Felix Salmon

The politics of debt in Zimbabwe

March 4, 2010

It’s worth remembering, in an era where Greece and other countries are being pilloried for fudging the amount of their national debt to make it look smaller than it actually is, that there’s another group of countries which is often accused of the equal and opposite crime. Governments looking to take advantage of the World Bank’s HIPC program, in which they get classified as Heavily Indebted Poor Countries, need to demonstrate not only that they’re poor but also that they’re heavily indebted. And so they have an incentive to fudge their books to make it look as though they owe more than they actually do. If they’re successful, the World Bank, Paris Club, and even private creditors are likely to more or less wipe out the debt entirely.

The nonsensical political rhetoric on Greece

March 1, 2010

Can someone explain to me why and how politicians seem to be particularly susceptible to getting the issue with Greek credit default swaps completely backwards? And why reporters simply parrot their nonsense, rather than calling them on it?

Fire the lot of ’em!

November 19, 2009

John Hudson has an interesting round-up of responses to the signs of humanity from Goldman Sachs on Tuesday: I’m definitely the outlier in a sea of commentators saying that they’re tiny, meaningless, and an attempt to deflect attention from the bigger issues surrounding the bank.