The Politics of Public Debt

Financialization, Class, and Democracy in Neoliberal Brazil


Author: Daniel Bin
In The Politics of Public Debt Daniel Bin analyzes how fiscal and monetary policies and the administration of public debt related to class, labor, and democracy during the period of neoliberal financialization in Brazil. Sustained by state action, the politico-economic context allowed the establishment of a macroeconomic framework that favored finance capital. It was characterized by the expropriation of workers’ incomes through a system involving public debt and taxation, capable of deepening labor exploitation. Decisions about public debt and related policies are analyzed in terms of their implications for economic democracy. The book raises the hypothesis that the 2016 coup within the Brazilian capitalist state sought to overthrow the political forces that were no longer able to administer this model.

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Daniel Bin is an associate professor at the University of Brasilia. He was a visiting scholar at Yale University and at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Bin has published on economic policies and their implications for labor and class relations, and more recently on dispossessions of means of subsistence and production.
Acknowledgements ix
Preface x
List of Figures xii


1The Politics of Financialization
 1 Crisis of Accumulation and Reaction of Finance
 2 Financial Expansion of the Brazilian Economy
 3 Fictitious Capital as a Concrete Social Relation

2Capitalist State and Financial Hegemony
 1 Capitalist Economy and Capitalist State
 2 Financial Hegemony in the State Apparatus
 3 The Class Character of Macroeconomic Policy

3Fiscal Superstructure, Expropriation, and Exploitation
 1 The Financialization of Class Exploitation
 2 Exploitation beyond Labor Exchange
 3 Public Debt, Taxation, and Redistribution of Surpluses
 4 Public Debt and the Rise in the Rate of Exploitation
 5 State Spending and Appropriation of Income

4Macroeconomic Policy and Economic Democracy
 1 Capitalism or Democracy
 2 Depoliticization of Economic Policy
 3 Selective Bureaucratic Insulation
 4 Monetary Expectations and Inducements
 5 The Talking Shop of Macroeconomic Policy
 6 Economic Democracy and Democratic Socialism

Afterword: The 2016 Coup d’État

The book is aimed at an audience of academics, researchers, and anyone interested in social aspects — class, labor, and politics — of contemporary financialization, macroeconomic policies, and public debt.