27 Jun 2022 16:30 - 19:30 Boys Smith Room, Fisher Building, St John's College



  • Jodi Gardner, University of Cambridge


  • Mia Gray, University of Cambridge

  • Karen Rowlingson, University of York

  • Mae Watson Grote, Change Machine

  • Frederick Wherry, Princeton University


It is already clear that in the next decade we will face severe financial problems, which will exceed those faced after the 2008 crisis. Outside of war time, the scale and scope of governmental responses to covid-19, are unprecedented.  Clearly, the debt levels of governments across the world have already risen sharply in response to the pandemic, and will certainly continue to do so.  The US, the UK, and the EU are already increasing borrowing as well as creating money as part of their responses to this crisis. The UK engaged in a long-term furlough (wage subsidy) scheme for employed and self-employed individuals, another unprecedented economic move that will further increase public debt.

At the same time, corporate debt is much higher now than in 2008.  In the decade following the banking crisis, corporate debt has doubled in real terms.  According to the Institute of International Finance, the ratio of global debt to gross domestic product hit an all-time high of over 322% in the third quarter of 2019, before the on-set of the corona-virus pandemic.  Thus, many observers thought this spiralling global debt created an unstable financial environment, even before the pandemic.

The panel discussion includes world leaders from the UK and the USA talking about the transatlantic experiences with covid-19 and debt. This includes Professor Frederick Wherry from Princeton and Mae Watson Grote from the Change Machine discussing the USA experiences, Professor Karen Rowlingson from the University of York and Dr Mia Gray from Cambridge highlighting the experiences of the UK from a social policy and geographical perspectives.

This will be followed by a Question-and-Answer session with the audience, and then drinks and canapes.

Supported by:

CRASSH grey logo St John's College Logo Cambridge Political Economy Society logo


If you have specific accessibility needs for this event please get in touch. We will do our best to accommodate any requests.


16:30 - 18:30

Transatlantic perspectives of Covid-19 and debt 

Frederick Wherry
‘The debts we did not see: what the pandemic exposed in the US’

Mae Watson Grote
‘The great reprioritization of debt’

Mia Gray

Karen Rowlingson
‘A tale of two pandemic experiences: Covid-19, debt and savings in the UK’

18:30 - 19:30

Drinks reception

Upcoming Events


Tel: +44 1223 766886
Email enquiries@crassh.cam.ac.uk