Introduction

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract

One of the strange and bitter pills of contemporary life is the activities of the big banks and financial markets, and their dubious sanctifications over many years. Strange because few want to think about the role money plays in the world. This indifference suggests potential fears about money - it’s easier to imagine money and its institutions are rock-solid, not flimsy social creations, promises and sources of threat. Governments are prone to this escape route - into fantasy. This book analyses such aspects of money - of mobile capital’s multiple relations with states and populations, and with hegemons and denizens. Far better understood than money are the world’s two great threats: Nuclear war and climate change. They bring destruction either of instant death or gradual ruin to the end of this world. The social forces arrayed against efforts to prevent irreparable destruction from climate change are far more hysterical than the grim knowledge and disapproval of mutually assured destruction - MAD - of nuclear war. Political leaders who raise nuclear arms races truly shock: Agreement is wide but counter action limited. States resist. There is less consensus with climate change but equally no fantasy. Culprits in the climate denial movement are chiefly economic, the fossil fuel industries, since supporting politicians only gain unpopularity. Think of the Chinese command economy running out of water and clean air; leaders must act. Likewise, the Pentagon sees ‘security’ dangers. Capitalism is threatened more by climate change than its restraint and, even if profits from wind-solar powered clothes driers are pitiful, more firms accept renewable energy. States can benefit from centralized energy supplies for population or diplomatic control, and this is as short-sighted as governments refusing to lay down nuclear weapons. Mobile capital is a social force that profits from funding and encouraging both these threats and often other socially useless activities, although it is rarely seen as a ‘force’ (and one reliant on states) until a financial crisis. Why is this? Our collective book is not about nuclear or climate destruction except for the complicit, pecuniary relations that capitalist financial sectors have with war finance and climate change. I mention them not to scare (further), but to give perspective.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCritical junctures in mobile capital
EditorsJocelyn Pixley, Helena Flam
Place of PublicationCambridge
PublisherCambridge University Press
Pages1-37
Number of pages37
ISBN (Electronic)9781316995327
ISBN (Print)9781107189515, 9781316639146
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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Pixley, J. (2018). Introduction. In J. Pixley, & H. Flam (Eds.), Critical junctures in mobile capital (pp. 1-37). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781316995327.001