Finance State of Power 2019

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Despite causing the worst financial crisis in decades, the financial sector emerged even stronger. TNI's eighth flagship State of Power report examines through essays and infographics the varied dimensions and dynamics of financial power, and how popular movements might regain control over money and finance.

State of Power 2019 cover image


About finance

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Part of series
State of Power , 2019


Visit our longreads website for six compelling infographics that tell you everything you need to know about financial power. Who controls banks? Investment Funds? Where are they based? How is power concentrated? What difference does this make to corporations in general? How do banks influence public policy? How do financial institutions remain impune? What alternatives are there.


The Latent, Unused Power of Citizens and the Production of Public Collateral
Ann Pettifor
Despite the rhetoric of bankers and politicians, private finance is far more dependent on the public than we think. Taxpayers in the richest nations provide the public collateral on which nearly all financial activities today depend. It's time to use that leverage to hold private financial institutions to account and to invest in the Green New Deal. Read online | Download essay as PDF

Battling Bankers: Insights on Financial Power From the Grassroots
Interview with Simona Levi, Joel Benjamin and Alvin Mosioma
Three inspiring activists - from Spain, UK and Kenya - that have scored significant victories against the financial leviathan share their experiences of taking on bankers and the lessons and insights from their ongoing struggles. Read online | Download essay as PDF

Offshore Finance: How Capital Rules the World
Rodrigo Fernandez and Reijer Hendrikse
The rise of offshore finance is not solely about capital moving to banks in exotic islands, it is also about the creation of a two-tier global system in which ordinary citizens are subject to laws, taxes and increasingly authoritarian rule, while offshore residents live secretive, tax-free lives with their fortunes supported by expansionary monetary policy. Read online | Download PDF

High Finance: An Extractive Sector
Interview with Saskia Sassen
Saskia Sassen explores the extractivist nature of finance and how it impacts on cities in particular, as well as the possible fractures in financial power that open up the possibility for urban movements to confront and bring finance under public control. Read online | Download PDF

Banking on Public Power: Lessons of the Institute of International Finance
Jasper Blom
It is little known but the International Institute of Finance is probably the single most important reason why financial reform in the wake of the economic crisis has been so limited. But its power is not just the way it has represented and coordinated its international membership, but the way decision-makers have given it an unprecedented role as interlocutor on financial issues. Read online | Download PDF

Global Finance, Power and Instability
Walden Bello
Tackling financial power requires not only examining the power of certain institutions like the Too Big To Fail banks, but the role financialisation has within the global economy in the context of capitalism's tendency towards overproduction and supply outstripping demand owing to the persistence of great inequality. Read online | Download PDF

Art - Capital of the Twenty-First Century
Aude Launay
Finance has always created reality out of beliefs and stories, turning appraisal into numbers and thoughts into stock market fluctuations. It is a world that artists understand well, challenging its power with its very means. Read online | Download PDF

Gentrification of Payments: Spreading the Digital Financial Net
Brett Scott
The merging of finance and technology - and especially the heavy promotion of digital payment systems -  is gentrifying finance, advancing an agenda of corporate control and surveillance at the expense of informality and the exclusion of the most marginalised. Read online | Download PDF

Finance, Fossil Fuels, and Climate Change
Mark Hudson and Katelyn Friesen
Based on original research exploring the financing, lending, ownership and board interlocks, this essay shows how finance and fossil fuel firms in Canada are intertwined and impede a green transition. Read online | Download PDF

The Next Shareholder Revolution
Owen Davis
For radicals going back to Marx, corporate stock provided a template for both the socialisation of ownership and redistribution of income. Could a convergence of ethical activists, pension funds and socialist politicians herald a new shareholder revolution? Read online | Download PDF

The Power of Public Finance for the Future we Want
Lavinia Steinfort
Public finance and banking is more available than often portrayed - and there are plenty of examples of public finance that can inspire us to both raise and channel finance in a way that will address today's social and environmental challenges. Read online | Download PDF


Recommended Reading:

The Data of Money
Andrés Arauz
The international bank transfer system, SWIFT, is a form of contemporary digital colonialism and surveillance capitalism as it is run by US firms and provides data to US government agencies. Drives by governments and philanthropists to increase use of digital money will only strengthen it further.

Rome Decides: Financial Power Against a City of Solidarity
Biagio Quattrocchi, Vanessa Bilancetti , Francesco Silvi
A case study that explores how Rome became indebted, how it was used to impose austerity and privatisation, and how citizens organised a debt audit to expose and challenge financialisation.

Cocaine on Wall Street, The War on Drugs, and Peace in Colombia
Jorge Andrés Forero-González , Miranda D. Mosis, Diana María Peña-García
This essay connects cocaine, the financial system and global economies through the experience of the war on drugs and peace process in Colombia.


The beautiful illustrations were designed by Orijit Sen and the infographics by Evan Clayburg

Ilustrating finance
Orijit Sen talks about why he chose the themes and mood of his illustrations for State of Power.

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