Dr Samuel Knafo delivered the Inaugural Annual IPE Lecture on 26th November 2014. The title of his lecture was 'Liberal Financial Governance and the Making of Modern Finance.'
Dr Samuel Knafo is the winner of the 2014 IPEG Book Prize for his book The Making of Modern Finance: Liberal Governance and the Gold Standard (Routledge, May 2013). He has published widely on the gold standard, financial bubbles and crises as well as on issues in Marxist political economy and theory. His latest book presents thoroughly researched, original historical analysis that challenges conventional wisdom in International Political Economy by demonstrating how the gold standard was used as a means of exerting societal control over free flows of money.
In his lecture, he traced the evolution of monetary governance from the origins of 'sound' monetary policy in the thirteenth century to the rise of modern finance and central banking in the nineteenth century. He gave a critique of the classic story of liberal economic governance, which presents a narrative of the retreat of the state, allowing more freedom for finance to develop. In its place he suggested we focus historically on the capacities that the liberal state built to govern finance, and concretely analyse how these shaped power relations and struggles between market actors. He linked his arguments to how neoliberalism is commonly understood today as a retreat of the state, and the need to go beyond 'the market' as an empty placeholder and analyse particular social relations and the way in which state intervention shapes practices of finance.