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Political Economy through the Looking Glass

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Imagining Six Impossible Things about Finance before Breakfast

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Two sets of co-authors, LiPuma and Lee, and Bryan and Rafferty, each argue that contemporary ‘speculative’ or ‘circulatory’ capitalism represents a deep rupture in the modality of capitalist accumulation from earlier forms of industrial capitalism such that the Marxian critique of value-form is now redundant. I argue that despite the altered surface-appearances of financialisation, the essential character of social domination carried out in the process of capitalist production-circulation in financialisation constitutes, rather, a continuation of the particular movement of capital from earlier historical conjunctures. As such, traditional formulations of Marxian categories such as class, exploitation and the value-form remain relevant and, indeed, necessary for the analysis of the mode of social domination in the era of financialisation.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Concordia University MontréalQC


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1. Benanav Aaron Endnotes 2010"‘Misery and Debt: On the Logic and History of Surplus Populations and Surplus Capital’" EndnotesVol 2 available at: <>
2. Best Beverley 2015"‘Distilling a Value Theory of Ideology from Volume Three of Capital’" Historical MaterialismVol 23 3 101 141 [Crossref]
3. Bryan Dick, Martin Randy, Rafferty Mike 2009"‘Financialization and Marx: Giving Labor and Capital a Financial Makeover’" Review of Radical Political EconomicsVol 41 4 458 472 [Crossref]
4. Bryan Dick, Rafferty Michael 2006"‘Money in Capitalism or Capitalist Money?’" Historical MaterialismVol 14 1 75 95 [Crossref]
5. Bryan Dick, Rafferty Michael 2011"‘Deriving Capital’s (and Labour’s Future)’" Socialist Register 2011: The Crisis This Time Panitch Leo, Albo Gregory, Chibber Vivek London Merlin Press
6. Bryan Dick, Rafferty Michael 2013"‘Fundamental Value: A Category in Transformation’" Economy and SocietyVol 42 1 130 153 [Crossref]
7. Kliman Andrew 2012 The Failure of Capitalist Production: Underlying Causes of the Great Recession London Pluto Press
8. Lapavitsas Costas 2013 Profiting without Producing: How Finance Exploits Us All London Verso
9. LiPuma Edward, Lee Benjamin 2004 Financial Derivatives and the Globalization of Risk Durham, NC Duke University Press [Crossref]
10. Martin Randy, Rafferty Michael, Bryan Dick 2008"‘Financialization, Risk and Labour’" Competition and ChangeVol 12 2 120 132 [Crossref]
11. Marx Karl 1968 [1861–1863] Theories of Surplus Value Moscow Progress Publishers available at: <>
12. Marx Karl 1981 [1894] Capital: A Critique of Political Economy. Volume Three Fernbach David Harmondsworth Penguin
13. Norfield Tony 2012"‘Derivatives and Capitalist Markets: The Speculative Heart of Capital’" Historical MaterialismVol 20 1 103 132 [Crossref]
14. Norfield Tony 2013"‘Derivatives, Money, Finance and Imperialism: A Response to Bryan and Rafferty’" Historical MaterialismVol 21 2 149 168 [Crossref]
15. Postone Moishe 1993 Time, Labor, and Social Domination: A Reinterpretation of Marx’s Critical Theory Cambridge Cambridge University Press [Crossref]

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