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Martijn Konings is a Professor of Political Economy and Social Theory at the University of Sydney

The Speculative Logic of Capitalism: Or, Hyman Minsky as a Critical Social Theorist

Thursday, Nov. 22, 2018, 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm, L.R. Wilson Hall 1003, McMaster University Prof. Martijn Konings, Hooker Distinguished Visiting Professor, University of Sydney, Australia

Nov 07, 2018

After the financial crisis of 2007-08, many commentators declared the end of neoliberal, speculative finance and the return of Keynesian policies dedicated to financial suppression and the promotion of real economic growth. As we know, this shift failed to materialize - but it often seems as if those same commentators are now more concerned to emphasize the absurdity of this failure than they are to account for the actual shape of the present by connecting the political volatility of the past decade to the logic of post-crisis capitalism. This lecture challenges the idea that the recent history of capitalism is comprehensible on the basis of a distinction between “good finance” (i.e. finance that works in the service of productive activity) and “bad (speculative) finance” and argues that a speculative element is at the very heart of the logic of capital. The good finance / bad finance distinction is often associated with the work of Hyman Minsky, and in this lecture I argue that there is another side to Minsky’s work, one that appreciated the speculative nature of economic life in general and is very useful for developing not only a different political economy interpretation but also a critical social theory of present-day capitalism.

Martijn Konings is a Professor of Political Economy and Social Theory at the University of Sydney. His publications include The Development of American Finance (Cambridge University Press, 2011), The Emotional Logic of Capitalism (Stanford University Press, 2015), Neoliberalism (with Damien Cahill, Polity, 2017), and Capital and Time (Stanford University Press, 2018).

Free event, all welcome! Please RSVP here