Debt and Money: a Critical Introduction
275 Madison Avenue, Suite 2114
New York, NY 10016
What is debt? What does it do? And for whom? Americans, as a whole, are simultaneously richer and more indebted than ever. Are the phenomena linked? What differentiates, and connects, different types of debts—individual, corporate, national? Is increasing indebtedness a cause or effect of increasing wealth inequality and economic instability? Is debt essential to wealth creation?
This class is the study of a seemingly new financial and monetary age—one in which lending and borrowing, performed on an immense scale, play a central and driving role in national and international economic and political affairs. We’ll attempt to understand the workings of debt in its multiple dimensions–as a substitute for rising wages; as capital and a means of production; as a requirement for government spending; as a means of social and political control. Is debt financing integral to modern capitalism? Has debt been a force for destabilization? How are money, credit, and modern finance linked? What role do banks and central banks play? As the Greek debt crisis illustrates, creditors are able to shape economic fiscal policies and impose harsh austerity concessions. Does the instrumentalization of debt strengthen private finance at the expense of governmental and, concomitantly, public power? Is there an alternative?
Course ScheduleWednesday, 6:30-9:30pm
April 04 — April 25, 2018