Vulture Funds

This is stunning.

If you haven’t heard of this story before or of vulture funds, here’s a basic overview: Vulture funds were set up by our government at around 2000 to assume the debt of poorer countries. They’re called vulture funds because they basically circle a corporation or nation on the ropes. Some time ago, some rapacious pieces of shit like Michael Sheehan and Paul Singer (more on them later) hit upon the ingenious idea to spend a few million buying up their debt then immediately calling in the note and asking for the full debt. So instead of the nation being allowed to pay back a fraction of their debt, they’re instead hauled into court and forced to pay the full amount (in Zambia’s case, $55,000,000) plus interest.

That’s right: Various people are using the government’s program for debt relief for the poorest nations on earth and are taking these same impoverished countries to court under threat of bankruptcy for no other reason than personal greed.

Click through to read the entire piece. If you can. The photo alone—and the heartbreaking story accompanying it—will ruin your day.

As well it should.

Saw a bumper sticker on the way in to work today. “God Bless America.” No surprise there; I suspect most of us see that same one several times a day.

Yes. Yes He did. And what have we done with that blessing?

As far as I can see, sinfully little.

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About the other scott peterson

Writer of comics and books and stuff.
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5 Responses to Vulture Funds

  1. Tom E. says:

    The following won’t improve your mood, Scott:
    Over the last quarter century, the portion of the national income accruing to the richest one percent of Americans has doubled. The share going to the richest one-tenth of one percent has tripled, and the share going to the richest one-hundredth of one percent has quadrupled. For working people, wages and salaries now make up the lowest share of the nation’s gross domestic product since the process of collecting this data began more than 60 years ago. For the poor, just in the years since 2000, the number of Americans living below the poverty line has increased by nearly a third. Meanwhile, the average CEO of a Standard & Poor’s 500 company took home $13.51 million in total compensation in 2005, a year in which the top one percent of Americans earned nearly twenty-two percent of all income. Believe it or not, by 11:02 a.m. of the first work day of work on the first day of the year, one of these average CEOs will “earn” more money than the minimum-wage workers in his company will make for the entire year.* To those who would argue that this is just the way the world works, one would have to ask, why is this not the case in Europe or Japan? In fact, among major world economies, the United States in recent years has had the third-greatest disparity in incomes between the very top and everyone else; only Mexico and Russia are worse.

  2. jurassicpork says:

    Thanks for the link, Scott. Appreciate it. I’m glad to see that bewteen Palast and the BBC, Buzzflash and smaller blogs such as ours are giving this story the attention it deserves.

  3. Ed says:

    Ugh. I guess we can always count on corporate America to do the wrong thing, but is really an all-time low. I think I am going to barf. My heart goes out to that child, how can this be?!?!

  4. Nkoy says:

    Actually, if you had bothered to read the judgment you’d have seen that the Zambian litigation came about only after three years of debt conversion investment proposals being rejected by the Zambians… You should read the judgment. It is posted on Jubilee’s web site. Zambia previously did debt conversions with Care, World Vision and UNICEF. Donegal, the company holding the Zambian debt proposed to invest in a bankrupt bank in Zambia… I don’t understand what the fuss is about… Read it. It is posted on the BBC Newsnight web site…

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