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Jargon!

David Harvie on finance

“The financial markets, and in particular those arcane instruments known as ‘derivatives’, are all about measure, measuring the production of value, measuring capital accumulation. Financial derivatives allow all the different ‘bits’ of capital (across time, across space and across sectors) to be priced against – or commensurated with – each other. Derivatives even turn the very contingent nature of value – its contestability – into a tradeable commodity. […]The performance of a Detroit car-worker can be compared not only with that of his neighbour on the production line, or even with her counterpart in Alabama or South Korea, but with garment workers in Morocco, programmers in Bangalore and cleaners on the London Underground. Competition is intensified, as is class struggle. […] Our ‘performance’ as debtors is measured by the global financial market and is yoked to that market, and through it to the performance of all other ‘assets’ – the programmers and the cleaners, the farmers and the garment workers. In short, we become – in our reproductive activity as well as our waged work – subjects of competitive calculation.”


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