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Monica Prasad. The Land of Too Much: American Abundance and the Paradox of Poverty. Michele Landis Dauber. The Sympathetic State.
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The book is based on more than 80 expert interviews with banking regulators, bankers, auditors and accounting scholars in these 4 countries. The book seeks to explain these divergent trends without falling into the traps of a literature that explains these issues by regulatory or cognitive capture.

Not because these issues did not play a role, but because these theories employ a view of the agency of regulators which is too simplistic at best. Instead of treating regulators as either bought or dopes, I seek to place the decisions of banking regulators to not regulate these off-balance sheet activities of banks, on the one hand, into their structural context, both on the national and the transnational level and, on the other hand, to their embeddedness in the regulatory networks that determine the compliance with national banking regulation.

Instead, I link its growth to the particular structural situation in which banking regulators found themselves, where regulatory competition with non-banks domestically and banks from other jurisdictions globally structured their behavior, as they formed a dialectical unity with the regulated, sharing common interests at the same time. The book first traces the growth of shadow banking to the rising competition between banks and capital market activities since the s in the United States , which threatened the disintermediation of banks and the impossibility of the Fed to prudentially intervene in the behavior of non-bank actors.

Being thus constrained, they instead sought to facilitate the capital market activities of their banks from the s onwards. Focusing on the Asset-Backed Commercial Paper market, I show however that this support was not unconditional and that it was subject to persistent reviews over what was and what was not allowed. This critical stance of the Fed, which in turn provoked industry innovations, came to a halt with the shift from Paul Volcker as the chair of the Fed, who had become increasingly critical of these activities, to Alan Greenspan, who was largely hands-off.

Evidence drawn from interviews with the Fed officials shows how the Fed itself was internally riven between those who wanted to clamp down on these activities and force them back into the balance sheets of banks and those favouring a hands-off approach. Interestingly, this conflict would come to the fore again with Enron scandal in and would be resolved through the anticipated introduction of rules envisioned in Basel II in the US.

And here is the second element I point out in the book: the attempt to pry open the global banking market, in full swing since the s leads to a difficult position for national banking regulators. Since the first Basel Accord in , banking regulators as an epistemic community have sought to level the playing field by introducing transnational rules which could and should be implemented nationally.

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And yet, here is the paradox: as global rules establish a level playing field, they put a disadvantage on the national re-regulation of activities that are designed by legal engineers to circumvent these global rules. The normal delays between innovation and re-regulation are expanded on the global level from Basel I to Basel II it took 15 years to agreement and implementation and national re-regulation in the meantime is disadvantaged due to the competitive disadvantages that national banks face in a global market for banking activities when their rules are stricter than those of their competitors.


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I show that both these arguments were advanced by bankers and demonstrate how they structured the agency of banking regulators. Aggravating this dynamic is the fact that global rules are placed upon national accounting rules, which by chance provide competitive advantages to banks from certain countries, as certain shadow banking activities are excluded from the purview of banking regulation by accounting definition. This in turn exerts pressure on other countries to adjust their rules to allow the expansion of these activities domestically.

Europe is the looking glass for these trends. Since , with the first European banking directive, the competitive struggle to open national banking markets has been on the agenda. Due to the impossibility to agree to common banking rules and to install a common banking supervisor, European bureaucrats and politicians adopted the compromise of implementing Basel I on a binding European level and of enforcing it through national regulators. This institutional set up enshrined the contradictions mentioned before and amplified them by binding the fate of national regulators and the fate of national banking champions together.

In Germany , which possibly is closest to a case of regulatory capture, the banking regulator is subordinated to the ministry of finance, which follows a conscious strategy to encourage shadow banking, seeking to wean Germany off its dependence on bank credit. Lastly, the case of France presents a case of successful pre-crisis regulation of parts of the shadow banking sector. This happened, on the one hand, due to the discretionary powers of the banking regulators to enforce its own interpretation of rules, its strong interactions with the compliance officers in the banking and auditing community which allowed for awareness of rule evasion as well as sanctioning power with respect to these agents.

