Financialization, Household Debt and New Vulnerabilities in Post-Socialist Societies
Financialization at the Household Level: Social and Economic Aspects
The aim of this paper is to give an overview of the recent discussions of financialization with a particular focus on the social and economic aspects surrounding the financialization of households. While we agree that one of the most striking feature of the economic landscape in the last decades has been the financialization of personal revenue of workers and households across social classes (Lapavitsas, 2013), there appears to be some diversity in the pattern of financialization in the core and peripheral capitalist countries, respectively. This heterogeneity is a consequence of different economic trajectories and institutional arrangements, and it would, therefore, be quite misleading to treat financialization as a uniform process confined to a single logic. Moreover, the same caution should be exercised with regard to the division between households and non-financial firms inasmuch as the behavior of the latter can be described in terms of profit maximization, while the former are, as we shall argue, maximizing neither profit nor utility. The fact that households cannot be fully integrated into the system of market relations will be used as a point of entry for the inquiry into the socially determined incentives and constraints that inform attitude towards risk and reward at the household level.
Although we are interested in developing an analysis of the financialization process at the household level that will incorporate both economic and non-economic aspects, we start with a brief overview of the recent macroeconomic developments in the post-socialist region in order to highlight...
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