Banker to the Third World

Banker to the Third World : U. S. Portfolio Investment in Latin America, 1900-1986

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By the end of 1985, Latin Americans owed their foreign creditors $368 billion. That was nearly $1,000 for every man, woman, and child between the Rio Grande and Tierra del Fuego. The debt represented more than half of the region's gross domestic product, and interest payments alone consumed 36 percent of export revenues. If profits are added to interest, and the total compared to new capital inflows, the drama of the situation becomes clear: a real resource transfer from Latin American was under way. More than three-fourths of Latin America's debt was owed to several hundred commercial banks with headquarters in North America, Europe, and Japan.

Banker to the Third World examines why the loans that precipitated the 1985 debt crisis were made, how these loans were similar to, and different from, other loans, what solutions to the crisis would be effective, and how such problems could be avoided in the future.

When originally published, this title presented a new and timely analysis of the crisis; today it serves as a historical exploration that will give readers a better understanding of both Latin American economic history and more recent foreign debt crises.
This title is part of UC Press's Voices Revived program, which commemorates University of California Press's mission to seek out and cultivate the brightest minds and give them voice, reach, and impact. Drawing on a backlist dating to 1893, Voices Revived makes high-quality, peer-reviewed scholarship accessible once again using print-on-demand technology. This title was originally published in 1987.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 456 pages
  • 127 x 203 x 25mm | 499g
  • Berkerley, United States
  • English
  • 0520302265
  • 9780520302266

Back cover copy

"Banker to the Third World is a rich and penetrating work. By examining U.S. loans to Latin America in the 1920s and 1930s and comparing them to more recent loans, Barbara Stallings offers important new insights into more recent debt problems. Equally important, Stallings uses the large literature on Victorian Britain's overseas investments to discover the truly novel aspects of American investments a century later. This is a first-rate study of the relationship between leaders and borrowers, in good times and in bad."--Charles Lipson, University of Chicago "In the flood of books on the Third World debt crisis, Stallings's volume on Latin America stands out for its historical perspective, useful collection of data, sound economic analysis, and cool understanding. It is at the same time scholarly and accessible. An excellent contribution!"--Charles P. Kindleberger "The author has compiled an extremely impressive and important set of time series on Latin American and U.S.-Latin American economics previously unavailable anywhere. Her comparison of British lending in the nineteenth century and U.S. lending in the 1920s and 1970s is also original and creative. This book will be welcomed by specialists in international finance, internation political economy, and twentieth-century U.S.-Latin American relations."--Richard Feinberg, Overseas Development Council
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About Barbara Stallings

Barbara Stallings is the William R. Rhodes Research Professor at the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs at Brown University. She is also the editor of Studies in Comparative International Development.
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