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St Catharine's Political Economy Seminar Series - Speaker:Ann Pettifor

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Talk Title: ‘Challenging the Ideology of Austerity’

Speaker Ann Pettifor is a director of the think-tank Policy research in Macroeconomics (PRIME). In September 2015 she was appointed as a member of Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Economic Advisory Committee, along with Mariana Mazzucato, Joseph Stiglitz, Thomas Piketty, Anastasia Nesvetailova and Danny Blanchflower. Her background is in sovereign debt – particularly those of low-income countries. More recently she has analysed, and written extensively on both the private and public debts of Anglo-American economies. She was one of the leaders of the Jubilee 2000 campaign, which led to the writing off of $100 billion (in nominal terms) of debt owed by 35 of the poorest countries in Africa, Latin America and Asia. In 2005 she helped the Nigerian Debt Management Office clear $30bn of debt owed to the Paris Club of creditors. Ann Pettifor was one of the few people to correctly predict (in 2003 and 2006) the global debt-deflationary crisis of 2007. She is an honorary research fellow at City Political Economy Research Centre, City University London: and is Chair of the Advisory Board at Goldsmiths College’s Political Economy Research Centre, London. She has an honorary doctorate from the University of Newcastle and is a senior fellow of the New Economics Foundation (NEF) in London. She is the author of Just Money – How Society Can Break the Despotic Power of Finance (Commonwealth Publishing 2014) and The Coming First World Debt (Palgrave Macmillan, 2006) and was the editor of NEF ’s Real World Economic Outlook – The Legacy of Globalisation: Debt and Deflation (Palgrave Macmillan, 2003). She co-authored the Green New Deal Group’s transformational economic programme The Green New deal (2008) and The Cuts Won’t Work (2009) and, with Professor Victoria Chick, she co-authored PRIME ’s radical analysis of 100 years of UK public debt and its impact, The Economic Consequences of Mr Osborn (2011).

Talk Overview: Ann Pettifor will discuss the one-sided and one-dimensional aspects of today’s dominant economic narrative. It acts as cover for an ideological objective: a world of liberal finance freed up by de-regulation and capital mobility to exercise despotic power over an illiberal and shrunken state. Mainstream members of the economics profession have wittingly or unwittingly colluded with the dominant narrative, which derives from the work of classical and neo-classical economists. Most have a flawed understanding of the nature of credit and money. To subordinate finance to the wider interests of society, and to restore stability, full employment and sustainability to the global economy, John Maynard Keynes’s domestic and international monetary reforms must be revived – especially in Cambridge. Above all, today’s ‘Keynesian economics’ must be discredited, as a gross misrepresentation of Keynes’s economic theory. There is another reason for reviving Keynes’s opposition to liberal finance: climate change. In his essay on national self-sufficiency he made plain the need for a gradual move towards national self-sufficiency, and towards the recognition that under today’s dominant economic model, “We destroy the beauty of the countryside because the unappropriated splendors of nature have no economic value. We are capable of shutting off the sun and the stars because they do not pay a dividend.” The link between unfettered finance, credit and excessive consumption must be broken, Ann Pettifor will argue, if we are to build a sustainable economy – for both ours, and our grandchildren’s generation.

All are welcome to attend. The seminar series is supported by the Cambridge Journal of Economics and the Economics and Policy Group at the Judge Business School.

Please contact the seminar organisers Philip Arestis (pa267@cam.ac.uk) and Michael Kitson (m.kitson@jbs.cam.ac.uk) in the event of a query.

This talk is part of the St Catharine's Political Economy Seminar Series series.

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