Financialization revisited: the rise and fall of finance-led capitalism

Financeirização revisada: a ascensão e queda do capitalismo liderado pelas finanças

Robert Guttmann About the author

Abstract

Financialization, expressing the growing importance of finance in the modus operandi of our capitalist system, has emerged as a key concept in various heterodox approaches over the last dozen years - be they Post-Keynesians (E. Stockhammer, E. Hein), American Radicals (G. Epstein, G. Krippner), Marxists (J. Bellamy Foster, G. Dumenil) or French Régulationists (M. Aglietta, R. Boyer). But until now those various analysts have each looked at this very complex phenomenon from one or the other specific angle. In this article, I am trying to provide a more comprehensive analysis of financialization by tracing its two primary drivers - structural changes making non-financial actors more dependent on debt-financing as well as financial-income sources (“financial centralization”) while also giving increased weight to the financial sector in the economy (“financial concentration”). The complex interaction between financial centralization and financial concentration has yielded a financialized growth dynamic fueling consecutive debt-financed asset bubbles in the center, the United States, that spurs export-led growth in the periphery. Framing this financialized growth dynamic in the Régulationist context as a historically conditioned accumulation regime, finance-led capitalism, I analyze its rise (1982 - 2007) in the wake of key changes in finance and its subsequent structural crisis (2007-2012) to provide a more complete approach to the crucial phenomenon of financialization.

Keywords:
Financialization; Finance-led capitalism; Securitization; Shadow banking; US dollar as world money

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