Sovereign Debt Restructuring: What is the Problem?1

Thomas I. Palley
Director, Globalization Reform Project
Open Society Institute
Washington, DC 20036


When Gertrude Stein, the great American feminist, was ill and dying in Paris, she
is reported to have turned to her longtime companion, Alice Toklas, and asked her “What
is the answer?’ When Toklas replied she did not know, Stein responded “What then is the
question?” The lesson is clear: if you do not know the question, you cannot get the
answer. It is therefore fitting that today’s conference on the Sovereign Debt Restructuring
Mechanism (SDRM) begin with a session titled “What is the Problem?”

Sovereign Debt Restructuring- What is the Problem?1

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