Chapter 7 - The Sociology of Sustainable Development

Instead nations that cannot meet their debt payments

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Unformatted text preview: nmental organizations are calling for debts to be cancelled. In 1996, the World Bank responded by creating a program— “Debt Relief for Sustainable Development”—that aims to reduce the debt of Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPCs) (Table 7.3). The use of the term sustainable development here is not clearly linked to the Bruntland Photo by T. Lewis. FIGURE 7.5 Graffiti in Quito. “The gasoline prices rise and the jungle cries.” Table 7.3 Debt of Selected Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPCs) in US$million TOTAL DEBT/GNP TOTAL DEBT STOCK Bolivia Congo, Rep Ethiopia Guyana Honduras Kenya Lao, PDR Mali Mauritania Nicaragua Niger Vietnam 1980 2,702 1,526 824 — 1,472 3,383 — 727 840 2,190 863 — 1992 4,235 4,770 9,341 1,897 3,614 6,907 1,917 2,898 2,088 11,178 1,517 24,332 1997 5,248 5,071 10,079 1,611 4,698 6,486 2,320 2,945 2,453 5,677 1,579 21,629 1980 101 98 19 — 62 48 — 45 125 112 35 — 1992 80 187 169 711 111 91 170 103 186 828 66 247 (%) 1997 68 278 159 236 103 65 132 119 235 306 86 89 SOURCES: Data compiled from Global Development Finance, 1999; World Bank, 1992; and World Bank, 1999. Used by permission of the Copyright Clearance Center for the World Bank. 246 THE SOCIOLOGY OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT 247 Commission’s definition. Instead, nations that cannot meet their debt payments are classified as unsustainable. Nations are deemed eligible for this program by an economic calculation (debt-to-export ratio), not in terms of environmental or social issues. Despite the intentions of the programs, the World Bank received criticism for not moving ahead fast enough, not providing enough relief, and not linking debt to social issues. Critics believe there is a lack of commitment to truly helping the poor and highlight hypocrisies. For example, by contrast, “In 1997 the Group of Seven countries responded to East Asia’s crisis with extraordinary resolve, mobilizing in a few months more than $100 billion of loans. Equal resolve is now needed for finding the mere $7 billion needed to implement the HIPC initiative in more than 20 African Countries.”102 Despite the Bank’...
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