November, 2016

'Monstrous Moral Hybrids' and the Corrupting Quality of Public Debt

  • Richard Wagner

    Distinguished Senior Fellow, F. A. Hayek Program for Advanced Study in Philosophy, Politics and Economics
  • Giuseppe Eusepi

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Read the full working paper at SSRN.

This is the penultimate version of the last of six chapters in a book titled Public Debt: An Illusion of Democratic Political Economy. This essay explores how public debt is a troubling practice for republican and democratic regimes because of its ability to corrupt the language and practice of political economy. For instance, the idea of contract is a perfectly good and sensible concept to apply to the private ordering of economic interaction. When that term is extended to public ordering outside the hypothetical construction of a cooperative state, it becomes a piece of ideology that obscures the role of public debt in promoting the interests of politically dominant groups within society.