Debt and Austerity


Debt and Austerity

Implications of the Financial Crisis

9781839104343 Edward Elgar Publishing
Edited by Jodi Gardner, University Lecturer, Faculty of Law, University of Cambridge and Fellow of St John''s College, Mia Gray, Senior University Lecturer, Department of Geography, University of Cambridge and Fellow at Girton College and Katharina Moser, Lecturer, Birmingham Law School, University of Birmingham, UK
Publication Date: 2020 ISBN: 978 1 83910 434 3 Extent: 360 pp
This book explores the complex interactions between debt and austerity, analysing the social, economic, and legal implications of governments’ responses to the 2008 financial crisis.

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This book explores the complex interactions between debt and austerity, analysing the social, economic, and legal implications of governments’ responses to the 2008 financial crisis.
Demonstrating how the nature of debt for those on low incomes has changed radically over the last decade, the chapters provide insight into how structural inequality was exacerbated by changes in the redistributive state, the legal system, and the welfare system. The examination occurs on a number of levels and these issues are explored through the lens of power, place, and class. The authors utilize both international case studies and ''on the ground'' experiences, reviewing the role of high cost credit, bailiffs, local governments, bankruptcy, and debt advice. Through the analysis of the nature and structure of debt in specific countries, it highlights important lessons for a global audience.
This unique book offers a broad, multi-faceted insight into the issue of low-income debt which will greatly benefit academics in law, social policy, geography, and economics. Its focus on practical steps and potential reforms, as well as contributions from third sector organizations, will also interest practitioners, policymakers, and NGOs.
Critical Acclaim
‘... this anthology is a very helpful handbook, especially for young scholars whose work is devoted to the social question in the age of austerity. The individual contributions offer connections to further research work, for example, the work on foundational economy and open up research perspectives on certain debt contexts.’
– Simon Dudek, Eurasian Geography and Economics

‘The book is brilliant for illuminating the crush and bind of debt for low-income individuals in otherwise high-income British society since the advent of post-2008 austerity. Far from a unique and cloistered experience of the unlucky or undeserving, the book makes clear how gripping debt will remain without a range of urgently needed policy changes. These chapters will be indispensable reading for students, scholars, civil society, and, one desperately hopes, policy makers.’
– Heather Whiteside, Economic Geography

‘As problems of debt and overindebtedness loom large in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic, this rich and interdisciplinary collection of essays provides timely insights into the theoretical, policy and practical issues in addressing problems of debt and low income in contemporary society.’
– Iain Ramsay, University of Kent, UK

‘As low and moderate-income households become ever more dependent on debt to survive this historic COVID-19 pandemic, this book identifies the real culprits who have made these debt burdens grow faster than they should have. The authors show how austerity is leading to the opposite of its intended outcome as privatized troubles become public burdens. Laying the groundwork for targeted debt forgiveness, these accomplished scholars offer a pathway out of the crisis into a more prosperous and just future.’
– Frederick F. Wherry, Princeton University, US and Founding Director, The Dignity and Debt Network
Contributors: S. Davies, A. Finney, J. Gardner, J. Grace, M. Gray, A.-S. Henrikson, J. Montgomerie, K. Möser, K. Rowlingson, S.J. Smith, M. Sparkes, J. Spooner, S. Strong, S. Williams


Foreword xv
Acknowledgements xviii

1 Understanding low-income debt in a high-income country 2
Mia Gray, Katharina Möser and Jodi Gardner
2 Mortgage debt in an age of austerity 30
Susan J. Smith
3 Debt begets debt: public and private debt in austerity Britain 46
Mia Gray
4 Austerity and financial safety nets: bankruptcy abuse prevention
and bank protection in Irish post-crisis policy? 69
Joseph Spooner
5 The changing infrastructure of debt relief: privatisation,
bureaucracy and public choice 94
Katharina Möser
6 ‘I just felt responsible for my debts’: debt stigma and class
(ificatory) exploitation 125
Matthew Sparkes
7 Austere social reproduction and the gendered geographies of debt 151
Sam Strong

8 The poverty premium and debt 175
Sara Davies and Andrea Finney
9 High-cost credit in the UK: what’s the problem and how
should policy respond? 194
Karen Rowlingson
10 The rise and rise of affordability complaints 219
Sara Williams
11 Consumer debt problems and the image of the consumer in
Swedish consumer credit regulation 240
Ann-Sofie Henrikson
12 Partnering to address financial exclusion in Australia 260
Jordan Grace
13 Relief from austerity: the case for a targeted write-off of the
UK’s household debt stock 280
Johnna Montgomerie
14 Austerity, inequality and high-cost credit: understanding the
role of a social minimum 299
Jodi Gardner

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