Institutional and Political Preconditions for Financial Democratization

Session Organizer:
J. Nicholas Ziegler
Friday, June 24, 2016: 9:00 AM-10:30 AM
183 Dwinelle (Dwinelle Hall)
This panel brings together four scholars who are actively researching different aspects of the power relations that shape finance in contemporary capitalism.   In the years since the financial crisis, social scientists have learned a great deal about the nature of risk-taking, the causes of financial fragility in financial markets, and the obstacles to more effective regulation of financial markets.   Amidst this excellent descriptive and analytic work, however, relatively little attention has been directed to clarifying what a more democratic system of finance would look like.

Based on the papers described below, this panel will generate insight into the kinds of institutions and political processes that would produce a more inclusive, equitable, and stable system of finance.   In this sense, the panel is designed to give presenters a chance not only to present empirical results but also to reflect on what would constitute a more democratic system of finance and whether there is a step-by-step pathway for moving toward such a system.  

The participants have therefore been chosen for their ability to bring both empirical knowledge and theoretical imagination to different aspects of finance.  Fred Block has written extensively on international finance as well as social embeddedness and growth in capitalist economies.  His paper for this panel aims directly at outlining institutions that can make retail financial markets, particularly for consumer credit, more inclusive and equitable.   Greta Krippner has made central contributions to our understanding of financialization and its political causes.   Like Block’s paper, Krippner’s paper for this panel begins from an analysis of access to credit, but focuses on alternative bases of claimsmaking and the meaning of economic citizenship in a credit-based economy.   Jay Varellas, a Ph.D. candidate in political  science, is also an experienced corporate lawyer.   His paper examines the enforcement of anti-fraud rules as one venue where democratic accountability can, under then right conditions, be reinforced.  Nick Ziegler is a comparative political scientist who has written on the politics of expertise in Europe and the United States.   His paper examines the potential of small advocacy groups in the United States to shape the implementation of new financial regulations and asks whether their influence goes so far as to consolidate lasting institutional change.

See more of: N: Finance and Society