Hence, it was proximity to the regulated, not distance, which allowed the French to regulate shadow banking. After the crisis, several regulations regarding the interaction between banks and crucial capital market actors have been strengthened in Europe, the US as well as globally and some of the shadow banking activities seen pre-crisis have disappeared.

The Land of Too Much

And yet, the structural conditions, which facilitated its growth still exist. In that sense, the book does not expect the phenomenon of growing shadow banking activities to shrink see for instance the recent developments in the leveraged loan market in the US. And yet, it offers several insights how the regulation of shadow banking activities could function better, by encouraging more, not less contact between regulators and financial institutions and by relying on expertise of compliance officers and other intermediaries to overcome information asymmetries. In this respect, the book opposes simple accounts of capture theory and shows that the current focus on transparency and arms-length relationships cuts regulators off from industry knowledge.

He holds a PhD in Sociology from Columbia University and has published widely on financial regulation pre- and post-crisis as well as the role of European public development banks in these newly reconfigurated financial markets. Neoliberalism portrays them as a result of individual failures, masking the power relations and structural violence embedded in the political economies. Five great short pieces on this topic published in Cultural Anthropology. These are Merit and Demerit, the qualities of deserving reward, and of deserving punishment.

In line with this argument, Smith depicts in this book the character of a virtuous person. Such a person, he suggests, would embody the qualities of prudence and self-command. Morality, according to Smith, is created by nature. The abstract reads as follows:.

As individuals are required to engage with financial products and services as the main way of protecting themselves from risks and uncertainties, their economic welfare and security are construed as depending largely on their own financial decisions. Within this setting, the concept of financial literacy and accompanying practices of financial education have emerged as a prominent institutional field handling the formulation and communication of the attributes and dispositions that arguably constitute the proper financial actor.

This article analyzes financial education programmes currently conducted by state agencies in Israel, examining the notions and principles they articulate when defining and explaining proper financial conduct. The study indicates that moral themes and categories occupy a salient place in the formulation of the character traits that constitute the desired literate financial actor. Notions of individual responsibility, planning ahead and rational risk management are presented not merely as instrumental resources, but as moral imperatives.

Through these notions, the programmes moralize a broad array of everyday practices of personal finance such as saving, investing, borrowing and budget management, thereby connecting the sphere of financial matters to the domain of moral virtues. Offering a representation of particular modes of financial conduct as constitutive components of morally virtuous personhood, these practices imbue the financial field as a whole, especially its current generalized logic of individualized and marketized risk management, with moral meanings, hence contributing to the normalization and depoliticization of the financialization of everyday life.

Now, let us return to Adam Smith. The depoliticizing impetus features most of his economic writings, but it contrasts with other parts The Theory Of Moral Sentiments. Justice limits the harm we do to others and it is essential for the continuation of social life; beneficence improves social life by prompting us to promote the happiness of others.

One thing is certain: in neoliberal capitalism moral sentiments play a key role in the extraction of economic value. Maman, Daniel and Zeev Rosenhek. The keynoter: Kathi Weeks. No fee. DL: August 9. DL: August No fee for participants from the Global South. No fees; meals will be provided. Orginizer are looking for works on neoliberalism and globalisation after , across Asia, Africa and Latin America.

There are several travel bursaries available. DL: September 1. Travel and accommodation expenses will be covered.

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Meals will be provided. DL: September 2. Scholarships are available for graduate students. DL: September 4. DL: September 8.

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The successful applicant will run the sub-project on India and study the intellectual history of international and global economic inequality in India. No participation fee; food and accommodation will be provided. The position is for 3 years. DL: September 3. Priority will be given to those who expertise in one or more of these areas: social welfare, inequality and diversity, social movements and political sociology.

Responsibility in matters of these sorts is always collective, especially with regard to the remedying of shortcomings. Its beginning is usually dated to the early s, with the close publications of three economists working in remote locations — William Stanley Jevons England , Carl Menger Austria , and Leon Walras France. This was a clear break from classical economists, who argued that value is determined by the amount of labor used in production, or the total cost of production including labor, land, and capital. Jevons, Menger and Walras used marginal utility to turn the classical theory of value on its head.

