The Political Economy of Money and Finance: Theories, Actors and Sustainability

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Sustainability & Climate Change
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Universität Duisburg-Essen
Charlotte Röniger
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Free course:

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Money and finance shape key issues in our contemporary global political economy, amongst others economic inequality, (currency) hierarchies and decarbonization. Yet many social sciences, including economics and political science, have often neglected the monetary and the financial system, their specific architectures and their main actors. This seminar will explore the connections, interlinkages and tensions within the contemporary global financial system both from theoretical and from actor-centred perspectives. At the outset we will look at different theories of money (creation) and finance, including the ‘money view’ approach and ‘critical macro-finance.’ Then we will discuss various other central issues concerning the role of finance (e.g. financialization, offshore finance and shadow banking). In the second part of the seminar we will focus on the main actors of today’s global finance, and their development, role and power. This will include how the financial system has been radically changing since the global financial crisis. A huge money mass migration from actively managed funds to ‘passive’ funds is causing a centralization of finance in the hands of the ‘Big Three’ American asset managers (BlackRock, Vanguard, and State Street). At the same time, a little-known group of index providers (MSCI, S&P Dow Jones, and FTSE Russell) is gaining influence and new private authority in global finance. Moreover, the growing segment of ‘sustainable finance’ that comprises Green Bonds and ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) funds will also be covered. Finally, we will discuss what role global finance can play for sustainability and the urgently needed green transition.