Finance, politics and the state
Randy Martin: Beyond Risk and Remorse: Politics After Financialisation / Anush Kapadia: Monetary Materialism: Value, Credit, and the State / Costas Lapavitsas: Financialisation: What it is and How to Analyse it
Beyond Risk and Remorse: Politics After Financialisationby Randy Martin
The present financial meltdown seems to provide a signal opportunity to redirect our political orientation from the grip of capital. Yet in the face of much moralizing and scape-goating, the task of rethinking lies ahead. How to detect the political prospects, tendencies and conceptual currents in the detritus of the recent explosion? What forms of socialization and interdependency can be detected in this riot of mutual indebtedness?
Monetary Materialism: Value, Credit, and the Stateby Anush Kapadia
Modern money is credit all the way down, not an artefact of state fiat or a commodity. The expressiveness of money comes precisely from the ability of varied credit notes to function as money. Key monetary institutions---money markets and central banks---form a homoeostatic social system that maintains the real and the monetary in an evolving and politicized relationship, one that is directly analogous to the function of value in Marx's political economy. Like value, money is a social means of measurement, a working fiction who's coherence is contested by unequal forces in the money market. The central contest is between the state and finance, and that which is contested is the market power that regulates money's relationship with our diverse means of provisioning. The state is at the top of a hierarchy of money, having the most general-purpose credit note because, uniquely, it is backed by tax claims on every economic entity in its jurisdiction. Yet states and economies are themselves in hierarchical arrangements with each other. Fieldwork was undertaken Bombay's developing money markets to understand how domestic and international political contests come to be expressed and contested through monetary institutions, and how it is money's creditary nature that enables both this struggle and the imagination of "more effective impersonal institutions" (Hart).
Financialisation: What it is and How to Analyse itby Costas Lapavitsas
The paper surveys a number of different approaches to financialisation and proposes an approach based on Marx's and Hilferding's analysis of capitalist finance. Emphasis is placed on relations between industrial and financial capital, the transformation of financial capital, and the increasing entanglement of workers with the mechanisms of finance. This is theoretical work that underpins much of the analytical work that I have been doing on the current crisis.