chapter  27C
5 Pages

Essay Forum: Labor in Financialization

Labor in the Financial Era: Assets, Debt and the Speculative Worker
WithLisa Adkins

This chapter outlines how the wage labor relation is restructuring in the context of financial expansion. Wage stagnation operates, then, as a powerful mechanism of the enrolment of labor into the architectures of finance, with the outcome that workers must become experts at juggling repressed and often volatile incomes and managing their contracted financial commitments. The expansion of finance has, for example, been coterminous with the pouring of women into labor markets on a global scale, while shifts in the operations of credit markets have meant that many of the gendered and racialized exclusions operating in those markets have abated. One strong assumption in accounts of the financial era is that financial expansion has gone hand in hand with a dismantling of the wage setting contracts or compacts typical of Keynesianism, a dismantling that has taken place via institutional means.