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Law

United Nations

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2007

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Full-Text Articles in Political Science

Odious Debts Or Odious Regimes?, Patrick Bolton, David A. Skeel Jr. Oct 2007

Odious Debts Or Odious Regimes?, Patrick Bolton, David A. Skeel Jr.

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Current odious debt doctrine– using the term “doctrine” loosely, since it has never formally been adopted by a court or international decision maker– dates back to a 1927 treatise by a wandering Russian academic named Alexander Sack. Sack suggested that debt obligations are odious and therefore unenforceable if 1) they were incurred without the consent of the populace; 2) they did not benefit the populace; and 3) the lender knew or should have known about the absence of consent and benefit. The tripartite Sack definition, which quickly became the foundation of odious debt analysis, contemplates a debt-by-debt approach to questionable ...