How much is $700bn?

December 30, 2008

     By Duncan Green     

The arguments for a bailout to avoid systemic collapse are of course genuine and persuasive, but so are the arguments for aid and against standing by and allowing a child to die every 3 seconds, or a woman to die in childbirth every minute. To put the proposed Wall Street bailout into perspective. $700bn:

路聽Would clear the accumulated debt of the 49 poorest countries in the world ($375bn) twice over
路聽Is almost 5 times the annual amount of extra aid needed to achieve all the Millennium Development Goals on poverty, health, education etc ($150bn a year)
路聽Is about 7 years of current global aid levels ($104bn in 2007)
路聽Is enough to eradicate all world poverty for over two years (UNDP聽 calculates it would take $300bn to get the entire world population over the $1 a day poverty line).

On the other hand it鈥檚
路聽only a quarter of the cost of the Iraq war ($3 trillion on Joseph Stiglitz鈥 calculation )
路聽a half of annual global military spending ($1339 bn)

Priorities, priorities

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December 30, 2008
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Duncan Green
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