Wednesday evening, 28th May. Ardi spoke at Augustine United Church, along with Adriana Sri Adhiati, and David Lunan, the Moderator of the Church of Scotland. “Evil debts” – so David Lunan called the vast sums which function to enslave the developing world.
We were there to discuss the effects of debt on Indonesia. A vast country, tremendously rich in natural resources: “The greatest prize in Asia”, Richard Nixon called it, quoted in John Pilger’s film “The New Rulers of the World.” Adriana showed us a map of “Indonesia Incorporated”, compiled by Friends of the Earth Indonesia. Vast swathes of the country were blocked out in red for mining, brown for logging, and the like – vast swathes: and this in a country longer by far than the breath of the USA (Indonesia is the fourth most populated country, after China, India and the US.
Ardi, James and Adriana at the Edinburgh Witness to Injustice event.
In theory, foreign loans are a good way for a country to develop. If a neighbour has a surplus, why not invest that surplus and take a return from the proceeds of their augmented labours? But Ardi underlined, through multiple examples, the difference between the theory and the reality. The reality is that loans come under certain economic conditions, that they entrench the power of certain elites, and that the financial mechanisms that underpin them serve to pipe wealth out of the country. A comfortable recitation of the theory, it seems, will never give us the whole story of the political economy of debt.
Ardi speaks with David Lunan, Moderator of the Church of Scotland 2008.