Ethics, Market and Government Failure, and Globalization: Perspectives on Debt and Finance

J. E. Stiglitz

in Sovereign Debt at the Crossroads

Published in print April 2006 | ISBN: 9780195168006
Published online May 2006 | e-ISBN: 9780199783458 | DOI:
 Ethics, Market and Government Failure, and Globalization: Perspectives on Debt and Finance

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This chapter looks at the ethical aspects of globalization during the 1990s. It argues that in the way that they have sought to shape globalization, the advanced industrial countries and some of the multilateral institutions that they control have violated some basic ethical norms. Three central issues in the context of global finance are analyzed: the design of debt contracts between developed and developing countries and other aspects of lending behavior; the consequences of excessive debt; and broader issues associated with the global reserve system. Three types of ethical problems are discussed: (1) where markets (or international institutions) take advantage of their “power” and the weaknesses of the developing country to pursue their own interests at the expense of or risk to those in the developing countries; (2) where international financial institutions provide advice that works to the disadvantage of the developing countries; and (3) where the markets, and especially the international financial institutions, have not done as much as they could for the well-being of the developed countries.

Keywords: global finance; lending behavior; developing countries; bankruptcy regimes; debt forgiveness; global economic system

Chapter.  7768 words. 

Subjects: Economic Development and Growth

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