Government borrowing is at record levels, by some measures, and is projected to climb still higher in the coming decade. Are there “tipping points” we should worry about? If so, what happens after that?
Why do governments borrow in the first place? Why do they sometimes over-borrow? Why (and how) do they sometimes default? Are democracies more prone to over-borrowing than other regime types? Does excessive public borrowing commit intergenerational injustice?
While answering these questions and illustrating public debt history in multi-century charts, this talk reveals what leading political economists – from Smith in the 18th century to Krugman in the 21st century – have said about public debt. Theorists are classified as pessimists, optimists, and realists. The talk reveals which factors best distinguish these views, which view dominates today’s public debt debate, and why it matters.
Monday, November 13 at 4:00pm to 5:00pm
Farrell Hall, Broyhill Auditorium (A31) 1834 Wake Forest Rd, Winston-Salem, NC