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Call for Papers: Towards De-Financialisation and the Rise of New Capitalism?

Editors: Giuseppe Fontana, Christos Pitelis, Jochen Runde

The Special Issue invites contributions on the future of financialisation and the potential rise of a new form of post-financialisation capitalism. The aim is to stimulate a debate on how finance and financial markets and institutions can better serve the real economy and foster economic, social and environmental sustainability.

Early discussions of finance/industry relations go back to classical economists such as Smith and Marx. Key subsequent contributions include Hilferding’s (1910) views on an emerging fusion of financial and industrial motives, Polanyi’s (1944) discussion of the problems associated with the commodification of money in capitalism, Hymer’s (1971) international variant of Hilferding’s fusion idea, and numerous debates on the potential dominance of finance (such as the City of London) over industry and its deleterious effects on the real economy (Argitis and Pitelis, 2008). More recently, Epstein (2001) and Argitis and Pitelis (2001) have highlighted the role of tight monetary policy and inflation targeting in support of the interests of financial capital on the real economy, including increasing inequities in the distribution of income.

In the modern incarnation of such debates, the term ‘Financialisation’ usually refers to the growing weight of financial motives, financial actors and markets in modern economies since the 1980s, both at the national and international level (Epstein, 2001). This process involved the proliferation of securitisation and new financial instruments, and substantial credit expansions to households (Sawyer, 2016). It has coincided and has arguably been facilitated by the parallel ‘liberalisation’, de-regulation and self-regulation of markets and the economy more widely. The current period of financialisation has also coincided with the rise of globalisation, neo-liberalism and growing inequality (Palley, 2013). Notwithstanding its global nature, there are also significant variations between countries in terms of the particular forms financialisation has taken and the speed with which it has spread across the world (Lapavitsas and Powell, 2013).

There is now a growing debate on the impact, limits and future of financialisation, and on how capitalism might look in the coming decades. Will the excesses of finance and financial markets that led in 2007-2008 to the financial crisis and related Great Recession be tamed, regulated and managed? Have we entered a new age of capitalism, where financial motives and financial actors will continue to define not only the regime of accumulation and the ascendency of ‘shareholder value’ as a mode of business governance, but also take primacy over all aspects of everyday life from housing, pensions and utilities, fostering further the culture of individualism and the primacy of markets that underpin it (Van der Zwan, 2014)? Will the emergence of new actors and models of finance threaten the established system, as various commentators have suggested? Could a more co-operative approach to finance pave the way to a post-capitalist economy and society (Mason, 2015), or a fairer capitalism (Reich, 2016)? Might the slowdown of China lead to a revival of manufacturing and production in the Western World, with associated changes in the power structures between finance and industry? What does the rise of IT-based giants like Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Uber imply for the future of banks, the industry/finance link, labour, and capitalism as a whole? (Kregel, 2016)

An indicative, by no means exhaustive, list of questions that might be addressed in the SI includes:

  • What is financialisation? Are there different varieties of financialisation and if so, how do these relate to history and historical debates about it?
  • Is financialisation just another structural transformation of modern capitalism or a completely new regime of accumulation?
  • What is the finance/industry relation? Is the financial sector now too large vis-à-vis the needs of the real sector? What is the role of alternatives models of finance and banking, such as mutual or local financial institutions, state development or investment banks, in reducing or restructuring the size and scope of the financial sector?
  • What is the role of technology in financialisation? Would technology and innovation in the digital provision of means and systems of payments matter for the future of financialisation? Would they make current regulations less effective in promoting financial stability?
  • What is the nature of the relationship between financialisation and the sustainability of the economy, society and the natural environment? What would a financial system able to support a process of sustainable development, broadly conceived, look like? What are the likely shifts in the industry/finance and natural environment/finance relationships?
  • Has financialisation affected the gender, race and occupational stratification of our societies?
  • Do inter- and intra-group inequalities, together with established social norms influence the nature and role of financial motives, financial actors and markets in modern economies?
  • Are there limits to financialisation and the dominance of finance over the real economy? What might post-financialisation capitalism look like? What institutions and policies might support a fairer more sustainable system? How and by whom might these be promoted?
  • Has capitalism been taken over by an ‘elite’ that encompasses key actors from finance, industry, government and even the ‘third sector’ rendering regulatory changes endogenous to special interests and hence unable to foster significant change?

References

  • Argitis, G. and Pitelis C. (2001), Monetary policy and the distribution of income: Evidence for the United States and the United Kingdom. Journal of Post Keynesian Economics, 23(4), 617-38.
  • Argitis, G. and Pitelis, C. (2008), Global finance and systemic instability. Contributions to Political Economy, 27(1), 1-11.
  • Epstein, G. (2001), Financialization, rentier interests, and central bank policy. Manuscript, Department of Economics, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA, December
  • Epstein, G. (2005), “Introduction: Financialization and the World Economy”, In Epstein G. (ed.), Financialization and the World Economy, Cheltenham and Northampton, Edward Elgar.
  • Hilferding R. (1910), Finance Capital, London: Routledge & Kegan Paul Paul, 1981.
  • Hymer, S. H. (1960/1976), The International Operations of National Firms: A Study of Direct Foreign Investment. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press
  • Kregel, J. (2016), “The Regulatory Future”, FESSUD Working Paper Series, No. 164. Available here.
  • Lapavitsas, C. and Powell, J. (2013), “Financialisation Varied: A Comparative Analysis of Advanced Economies”, Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society, 6, 359-379.
  • Mason, P. (2015), PostCapitalism: A Guide to Our Future, London, Penguin.
  • Palley, T. (2013), Financialization: The Economics of Finance Capital Domination, Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Reich, R. (2016), Saving Capitalism: For the Many, Not the Few, New York, Alfred A. Knopf.
  • Sawyer, M. (2016), Financialization, Financial Structures, Economic performance and employment, FESSUD Working Paper, No. 93. Available here.
  • Van der Zwan, N. (2014), ‘State of the Art: Making Sense of Financialization’, Socio-Economic Review, 12, 99–129.

Further Information

Giuseppe Fontana: G.Fontana@leeds.ac.uk
Christos Pitelis: Chris.Pitelis@brunel.ac.uk
Jochen Runde: j.runde@jbs.cam.ac.uk

Submission of Papers

The deadline for the submission of papers is 30 September 2017. Submissions should be made using the journal’s online submission system.

During the submission process, authors should indicate that the manuscript is a candidate for the Special Issue titled "Towards De-Financialisation and the Rise of New Capitalism?" Authors are also advised to include a note indicating this in a covering letter that can be uploaded during the submission process. All papers submitted will be considered using the CJE’s normal peer review process. Please refer to the Journal’s information for authors.

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