By Bartholomew Paudyn (auth.)

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Extra info for Credit Ratings and Sovereign Debt: The Political Economy of Creditworthiness through Risk and Uncertainty

Sample text

Such modulation of ‘deviant’ fiscal conduct ‘at-a-distance’ is intended to induce the Crisis and Control 35 internalization of self-regulation as ratings serve to facilitate the ‘translation’ of diverse national problematizations into mutually corresponding, and potentially reinforcing, global ones (Latour 1987). Adherence to the programmatic inherent in ratings ‘enables and opens up new possibilities for its subjects’, while simultaneously ‘[restraining] these subjects as they are made subjects of a certain calculative and disciplinary regime’ (Haahr 2004: 209).

Unfortunately, seduced by the upswing euphoria, the rating agencies were once again caught by surprise and failed to provide the early warnings that the G7 and others thought were necessary to help mitigate these hazards; which would eventually culminate in a full-blown crisis. Crisis and Control 41 Apart from Moody’s 8 April 1997 decision to downgrade Thailand (from ‘A2’ to ‘A3’), the premonitions of an imminent financial catastrophe failed to trigger a single prescient rating action until the meltdown was well underway.

Budgetary politics is replete with numerous exigencies which, when excessively aggravated, can randomly sabotage the programmatic ambitions of its surveillance to refute ratings. The practical adoption of sovereign ratings, and thus an adherence to their neoliberal program can, in fact, serve to hinder convergence towards their prescribed fiscal normality. In this instance, however, it is not only the empirical validity of the model itself (read sovereign ratings) that is the focus. Of significance is also how sovereign ratings can jeopardize their own programmatic ambitions by creating the very conditions which refute their disinflationary rationalities and further impair their calculative capability.

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