Letter: Cancel those debts

Sir: Serious economists, as well as pop stars (report, 11 February), have supported Jubilee 2000, and urged the cancellation of Third World debt .

At the Adam Smith Institute, we have expressed the view that this debt burden is holding back development. These were often ill-considered loans lent by ill-advised banks to illegitimate governments. The capital is gone, in most cases wasted, and repayment comes from what little income these countries generate.

By cancelling that debt on a one-off basis, we not only raise the living standards of the desperately poor, but we give them the chance, and the investment, to embark on that upward path which generates growth, wealth and jobs.

Cancellation is our interest as well as theirs.


Senior Research Economist

Adam Smith Institute

London SW1