Saturday, March 17, 2007

World and Philippine Debt Figures

Some random figures I came across while doing research on the IMF.

My external debt figure has been pegged at $54 billion for the last five or six years. Hurray hurray, our library has the latest edition of the World Bank's Global Development Finance Statistics Book.

Wanna know the latest figures? Do you really? Are you sure?

Our total external debt in 1985 was $26.6 billion. As of 2004, it has more than doubled at $60.55 billion greenbacks. How so? Other than the governments these past twenty years are debt addicts, there is that magical, mystical thing called 'devaluation' and not to mention that wondrous phenomenon called 'financial liberalisation' which lets folks around the world play casino games in our stock market.

If you divide them along our population of, the estimated 84 million, each and every one of us (infants and toddlers, the old and decrepit included) owes $720.83 not just to the IMF but international banks and private individuals around the world. Converted to pesos, thats P35,000++.

Need I point out how the initial debts were incurred in the first place? When the national government, headed by autocracy of the you know whos, borrowed these funds, I don't think they asked each and every citizen at the time if it was alright to do so. That's not how authoritarian regimes work eh? "This is what I want done and you ain't stoppin' me!" *Thunder! Lightning! Kaboom!!!!* "It is done my lord." "Ah...look what I have created! Mwah ha ha ha!"

Ok, must calm down. Too much coffee, nicotine and thinking does this to me. Sorry. Does anyone have the latest figures on how much of our government's annual budget goes to debt service? My last one was something like 40 percent. I say, we should have yearly elections on whether our government can incur more debt. Don't you think thats a splendid idea? Because in the end, who's gonna pay back that debt eh?

Great news all around so far. But wait! There's more!

The total debt of some 232 developing countries (ours included) has trippled in the last 20 years.

Total Debt Stocks
1985: $929,173 million (which means add 7 zeros)
2005: $2,800,396 million

Total Debt Service Paid
1985: $120,444 million
2005: $510,832 million

O di ba? Ang saya saya!

For a political explanation on the dynamics of our government's propensity to borrow money, click here.

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