Monetization: Beyond Neoliberalism and Financialization

Authors: Chris Muellerleile*, Swansea University, Shaun French, School of Geography, University of Nottingham
Topics: Economic Geography, Political Geography, Social Theory
Keywords: financialization; neoliberalism; monetization; monetarism; liquidity, markets, money
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/6/2019
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Capitol Room, Omni, East
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Histories and genealogies of neoliberalism and financialization have insufficiently analyzed how finance and neoliberal politics fuelled each other’s rise since the 1970s. A common analytical assumption is that financialization is largely a material economic process, while neoliberalism is an ideological project, and that the former is an epiphenomenon of the latter. Reappraising this history the paper argues that monetization provides a critical frame of reference for an understanding of financialised, ‘market rule’. And, importantly one that transcends the material/ideational dualism. Monetization is here used to describe the essential role that the absolute conventions of money and liquidity play in the constitution and extension of the self-referential logic of financial market valorisation, and its simultaneous convergence with a cognitive, linguistic, flexibilised economy of goods and services. First is the belief that above all else the state must protect the equivalence of money. In the neoliberal, ideational world view, sound money is elevated to the status of a basic human or political right, while price stability and inflation control have become axiomatic of responsible economic governance. Second, is faith in liquidity. Liquid financial markets have played an historically pivotal role in providing an actually existing basis to argue that price mechanisms can and should do work across broader swathes of the socio-economy. The paper highlights three ways in which liquidity is important: as moneyness; as marketness, and; as desubstantialization. We conclude by considering some of the epistemological, political and spatial implications of the study of monetization.

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