Monday, April 19, 2010

Vulture Funds: Threat to an Egalitarian Globalization?

The clarion call of globalization preaches that every nation deserves economic prosperity, will vulture funds ruin this egalitarian economic idealism?

By: Ringo Bones

In a perfect world, any country wishing to embrace globalization is guaranteed economic prosperity. In the real world, through the rigmarole-like machinations of a globalization-based economy, poor countries often get the bad end of a business contract. Vulture funds had gained the attention of the mainstream press when poor countries in Africa – first Zambia then Liberia – wind up using their international aid money to service debts they don’t even know that they have. Sadly, the financial misery was hatched up by unscrupulous Wall Street types during the turbulent “nation building” phase of a number of poor African countries during the 1970s and the 1980s.

When these poor African countries where still under the stranglehold of their respective megalomaniac dictators, they racked up massive debt via their respective military built-up programs. When the dictators got deposed, Wall Street speculators managed to pick up almost worthless debt bonds that enabled these unscrupulous entrepreneurs via the rigmarole of gray area business contracts to later collect the sovereign debt of these starving African countries. And these unscrupulous Wall Street types do intend to collect their debt – even via international development aid money – at the expense of those poor countries’ starving citizens.

Recently, Number 10 Downing Street had initiated an international ban on the trade of vulture funds. But a Wall Street based financial firm trading in vulture funds called F.H. International fell under investigation when its CEO Eric Hermann had taken advantage of Liberia’s international debt reduction program. Through the Hamsah Fund transfer, Mr. Hermann supposedly made a Vulture Fund on Liberian sovereign debt seem official. Before the vulture fund debacle was uncovered, a significant portion of international aid money destined for the rehabilitation of post civil war Liberia was diverted to service vulture funds. Globalization was supposed to help poor countries attain economic prosperity, instead it had a legal loophole that made vulture funds a reality. Making vulture funds probably the most unethical and the most socially irresponsible way to make money. Vulture funds could probably turn out to be very useful to repressive regimes, just imagine what it could do if the Beijing governments communist party functionaries would use it against the Uyghur uprising, the Free Tibet Movement, or organizations spreading awareness of the June 4, 1989 Tiananmen Square Massacre, Google, etc.