France and Madagascar’s debt

-1895 France invades Madagascar, disbands govt of Queen Ranavalona III, declares country a French colony
-France wanted their colonies to be self-sustaining, so they impose heavy taxes to pay for the invasion and to build railroads, highways, bridges, plantations, etc that the Malagasy didn’t want and were really just designed to help the French extract wealth via ports
-France then killed a bunch of people who protested this arrangement (about 100,000 in one revolt in 1947 alone)
-But Madagascar is still held to owe France money

Graeber on the IMF

“The International Monetary Fund basically acted as the world’s debt enforcers– ‘You might say, the high-finance equivalent of the guys who come to break your legs.’ I launched into historical background, explaining how, during the ’70s oil crisis, OPEC countries ended up pouring so much of their newfound riches into Western banks that the banks couldn’t figure out where to invest the money; how Citibank and Chase therefore began sending agent around the world trying to convince Third World dictators and politicians to take out loans (at the time, this was called ‘go-go banking’); how they started out at extremely low rates of interest that almost immediately skyrocketed to 20 percent or so due to tight U.S. money policies in the early ’80s; how, during the ’80s and ’90s, this led to the Third World deb crisis; how the IMF then stepped in to insist that, in order to obtain refinancing, poor countries would be obliged to abandon price supports on basic foodstuffs, or even policies of keeping strategic food reserves, and abandon free health care and free education; how all of this had led to the collapse of all the most basic supports for some of the poorest and most vulnerable people on earth. I spoke of poverty, of the looting of public resources, the collapse of societies, endemic violence, malnutrition, hopelessness, and broken lives.”

pg 2