How to get rich

  • Step 1: Discover a country in abject poverty with one or two assets to its name overseas. Countries whose larger creditors have already agreed to forgive the majority of its debts.
  • Step 2: Buy debts incurred by that country’s previous corrupt regimes, from companies to which it owes money, at twenty, thirty cents in the dollar.
  • Step 3: Find a country – like Australia – that hasn’t signed up to the World Bank’s Highly Indebted Poor Country initiative, an initiative that limits recovery in such cases to a certain percentage depending on that country’s situation.
  • Step 4: Enforce those judgments in, say, Australia, to take those assets from the miserably poor citizens of the original country.
  • Step 5: PROFIT.
  • Step 6: Live a rich, morally-bankrupt life, never telling friends and family precisely how you made your money.
  • Step 7: Spend eternity roasting in hell if there’s any such place.

6 responses to “How to get rich

  1. jordanrastrick

    This is an excellent post.

    Although it does imply that there shouldn’t really be aid or investment directed to governments in the world’s poorer and more unstable countries, since those governments are quite likely to just take the cash and leave some other reigime to inherit the debt, to the detriment of the citizens. (Note that no one’s going to lend money to the Congolese treasury if they expect to have to write off the debt every 10 years due to a coup.)

    To alleviate poverty we therefore need direct private investment in those countries that bypasses their governments altogether, an idea which probably makes some of the lefties around here uncomforable (and also runs into a similar potential issue about ethics and legal juristictions….. )

    Or, we could just let the people in those countries immigrate here, where they will be protected from corruption, theft and exploitation by the full force of Australian law.

  2. Oh, so NOW you want to pinch our ecclesiastical concepts.

    Fair weather athiest.

  3. The thing is, companies are already recognising that they’ll lose their dough with these sorts of deals – the original company sold its debt for 20-30%. The point is not letting the minor players really gouge the countries decades later.

    It’s putting them on the same footing as everyone else.

  4. jordanrastrick

    OK, but then my point still holds, that to solve developing world poverty we effectively need to bypass governments, which implies to an extent bypassing local sovereignty/law.

    That means leaving the poor world to sort out its own problems, letting decent companies invest in a way that may nonetheless undermine national sovereignty, or letting the people freely immigrate to a place where local law is a lot better, like here (and then they can create economic opportunities for their relatives at home too – a well documented effect.)

    To me, the third option is really, really clearly the big winner. So rich countries like Australia need massive immigration, even if its only neutral in terms of its overall effect on those of us here already.

    The Greens are amongst the lefties who don’t want to seem to admit this. I’m wondering if your view has changed at all since we first discussed this issue way back when.

  5. According to all indicators, Africa is steaming ahead anyway in terms of real growth. Let’s hope they use this new-found power and status to really fuck over these vulture corporations (and poorly-behaving Western governments, for that matter).

  6. Oh yes, and Jeremy’s original point is that it is happening here, in Australia.

    Boo, ashamed to be Australian, etc etc.

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