Fiscal State-citizen Alignment: Tracing the Sociohistorical Conditions of the Financial Crisis

Tim Holst Celik

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    The 2008 crisis ended the growth bubble of the 2000s, which Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) governments facilitated through the normative/political-regulatory promotion of household indebtedness. Historically contextualizing this state-citizen relationship, this article maps out four episodes of sovereign fiscalism, namely, debt-taking in the Italian city-states, the making of the absolutist tax/fiscal state, the eighteenth/nineteenth century elaboration of the economic citizen, and the postwar era of managed capitalism. Finally, it applies this framework to the 2008 crisis and the larger post-1970s politico-economic constellation. The crisis can be perceived as a particular articulation of an age-old state-household dynamic—a dialectical alignment of the mode of fiscal state-crafting with the ethos of the state-citizen nexus—characterized by a heightened fiscal attentiveness to ordinary consumer-citizens. By uncovering the sociohistorical conditions governing the dominant precrisis regime, it not only nuances our understanding of the crisis but also of neoliberalism and suggests the implausibility of returning to “Golden Age” democratic capitalism.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalCritical Historical Studies
    Issue number1
    Pages (from-to)105-141
    Number of pages37
    Publication statusPublished - 2016

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