May 7, 2020

202. A debt jubilee – the only real answer?

Companies and governments are racking up massive debts to cope with the impact of COVID-19. Apart from grants for a month or two of partial salaries, the approach has largely been to extend easy short-term credit to those people and businesses struggling to survive. We can expect, once an initial amnesty on repayments has passed, many of these companies will go to the wall, adding to the massive peak in unemployment.  How can economies grow when individuals are piled high in debt and governments are forced to use austerity to repay their massive spending programs. Steve Keen has argued that debt needs to be written-off, even before the Corona crisis. Now seems like the right time for society to discuss the benefits of a debt jubilee. The only downside seems to be a significant reduction in the size of the finance sector. Can we live with that? Or, perhaps they can shift their emphasis to more productive investments.

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