Acton Institute Powerblog

Running the Numbers

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Recent news about debt relief for poor African nations might give the impression that governmental corruption, inefficiency, and irresponsibility are unique to developing countries. This is simply not so.

Take, for example, the situation of the United States government. As of June 14, 2005, the total outstanding U.S. public debt is $7,804,534,405,437.48. That amounts to a share of debt for each U.S. citizen of just over $26,000.

Jordan J. Ballor Jordan J. Ballor (Dr. theol., University of Zurich; Ph.D., Calvin Theological Seminary) is a senior research fellow and director of publishing at the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion & Liberty. He is also a postdoctoral researcher in theology and economics at the VU University Amsterdam as part of the "What Good Markets Are Good For" project. He is author of Get Your Hands Dirty: Essays on Christian Social Thought (and Action) (Wipf & Stock, 2013), Covenant, Causality, and Law: A Study in the Theology of Wolfgang Musculus (Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2012) and Ecumenical Babel: Confusing Economic Ideology and the Church's Social Witness (Christian's Library Press, 2010), as well as editor of numerous works, including Abraham Kuyper Collected Works in Public Theology. Jordan is also associate director of the Junius Institute for Digital Reformation Research at Calvin Theological Seminary.

Comments

  • Linda Valenzona

    There is a big difference here. Developing countries the nationalization of foreign debt means that the burden of debt servicing falls on the govt and ultimately shrinks the social development that govt. can spend on the poor.

    These debts were really the sad combination of irresponsible lending of foreign banks and of corruption and bad governance in developing countries. Our countries could not default on them because of the pressures exerted by WB and IMF.