In this radio program, the anthropologist David Graeber, explores the history of debt in (currently) 12 episodes. The program is based on his book Debt: The First 5000 Years. First, Graeber asks the questions of how debt and money are characterized, which meaning and roles they had in different historic episodes and how they were interrelated. In the most recent episodes, Graeber elaborates on how debt shaped society. He argues that debt had a different moral status in different times of history, one session analyses the current financial and economic crisis and the role of credit in this historical context.
How was money actually invented? Where does it come from? In this first episode of a video lecture, Dirk Bezemer from the University of Groningen presents the origins of money and how it's related to debt. It's a basic historical review and you can get an idea of how money is created and how banks work. The following episodes aim at giving an overview of the last debt crisis.
How long the COVID-19 crisis will last, and what its immediate economic costs will be, is anyone's guess. But even if the pandemic's economic impact is contained, it may have already set the stage for a debt meltdown long in the making, starting in many of the Asian emerging and developing economies on the front lines of the outbreak.
In this sharp intervention, authors Lucí Cavallero and Verónica Gago defiantly develop a feminist understanding of debt, showing its impact on women and members of the LGBTQ+ community and examining the relationship between debt and social reproduction.
With the onset of an economic crisis that has been universally acknowledged since the end of March, two main questions arise: To what extent is the corona pandemic the starting point (or even the cause) of this crisis? And secondly: can the aid programmes that have been adopted prevent a deep and prolonged recession?
Why do we think that sovereign debt must be repaid--even after a major regime change--in order to maintain country creditworthiness? In a fascinating and highly original book, Odette Lienau argues that this conventional wisdom is overly simplistic and in some respects entirely wrong.
Whether a black swan or a scapegoat, Covid-19 is an extraordinary event. Declared by the WHO as a pandemic, Covid-19 has given birth to the concept of the economic “sudden stop.” We need extraordinary measures to contain it.
This lecture of the anthropologist David Graeber gives a brief introduction to the thoughts of his 2011 published book Debt: The First 5000 Years.
David Graeber introduces different concepts such as money and debt. He takes a historical and anthropological way of explaining the origin. This breaks with the mainstream explanation, which is used in many Economics textbooks, saying that a barter economy was before money arose.
The Great Recession 2.0 is unfolding before our very eyes. It is still in its early phase. But dynamics have been set in motion that are not easily stopped, or even slowed. If the virus effect were resolved by early summer—as some politicians wishfully believe—the economic dynamics set in motion would still continue. The US and global economies have been seriously ‘wounded’ and will not recover easily or soon. Those who believe it will be a ‘V-shape’ recovery are deluding themselves. Economists among them should know better but are among the most confused. They only need to look at historical parallels to convince themselves otherwise.
"Alexander Kravchuk is an economist and editor at Commons: Journal for Social Criticims, who has previously written about IMF conditions on loans to Ukraine. Jacobin’s David Broder asked him about the country’s economic situation and why debt cancellation is important if Ukrainians are to be able to shape their future." (quote from the interview)
In this piece Alexander Kravchuk gives an overview over the history of dept dependency in Ukraine, highlighting especially the role of international creditors and the negative socio-economic impacts of debt dependency for the Ukrainian economy.
The European economic crisis from 2007 onwards in the context of a global crisis of over-production of capital - a Marxian monetary theory of value interpretation
This paper attempts to clarify how the European economic crisis from 2007 onwards can be understood from the perspective of a Marxian monetary theory of value that emphasizes intrinsic, structural flaws regarding capitalist reproduction. Chapter two provides an empirical description of the European economic crisis, which to some extent already reflects the structural theoretical framework presented in chapter three. Regarding the theoretical framework Michael Heinrich's interpretation of 'the' Marxian monetary theory of value will be presented. Heinrich identifies connections between production and realization, between profit and interest rate as well as between industrial and fictitious capital, which represent contradictory tendencies for which capitalism does not have simple balancing processes. In the context of a discussion of 'structural logical aspects' of Marx's Critique of the Political Economy, explanatory deficits of Heinrich's approach are analyzed. In the following, it is argued that Fred Moseley's view of these 'structural logical aspects' allows empirical 'applications' of Marxian monetary theories of value. It is concluded that a Marxian monetary theory of value, with the characteristics of expansive capital accumulation and its limitations, facilitates a structural analysis of the European economic crisis from 2007 onwards. In this line of argument, expansive production patterns are expressed, among other things, in global restructuring processes, while consumption limitations are mitigated by expansive financial markets and shifts in ex-port destinations.
