Contesting finance capital's 'state fix'

Authors: Amy Horton*, University College London
Topics: Economic Geography, Political Geography, Social Geography
Keywords: Financialization, debt, social movement, labor, social reproduction
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/13/2018
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Gallier B, Sheraton, 4th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Given labour’s declining structural power under conditions of financialisation, theories of value can no longer focus exclusively on commodity production and struggles within the workplace. In many countries, the state and related elements of social reproduction have come to represent a major source of value for the financial sector, and this opens up political opportunities. States have been interpreted as critical agents of financialisation (Krippner, 2011), and as objects of financial discipline
(Streeck, 2014). However, the relationship between the state and finance can also be investigated as one of interdependence – as in Harvey’s ‘state-finance nexus’ (1982). This relationship has arguably deepened since the global financial crisis, through mechanisms such as bank bail-outs and quantitative easing. This paper draws on empirical research with a US-based coalition of unions and community groups targeting hedge funds. The coalition has sought to expose and challenge the ways in which finance takes value from the state, including through interest on public debt, financial products to manage associated risks, and asset management fees on public pension funds. I suggest interpreting these as elements of a ‘state fix’ for capital, which is disputed by alliances of labour and community actors, on the basis of its effects for workers, democracy and social reproduction. This has required innovation in the spaces and tactics of political-economic contestation.

Abstract Information

This abstract is already part of a session. View the session here.

To access contact information login