Protection of the Poor and the Millennium Development Goals
Chapter 8: Poverty, Debtor Protection and the MDGs
The World Commission on the Social Dimension of Globalization (2004) concluded that the eradication of poverty and the attainment of the MDGs should be seen as the first steps towards a socioeconomic ‘floor’ for the global economy. Without any doubt, debt management must also respect this floor, which means it must not extract resources for debt service that are needed to finance this minimum. In the parlance of insolvency lawyers: the universally accepted idea of resources exempt from seizure by bona fide creditors must finally be applied to the only debtors not benefitting from this protection of human dignity. The fact that all official creditors have accepted the MDGs and are officially committed to achieve them avoids long discussions on what precisely debtor protection should include. It took national legal systems a very long time to establish what has meanwhile become generally accepted standards in national insolvency cases. Using the MDGs would avoid long discussions on what and how much should be exempt, and it would immediately improve living conditions notably. A difference remains though. While all individual debtors are unconditionally protected from hunger and guaranteed at least a modest minimum of resources, not all people would enjoy this minimum standard after achieving the MDGs. Many people would continue to live on less than one dollar a day or go hungry, as many people did before the debt crisis. This should be of great concern, and development policies must aim at overcoming this inhumane situation. Unfortunately though, this is a...
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