Value-rent-finance: rethinking the financialisation of nature

Type: Paper
Sponsor Groups:
Poster #:
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM (MDT)
Room: 8201, Park Tower Suites, Marriott, Lobby Level
Organizers: Alex Loftus, Michael Ekers, Thomas Purcell
Chairs: Thomas Purcell


While the literature on the financialisation of nature continues to proliferate, the dynamics it seeks to describe still elicit considerable disagreement. This session seeks to develop a theoretically rich and concretely grounded understanding of the processes and relations through which power has been reconfigured throughout the socio-ecologies of capitalist modernity – at least in part this requires a consideration of “financialization”. In particular, we are interested in the degree to which a rent-theoretic perspective might be able to tease out the super-profits bring realized within financialized nature. Following recent discussions of value-grabbing, climate rent, and the need for rent theory to get beyond the land, the session seeks to explore the barriers erected by a class of rentiers that facilitate the extraction, consolidation and concentration of surpluses. Attention is dedicated to how both finance and rentierism is facilitated by a system of property rights, which, in turn rely on the relation of the state. In exploring these lines of argumentation through a mixture of theoretical and empirical studies,, the session will tease out the ways in which finance facilitates the enclosure of infrastructure and resources, thereby further deepening the potential to extract absolute rents.

The financialization of nature isn’t rolled out onto a blank slate but rather finance aims to take hold and extract rents from a deeply historical and differentiated socio-natural landscapes and processes. It is therefore crucial to consider how complex and uneven landscapes influence the circuits of financial capital and resistance to new regimes of accumulation, rent and enclosure. Doing so requires paying attention to the particularities of nature and how these particularities shape the processes, relations and mechanisms of financialization. Deepening such a perspective, it is necessary to ask how broader social forces and relations of difference related to gender, ‘race’, class, and settler-colonialism shape, and are shaped by, the financialization of nature and new forms of rentierism. Finally, the session considers the ways in which such a perspective might open up new ways of thinking about resistance, struggle and ‘weapons of the weak’ that challenge the financialization of nature as well as how these forms of opposition shape the circuits of accumulation and state action.


Type Details Minutes Start Time
Introduction Hug March Universitat Oberta de Catalunya 10 8:00 AM
Presenter Sara Nelson*, University of Minnesota, Patrick Bigger*, Lancaster University, Bankable resilience: Reproducing forests as rent-bearing infrastructure 20 8:10 AM
Presenter Michael Ekers*, University of Toronto, Tremulous Property: On Rents, Enclosure and the Contestation of Financialized Forestlands in British Columbia 20 8:30 AM
Presenter Thomas Purcell*, Leeds Beckett University, Alex Loftus, Kings College London, Hug March, Open University of Catalunya, Value-Rent-Finance 20 8:50 AM
Presenter Alex Loftus*, King's College London, Hug March*, Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, Value-Rent-Finance in the hydrosocial cycle 20 9:10 AM
Discussant Elisa Greco University of Leeds (UK) 10 9:30 AM

To access contact information login