Politics & Politics in Financial Markets…

September 28, 2008

One of the most delicate questions that SSF is going to face is how to talk about political action taken by the state (bailout (D) / workout (R)) while distinguishing this from the broader definition of politics inherited from 1970’s social science. In the latter, politics is not carried out within a certain set of institutions, but is an intricate part of all human action, it is impregnated in the practices of everyday life.

There are two kinds of politics in financial markets: Those that occur as tools and technological infrastructures are built, and those that are enacted through government agents and public policy.  The crisis makes it imperative that we be able to speak about both of these fluently, to render each relevant and yet distinct.

Here is an example:  Interestingly enough it seems as though it is Republicans who are blocking the bail out plan.  Although Democrats hold the house and can pass any resolution without the support of Republicans, there is a general reluctance to pursue a partisan plan.  (See this Bloomberg’s clip for some of the issue at play, where the interviewer, Kathleen Hays insists to House Representative Blunt (R, Missouri) that the delay is like playing with fire.)

Here’s one where the Janet Tavakoli claims that ‘finance is the political boogeyman’.  Notice the endless overtones to non-democratic political systems: communism, totalitarianism, socialism…?

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