Instead of labor, land and capital determining value, they insisted that it is the value of a good — now equated with its price — that determines the value of labor, land and capital. Here also lies a second puzzle: despite their criticism of classical political economy and their different analytical framework, Jevons, Menger, and Walras reached the very same practical conclusions.


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Like the classical economists who preceded them, Jevons, Menger, and Walras insisted that the principle of marginal utility proves that it is impossible for workers to increase their wages through unionization and strikes, and that free trade is the best way to ensure economic prosperity for all. For this purpose, the article incorporates a cultural emphasis on meaning-making processes within a macro-level analysis of the historical conditions in which these processes take place.

The empirical section traces the roots of the marginalist revolution to the rise of finance as a dominant economic sector, and the escalating class struggles across Europe during the period.

This analysis not only shows the social foundation from which these economic ideas rose, but also explains the different outcomes of the marginal revolution in England, France, Austria, and Germany. Economic categories, of course, are not simply theoretical tools constructed by economists. They are also part of the everyday concepts through which people perceive and make sense of social reality. It should not surprise us, therefore, that when this reality changes, the categories used to understand it are likely to change as well.

In this sense, economic categories reflect a specific social standpoint , a term used by critical feminist theorists to remind us that the way we represent social reality is always from a distinct location within this social reality. The marginalist revolution and the birth of neoclassical economics is an important research topic in its own right. However, the contributions of the article go beyond the historiography of economic thought. A long-standing scholarship in political science and sociology has shown the power of economic ideas to shape public policies and promote institutional change.

A more recent literature examines economic categories through cultural lenses to show how they contribute to a wide-range of social and economic processes.


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  7. However, there is a lack of research on the historical development of such categories. The present article provides a theoretical framework to examine these questions, in which economic categories are at the same time an outcome as well as a contributing factor to processes of structural changes.

    His fields of interest include class analysis, cultural and economic sociology, and the sociology of knowledge. His current research investigates the impact of financialization on income inequality, focusing on the use of corporate debt as a strategic tool in the context of class struggles. Since the early s, Republicans have consistently championed tax cuts for individuals and businesses, regardless of whether the economy is booming or shrinking or whether the budget is in surplus or deficit. Rather, the tax cut emerged because in the United States, unlike in the rest of the advanced industrial world, progressive policies are not embedded within a larger political economy that is favorable to business.

    Since the end of World War II, many European nations have combined strong social protections with policies to stimulate economic growth such as lower taxes on capital and less regulation on businesses than in the US. Meanwhile, the US emerged from World War II with high taxes on capital and some of the strongest regulations on business in the industrial world. This adversarial political economy, argues Prasad, could not survive the economic crisis of the s. Cornell University Press. University of Chicago Press. Princeton University Press. Oxford University Press. Harvard University Press.

    Halliday and Bruce G. Stanford University Press. MIT Press.

    The Land of Too Much

    Lincoln and Michael L. Cambridge University Press. Skip to content. Posted on September 20, by Oleg Komlik. Like this: Like Loading Posted in Funny Tagged economics , neoliberalism Leave a comment. Posted in Papers Tagged academia , economic history , Economic Sociology , economics , history of economic thought , Political economy 2 Comments.

    Posted in Academic announcements 5 Comments. Posted in Oleg Komlik Tagged history , politics Leave a comment. Indeed, she argues that a strong tradition of government intervention undermined the development of a European-style welfare state. The demand-side theory of comparative political economy she develops here explains how and why this happened. While European countries adopted protectionist policies in response, in the United States lower prices spurred an agrarian movement that rearranged the political landscape.

    The federal government instituted progressive taxation and a series of strict financial regulations that ironically resulted in more freely available credit. As European countries developed growth models focused on investment and exports, the United States developed a growth model based on consumption. These large-scale interventions led to economic growth that met citizen needs through private credit rather than through social welfare policies. In The Number of the Heavens , Tom Siegfried, the award-winning former editor of Science News , shows that one of the most fascinating and controversial ideas in contemporary cosmology—the existence of multiple parallel universes—has a long and divisive history that continues to this day.