chapter  3
12 Pages

Entrepreneurship, Finance and Social Stratification

The Socio-Economic Background of Financialization1
WithChristoph Deutschmann

Since the financial crisis of 2007/2008 the phenomenon of financialization is receiving broad scientific and public attention. It should be recalled, however, that the scientific literature on financialization is not that new at all, and can look back on a tradition of at least 20 years before the big crisis. Most analyses of financialization agree with Strange that the suspension of the gold-convertibility of the Dollar by the Nixon Government in 1971, the subsequent transition to floating foreign exchange rates, and the gradual abolition of national capital controls were key events initiating the process of financialization. To analyze the redistributive effects of financialization, the distinction between effects arising at the macro-, meso- and micro-levels is helpful. The financialization of everyday life revealed itself in a marked rise of private household debt to be observed in particular in the US and in the UK, though not likewise in continental European countries such as France, Germany or Austria.