Foreign Debt Relief
General Intention: Foreign Debt Relief. That international efforts to help poorer nations may bring prompt, concrete results, especially to relieve the crushing burden of foreign debt.
With the crash of the Western banking system, we have seen how greedy misuse of financial power causes debt. Investment banks persuaded low-income groups to take out house-bonds that they were unable to pay back. Everyone lost out. Many residents lost their houses and the banks were left with the now famous 'toxic assets'. A lose-lose situation.
Debt and poverty go together. The poor go into debt to buy furniture on hire purchase and end up paying far more than what the articles are worth. The poor are forced to borrow from loan sharks. And it is the poor in developing countries who suffer from the debts their leaders run up with international financial institutions. Sometimes the interest is all these countries can manage, and services such as health and education are cut back to pay it, causing more poverty.
Western governments have bailed the banks out, in effect forgiving their debts. The poor do not often get let off in this way, although around the turn of the millennium there was an effort to relieve the developing world of its more crippling debts.
All this suggests that we should be praying not only for debt relief but for wisdom for both lenders and borrowers to be realistic in their lending and borrowing. Also that lender and borrower retain their human dignity by avoiding crippling and dehumanising debt.