This handbook aims to facilitate further exploration by civil society in the realm of monetary policy; typically organizations explore fiscal policy options, but very few explore monetary policies, or the linkages between monetary and fiscal policies. In part, this is because monetary policies have been relegated to a purely technical issue, rather than a political one. But this also reflects a lack of awareness of alternatives to the main neoliberal economic models.
Indeed, the neoliberal economic model that has swept across the world since the 1980s dramatically changed the global economic system, and led to a shrinking role for government in regulating the economy, and more regressive economic policies. Embedded within this was a different vision of the role that monetary policies and central banks play in the economy. Not only did this vision alter the role they play, but it also relegated this to technical decision-making roles—to be made by technocrats, mostly sitting in Central Banks—rather than placing monetary policies into the political sphere and opening up engagement by citizens.
This handbook aims to highlight that this vision is just one expression of the role of monetary policies. Monetary policies are crucial in determining government budgets and fiscal space for essential services; as such, monetary policies are not driven by merely technical considerations but also involve political choices. This means that civil society organizations who care about fiscal and economic justice need to better understand their role; yet, currently, civil society rarely, if at all, engages in monetary policies and with central banks. This handbook aims to help to begin to change this.