A non-cosmopolitan case for sovereign debt relief

Journal of Global Ethics 6 (1):57-70 (2011)
Abstract
This article develops the argument that non-cosmopolitan considerations of justice justify relief of sovereign debt for highly indebted poor states. In particular, the article claims that considerations of national determination warrant some debt-forgiveness in the backdrop of unfair terms of global interaction. In a context of inequality, poor countries cannot generally afford to disregard the costs of ignoring the interests of the wealthiest states. Patterns of unbalanced interaction undermine national self-determination by limiting the poor countries' effective capacity to choose between different policies to achieve development and other worthy goals. In concrete, this article suggests that unequal terms of interaction constrain national self-determination by making of sovereign debt an 'escape mechanism' in the absence of rival alternatives to palliate the effects of underdevelopment and related afflictions, despite the causes of sovereign debt being partly domestic, possibly. Thus, this paper views national self-determination as dependent on the availability of acceptable (non-unbearably burdensome) policy options on the part of states
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