In 1997, in his last published article, Paul Sweezy referred to “the financialization of the capital accumulation process” as one of the three main economic tendencies at the turn of the century (the other two were the growth of monopoly power and stagnation). Those familiar with economic theory will realize that the phrase was meant to be paradoxical. All traditions of economics, to varying degrees, have sought to separate out analytically the role of finance from the “real economy.” Accumulation is conceived as real capital formation, which increases overall economic output, as opposed to the appreciation of financial assets, which increases wealth claims but not output. In highlighting the financialization of accumulation, Sweezy was therefore pointing to what can be regarded as “the enigma of capital” in our time
- Translated in Monthly Review, Turkish edition, issue 25 (Istanbul, Turkey: Kalkedon Publications, January 2011).
- French translation at Changement de société(blog), http://socio13.wordpress.com/2011/06/06/la-financiarisation-de-l’accumulation-par-john-bellamy-foster-version-complete/.