In Defense of Public Debt

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en Limba Engleză Hardback – 25 Nov 2021
A dive into the origins, management, and uses and misuses of sovereign debt through the ages.Public debts have exploded to levels unprecedented in modern history as governments responded to the Covid-19 pandemic and ensuing economic crisis. Their dramatic rise has prompted apocalyptic warnings about the dangers of heavy debts—about the drag they will place on economic growth and the burden they represent for future generations. In Defense of Public Debt offers a sharp rejoinder to this view, marshaling the entire history of state-issued public debt to demonstrate itsusefulness. Authors Barry Eichengreen, Asmaa El-Ganainy, Rui Esteves, and Kris James Mitchener argue that the ability of governments to issue debt has played a critical role in addressing emergencies—from wars and pandemics to economic and financial crises, as well as in funding essential public goods and services such as transportation, education, and healthcare. In these ways, the capacity to issue debt has been integral to state building and state survival. Transactions in public debt securitieshave also contributed to the development of private financial markets and, through this channel, to modern economic growth.None of this is to deny that debt problems, debt crises, and debt defaults occur. But these dramatic events, which attract much attention, are not the entire story. In Defense of Public Debt redresses the balance. The authors develop their arguments historically, recounting two millennia of public debt experience. They deploy a comprehensive database to identify the factors behind rising public debts and the circumstances under which high debts are successfully stabilized and broughtdown. Finally, they bring the story up to date, describing the role of public debt in managing the Covid-19 pandemic and recession, suggesting a way forward once governments—now more heavily indebted than before—finally emerge from the crisis.
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ISBN-13: 9780197577899
ISBN-10: 019757789X
Pagini: 320
Dimensiuni: 161 x 242 x 26 mm
Greutate: 0.59 kg
Editura: Oxford University Press
Colecția OUP USA
Locul publicării: New York, United States


Discussions of sovereign debt are always the same, yet always different. Why debt finance? How much can we borrow? Should creditors worry? The authors take us on a fascinating 2500-year tour of sovereign debt through the ages, the discussions, the successes and the failures. The bottom line: Well-used, debt finance has been and is precious. The latest example: The use of debt during the Covid crisis. A must read for anybody interested in current debt debates.
An exceptionally comprehensive and readable history of public debt from ancient Greece to modern Greece and from Argentina to Australia to Asia to America. This book is rich with detail, studded with lessons learned, forgotten and learned again, and packed with analytical perspective that reflects decades of scholarship. It is a timely reminder to governments, lenders, investors and ordinary citizens that if you don't know where you've been, you probably don't knowwhere you are going.
Repeatedly since the 1980s, Americans have been told to worry about the size of the federal debt. And yet the debt has continued to grow absolutely and as a share of gross domestic product, with few of the predicted adverse consequences. Building expertly on large and complex literatures in history, economics and political science, In Defense of Public Debt offers a balanced account of the positive and negative aspects of public debt, showing the vitallyimportant role government borrowing can play in a time of crisis, but also the very real problems that can arise when debts grow too large. At a time when too many policymakers subscribe to naive ideas about public finance, this is a book that cries out for a readership beyond the academy.
For a typical citizen, protection in war-time or in a pandemic reveals their government to be a problem-solver rather than 'the problem.' Yet the legacy of such episodes in the accumulated national debt is widely misunderstood, opening the way to too rapid a turn to austerity. In Defense of Public Debt provides enlightenment and reassurance by inviting the reader to follow how public debt—warts and all—has helped create the modern world.
In Defense of Public Debt could not be timelier. It is an engaging and informative account of the use and misuse of government borrowing, from early times to the Covid pandemic. The unquestionable expertise of the authors, and their non-partisan reading of the evidence from our past, will serve to guide the intelligent reader as they wrestle with one of the most important issues of our time: Are we borrowing too much?
How much debt should a country accumulate during a crisis? And afterwards? To know what works and what doesn't requires verdicts on past performances. The authors deliver the verdicts, applying sound principles in a definitive global history of public debt.
With so much nonsense about the public debt in the air, it is refreshing to discover a work of such intelligence, balance, and erudition. Read In Defense of Public Debt for fun and profit. Then send an excerpt or two to your favorite politicians.
In this fascinating and comprehensive history, the authors provide a much-needed antidote to the simplistic accounts that so often dominate debates about government debt. From its earliest origins to today, public borrowing has sometimes led to spectacular failures, but it has also allowed societies to achieve objectives that would have been impossible in its absence. As we ask where we stand with public debt today, there is no better book to remind us of the lessonsof history.

Notă biografică

Barry Eichengreen is George C. Pardee and Helen N. Pardee Professor of Economics and Political Science at the University of California, Berkeley. He is the author of several earlier books published by Oxford University Press, including Golden Fetters, Exorbitant Privilege, Hall of Mirrors, and The Populist Temptation.Rui Esteves is Professor of International History at the Graduate Institute, Geneva. He specializes in monetary and financial history, straddling the fields of international finance, institutional economics, and public finance. His research provides perspective on the globalization of finance, financial crises, sovereign debt, financial market architecture, the choice of exchange rate regimes and emigrant remittances, as well as rent-seeking and corruption in public office.Asmaa El-Ganainy is Deputy Division Chief at the International Monetary Fund's Institute for Capacity Development (European and Middle Eastern Division). Previously, shecontributed to the IMF's surveillance, lending, research, and capacity development work at the European and Fiscal Affairs Departments. Her experience has covered wide range of countries, including advanced, emerging and low-income countries. She has also contributed to the IMF's work on several crisis cases, including Greece at the height of the 2010 European sovereign debt crisis. She has published in the fields of sovereign debt, public finance, capital flows, and labor markets.Kris James Mitchener is Robert and Susan Finocchio Professor of Economics at Santa Clara University. His research focuses on financial crises, economic growth, exchange-rate regime choice, and monetary economics, and has appeared in the leading scientific journals, including the American Economic Review, the Journal of Political Economy, and Economic Journal. He served as editor-in-chief of Explorations in Economic History from 2015 to2020.