Debt and the Global Economic Crisis of 1997/98/99
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- This page: https://www.globalissues.org/article/32/debt-and-the-global-economic-crisis-of-19979899.
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The structural adjustment measures, global, unregulated free markets, lack of protection for emerging economies, and debt all contributed to the global economic and financial crisis in the late 1990s. It saw stock markets stumble, economies collapse, unemployment and poverty increasing (and western nations and institutions made sure that the IMF
rescue packages would help get their money back, while structurally
adjusting the affected nations).
This had an impact on everyone from Asia to Russia, Latin America and Africa. (The link on Africa is the United Nation's Secretary General, Koffi Annan’s, report on the region about the causes of conflict, peace resolution, sustainable development etc. I have included it here to show an example of how the lending institutions have not really helped in realizing a free democratic Africa.)
Towards the end of the 1990s, even the mainstream media's reporting on the global financial crisis can
warrant criticism. Their phrases used (an Asian Financial Crisis, crony capitalism which was the
fault of people in the affected countries and so on), their angles portrayed, the influences of western
corporations etc. all resulted in coverage that tended to implicitly, sometimes explicitly, blame others. It came
over as though excuses and other explanations had to be provided so as not to let us imagine that some of the root
causes would ever come from the home-grown
prescriptions. The following quote provides another way to
look at it:
While various Asia/Pacific countries are in the process of recovering, they must learn the lessons of the financial crisis by relying on domestic roots for growth, diversifying exports and deepening social safety nets, says a United Nations Economic and Social Survey of Asia-Pacific report. It is interesting to note that this is opposite of the processes prescribed by nations such as the United States and organizations such as the WTO, IMF and World Bank, that prefer more liberlization and opening up of countries to allow foreign investment to be easier (and allowing pull outs to be easier -- which is what happened in this crisis in the first place.) For a summary of the UN report, you can also read this news article.
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