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On the Content of Banking in Contemporary Capitalism

dos Santos, Paulo L (2009) 'On the Content of Banking in Contemporary Capitalism.' Historical Materialism, 17 (2). pp. 180-213.

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Abstract

Th is paper considers the character and social content of banking in contemporary capitalism. Based on a survey of the operations of nine leading international banks, it documents the marked differences between contemporary banking and the traditional business of taking, making loans to enterprises, and making profi ts from the difference in interest-rates between them. Notably, the operations of the world’s top banking organisations are shown to centre on various forms of credit to individual wage-earners and on mediating access to fi nancial markets by corporations and, increasingly, individuals. In order to characterise the social content of such activities, the paper seeks to apply, and where necessary extend, existing Marxist analyses of banking, capital markets, and their relationship to capitalist accumulation. This includes advancing a number of elements of a distinctive Marxist interpretation of capital-market operations to theorise financial-market mediation-relations between banks, corporations, and the mass of retail-savers. The analysis pursued helps identify the distinctive and exploitative content of the relations banks maintain with ordinary wage-earners through consumer- and mortgage-lending, as well as through the provision of pension-related saving services.

Item Type: Articles
SOAS Departments & Centres: Faculty of Law and Social Sciences > Department of Economics
ISSN: 14654466
DOI (Digital Object Identifier): 10.1163/156920609X436171
Depositing User: Paulo dos Santos
Date Deposited: 03 Jul 2009 08:52
URI: http://eprints.soas.ac.uk/id/eprint/7500

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