The world debt crisis of the 1980s, soon to drag into the 1990s, has launched a constellation of competing claims and conflicting alternatives. From 1986 to 1988 more than $100 billion in resources were transferred from the highly indebted countries to creditors in the industrial countries. By the end of 1989 the burden of the highly indebted countries will have reached about $500 billion, and debt service will consume almost a quarter of their export earnings. In January 1989 the World Bank organized a symposium that brought together a large number of development and financial practitioners and academics to discuss the behavior of the debtors, creditors, and the international community and the possible contribution of each to resolving the debt crisis. The eighteen chapters in this volume cover many aspects of the issue, with special emphasis on the relations among indebtedness, macroeconomic management, and growth and on the need for debt reduction. Subjects treated include the constraints on, and scope for, action; the relative merits of various mechanisms to reduce debt; and the ways to strengthen the debt reduction process. Several chapters analyze the implications of the recently announced Brady Initiation on the debt and debt-servicing reduction for the highly indebted countries - a topical issue of great current interest.