2021/02/02 – Shaina Potts (UCLA, USA): Debt in the time of Covid

On the 2nd Feb 2021 Dr. Shaina Potts of UCLA presented the first ever FINGEO virtual seminar, entitled “Debt in the time of Covid”, the seminar was hosted by Dr. Dariusz Wójcik (Uni Oxford).


Shaina Potts (Ph.D, UC Berkeley, 2017) is an Assistant Professor in Geography and Global Studies, with research interests in post-colonial sovereign debt relations; financial, legal and political geographies; international political economy; American empire; and the politics of territory. She teaches classes on globalization, border studies, nationalism, political geography, and political economy.

In addition to a massive loss of life, the Coronavirus pandemic has devastated entire industries and caused untold economic suffering to workers, renters and small businesses around the world. Wealthy countries have offset some of this pain through debt-financed social spending and stimulus, leading to renewed debates about the future of neoliberal austerity beyond the pandemic. Low and middle-income countries, however, have been far more constrained, due not only to smaller total budgets but to the way existing debts to foreign creditors limit their financing options. In this talk, I consider sovereign debt relief efforts since the start of the pandemic, most notably the Debt Service Suspension Initiative. I show how past debt crises continue to shape geographies of sovereign debt under Covid-19, and I argue that the limited success of the DSSI is rooted in its replication of long-standing international approaches to sovereign debt crisis resolution that are designed to promote contract rights and creditors’ interests over substantial debt relief.





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Posted in Past Events.