1. What is the biblical basis for the Jubilee 2000’s call for the immediate canceling of the debts of all HIPCs? Answer: Leviticus 25:14 says “You shall not oppress one another.” The lending countries loaned money at interest rates in excess knowing that the HIPCs could not pay those debts off in the future, and that is a means of oppression. Leviticus 25:25-28 is where the name Jubilee comes from. Basically, it says that if a man is poor and needs money, he can sell his items. Either he can pay off the debt and get his items back, a family member can do this for him, or upon the year of Jubilee the items are returned to the original owner and the debt is forgiven.
2. What conditions do you believe should accompany debt relief to developing countries? Answer: Out of all the choices on pages 218-219 in the Stapleford text, I have chosen three conditions that I believe are most important (although I do believe all 9 of them should be used): a. Preferential option for the poor with respect to the spending of the funds saved. I believe that if you want someone to believe in you, you have to believe in yourself. It goes back to Chapter 1 in the Stapleford text when he spoke about an individual having self-interest (without excess). If a country wants to get better, it has to invest in its people- education, roads, utilities, healthcare, AIDS/Ebola/Malaria/other disease prevention and treatment, loans available to farmers and small business owners.
b. The institution of social security systems. Cap military spending to avoid governments backing militias for political gain. No loans for countries persecuting any religious group. No spending the money going to war, instead investing it in long-term peace-keeping operations.
c. Investment by developed countries in technology needed to foster developing-country development. This closely ties in with my first choice, but I want to combine another condition (institution and enforcement if environmental policies and regulations). The country should not only invest in its people but also in itself as a country. Using environmentally safer procedures will help preserve the natural resources of the developing country.
At the same time, money should be invested in advancing technologies to help its people. Schools should have technologies to bring their people up and close the gap between higher developing countries. Technologies to improve roads and utilities while also focusing on “Going Green.” And, of the highest importance to me, invest in medical research and technologies. I can only pray that I will live to see the discovery of the AIDS cure.
3. Why has the application of the World Bank’s Structural Adjustment policies been counter-productive in many developing countries? Answer: In some countries, the reduction of government spending had the same effect as restrictive fiscal policies which aggravated an already recessionary market. Less money in circulation increased unemployment and lowered aggregate demand. This also put upward pressure on interest rates, and low-income farmers and businesses could not rise to meet these new rates. Exports were cheaper, but prices were falling. Import costs rose, putting domestic producers in a position where new parts and technologies were harder to obtain. All of this increased the gap between the upper class and the poor.