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Sahil Dutta: 'Debt as power: The emergence of neoliberal monetary governance in Britain'

The Warwick Critical Finance group invited Sahil Dutta, Teaching Fellow at the PAIS Department, to speak about his doctoral research on debt and the emergence of neoliberal monetary governance in Britain. Please read his abstract to the talk:

It is often thought that a state dependent on debt is in a vulnerable position. But what happens when such debt can function as money? The ‘moneyness’ that some debts can acquire transforms the politics of debt. Because debts that circulate as money don’t need to be repaid. I examine how the moneyness of British public debt allowed the state to amass levels of debt well beyond what it could ever realistically repay. Far from being a burden, this swirling debt provided the state a readily accessible pool of financing and established a monetary infrastructure through which it could govern the broader economy. This provides a different perspective on the transition from Keynesian to neoliberal techniques of monetary governance in Britain. This is a time often discussed in terms of the British state ceding power to financial markets as it strived for the ‘credibility’ necessary to support its growing public debt. Instead, I argue that neoliberal financial reforms were attempts by the state to enhance its capacity to manage liquidity across the British economy

Dutta event poster