Thursday, April 12, 2007
Pérez and Weissman on Banking and Foreign Policy, Odious Debt and the Political Economy of Hegemony
Louis A. Pérez, Jr., UNC History, and Deborah M. Weissman, UNC Law, have posted a new article, Public Power and Private Purpose: Odious Debt and the Political Economy of Hegemony. It is forthcoming in the North Carolina Journal of International Law and Commercial Regulation. Here's the abstract: This Article examines the process by which over-lapping interests between private bankers and government translates into influence and power mediated through the use of bank loans as instruments of foreign policy. The article suggests the market transactions often act as a matter of U.S. interests. It makes use of historical narratives not only as means to document the origins of the Odious Debt doctrine, but also to demonstrate the complexity attending efforts to create an Odious Debt doctrine that might function in law. The International Lending Supervision Act, the Baker plan and Brady initiative - policies reinforced through legal interpretations, tax and revenue rules and regulations, SEC regulations - and a host of other statutes that intersect banking and foreign policy interests suggest that market forces rarely act independently of U.S. interests. Foreign banking is politicized and foreign policy is commercialized. The article also addresses the ideological and procedural limitations of the use of private law as a conceptual framework for resolving odious debt. The specific case studies addressed in the article, including the Dominican Republic, Cuba, and Costa Rica, serve to underscore the necessity of including an analysis of the realpolitik of banking and foreign policy and the inexorable entanglement of private financial interests with national interests. The article argues that the realpolitik of lending activity requires a debt resolution framework that addresses not only the circumstances of the sovereign debtor, or the practices of creditor banks, but the circumstances of U.S. interests in which all such transactions are conceived and conducted.