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Financialization Of Daily Life

Randy Martin

Publication Year: 2002

While trillions of dollars came and went in the stock market boom of the 1990s, the image of "every man and woman a CEO" may turn out to be the era's lasting legacy. Business news, once reserved to specialized papers or sections of the larger news of the day, came to the forefront in cable television and in cultural images of how ordinary people, through the internet and other avenues could not only master their financial life, but move money and equity around with the ease of a financial titan. Financialization of Daily Life looks at how this transformation occurred, and how it is just now becoming a significant, and troubling, aspect of our political and cultural life.Randy Martin takes us through all of the aspects of our "financialization." He examines how the shift in economic life arose not only from changes in culture, but also from new policy priorities that emphasize controlling inflation over promoting growth. He offers a close reading of self-help literature that teaches parents how to rear financially literate children and to instruct adults in the fundamentals of fiscal management. He examines just what a society that treats financial investment as a national past time really looks like, and how that society is transforming the world.In a country rocked by scandals in accounting and banking, the identification ordinary citizens make with, and the risk with which they engage in, the stock market calls into question the very basis of our economic system. Randy Martin spells out in clear terms the implications our financial doings—and undoing—have for the way we organize our lives, and, especially, our money.

Published by: Temple University Press


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pp. v

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pp. vii

Financialization of Daily Life is about how credit and debt are lived. The book lives through healthy measures of both. In writing it, I have been happily encumbered by many productive exchanges. Stanley Aronowitz, Stefano Harney, and Toby Miller provided much appreciated insight. Peter Wissoker inspired the book at a delicious lunch. ...

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Introduction: What in the World Is Financialization?

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pp. 1-12

"Suddenly, finance is fun." This from a full-page ad for WingspanBank.com, another of the myriad Internet startups bent on sparing no effort to convince the reader to embrace a "new way" in financial services.1 The visual in the ad is of two naked infants, one black, one white, gazing upon a computer screen emblazoned with the Wingspan logo. ...

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1. Too Much of a Good Thing?

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pp. 13-54

The world is awash in money. Thirty trillion dollars changes hands in a month. Well, actually, hands rarely get into the picture. Most money is transferred from account to account electronically. Wealth can ricochet around the globe like a bullet, but never sear the flesh. While many are untouched, few are unaffected. The United States broke its own records for economic growth during the 1990s. ...

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2. When Finance Becomes You

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pp. 55-101

When does financialization begin? Many offer advice. Just as the good Dr. Spock taught the science of child rearing, so today households must be instructed on the proper approach to making kids financially literate. When scientific management was brought into the home, financial matters were a parental affair. Children would be protected from the market's madness, and money was to be kept off the dinner table. ...

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3. Risking the World

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pp. 103-147

Finance offers a word to the wise and foolish alike: Risk. Those averse to it should seek professional help. Those willing to cuddle in its embrace can power themselves. Those who have drunk too much at the well should seek a higher power. All this advice is available free of charge with fees collected later on. The suffusion of the world with risk appears unavoidable. ...

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4. The New Divisions: A Geography Reconfigured

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pp. 149-197

"There's no place like home," coos Dorothy. This she knows after a tour through exotic lands, where an inscrutable wizard must be unmasked and his powers profaned before normality can be returned. Financialization too has its Oz, which is to be conquered by faith in more righteous principles than had previously ruled. ...


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pp. 199-216


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pp. 217-230

E-ISBN-13: 9781439905975
Print-ISBN-13: 9781566399883

Publication Year: 2002