Debt Relief: The U.S. Is Badly In Arrears

The other day, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez declared at a meeting of OPEC leaders that if the West wanted price relief on oil, it should give more generous relief to poor, highly indebted countries. This is, of course, disingenuous. OPEC is not famous for giving aid to poor countries and has played no useful role in the discussions of debt relief. OPEC uses its power to control supply, constrain choice, and extract the highest possible prices. In this respect, OPEC behaves just like any other opportunistic monopoly, say, De Beers, or Microsoft Corp. (MSFT)

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