In the conversation festival Lampa inviting to discuss about the responsible attitude towards state debt  25 June 2018

In the conversation festival Lampa inviting to discuss about the responsible attitude towards state debt

Why people should not be indifferent to the public debt, how it affects our daily lives, and why the borrowed money should be taken with the responsibility - these and other issues related to the public debt will be opened for the discussion at this year's Lampa conversation festival at the panel organised by the Fiscal discipline council.

The conversation "Public Fiscal Responsibility and Public Debt" will be held on 29 June in Cesis, in Castle Park from 12:30 to 13:45 on the DOTS-1 stage.

Jānis Platais – the Chairman of the Fiscal Discipline Council, Andris Šuvajevs – the economic anthropology researcher, Mārtiņš Āboliņš – the economist of the Citadele bank and Elgars Felcis – the sustainability researcher and activist, are going to be the panelists of the discussion.

"Public debt is our common debt, because the state – it means all of us. It's not something abstract, but the result of concrete decisions that we have spent today, but will pay back in the future," one of the topics at Lampa stage highlights Jānis Platais, Chairman of the Fiscal Discipline Council.

"There is also a certain relationship between the generations in context of debt – one generation is accumulating debt, but the next will be forced to give it back. Consequently, the development of public debt must be treated with great responsibility, as it can significantly affect not only our, but also future generations' quality of life. If the government debt is constantly higher than we are able to pay back, interest payments are increasing and it is becoming increasingly difficult for the state to borrow money in the future, and at some point in time there might be very severe crises," J. Platais emphasises.

According to Andris Šuvajevs, a researcher of economic anthropology, public debt is a seemingly integral part of the political life of each government. However, national debts have a history – they appeared at a specific moment for a specific purpose.

"Over the last decade, we have heard a lot about the need to reduce public debt and budget deficit, but it was not an easy task. Therefore, in Lampa we will look for the answers, if it is possible to use public debt to improve the quality of life and how would life without a national debt look like?" says A.Šuvajevs.

Sustainability researcher and activist Elgars Felcis acknowledges that it is important not to perceive debt on a daily basis as something self-evident, which has always been and will be, because from a sustainability point of view, it raises a number of problems in the world.

"The most obvious example is the global financial system, where money is formed very simply – at the expense of debt, by issuing credits. This money feeds the economy, so the debt is inevitably linked to the growth requirement. However, the infinite development of our planet is impossible because environmental resources are limited. Therefore, it is important to think about limiting the quantitative growth generated by endless debt, which creates long-term risks, rather than choosing quality development and prosperity," says E. Felcis.

According to Mārtiņš Āboliņš, an economist at Citadele bank, government debt, just like any private debt, affects every citizen, although many do not even suspect it.

"Therefore it is interesting to discuss and seek answers – whether public and private debt are equivalent and how these debts are linked; whether there may be situations where private debt becomes a public debt and vice versa, and how it affects economic developments; is there a notion like an optimal level of debt, which can lead to a faster development of the country, or it is more safe to live without a debt and sleep more quietly at night, rather than jump on the road ahead – all in an informal atmosphere, easily and humorously we will discuss in Lampa" says M.Āboliņš.

According to E.Felcis, the festival Lampa is an important initiative, as it allows us to discuss a wide range of issues, including inconvenient and less commonly used issues that are relevant to the Latvian society.

"We live in an era of enormous amount of information, where the offered information often is in low quality. On the contrary, the Lampa allows to go deeper, find out and understand, rather than read things that are spoiled by the trolls on the Internet," says E. Felcis.

More information in Latvian here.