UCL Institute for Global Prosperity


Debt, Finance and Prosperity


Availability & prerequisites

This is an optional module on the MSc Global Prosperity programme. It is also available to all UCL postgraduate students. There are no specific pre-requisites.

Module content

How can we pay for the societies we want? How do we create more inclusive forms of value? How do we move from failing forms of finance and growth economics that create inequality and ecosystem destruction towards more inclusive and sustainable forms of prosperity? This module addresses these questions by interrogating existing financial practices, particularly the expansion of both private and public debt across the globe. It also examines alternatives that rethink work and wages, social relationships, health and wellbeing in order to sustain and secure individuals and communities, cities and environments.

Illustrative module outline

  1. Finance, Debt, Prosperity: an introduction
  2. Financial Inclusion
  3. Debt
  4. Alternative, ‘social’ and ethical finance
  5. Field trip: Hoe Street Central Bank (HSCB)
  6. New geographies of finance: Platforms, Networks, Ledgers
  7. The future of cities? – housing & infrastructure
  8. Caring labour, indebted households and financialised corporations
  9. Speculative imaginaries of finance and risk
  10. Conclusion: finance, debt, prosperity

Indicative Reading

Christophers B. Leyshon A. & Mann G. 2017. Money and Finance After the Crisis: Critical Thinking for Uncertain Times. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.

Gibson-Graham J.K. 2008. Diverse economies: performative practices for ‘other worlds’. Progress in Human Geography 32,5: 613 – 632.

Gibson-Graham, J. K. & Cameron, J. & Healy, S. 2013. Take Back the Economy: An Ethical Guide for Transforming Our Communities. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Institute of Global Prosperity - Social Prosperity Network, Portes J. Reed H. & Percy A. 2017. Social prosperity for the future: A proposal for Universal Basic Services. UCL: IGP.

Jackson T. 2011. Prosperity Without Growth: Economics for a Finite Planet. London: Routledge.

Jackson T. 2015. Growth is not the answer to inequality. The Guardian Blog, 13 March 2015. Available at https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2015/mar/13/growth-is-n....

Jacobs M. & Mazzucato M. (eds.) 2016. Rethinking Capitalism: Economics and Policy for Sustainable and Inclusive Growth. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell

Konings M. 2015. The Emotional Logic of Capitalism: What Progressives Have Missed. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

Konings M. 2018. Capital and Time: For a New Critique of Neoliberal Reason. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

Langley, P. 2017. Finance/Security/Life. Finance and Society 3: 173-179.

Leyshon A & Thrift N. 2007. The Capitalization of Almost Everything: The Future of Finance and Capitalism. Theory, Culture & Society 24,7-8: 97-115.

Wolff M. 2017. Capitalism and democracy — the odd couple. Financial Times 19th September 2017. Available at https://www.ft.com/content/cec2664c-9a2e-11e7-b83c-9588e51488a0