Sunday, August 24, 2014

Jan Tinbergen

The photo above was taken 25 years ago in Nauplion, Greece, where I participated in a conference on the debt crisis in Latin America and other countries during the 1980s. 

In 1982 I had spent seven months in Mexico, Nicaragua, Belize, Costa Rica, Panama and Brazil to talk to small farmers, economists and (former) politicians including the former president of Costa Rica, Don Pepe, that is, José Figueres, about the external debt problem of Latin America and the international economic policies of rich countries that contributed to its emergence.  

José Figueres was critical of the economic policies of rich, western economies and I promoted his views, and those of others including Wim Duisenberg, Jan Kregel and Maria da Conceição Tavares,  in 1983 in a booklet published jointly by the Dutch Labour Party and the Transnational Institute. Jan Timbergen lauded the booklet saying, "it sheds light on aspects [of the debt crisis] that the media hide in jargon. The sense of humour... makes it a good read." 

The title of the booklet was "De schuld van wie?" which has the double meaning of "Who is to blame?" and "Whose debt?" The second meaning referred to the US debt as an important cause of Third World debt. Many years later, I made this the topic of a Fondad conference that resulted in two books: Global Imbalances and the US Debt Problem: Should Developing Countries Support the US Dollar? and Global Imbalances and Developing Countries: Remedies for a Failing International Financial System.
My interest in the global financial system and its impact on the daily lives of poor people arose in the 1970s from my work in favour of democracy and economic and social justice in Chile and other Latin American countries.

The kids on the picture above are my daughter and son. They are now 29 and 27. My daughter works at the Netherlands Ministry of Education, Culture and Science in The Hague, and my son works at the Science Park in Amsterdam where he is doing a PhD in computational science.

No comments: