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Public Debt as a Valuable Asset for Globalised Finance

DEPARTMENT OF LAND ECONOMY SEMINAR SERIES
When Jan 23, 2019
from 04:00 PM to 05:00 PM
Where Mill Lane Lecture Theatre Room 4
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Speaker: Ann Pettifor

Ann Pettifor is the author of The Production of Money and winner of Heinrich Boll Stiftung’s Hannah Arendt Prize, 2018.

About the speaker

Ann Pettifor is known for predicting the Great Financial Crisis in The Coming First World Debt Crisis (Palgrave 2006). She edited New Economics Foundation’s Real World Economic Outlook (Palgrave2003) which predicted a credit crunch. She authored The Production of Money (Verso2017) on the nature of money, debt and the finance sector. She has been appointed a
Council member of the Progressive Economy Forum. Ms Pettifor is director of a network of Keynesian economists at PRIME economics.
In 2015 Jeremy Corbyn MP asked her to join the UK Labour Party’s Economic Advisory Committee. Newcastle University awarded her an honorary doctorate in 2000 for her leadership of a campaign for cancellation of $150bn of debt
owed by 35 of the poorest countries, Jubilee 2000. She is a trustee of the charity Promoting Economic Pluralism.

Abstract

If we are to end global imbalances and high levels of inequality, it will be essential to hold financial and corporate elites to account, and thereby to transform the economy. As citizens, we must understand that this is possible; that we have agency. As taxpayers we effectively subsidise, embolden and enrich Wall St and the City of London. We are powerful enough to protect the rentiers of finance from the discipline of market forces. Back in 2007-9 we had the immense power and almost infinite financial capacity to bail out the globalised banking system. It was a great power deployed in our name, but without our authority. Or even our knowledge. To effectively mobilise citizen power, we must understand that public financial assets created and backed by our taxes – government debt - promises to pay or bonds - generate valuable rents for the finance sector. They are income-generating assets fundamental to both the functioning and health of the private financial system, but also to the accumulation of wealth by financiers. They are assets that effortlessly yield income and leverage additional finance for big corporations and the 1%.