The Political Economy of Financialisation:
from the Big Bang to 2008

Speaker: Grace Blakeley

Discussant: Sahil Dutta

6pm, Monday 19th November 2018

Professor Stuart Hall Building, PSH LG01, Goldsmiths

In 1979, Margaret Thatcher came to power, unleashing the full power of international finance on the British economy. On the one hand, financialisation manifested itself in the increasing size and growing complexity of the finance, insurance and real estate (FIRE) sectors. But the growth of the finance sector has been based on, and helped to reinforce, changes in the real economy. Businesses, consumers, and even the state have come to be more imbricated in financial markets than ever before in history. These changes have not just affected the nature of economic accumulation in the UK, they have also fundamentally transformed politics, typified by the Thatcherite focus on property owning democracy and pension fund capitalism. Ultimately, this model collapsed with the financial crisis of 2007. But since 2007 there have been no attempts to deal with the fundamental economic and political contradictions of the UK’s financialised growth model. The re-emergence of the left in British politics can be seen through the lens of this structural crisis, but the British left has a long way to go when it comes to concrete proposals to de-financialise the British economy.

Grace Blakeley is a research fellow on the IPPR’s Commission on Economic Justice. She is the author of a forthcoming book on the financialisation of the British economy entitled Stolen: How finance destroyed our economy and corrupted our politics. She is a columnist for Tribune and writes regularly for the New Statesman, Jacobin, and Novara media.

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