chapter  30
11 Pages

“A Machine for Living”

The Cultural Economy of Financial Subjectivity
WithRob Aitken

Financialization redefines what it means to govern ourselves and becomes what Martin describes as a “machine for living”. Financial institutions are preoccupied with finely determined gradations, often informed by “big data,” which sort populations into diverse categories of risk each attached to different levels of access to financial services. The very basis or beginning of the process of configuration is the search for raw assets in new and often unexpected places and the conversion of those assets into income streams that can be inserted into financial instruments. The efforts to prospect for new financial assets, and to carve out new forms of financial subjectivity around them, are experienced with a particular intensity at the edges of the global financial system. The politics that can be exercised through forms of financial subjectivity sketch, therefore, a complex topology. Financialization research has begun to reframe subjectivity as a site with relatively undetermined political implications, limits and possibilities.