The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Laying off thousands to pay off banks

Jun 20, 2005

Zambia is one of the 18 countries due to have part of their debt cancelled. This African country of 11 million is a primary source in the world for copper.

When the country became independent in 1964, the copper mines were nationalized. In 1973, the price of copper fell drastically. The Zambian government had to take out loans. But the price of copper has never recovered, so the government has borrowed more and more in a spiral of debt.

Thanks to the pressure of international lenders, the copper mines were put back in private hands, along with other sectors of the economy. Up until recently, education and medicine were free. Now an already poor population must pay for them or do without. The so-called free market ruined Zambia's new textile industry, throwing some 30,000 out of work.

Zambia has put itself on such a "good path" that the international bankers have reduced part of its debt.

The international lenders call it a "fight against poverty," but in reality, they make the Zambians poorer than ever.