Time and Location

Thursday, 10 May 2012, 18.30 – 20.30
Diplomatic Academy, Favoritenstraße 15a, 1040 Vienna


Walden Bello, University of the Philippines Diliman (Philippines), Focus on the Global South (Thailand)

Jürgen Kaiser, Erlassjahr.de (Germyny)
Kunibert Raffer, University of Vienna (Austria)

Welcome and Chair: Martina Neuwirth, VIDC-Vienna Institute

„Robbery“ – a short film by Oliver Ressler (1,5 Minuten, 2012)

Languages: English, German (simultaneous interpretation)

Walden Bello: From Crisis to Crisis

(c) Kurt F. Domnik/pixelio.de


Financial and debt crises are nothing new. Since 1800, more than 360 banking crises occured globally, of which four happened in Austria. Highly indebted Greece had trouble to pay back its debts for over 100 years until the end of the Second World War. Since 1982 (when Mexico became insolvent) until 2002 there were series of debt crisis, especially in the so-called developing countries. The Asian crisis of the late 1990s caused a deep recession, imposing high social costs on the people in those countries concerned by the crisis. The International Monetary Fund then provided a rescue package and was much criticised for the structural adjustment conditionalities that came along with it. 

Against the background of the current financial and debt crisis in Europe, one has to ask why lessons from past experiences have still not been learnt. Or is it (again) different this time? What causes financial and debt crises? Which social and economic costs arise, which impact do they have on the society? And how can the probability for future crises and their social impact be minimised?


Walden Bello

was awarded the Alternative Nobel Price (Right Livelihood Award). He is author, academic, political analyst and Member of Parliament for the "Akbayan" party in the Philippine House of Representatives. Mr. Bello is founding director of the policy research institute “Focus on the Global South” (Thailand) and professor of sociology and public administration at the University of the Philippines (Diliman). He is fellow of the „Transnational Institute“ (Amsterdam) and board member of the „International Forum on Globalization“ (San Francisco). Walden Bello is publishing regulary, i.a. as columnist for „Foreign Policy in Focus“ (Washington). After finishing his studies at the Princeton University (USA), Mr. Bello taught at different universities. Currently he is guest professor at Binghamton University (New York). Walden Bello was awarded numerous prices and honours.

Walden Bello published many articles and books, as

  • The Food Wars (2009)
  • Deglobalization: Ideas for a New World Economy (2003)
  • Dragons in Distress: Asia's Miracle Economies in Crisis (1990)

Jürgen Kaiser

is political coordinator of „Erlassjahr.de“, an alliance of more than 700 German non-governmental organisations, founded at the end of the 1990s. Jürgen Kaiser, regional planner and geographer, intensively works on debt, debt reschedulings and debt relief initiatives of so-called developing countries since more than twenty years. Jürgen Kaiser is co-author of the "Schuldenreport" (debt report). The focus of the 2012 report was "1982 – 2012: 30 Years of Debt Crisis".

Kunibert Raffer

ist associate professor at the Department of Economics of the University of Vienna. Already in 1987, he developed his concept of an insolvency procedure for sovereign states which was modelled along Chapter 9, designed in the US to solve debt problems of municipalities. Since 2002, Mr Raffer is Senior Associate of the New Economics Foundation (London), since 2010 he is Honorary Professor of the Universidad Nacional de Río Negro (Argentina). His research interests are international trade, international finance and debts as well as aid.

Kunibert Raffer published many articles and books, as

  • Debt Management for Development - Protection of the Poor and the Millennium Development Goals (2010)
  • The Economic North-South Divide: Six Decades of Unequal Development, co-authored with Hans W. Singer (2001)
  • The Foreign Aid Business: Economic Assistance and Development Co-operation, co-authored with Hans W. Singer (1997)

Martina Neuwirth

is the VIDC Senior Expert for international finance and economy. Since 1995 she works on development finance issues, with a focus on debt and debt distress of countries of the South.