Debt or Democracy

Debt or Democracy : Public Money for Sustainability and Social Justice

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This is a challenge to conventional thinking around money and the `debt crisis'. By re-evaluating the source of money, Mary Mellor presents a radical alternative to austerity and privatisation: public wealth, or, money used for sustainability, sufficiency and social justice.

Debt or Democracy debunks the received lessons of the financial crisis of 2007. Political elites shout about a house whose finances are in disarray; a 'yawning deficit' created by reckless spending in a bloated public sector. The answer to this 'debt crisis' has been harsh austerity measures - but this is a dangerously deceptive discourse.

Turning against the prevalent narrative, with its language of 'debt' and 'deficit', Mellor takes on the familiar question - 'where does money come from?'. The real solution is a return to the notion of public wealth and the public economy; of a monetary system owned by, and operated in the interests of, the majority.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 224 pages
  • 135 x 215 x 22.86mm | 635.03g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0745335551
  • 9780745335551

Table of contents


1. The Privatisation of Money and the Politics of Austerity

2. Money for Sustainability, Sufficiency and Social Justice

3. Provisioning through Public Money

4. Misunderstanding Public Money: Four Myths and a Confusion

5. Janus-faced: the Central Bank

6. Understanding Public Money

7. Public Money: Beyond the Borders

8. Conclusion: Crisis and Change


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Review quote

An insightful and thought-provoking analysis. This book clearly shows why a monetary system based on debt inevitably leads to crisis. -- Ben Dyson, Positive Money Prospering without growth requires reclaiming the creation of money from private banks. Now that even the likes of the IMF and the Bank of England entertain the idea of public money, how money is to be made public is as important as ever. And Mary Mellor's book has the right answers. -- Giorgos Kallis, ICREA Professor, ICTA, Autonomous University of Barcelona and Leverhulme Visiting Professor, SOAS By challenging entrenched myths about money and economic value, Mary Mellor demonstrates the need to change the way in which money is created, in order to stop the private sector undermining the public sector and enable a shift to an economy that is environmentally sustainable and socially just. Fresh, clear and incisive. -- Andrew Sayer, Professor of Social Theory and Political Economy at Lancaster Universityâ Mary Mellor has a superb understanding of the nature of money; of the institutions that underpin our monetary system, and of the economic frameworks within which monetary systems operate. I have looked forward to the publication of this book, and highly recommend it to readers. Because money is nothing more than civilisation's social and economic relationships, expressed in monetary terms, it should be a matter of intense focus of study for sociologists, as well as economists. Sadly, neither discipline has paid the subject sufficient attention. Mary Mellor is one of two fine sociologists (the other is Geoffrey Ingham) that writes authoritatively about money - and whose writing is highly accessible. -- Ann Pettifor, analyst of the global financial system, author of Just Money: How Society Can Break the Despotic Power of Finance and Director of Policy Research in Macroeconomics (PRIME)
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About Mary Mellor

Mary Mellor is Emeritus Professor at Northumbria University, where she was founding Chair of the University's Sustainable Cities Research Institute. She has published extensively on alternative economics integrating socialist, feminist and green perspectives. Her books include The Future of Money: From Financial Crisis to Public Resource (Pluto, 2010).
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