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Managing the Coming Global Debt Crisis

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Managing the Coming Global Debt Crisis

Project Syndicate,

5 min read
3 take-aways
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Developing economies are ill-equipped to manage their sovereign debt burdens. 

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Developing economies are facing their worst debt burdens since 1982, according to economist Barry Eichengreen in this sobering commentary. Back then, creditors took years to put together an effective plan of action. But this time, Eichengreen says, the world cannot wait; debt moratoriums are at best a palliative, and any solution has at stake the welfare of billions of people. Economists and activists will find Eichengreen’s prognostications dire but his recommendations sound. 


Emerging markets are facing a credit catastrophe of unrivaled magnitude.

In 2020, developing nations are on the brink of the worst credit debacle since the early 1980s. Emerging markets have seen more than $100 billion of capital flight, triple the outflows experienced at the beginning of the Great Recession. These circumstances are rolling out in an unforgiving environment: World trade looks to decline by about one-third, and oil and gas revenues could decrease by more than 80%. The global economy faces a long slog of waning growth, weak commodity prices, trade disruptions from reorganized and shortened supply chains, and minimal income from tourism and remittances.

A US dollar-based international monetary system straitjackets developing countries’ management of their fiscal ...

About the Author

Barry Eichengreen, a former senior policy adviser at the International Monetary Fund, is a professor of economics at the University of California, Berkeley. 

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