Chapter 4: Perspectives on Financialization
4. Perspectives on ﬁnancialization As documented by the empirical trends presented in Chapter 2, fundamental transformations have taken place that, in the post-1980 era, placed ﬁnance in a more prominent position than in the earlier post-World War II period. These changes provoked a number of scholars to pay speciﬁc attention to issues related to these transformations. Now, there is a growing literature that deals with diﬀerent aspects of the ﬁnancialization phenomenon and includes contributions from a variety of perspectives. In this chapter, I use these contributions in an attempt to uncover how much we know about ﬁnancialization and how our conception of the phenomenon can be enhanced. Building on the insights of these contributions, I then construct an initial framework to understand the main aspects of the ﬁnancialization process in the light of the historical discussion of the previous chapter. Broadly, I identify three types of approach to the ﬁnancialization phenomenon.1 The ﬁrst can be called the ‘long-waves approach’, best represented by the works of Arrighi (1994, 2003 and 2005) and his co-authors who evaluate the ﬁnancialization era within a context of recurring long waves of capitalist history. According to this literature, each long cycle of capitalism consists of two segments: an increase in material production followed by a crisis due to overaccumulation and a ﬁnancial expansion cycle. The post-1980 era represents this ﬁnancial expansion cycle of the latest long wave of the capitalist system. Second, a diverse set of works analyse ﬁnancialization as part of the structural...
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