In Hbl of Fre 1.08., p.11, there was an article titled ”Argentinas hopp står till bankerna”. The situation was that Argentinas ekonomiminister had been announcing the collapse of negotiations with a group of hedgefonds, which he during his announcement repeatedly called ”gamar” (seemingly to the surprise of the writer of the article).
Well, I can inform the writer of the article that there are financial enterprises which are quite officially called ”vulture fonds”. They are specialised in buying up (cheaply) outstanding debts which the initial creditors have already given up about (so-to-say ”carrion”) and employing their army of lawyers to sue the debtor, demanding the initial debt plus all the accumulated interest (thus trying to make use of the carrion, from where the name ”vulture fonds”).
Argentina is now in the situation that it has been sued by vulture fonds, with the result that a judge in New York was deciding in favour of the vulture fonds, in special adding a clause that Argentina were forbidden to continue paying to those creditors with whom it had arrived at an agreement already earlier, before the vulture fonds had got their money. On top of that, Standard & Poors had just downgraded Argentina’s kreditbetyg. All of which CAN result in a statsbankrutt for Argentina.
This is not any unique situation. Vulture fonds are existing since quite a while and are eagerly going about their business – obviously because it is profitable for them. The victims of this business are often developing countries to whom, e.g. during the times of the Cold War, US institutions have given generous credits, often enough while knowing very well that the so-favoured governments were corrupt all through (Mobutu Sese Seko being one example). In fact it looks as if it was an established method: tie down the government by debt and make it this way receptive for US wishes and suggestions (cf. the book ”Confessions Of An Economic Hit Man” by John Perkins).
It looks that during the 1990ies the same approach was tried on Russia – and since Putin did not become a ”friend of the West” this way he is of course now blackpainted (as the leader of an aggressive/expansive Russia, who wants to hinder Ukraina from becoming a ”friend of the West”). Of course it is never said publicly that becoming a ”friend” often enough means becoming a ”debtor”; instead there is usually talk about freedom and democracy (and, of course, free enterprise). The trouble is only that the governments of the countries whose institutions give the credits will usually insist that the credits are paid back with interest (as we see with e.g. Angela Merkel towards Greece).
That the credit-giving bankers might have been careless, often even grossly so, is sometimes admitted, but it has hardly ever any consequences for them. Nor is it usually considered that the money which the ”friendly” governments have (often) been pocketing has now to be paid back by their citizens/subjects, who often cannot really afford it. The judges who decide about the matter think it seemingly more convenient to find out what’s ”just” by means of a pocket calculator … . And if the judges are in the USA, same as the vulture fonds, same as Standard & Poors (which is a PRIVATE enterprise, which also has to please its private customers), then it is perhaps not so very surprising that Argentina lost its case for the moment.
Altogether, the present case of Argentina is just one example of what to expect from being too ”friendly” with the USA (or any established Western nation). The resumé of a German 75-year-old man who had spent his professional life in the import-export business was that he had liked best to do business with the Japanese, and least with the USA – because ”They always try to cheat you”. There are good reasons why the BRICS countries have meanwhile set up a bank which is independent from the World Bank and the IMF. But I do have my VERY serious doubts whether the European politicians who at present are negotiating with the USA about the TTIP are to any even remotely sufficient degree aware of all this.
Which does not mean that I would think so very much better about European business managers than about American ones.