Debt as power: public finance and monetary governance in postwar Britain

Dutta, Sahil Jai (2017) Debt as power: public finance and monetary governance in postwar Britain. Doctoral thesis (PhD), University of Sussex.

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It is often thought that a state dependent on debt is in a vulnerable position. But Britain has long been such a ‘debt state’. Since the seventeenth century Financial Revolution and the foundation of the Bank of England, the state has amassed levels of debt it could never realistically repay. Far from a burden, the ability to issue its debt as a form of money has been the basis of great power. It provided the state a readily accessible pool of financing and established a monetary infrastructure through which it could govern the broader economy. For that reason, this thesis claims that the British state has never been a passive recipient of creditor agendas when it raised public finance. This provides a different perspective on the development of monetary governance in postwar Britain and in particular the period of transition from Keynesian to neoliberal techniques of governance in the 1970s and 1980s. 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, this thesis shows how the imposition of monetary targets and neoliberal financial reform were attempts by the state to enhance its capacity to manage liquidity across the British economy. While debt is often assumed to be a problem for the state, this thesis instead shows how debt is a form of state power.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Schools and Departments: School of Global Studies > International Relations
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HJ Public Finance > HJ0241 By region or country > HJ1001 Great Britain. General works
H Social Sciences > HJ Public Finance > HJ8001 Public debts
Depositing User: Library Cataloguing
Date Deposited: 03 May 2017 10:22
Last Modified: 03 Jun 2019 10:18

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