Chapter 38: Financial regulation
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Financial regulation means the construction and control of financial markets through typical state procedures such as formal written rules, bureaucracy and institutional creation. This chapter reviews how the subject has been treated by anthropologists and other social scientists, before presenting a classification of financial rules according to their type and scope. Four emblematic practices associated with contemporary financial regulation are then considered: deliberation, technical calculation and reporting, regulatory arbitrage, the complex relation between innovation and deviance. Though relying on traditional state mechanisms, these regulatory practices are now increasingly carried out by more hybrid and less powerful organisations. The article further argues that such practices keep repeating themselves in the same sequence, thus forming the basis of a sceptical theory of financial regulation that sees it as a wheel that keeps turning without really tackling problematic financial institutions such as systemic banking conglomerates, offshore finance and shadow banks.

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