development ( New York: Praeger, 1969 ).Google Scholar
  12. Smith, Gordon, W., ‘The External Debt Prospects of the Non-oil Exporting Developing Countries’ ( Washington: Overseas Development Council, 1977 ).Google Scholar
  13. Triffin, Robert, ‘The Use of SDR Finance for Collectively Agreed Purposes’. Banca Nazionale del Lavoro Quarterly Review, no. 96 (Mar. 1971). Williamson, John, ‘The Link’, in Jagdish Bhagwati (ed.) The New International Economic Order, op. cit. (1977).Google Scholar
  14. Weinert, Richard S, Richard S., ‘Why the Banks Did It’, Foreign Policy, no. 30 (Spring, 1978 ).Google Scholar
  15. World Bank, Development Policy Staff, Prospects for Developing Countries , 1978–85 (Nov. 1977).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Gerald K. Helleiner 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gerald K. Helleiner

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations