Odious Debts: Loose Lending, Corruption and the Third World's Environmental Legacy

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"Patricia Adams opens her seminal work on odious debts, 'Odious Debts: Loose Lending, Corruption, and the Third Worlds Environmental Legacy,' by describing the traditional muang faai water management system along Thailands watersheds. Muang faai--which survives in much of Thailand--amounts to a system of common property rights in which rights and responsibilities have been finely tuned over the centuries to maintain equity, protect the environment, and promote prosperity. Though hardly idyllic, frequently conflict-ridden, and constantly adapting through trial and error and discussion, the political and legal system that emerged worked well to protect those who lived along the river, and the river itself. From such an accountable environment came a degree of security that allowed all who were governed by it to produce amply and diversely for their families, enriching their communities in the process. The muang faai system began to break down in the 1980s when central authorities took charge of the rivers, armed with new laws and foreign money, to build dams along the mainstems of the rivers. By analogy, Ms. Adams examines the centralization of control over the nations other resources that turned sustainable into unsustainable commons and created what became known as odious debts."
debt--developing countries, law--developing countries, economic development, watersheds