Vulture funds: UK Government does the right thing for poor nations
One of the most sickening features of globalisation is the hyper-exploitation of the poorest countries on the planet by the ghouls of the financial world. What these so-called “vulture funds” do is buy up a poor country’s defaulted debt from a financial institution at an enormous discount, then find a court willing to let them sue the Government of that heavily-indebted, poverty-stricken country for recovery of the whole of the debt. As long as the court awards them more than the discounted rate they bought the debt for, they make a handsome profit – often millions of pounds for virtually no work at all.
They walk away with the money, and the people of the poor country concerned lose schools, hospitals, jobs, and Governments like Britain’s, who are currently forgiving other debts so that public services can be expanded see their efforts go to waste. In a fair and just world, these people should be staked out in the desert so that the vultures after which they are named could peck out their soft organs, but their practices should at least be illegal.
Now, the British Government seems willing to take the steps to make that happen (changing the law, I mean – the real vultures will have to go hungry for a while….)
The Treasury today announced a consultation to restrict the ability of certain financial creditors to ignore debt relief measures agreed by the international community – comments need to be submitted by 9 October. The consultation follows a Private Members’ Bill introduced by Sally Keeble MP, which cross-party support. And, of course, a long and brilliant campaign by the Jubilee Debt Campaign, of which the TUC is proud to be a part.
Some things that Governments do are not just technically effective or broadly positive, they are actually morally right.