» » MORAL ECONOMIES OF DEBT IN THE GREEK FINANCIAL CRISIS

MORAL ECONOMIES OF DEBT IN THE GREEK FINANCIAL CRISIS

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Johnna Montgomerie

As the Greek crisis unfolds it exposes key sites of financial power within contemporary capitalism. In particular the role that debt plays as a central feature of financialisation, which breeds economic fragility across the Europe.

Using moral economy  as a lens makes visible how economic institutions operate based on norms that define rights and responsibilities; and, how these norms require legitimation based on the moral behaviours of key actors. The Greek financial crisis is important because it exposes the explicit moral economies of debt at work in contemporary economic governance strategies. Namely, how the moral sanctity of ‘you must repay your debts’ is only enforced by key actors (the Troika) in certain circumstances based on which types of institutions and types of debt werebeing governed.

The shifting moral economies of debt are the shared beliefs that underwrite the political power of finance within the European project, these norms coalesce to enforce the current elite consensus on forced Austerity. Using  EP Thompson’s moral economy to frame political resistance to debt, we can see in the Greek context we see how resistance becomes response to debt negotiations.  The events surrounding the referendum last summer show that moral responsibility for debt is a political space whereby the powerless contest the actions of elites based on claims of fairness. Read more here..

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