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Hilferdings Finance Capital Versus Wal-Mart World: Disaggregating The Dollars Hegemony

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Chapter Summary

This chapter analyzes Hilferding's Finance Capital as a robust representation of a certain form of capitalist organization. This organization is characterized by industrial production in the core, trade surpluses as a feature of military and economic power, and the gold standard as the institutional metric of sound banking. The focus on gold-finance-industry leads Hilferding to foresee extreme concentration of capital as the ultimate end-point of capitalism. But the economic foundations of Wal-Mart world, where industry is subordinated to retail and is also divorced from banking, show that completely different mechanisms are at work. For our time key questions are: what gives value to paper assets, and what sorts of spatial asymmetries are evident in the production and consumption process? How does Keynes's "sudden decrease in the marginal efficiency of capital "as the precursor to recession" take on differing characteristics depending on where one is in division between production and consumption?.

Keywords:capitalism; Hilferding's Finance Capital; Keynes; Wal-Mart world



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