The Neoliberal Paradigm and Financialization in the US

Saturday, June 25, 2016: 9:00 AM-10:30 AM
247 Dwinelle (Dwinelle Hall)
Basak Kus, Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT
This paper explores the linkage between the rise of neoliberalism and the rise of finance in the US. The existing scholarship tends to understand neoliberalism as disembedding of market forces, and focuses on a single dimension of the neoliberal turn in regulatory policy: deregulation. This is a rather narrow view, and leads to a flawed, or at best an incomplete understanding of the relationship between neoliberal policy reforms and the rise of finance. The neoliberal turn in American regulatory policy involved a profound political re-imagination of the nature of the government, of the market processes, and of the individual economic actor. Deregulation was a significant part of it but so were regulatory fragmentation, overreliance on disclosure regulations, and the shifting of the responsibility of consumer protection from the government to the individual. In this paper I discuss how these characteristics have together shaped American financialization. In doing so, I also attempt to offer a more nuanced understanding of the relationship between neoliberalism and the rise of finance.