by Irving S. Friedman ‧ RELEASE DATE: March 3, 1987
A closely reasoned challenge to conventional hard-line wisdom on dealing with the international debt crisis from a career technocrat who for over 40 years has held senior executive or advisory positions at major public and private-sector financial institutions. In brief, Friedman's arresting thesis envisions large increases in the already sizable obligations of less-developed countries to commercial lenders. While the author does not advocate further borrowing as a solution, he does espouse ""development goals and policies that will require much larger inflows of capital than are now available."" Friedman concludes that private lenders will have to take up the slack. In the meantime, he asserts, the international financial system is overdue for reform that could help restore the capacity of cash-strapped LDCs (plagued in the 1980's by declining economic growth rates and standards of living) to obtain foreign loans on a market basis or close to. Drawing on his own experience, Friedman offers an accessible primer on international financial structures and makes some proposals designed to remedy perceived deficiencies in the current financial system and to enhance the credit-worthiness of industrializing Third World debtors. His recommendations rest on a strengthened international monetary system that provides for stable but not rigid exchange rates and effective curbs on disruptive transnational flows of capital. Liquidity is also of concern to Friedman, notably in the case of LDCs whose growth potential is stunted by balance-of-payments difficulties; in this context, he suggests the IMF could play a more accommodating and less coercive role, perhaps doling out a version of special drawing rights that would provide needy nations with countercyclical aid. At the same time, Friedman observes, ""Banks must be prepared to extend the present debt restructuring--to, say, 10 years or longer."" The author soft-pedals or ignores some promising market resolutions of the debt impasse; money-center banks, for example, have begun selling hard-currency loans to brokers who arrange swaps for equity in host countries' industry. Nonetheless, his text raises and addresses issues that urgently require collaborative attention.
Pub Date: March 3, 1987
Page Count: -
Review Posted Online: N/A
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 1987
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