Does Karl Polanyi's work “The Great Transformation” serve to analyse the current multiple crisis and social movements? Nancy Fraser revises Polanyi's concept of a double movement to capture social forces in the aftermath of the economic crisis of the 1930s – on the one side marketization and on the other hand social protection. Fraser proposes to talk about a triple movement and to account for emancipatory struggles. In the lecture, she discusses interactions as well as conflicts between those three forces, in particular conflicting aims of social protection. The lecture presents the content of her paper “A TRIPLE MOVEMENT? Parsing the Politics of Crisis after Polanyi“ in the New Left Review (2013).
In this Blog Post on developmenteconomics org Christina C Laskaridis PhD candidate in Economics at SOAS elaborates on the economic fallout of the corona pandemic and especially its impact on the Global South The author focuses in particular on the issue of debt moratoria and debt restructuring and the measures …
This is an overview of (possibly transformative) proposals to address the economic consequences of the corona crisis
The web page “understanding the crisis” contains an interactive graph that explores the causes of the financial and economic crisis and their interrelatedness. Short texts are available on unregulated capital markets, unequal distribution and international disparities. Further explanations concern trade imbalances, foreign debt or speculations.
This journal article by Radhika Desai, Professor at the Department of Political Studies, and Director of the Geopolitical Economy Research Group at the University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada, was originally published in 2010 and republished in an revised format in 2020. The article is a comprehensive treatment of Marx's theory of crisis, focusing on the role of consumption demand in capitalism and in the emergence of crises.
The author identifies three principal economic phenomena, which are explained: long run productivity growth as the central driver of increasing economic activity, short-term and long-term debt cycles. The latter two are explained to some detailed with reference to money creation, central banking and long term crisis tendencies. With regards to the long run debt cycle, which leads into deleveraging and recession, some policy measures which can smoothen the crisis are discussed.
Departing from an analysis of women's employment and changing gender regimes in the pre crisis period, Jill Rubery illustrates how the crisis affects men's and women's employment differently. Afterwards, she discusses the crisis' impact on gender relations. Based on empirical findings, she shows how men were more affected by the recession and women more by austerity and presents possible explanations. Those are furthermore linked to women's employment decisions and prevalent gender regimes. In particular, Rubery discusses cut backs in public spendings on care, flexibilization and the role of conservative gender ideologies.
Even if men were perceived as the main protagonists of the Greek crisis, the crisis had a deep impact on disadvantaged groups, in particular migrant women working as domestic labourers. The debate presents the particular impact on migrant women of the downturn and furthermore discusses how migrant struggles and other emancipatory movements impacted the politics of crisis. The first minutes of the video are in German, but the moderator switches to English.
Some economic events are so major and unsettling that they “change everything.” Such is the case with the financial crisis that started in the summer of 2007 and is still a drag on the world economy. Yet enough time has now elapsed for economists to consider questions that run deeper than the usual focus on the immediate causes and consequences of the crisis.
This article reviews insights of existing literature on global care chains. A specific focus is laid on the impact that the refugee crisis has on global care chains and in turn how the crisis impacts the de-skilling of the women in the migrant workforce.
