Published on March 5, 2014
Irish Political Economy for Trade Unionists and Activists 5. Austerity, Tax Avoidance and Privatization
The purpose of capitalism is self-expansion – capital begets capital – and it does so by monetizing social value and human labour. This is a circuit of transformation. Immanuel Wallerstein, Historical Capitalism (London: Verso, 2011), 15.
Over the last quarter of a century something fundamental seems to have changed in the way in which capitalism works. The tendency since 1970 has been towards greater geographical mobility of capital.
Financialization refers to the increasing importance of financial markets, financial motives, financial institutions and financial elites in the operation of the economy and its governing institutions, both at the national and international levels. Gerald Epstein, ‘Financialization, Rentier Interests, and Central Bank Policy’,2002 1970s – The Monetarist revolution 1980s – war on labour 1990s – Credit as a substitute for wage increases 2000s – Credit solution for wage stagnation fails Present day – open conflict over monetary policy once again
“In the case of the United States, financialization during the 1990s led to a closer alignment of large industrial and financial firms in the U.S., leading to a greater emphasis by Alan Greenspan and the U.S. Federal Reserve in financial asset appreciation as a goal of monetary policy.” Gerald Epstein (2001)
“In the case of the United States, financialization during the 1990s led to a closer alignment of large industrial and financial firms in the U.S., leading to a greater emphasis by Alan Greenspan and the U.S. Federal Reserve in financial asset appreciation as a goal of monetary policy.” Gerald Epstein (2001) “The goal of monetary expansion has been to do just enough to stabilize financial asset prices without going far enough to produce catch-up growth in the labor market” Matthew Yglesias, Rentiers and Financialization (2011)
“What [the wealthy], businesses and banks share is a common interest in supporting asset prices, a lack of interest in seeking full employment unless it is a prerequisite for supporting asset prices, and an aversion to any policies that can trigger wage inflation.” Ashwin Parameswares (2011)
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