Workers, Inequality and the State in the Era of Financialization
Organizers: Joshua Bloom and Chris Tilly, UCLA
By now, the “financialization” of the economy is widely acknowledged. Over the past several decades, firms have earned an increasing share of their income through portfolio activities and exercised greater control over other sectors of economic activity; at the same time, the financial sector has grown relative to the industrial economy as financial markets have expanded their offerings and subsumed more and more participants. Increasingly, not only market actors but governments and even households are looking to Wall Street and financial markets across the globe as a kind of economic Polaris. These developments have led to numerous changes within and among firms, affecting degrees of vertical and horizontal integration while altering the balance of power among shareholders, managers, workers, states, and other actors. While scholarship has explicated the variety of forms markets take under financial capitalism, it is only just beginning to explore how these new forms impact firms’ relationships with workers, communities, and the state. This mini-conference theme will explore recent scholarship on the effects of financialization on workers, labor and community organizations, and the state. What are the challenges and opportunities facing workers and labor movements in the era of financialization? How have the ascendance of finance and the concomitant reorganization of markets altered the nature of firms’ accountability to workers, communities, and the state? What are the effects of financialization on labor markets and on worker inequality in different sectors? How has the globalization of financial flows shaped these processes, and to what extent are national institutions capable of regulating these effects?