A Letter From The Publisher: Jan. 10, 1983

When journalists and bankers consider a financial crisis, they face the same dilemma: talking about the bad news may make matters worse. The prophecy becomes self-fulfilling. As a result, says Correspondent Lawrence Malkin, who reported from Europe for this week's cover story on international debt: "Monetary officials speak in guarded code words, and commercial bankers in doubletalk." Like many other economic analysts, Malkin suspected for some time that a serious global debt problem was at hand but felt cautious about his suspicions. Not until a banker in Basel dropped his defenses over a beer and unambiguously warned him of the frailty...

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