Historical Perspectives on Current Struggles against Illegitimate Debt

Authored by: Christina Laskaridis , Nathan Legrand , Eric Toussaint

The Routledge International Handbook of Financialization

Print publication date:  February  2020
Online publication date:  February  2020

Print ISBN: 9781138308213
eBook ISBN: 9781315142876
Adobe ISBN:


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When the failures of the financial system came to the fore, tides of discontent swept across Europe and North America. This chapter discusses the scope and strategies used by debt resistance movements to effectively challenge the power of creditors, which has grown with financialization. After the global financial crisis of 2007/8, private indebtedness became closely linked with public indebtedness as states intervened on a large scale to socialise the private losses of the financial sector of core economies (Toussaint 2015; see also Epstein in this volume). This led to problems for indebted states which Roos (2016), through the prism of the structural power of finance, shows how debt was used to constrain and maneuver specific policy choices by states. As suggested by Davis and Walsh, this had implications for households, which are “drawn into financialisation through a range of activities, from the securitisation and collateralisation of mortgage debts to the nationalisation of bankrupt banks” (2015: 667). The result of this was a higher concentration in public debt ownership and a reinforced unequal distribution of income overall (Hager 2015).

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