Photo: Photo by Andrea Leopardi via Unsplash

Although studies of the multidisciplinary concept financialization have multiplied in recent years, the subordinate or uneven integration of developing countries into global financial and monetary circuits has thus far received less attention. This is unfortunate, for the power of global financial interests over developing economies is significant, expressing itself in myriad ways.

For example, ever since the North-Atlantic financial crisis of 2008 loose monetary policies in advanced economies have spurred a tidal wave of footloose capital seeking returns, resulting in the build-up of unprecedented levels of private and public debt across developing economies. As the age of quantitative easing (QE) is coming to an end, a shift in global capital flows reversing from periphery to core is threatening to re-create the very financial dynamics that led to the major debt crises in the past.

Alternatively, as the age of the Washington consensus and its structural adjustment programs is over, the World Bank has commenced a new grand project. Supported by the G20 and a host of other international fora and organizations, this new project – called Maximizing Finance for Development – revolves around the securitization of infrastructure, healthcare and education projects, thereby building new asset classes for institutional investors, whilst allowing developing economies to tap into global liquidity. This policy mechanism of financialization travelling under the slogan ‘from billions to trillions’ aims to facilitate development, but equally reproduces existing dependencies.

Another issue is the rising level of corporate concentration and control over global production chains, heralding a new epoch of monopoly capitalism. Global trade and investment have increasingly become tied into integrated corporate structures, following three decades of cross-border borders mergers and acquisitions. The ensuing financialization of these corporate conglomerates manifests itself through growing financial reserves, a decline in fixed capital formation and a growing reliance on offshore incorporation strategies, enabling regulatory arbitrage, tax avoidance and flat-out corruption to maximize shareholder value. Resultantly, the world’s largest corporations have become rent-seeking financialized behemoths, effectively exploiting their excessive market power.

Developing countries face variegated combinations of these and other trends, necessitating a dedicated focus on the place of these economies within the global finance-led regime. Structural shifts within the global economy unevenly impact political-economic conditions and capabilities at national and local scales, reinforcing structural barriers whilst creating novel dependencies, which vary from core to periphery. It is therefore this bilingual conference (in Spanish and English) brings together different academic communities, policymakers and civil society organizations to discuss different mechanisms, expressions and domains of financialization and development in the global south. Amongst others, the themes that the conference aims to address include:

Global financial structure

  • The international monetary system, hierarchies of money and the periphery.
  • Debt crises in historical perspective: what is new?
  • Global financial cycle, global liquidity and systemic risk.
  • Revisiting core periphery theories in the age of financialized capitalism.
  • Tax havens, the offshore world and the political economy of development.

 Objects and domains of financialization:

  • Financialization of housing, infrastructure, land and urban projects.
  • Financialization of public services (transportation, education and healthcare).
  • Financialization of nature and the political economy of climate change.

The politics and governance of financialization in developing countries

  • From the Washington consensus to the Wall Street Consensus: finance for development.
  • Political dynamics, electoral preferences and the rise of authoritarian neoliberalism.
  • State-led development and financialization of the state.