Financialization by Dispossession: The end(s) of rurality in the making of a speculative land market

Authors: Michael Goldman*, University of Minnesota
Topics: Urban Geography, Economic Geography, Global Change
Keywords: speculative urbanism, financialization, dispossession, global cities, land markets, real estate
Session Type: Paper
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This paper elaborates upon the concept of speculative urbanism and the theory of accumulation by dispossession by delving into the nuanced complexity of both practices of dispossession and accumulation in the case of the transformation of Bengaluru (formerly Bangalore) India into a global city over the past twenty years. From extensive interviews with rural and urban actors in the real estate industry, in government, and with farmers and farmer advocates, and through a close reading of industry reports and the business press, the article explains how the conversion of rural lands into urban real estate for “global-city” infrastructure projects has triggered distinct forms of dispossession that have created the conditions for the financialization of the regional economy. This process can best be understood by examining two phases of speculative urbanism – from the “cheap capital” days of rapid market-making and expansion to the market-consolidating present, characterized by high debt and non-performing “toxic” assets. This periodization helps capture the shifting financial technologies and strategies deployed and the resulting forms of dispossession in India’s era of speculative urbanism.

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