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Article Dans Une Revue Review of Political Economy Année : 2024

Debt and the Politics of Numbers: Hegemonic Numbers, Political Numbers, Ordinary Numbers

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Numbers are both shaped by and constitutive of a certain vision of the world, and household debt is no exception. Financialized capitalism relies on hegemonic numbers that serve the economic and political interests of state government and the financial industry, which see and measure debt as a market ripe for development. In the face of this, it is crucial to build alternative numbers. The political numbers of debt conceive debt as a power relation, and quantify the degrees of financial exploitation that hegemonic numbers are blind to. Ordinary numbers seek to reflect what matters the most to ordinary people. They conceive of debt as a relationship of social interdependence, which can be a source of power, hierarchy and exploitation, but also of mutual aid, reciprocity and dignity. Far from functioning in silos, hegemonic numbers, political numbers and ordinary numbers have shifting boundaries. This article, based on twenty years of research in India conducted by a Franco-Indian team of economists and anthropologists, exposes and contributes to the politics of numbers in the field of debt.
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hal-04594985 , version 1 (30-05-2024)

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Isabelle Guérin, G. Venkatasubramanian. Debt and the Politics of Numbers: Hegemonic Numbers, Political Numbers, Ordinary Numbers. Review of Political Economy, 2024, 36 (2), pp.481-499. ⟨10.1080/09538259.2024.2318959⟩. ⟨hal-04594985⟩
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