The recent financial meltdown, along with the resulting global economic recession and financial distress, has rekindled important discussions with regard to the nature of contemporary capitalism. At the heart of the debates we find institutional developments such as the rise of indebtedness, new trends in financial innovation and the ascendance of markets for derivatives. This book starts from the perspective of political economy to give a distinct and original interpretation of this new financial landscape.
The book creates a new synthesis to interpret changes in the financial world on a foundation of ideas from the history of economic thought: recent developments in finance are seen to be innate in the dynamics of capital. The ideas presented here challenge the established discourse in heterodox political economy by arguing that modern finance is not a distortion, but a trend well in line with the logic of capital. Regardless of its contradictions, modern financial engineering is not dysfunctional. It should be understood as a general technology that organizes and facilitates the functioning of capitalist relations and guarantees their reproduction. In this context, financial derivatives, even in their most ‘exotic’ versions, play a crucial role in the organization of contemporary social forms.
The book assesses and appraises mainstream financial theory, as well as heterodox discussions concerning finance and risk. It explains general financial developments, economic instability and crisis by referring to concrete examples, including the subprime crisis and applies this analytical framework to the crisis of Euro area.