The financial crisis of 2007–8 has been widely understood as a result of the financial system’s exceeding its proper place in society; the system became unbalanced, unsustainable, and deprived of a solid foundation. Even as capitalist finance seeks to reinvent itself in the wake of massive upheaval, critics continue to portray the financial system as fundamentally irrational—an unstable, destructive inventor of fictitious money. Characterizing finance in this way, however, neglects the growing connection between the worlds of high finance and consumer credit. The essays in this special issue take the financial crisis as an opportunity for much-needed conceptual innovation. Its contributors move beyond strictly moralistic criticisms of financialization to rethink core economic categories such as money, speculation, measure, value, and the wage, as well as the relationship among labor, finance, and money.
Melinda Cooper is an Australian Research Council Future Fellow in the Department of Sociology and Social Policy at the University of Sydney. She is the author of Clinical Labor: Tissue Donors and Research Subjects in the Global Bioeconomy, also published by Duke University Press. Martijn Konings is Senior Lecturer and Australian Research Council DECRA Fellow in the Department of Political Economy at the University of Sydney. He is the author of The Development of American Finance.
Contributors: Lisa Adkins, Fiona Allon, Dick Bryan, Melinda Cooper, Marieke de Goede, Chris Jefferis, Martijn Konings, Randy Martin, Michael Rafferty