finance

An angry person's guide to finance - Jack Copley

A layperson's guide to the complex and frustrating financial world - from a Marxist perspective.

Class composition and US direct investments abroad - Ferruccio Gambino

Article originally written for Zerowork 3 in December 1974 about class composition and American investments abroad.

To the memory of Stephen Hymer

I.

Worker sabotage in a financial services call centre

Trolling the bosses

An inspiring first person account of employee sabotage in a pensions call centre, where workers helped customers recoup forgotten pension benefits at the cost of the company in response to bullying management.

Some years ago I worked in a call centre/contact centre as a pension/assurance call handler, with complaints handling as my main work. There were maybe 200 workmates/25 bosses on my floor.

Spanish banks occupied

Hundreds of activists from the Platform for Mortgage Victims (PAH) have occupied a branch of the Banco Popular Bank, and the BBVA bank, both in Barcelona.

Activists have taken up the case of Jose Antonio Gomez. Jose signed for a loan of 390,000 Euros, and despite repaying over 100,000 Euros - interest rates mean the debt has now risen to 590,000 in less than 5 years.

Jose’s circumstances are typical for many ordinary Spaniards who have been crippled by interest rates.

Autonomisation, financialisation, neoliberalism

An overview of the way in which with increasing autonomisation of finance capital, models come to shape the real economy and influence its restructuring.

Arbitrage is defined as any technique to profit from differences in price between identical assets in different markets. At its simplest, if an asset is priced at £1000 in one country and at £1200 in another, I can buy in the cheaper market and sell in the more expensive and profit from the difference.

Debt: the first 5000 years - David Graeber

Cover image of Debt

David Graeber maps out the history of debt from ancient civilisations to current times, suggesting it has been one of the great catalysts for social and political strife throughout.

Credit crunched – working in financial services during the 2008-2009 crash

This article comes from a comrade who is a member of the Solidarity Federation in the UK. He describes the article as “An account of working for a credit company during the financial crisis, as well as workers’ attempts to resist speed-ups and workload increases.”

This job gave me an inside view of the ‘credit crunch’, in fact in a real sense I was a part of it. The financial crisis also meant a lot of pressure passed onto the workforce, through speed-ups, stress and redundancies. I started the job in early 2008 after I was made redundant in my last job.

The Corporation (Documentary)

The Corporation is a 2003 Canadian documentary film written by Joel Bakan, and directed by Mark Achbar and Jennifer Abbott. The documentary is critical of the modern-day corporation, considering its legal status as a class of person and evaluating its behaviour towards society and the world at large as a psychiatrist might evaluate an ordinary person. This is explored through specific examples. Bakan wrote the book, The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power, during the filming of the documentary.

Provoking, witty, stylish and sweepingly informative, THE CORPORATION explores the nature and spectacular rise of the dominant institution of our time. Part film and part movement, The Corporation is transforming audiences and dazzling critics with its insightful and compelling analysis.

Enron: The smartest guys in the room (documentary)

A remarkable documentary which packages the events of the scandal into a cohesive story.
Unbelievable footage of employees reveals unbridled greed, lust for risk-taking, and guiltless cheating, all while thinking they could never be caught.

This searing examination of the Enron accounting scandal reveals the psychology of greed and corporate corruption that facilitated the company's rise to power and also its fall. When Enron went bankrupt in 2001, the principals walked away millionaires - but later faced legal proceedings and jail sentences.

Stupid regulators and greedy financiers or business as usual? - Chris Wright

Occupation of Zuccotti Park - New York, 2011

As the occupy movement in the US this week shifts its attention from the shiny crystallisations of high finance to the hubs of material circulation, Chris Wright reviews Paul Mattick Jr.'s book, Business as Usual, and asks: what is missed by shouting down only one aspect of capitalism?

The Occupy Wall Street demonstrations which have sprung up around the United States express in their very name the common sense analysis of the economic crisis which began in 2007-8. Wall Street (aka finance capital) is out of control and the regulatory mechanisms in place aren't working. And it is not just in the US.