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RESEARCH AND RÉGULATION INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE, 10-12 JUNE 2015

‘Régulation theory in times of crisis’

 

INDUSTRIAL RESTRUCTURING AND POLICIES IN THE ERA OF FINANCIALISATION

CALL FOR PAPERS

 

LYNNE CHESTER & SUSAN NEWMAN

 

DEADLINE FOR PAPER PROPOSALS IS 1 NOVEMBER

We are currently discussing with a leading international publisher the possibility of publishing an edited collection of papers from this workshop.

 

 

Financialization has become integrated and embedded in different ways across the industrial sectors of national economies. Hence, we cannot understand this phenomenon in terms of finance versus the rest of the economy. Financialization needs to be understood and theorised as a phenomenon that encompasses distinct processes which characterise the form of production and capitalist accumulation that has developed in the contemporary era. In this way, financialization works in a co-constitutive manner with other processes such as: public policies promoting (de)regulation, competition and labour market flexibility; the concentration and centralisation of capital through mergers and acquisitions; the organisational structuring of firms, outsourcing and global business strategies; forms of employment and the prevalence of insecure, low-wage jobs; and expenditure for R&D and the skills development of labour.

A number of studies about the phenomenon of financialisation have revealed the relationships between finance, profit and production. Nevertheless we do not have a systemic explanation of the structural transformation of national economies over recent decades (Lapavitsas [2011]). This raises significant issues for understanding the ongoing accumulation process and the development of national industrial policies.

Empirical analyses, with few exceptions, of the phenomenon of financialization have not specifically considered how production has been restructured in response to the primacy of profit and financial imperatives nor – and equally importantly – the role in which the restructuring of production has played to sustain the phenomenon of financialisation. 

The complexity of the structural transformation of production, and thus the implications for ongoing accumulation and industrial policies, has been overlooked because financialisation studies have been overwhelmingly skewed towards the macro level and to production limited to financial investment being privileged over productive investment (e.g. Stockhammer [2004]) or focused on the changed macro savings-investment relationship brought about, in part, by investment decisions of non-financial firms as a result of new financial imperatives (e.g. Krippner [2005]). Industrial organisation studies have focused heavily on the rapid growth and increasing consolidation of TNCs, and the fragmentation of production globally with the rise of commodity supply chains (e.g. Milberg & Winkler [2013]). A few studies have also focused on [a] the business strategies of giant US and UK firms (e.g. Froud et.al [2012]), or [b] the ways in which production and the financial practices of firms have become increasingly related (e.g. Baud & Durand [2011]; Palpacuer [2008]; Montalban & Sakinç [2013]; Newman [2009]). Consequently, articulation of the abstract relations between finance and industrial capital and the concrete forms that this takes in contemporary capitalist accumulation remain under-theorised.

Industrial policy has been a key means to promote national economic growth and development. Contemporary development discourse is a strong advocate for poorer countries to use national industrial policy to ‘insert’ local companies into global commodity supply chains. Major rethinking about industrial policy has occurred as de-industrialisation has accelerated in the more advanced industrial economies, and even more so since the 2008-09 financial crisis and the ensuing economic crisis (e.g. Stiglitz et.al [2013]). There has, however, been little engagement within the industrial policy discourse of the implications of financialisation notwithstanding its impact and consequences on the restructuring of production within industrial sectors.

This workshop aims to extend understanding and theorising of the concrete forms in which the contemporary industrial structure is impacted by the multi-dimensional forms and processes of financialisation, and the implications for industrial policies in both developed and developing countries.  This will be done through exploring the following and related questions:               

o    What is the relationship of financialisation and other processes in the dynamics of the contemporary industrial structure?

o    What are the concrete forms of the contemporary finance-production relationship?

o    Are there sector or commodity specificities, similarities and differences in the way that financialisation manifests and reorganises production?

o    What are the dominant forms, processes, techniques and policies which have embedded financialisation within industrial sectors or the production of  commodities?  

o    How can national industrial policies address the nature and form of financialisation impacts?

o    Which industrial policy instruments will be the most effective in the era of financialisation?

o    Do the issues for framing industrial policies within the financialisation era differ between developed and developing countries?

Contributions to the workshop are invited which, while directed at addressing these questions, are also asked to:

[a] reflect upon the usefulness of Régulation theory’s core concepts (e.g. institutional forms, regularities, transformation, metamorphosis) in explaining the ways in which financialisation has restructured the contemporary industrial structure;

[b] consider the insights that may be offered by other non-mainstream approaches and other social science disciplines and how multiple methods may be integrated into analyses; and

[c] propose priorities for an empirical research programme to facilitate a systemic understanding of contemporary capitalist accumulation and, in turn, contribute to the theorising of the dynamics and relations of accumulation based upon substantive empirical evidence.

References:

Baud, C. & Durand, C. (2012) ‘Financialization, globalization and the making of profits by leading retailers’, Socio-Economic Review, 10(2): 241-266.

Froud, J., Johal, S., Leaver, A. & Williams, K. (2012) ‘Apple business model: Financialization across the Pacific’, CRESC Working Paper Series, No. 111.

Krippner, G. (2005), ‘The financialization of the American economy’, Socio-Economic Review, 3(2): 173 – 208.

Lapavitsas, C. (2011), ‘Theorizing financialization’, Work, Employment and Society, 25(4): 611-626.

Milberg, W. & Winkler, D. (2013), Outsourcing Economics: Global Value Chains in Capitalist Development, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Montalban, M. & Sakinç, M.E. (2013), ‘Financialization and productive models in the pharmaceutical industry’, Industrial and Corporate Change, 22(4): 981-1030.

Newman, S. (2009a) ‘Financialization and changes in the social relations along commodity chains: The case of coffee’, Review of Radical Political Economics, 41(4): 539-59.

Palpacuer, F. (2008) ‘Bringing the social context back in: Governance and wealth distribution in global commodity chains, Economy and Society, 37(3): 393-419.

Stiglitz, J.E., Lin, J.Y. & Monga, C. (2013), ‘The rejuvenation of industrial policy’, World Bank Policy Research Paper 6628.

Stockhammer, E. (2004), ‘Financialisation and the slowdown of accumulation’, Cambridge Journal of Economics, 28(5): 719-41.

 

FULL DETAILS OF THE WORKSHOP CAN BE FOUND HERE

FULL DETAILS FOR SUBMITTING PAPER PROPOSALS CAN BE FOUND HERE

A FULL LIST OF THE CONFERENCE WORKSHOPS CAN BE FOUND HERE