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Financialisation and Capitalist Accumulation: Structural Accounts of the Crisis of 2007-9

Costas Lapavitsas

Discussion Papers from Research on Money and Finance

Abstract: The crisis of 2007-9 resulted from a financial bubble marked by weak production, expanding bank assets, and growing household indebtedness. For these reasons the crisis casts light on the financialisation of capitalist economies. The literature on financialisation generally links weak production with booming finance; according to some, causation runs from weak production to booming finance, while for others it runs in the opposite direction. This article argues that there is no direct causation between booming finance and weak production. Rather, financialisation represents systemic transformation of capitalist production and finance, which ultimately accounts for the crisis of 2007-9, and has three main features. First, less reliance of large corporations on banks; second, banks shifting their activities toward mediating in open markets and transacting with individuals; third, increasing implication of individuals in the operations of finance.

Date: 2010
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