11 G8 debt relief programs will cut less than 1 percent of the $3.2 trillion that developing countries still owe—and their harsh terms will exact additional hardship. What’s next for the debt relief campaign?

The Mirage of Debt Relief

James S. Henry

We should have known that it was high time to study the fine print when veteran rock stars Bono and Bob Geldof, film stars Angelina Jolie and George Clooney, liberal comedian Al Franken, U.S. Treasury Secretary John Snow, World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz, and the UK’s Gordon Brown and Tony Blair all lined up on the same side of the field to cheer the G8’s July 2005 decision to provide “$40 billion of debt relief” to poor, heavily indebted developing countries.

One might have expected self-effacing ...

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