Convenient fictions? A critical communicative perspective on financial accumulation, autopoiesis and crisis in the wake of the credit crunch
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Citation:Thompson, P. (2010, May). Convenient fictions? A critical communicative perspective on financial accumulation, autopoiesis and crisis in the wake of the credit crunch. Paper presented at the annual conference of the International Association for Media and Communication Research, Braga, Portugal.
Permanent link to Research Bank record:https://hdl.handle.net/10652/1557
Recent turmoil in the financial markets following the sub-prime mortgage crisis and the credit crunch has repercussions in many other spheres of society. Governments have spent trillions of taxpayer dollars propping up the banking system in order to avoid systemic financial collapse. Significant public policy questions are being raised about the sustainability of the monetarist macroeconomic paradigm and the dogmatic neoliberal faith in financial deregulation. Media discourses have included open criticism of the finance sector. However, the right of private banks to create money through the issuance of credit and the generation of fictitious values through the securitisation of anticipated future revenue remain peripheral to policy debate, even though they lie at the heart of the recent crises. Although Marx provided the seminal critique of capitalism’s internal contradictions, his work on credit-money and financial accumulation processes were never fully developed. However, the more recent work of Hyman Minsky emphasises the role of credit systems in financial markets’ endogenous tendency toward crisis. This paper proposes to extend a Marxist critique of contemporary financial crises using Minksy’s financial instability hypothesis. However, this requires emphasis on the reflexive communicative processes underpinning credit-money and fictitious financial values. In doing so, it will highlight the role of media and communication systems in accumulation regimes and the risks posed to the lifeworld as financial processes become increasingly self-referential and autopoietic.