Circulation-Centered Capitalism(メモ)

Benjamin Leeの Cultural Analysis in an Age of Globalization*1から。
Benjamin Leeは現在の資本主義はcirculation-centered capitalismであるという。曰く、

(…) contemporary capitalism is morphing into a ‘circulation-centered’ capitalism in which the objectification of risk is replacing the objectification of labor as the cutting edge of the growth of capital. The objectification of risk produces a new form of misrecognition in which the formal pricing structures for derivative instruments effectively splits the social from economic dimensions of circulation, a differentiation that is necessary for the circulation of derivatives. (p.26)

Derivatives are part of the new sociostructural imaginary*2of capitalism in its latest act of self-destruction and self-resurrection: unlike futures exchanges of the past, such as Osaka’s seventeenth century rice exchange or Chicago’s wheat trading of the eighteenth century, derivatives markets have nothing to do with the physical production or delivery of a concrete use value. Rather, they constitute a quasi-autonomous sphere of circulation that they simultaneously presuppose and are instrumental in creating. They accomplish this by developing forms of objectification and subjectivity that draws upon the existing social forms ontology geared to the character of connectivity. (…) (pp.26-27)

For Marx, commodities have value because they are the products of labor. Things that may be the source of wealth in that they can be bought and sold for a profit may not have value because they do not involve productive labor. These include rent, interest, and various forms of financial capital. Derivatives, which are financial instruments whose ‘value’ is derived from some underlying asset, would be ‘valueless’ from the standpoint of a labor theory of value. Yet it is precisely these new forms of finance capital that are creating a new, globalized cultures of circulation that is replacing production-centered cultures of circulation as the leading edge of capitalism. The rise of what might be called ‘circulation-centered’ capitalism involves a new objectification, that of the pricing of risk, which, not unlike labor, has both its ‘concrete’ (the directional risks associated with a particular asset) and ‘abstract’ (volatility) dimensions. (p.114)

Its evolution*3 would depend on the confluence of two historical developments. The first was the creation of liquid markets for derivative instruments and a concomitant ability to price or commoditize risk. The second was a global increase in risk and uncertainty that made risk management a key concern. Although economists at first focused on the role of derivatives in hedging risk, it soon became apparent that it was their speculative potential that would provide the impetus for their explosive development. (…) but derivatives also filled a temporal gap in the long term orientation of production-centered capitalism. (p.117)

If there is any date that this new financial order might be said to begin to come into being, it would be 1973. It was the end of Bretton Woods and the gold standard, allowing currencies to float; the Gulf oil crisis that signaled the end of the Fordist period of the U.S. economy; the creation of the Chicago options exchange, the first institutionalized market in the United States specializing in options trading; and the discovery (invention) of the Black-Scholes equation to price options and other derivatives. (p.118)


*2:imaginary については、see also

*3:evolution of commodification and objectification of risk