Palgrave Studies in the History of Finance

A World of Public Debts

A Political History

Editors: Barreyre, Nicolas, Delalande, Nicolas (Eds.)

Free Preview
  • Illustrates that global public debt crises are always related to deep transformations in the relation (and boundaries) between states, markets, and polities
  • Offers a contribution to the debate on the history of capitalism and of democracy 
  • Features global contributions from leading minds in financial, economic, and political history and public debt
see more benefits

Buy this book

eBook 90,94 €
price for Spain (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-030-48794-2
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: EPUB, PDF
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
  • Institutional customers should get in touch with their account manager
Hardcover 112,31 €
price for Spain (gross)
About this book

This book analyzes public debt from a political, historical, and global perspective. It demonstrates that public debt has been a defining feature in the construction of modern states, a main driver in the history of capitalism, and a potent geopolitical force. From revolutionary crisis to empire and the rise and fall of a post-war world order, the problem of debt has never been the sole purview of closed economic circles. This book offers a key to understanding the centrality of public debt today by revealing that political problems of public debt have and will continue to need a political response.  

Today’s tendency to consider public debt as a source of fragility or economic inefficiency misses the fact that, since the eighteenth century, public debts and capital markets have on many occasions been used by states to enforce their sovereignty and build their institutions, especially in times of war. It is nonetheless striking to observe that certain solutions that were used in the past to smooth out public debt crises (inflation, default, cancellation, or capital controls) were left out of the political framing of the recent crisis, therefore revealing how the balance of power between bondholders, taxpayers, pensioners, and wage-earners has evolved over the past 40 years.  

Today, as the Covid-19 pandemic opens up a dramatic new crisis, reconnecting the history of capitalism and that of democracy seems one of the most urgent intellectual and political tasks of our time. This global political history of public debt is a contribution to this debate and will be of interest to financial, economic, and political historians and researchers.   

Chapters 13 and 19 are available open access under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License via link.springer.com.

About the authors

Nicolas Barreyre is Associate Professor of American History at the École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHESS), Paris.

Nicolas Delalande is Associate Professor of European History at Sciences Po, Paris.   

Reviews

  
“A World of Public Debts is a fascinating and illuminating book. Barreyre and Delalande have put together 25 leading scholars on the history of public debt, from colonial empires to the present day. By doing so they have produced what will become a major reference book on the topic. In my view, this book sets the standards for what future historical research should look like: a fine mixture of political, ideological and socioeconomic history. Historians and other social scientists should not leave economic and financial issues and their technicalities to economists. Quite the contrary: they should confront them and demonstrate that they cannot be properly addressed without putting at the center of the analysis the issues of political legitimacy, knowledge and power. A must-read.” (Thomas Piketty, author of Capital in the Twenty-First Century and Capital and Ideology)“The essays in this volume reveal how public debt goes to the core of the entangled relationship between government and money. Spanning a wide range of countries over an extended period, the authors pose basic questions about the meaning of sovereignty, the co-dependence of private finance and public power, and the balance between taxpayers and creditors.  This is a stunning collection.” (Jeremy Adelman, author of Republic of Capital and Worlds Together, Worlds Apart)

“Public debt is one of the largest dramas of our times. A World of Public Debts is a brilliant work of historical scholarship that explores the multiplicity of experiences of debt across space and time, raising profound and important questions about the ever-changing relationship between the market and the state.” (Emma Rothschild, author of Economic Sentiments and The Inner Life of Empires)

Table of contents (20 chapters)

Table of contents (20 chapters)

Buy this book

eBook 90,94 €
price for Spain (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-030-48794-2
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: EPUB, PDF
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
  • Institutional customers should get in touch with their account manager
Hardcover 112,31 €
price for Spain (gross)
Loading...

Recommended for you

Loading...

Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
A World of Public Debts
Book Subtitle
A Political History
Editors
  • Nicolas Barreyre
  • Nicolas Delalande
Series Title
Palgrave Studies in the History of Finance
Copyright
2020
Publisher
Palgrave Macmillan
Copyright Holder
The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG
eBook ISBN
978-3-030-48794-2
DOI
10.1007/978-3-030-48794-2
Hardcover ISBN
978-3-030-48793-5
Series ISSN
2662-5164
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
XLIV, 564
Number of Illustrations
14 b/w illustrations, 3 illustrations in colour
Topics