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The Case for a New International Reform Effort

Working Paper #157

Barry Herman, José Antonio Ocampo, Shari Spiegel

Paper  140kb pdf

One of the lessons of the emerging market crises of the late 1990s and the early years of the new century is that the global system can, and should, be better prepared to deal with undesired consequences of business cycle downswings and economic shocks, one of which can be a government debt crisis. Despite the fact that several developing countries now have stronger economic fundamentals than they did in the 1990s, sovereign debt crises will return, as they have repeatedly done through hundreds of years of world history. The reasons for this are several, but the central one is that economic fluctuations are inherent features of financial markets, the boom and bust nature of which intensify under liberalized financial environments, such as those that all countries have increasingly adopted since the 1970s.

About the Authors

Barry Herman
Visiting Senior Fellow, Graduate Program
International Affairs
The New School

Barry Herman (Ph.D., University of Michigan) is Visiting Senior Fellow at the Graduate Program in International Affairs of The New School in New York. He has been a member since its founding in 2010 of the Advisory Board of Social Justice in Global Development e.V., an international NGO registered in Germany that promotes reform of global development policies and improved global economic governance by preparing papers and organizing seminars and conferences for information exchange, advocacy and development education (www.socdevjustice.org). Also, from its inception in 2005 until end 2011, he was a member of the Board of Directors of Global Integrity, a research NGO based in Washington that works with independent scholars and investigative reporters on assessing laws, institutions and practices to improve governance and limit corruption in developed and developing countries. In addition, from 2004 to 2009 he co-chaired the Task Force on Debt Restructuring and Sovereign Bankruptcy at the Initiative for Policy Dialogue at Columbia University. He completed almost 30 years in the United Nations Secretariat in 2005, the last two years of which were as Senior Advisor in the Financing for Development Office in the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA). He consults with various offices of the United Nations and other official bodies and non-governmental networks on international economic and financial policies (most recently, the World Council of Churches in 2012).

José Antonio Ocampo
Professor of Professional Practice at Columbia University and former Minister of Finance of Colombia
Columbia University

Jose Antonio Ocampo is a Professor of Professional Practice in the School of International and Public Affairs and former Minister of Finance of Colombia. He is also a Fellow of the Committee on Global Thought at Columbia University. Prior to his appointment at Columbia, Professor Ocampo served as the United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, and head of UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), as Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), and has held a number of high-level posts in the Government of Colombia, including Minister of Finance and Public Credit, Director of the National Planning Department, and Minister of Agriculture . Professor Ocampo is author or editor of over 30 books and has published over 200 scholarly articles on macroeconomic theory and policy, international financial issues, economic development, international trade, and Colombian and Latin American economic history.

Shari Spiegel
Senior Economic Affairs Officer
UN DESA

Shari Spiegel joined UN DESA as a Senior Economic Affairs Officer in May 2010. She is co-author and co-editor of several of books and articles on capital and financial markets, debt and macroeconomics. She served as Executive Director of the Initiative for Policy Dialogue (IPD). She has extensive experience at the private sector, most recently as a Principal at New Holland Capital and as head of fixed-income emerging markets at Lazard Asset Management. She also served as an advisor to the Hungarian Central Bank in the early 1990s.

Publication Information

Type Working Paper
Program Debt Restructuring and Sovereign Bankruptcy
Posted 09/18/08
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