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Human Rights and Capitalism

A Multidisciplinary Perspective on Globalisation

Edited by Janet Dine and Andrew Fagan

Human Rights and Capitalism brings together two important facets of the globalisation debate and examines the complex relationship between human rights, property rights and capitalist economies.
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Chapter 12: Repayment of Sovereign Debts from a Legal Perspective: The Example of Argentina

Sabine Michalowski


1 Sabine Michalowski INTRODUCTION In present day Argentina, not a day passes in which one is not, on the one hand, reminded of the extreme poverty in which large parts of the country’s population live, and of the ongoing negotiation of debt repayment between the Argentinean Government and its foreign creditors, on the other. Without wanting to minimise other factors that have a negative effect on Argentina’s economic recovery and on the possibility of the Argentinean state to protect the economic and social rights of its citizens, debt repayment plays a predominant role because instead of being able to use its financial resources in order to revive its economy and provide social assistance to citizens in need, the country needs to dedicate an important percentage of its resources to debt repayment. In fact, even during the last few years of acute economic crisis, Argentina repaid more of its debts than it received from International Financial Institutions (IFIs) in the context of debt refinancing.2 More importantly still, the IMF, the World Bank, and the governments of the G7 states use Argentina’s dependency on debt-restructuring etc. in order to influence Argentinean economic policies. Applying the logic of capitalism, they require that the fulfilment of the country’s obligations towards its creditors be regarded as a matter of prime concern, prioritising it even over poverty reduction measures and other social policies that might help to improve the economic and social situation of Argentina’s poor. The President of the World Bank, James...

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