Most mainstream neoclassical economists completely failed to anticipate the crisis which broke in 2007 and 2008. There is however a long tradition of economic analysis which emphasises how growth in a capitalist economy leads to an accumulation of tensions and results in periodic crises. This paper first reviews the work of Karl Marx who was one of the first writers to incorporate an analysis of periodic crisis in his analysis of capitalist accumulation. The paper then considers the approach of various subsequent Marxian writers, most of whom locate periodic cyclical crises within the framework of longer-term phases of capitalist development, the most recent of which is generally seen as having begun in the 1980s. The paper also looks at the analyses of Thorstein Veblen and Wesley Claire Mitchell, two US institutionalist economists who stressed the role of finance and its contribution to generating periodic crises, and the Italian Circuitist writers who stress the problematic challenge of ensuring that bank advances to productive enterprises can successfully be repaid.
In spite of the manifold critique about the state of economics in the aftermath of the financial crisis, an even increasing presence of economists and economic experts can be observed in the public sphere during the last years. On the one hand this reflects the still dominant position of economics in the social sciences as well as the sometimes ignorant attitude of economists towards findings of other social sciences. On the other hand this paper shows that the public debate on politico-economic issues among economists is dominated by a specific subgroup of economists, tightly connected to an institutional network of “German neoliberalism”. This group of “public economists” (i) is dominant in public debates even after the financial crisis, (ii) reproduces the formative German economic imaginary of the Social Market Economy in a German neoliberal interpretation and (iii) has a good access to German economic policymaking, rooted in a long history of economic policy advice.
Economics After the Crisis is an introductory economics textbook, covering key topics in micro and macro economics. However, this book differs from other introductory economics textbooks in the perspective it takes, and it incorporates issues that are presently underserved by existing textbooks on the market. This book offers an introduction to economics that takes into account criticisms of the orthodox approach, and which acknowledges the role that this largely Western approach has played in the current global financial and economic crisis.
Dirk Bezemer exemplary presents pattern of the U.S. economy before the 2007 economic crisis and explains how due to those pattern the crisis could have been, unless not precisely predicted, yet anticipated.
In this episode of Jacobin radio, James K. Galbraith elaborates on the economic policies for the corona crisis, and Aaron Benanav on the crisis of unemployment. James K Galbraith also discusses why the economy as currently organized has been unable to deal with the challenges of the pandemic.
This paper presents an overview of different models which explain financial crises, with the aim of understanding economic developments during and possibly after the Great Recession. In the first part approaches based on efficient markets and rational expectations hypotheses are analyzed, which however do not give any explanation for the occurrence of financial crises and thus cannot suggest any remedies for the present situation. A broad range of theoretical approaches analyzing financial crises from a medium term perspective is then discussed. Within this group we focused on the insights of Marx, Schumpeter, Wicksell, Hayek, Fisher, Keynes, Minsky, and Kindleberger. Subsequently the contributions of the Regulation School, the approach of Social Structures of Accumulation and Post-Keynesian approach, which focus on long-term developments and regime shifts in capitalist development, are presented. International approaches to finance and financial crises are integrated into the analyses. We address the issue of relevance of all these theories for the present crisis and draw some policy implications. The paper has the aim to find out to which extent the different approaches are able to explain the Great Recession, what visions they develop about future development of capitalism and to which extent these different approaches can be synthesized.
The 2007-2010 economic crisis has profoundly shaken the foundations of mainstream financial economics. The apparent falsification of core concepts such as risk diversification, informational efficiency and valuation efficiency by an unexpected course of events has revealed the need to redefine the objectives and direction of research today.
In the interview, Robert Skidelsky discusses the emergence of political influence of a certain school of economic thought and how the success of an economic theory depends on the power relations in the society. He introduces the historical example of Keynesian economics and its replacement by liberal economic theory and policy in the aftermath of the Great Depression, and transfers this historical case to the dominant paradigm of austerity policies in the Europe as response to rising public debts caused by the Financial Crisis. He contrasts austerity policies with a Keynesian approach. Furthermore, he relates the targets of policy to the underlying power structures, for example when not the reduction of unemployment but the protection of financial capital is politically addressed.
The historical situation of low interest rates after the Fed's response to the 2001 crisis alongside with huge foreign money inflow to the US are presented as the historical context in which subprime lending and financial instruments like CDOs and CDS evolved. Then those instruments as well as the concept of leverage are explained briefly.