Distinguishing Financialization from Neoliberalism
journal contributionposted on 04.08.2022, 23:40 authored by Aeron DavisAeron Davis, Catherine Walsh
Neoliberalism and financialization are not synonymous developments. Financialized nations are directed by particularly financialized epistemologies, cultures, and practices, not only neoliberal ones. In examining the financialization of the UK economy since the mid-1970s, this study discovers a socio-economic shift beyond the broad transition from Keynesianism towards free-market fundamentalism. Economic developments were guided by the very particular economic paradigms, discursive practices, and financial devices of the City of London, as financial elites became influential in the Thatcher governments. Five epistemological elements specific to finance are discussed: the creation of money in financial markets, the transactional focus of finance, the centrality of financial markets to economic management, the orthodoxy of shareholder value, and the intensely micro-economic approach to financial calculation. Identifying these distinctions creates new possibilities for understanding financialization, elites, and the neoliberal condition that brought about both the financial crash of 2007–8 and the political and economic crises that have followed.