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The vice-grip of ‘financialization’: Costas Lapavitsas on the need to liberate the collective from capitalist, financial profiteering

James Mackey 7 January 2014

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Costas Lapavitsas has written an article for the Guardian examining the surge of financialization and its “penetration … into every nook and cranny of society”.  In the article he explores some of the ideas present in his latest book, Profiting Without Producing, as well as those investigated in Crisis in the Eurozone. In this new article, Lapavitsas argues that since the financial crisis, mature economies have shifted toward accepting and even perpetuating overwhelmingly dominant financial sectors.

Lapavitsas asserts that the policies designed to confront the crisis were geared toward propagating “extraordinary public largesse” towards private banks, whilst the majority of society were burdened with harsh austerity measures. This deeply unequal reaction has sustained and strengthened the financial sector, as its behemoths “operate in the knowledge that they enjoy an unspoken public guarantee.”

This guarantee, says Lapavitsas, extends and affirms the vice-like grip of finance on society, which grasps at housing, education, health, pensions and beyond. Lapavitsas argues that this has “changed the outlook, mentality and even morality of daily life.”  Basic goods have become, above all, investments, as all aspects of social life become profit-making opportunities. Modern financial elites sit atop this financialized society, dictating trends and influencing income distribution. 

Lapavitsas calls for the reversal of this rampant financialization, through a reassertion of the collective over the individual. Lapavistsas argues that punitive measures and regulations are insufficient, and we must be ambitious in our calls for financial systems to operate primarily in public service.

You can read the whole article over at the Guardian.

Profiting Without Producing was reviewed over at Economia, as they praised its"academic rigour" and deemed it a "valuable addition to the growing canon of work suggesting what we can learn from the financial crisis."

A review of the book can also be found over at Financial Times.


Profiting Without Producing is available to purchase from Verso now.

Filed under: economics, financialization