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The Political Economy of the Subprime Crisis

The subprime crisis and ensuing credit crunch has once again placed global finance and its (lack of) regulatory arrangements at the heart of mainstream political discourse. Straightforward media alarm at instability and contagion have confirmed faltering market sentiment and prompted the usual calls for transparency and accountability by politicians and central bankers. But the subprime crisis is also a signal event, highlighting deeper changes related to the ongoing financialisation of global capitalism and how this impacts upon people as they attempt to conduct their everyday lives. The unprecedented expansion of individual credit and debt has fostered a plethora of risk management techniques that point to urgent questions linked to the very sustainability of the global financial system in its current form. In this way the subprime crisis can be read as the fulcrum of wider shifts in the nature of debt, risk and expectations regarding (ir)responsible financial behaviour.

The Warwick Political Economy Working Group from the Department of Politics and International Studies organised a two-day workshop on the subprime crisis on September 18th/19th 2008. The workshop was made possible through generous support from the Economic and Social Research Council, GARNET, the Political Economy Specialist Group of the Political Studies Association, the Centre for the Study of Globalisation and Regionalisation and PaIS. The aim of the workshop was to provide a forum for critical and inter-disciplinary engagement on central issues raised by the crisis and the ensuing credit crunch. Scholars from across the social sciences in the UK interacted with a number of their European counterparts to produce two days of lively and intellectually stimulating debates.

Roundtable Discussion of the Political Economy of the Subprime Crisis

14:44, Thu 25 Sep 2008

Participants - Ben Rosamond (Warwick, chair); Andrew Gamble (Cambridge); Robert Wade (LSE); Brigitte Young (Muenster). Including question and answer session.

(MP4 format, 264 MB)


The Global Credit Crunch as the Crisis of Artificial Liquidity

14:35, Thu 25 Sep 2008

Anastasia Nesvetailova discusses whether liquidity is the cause of the financial instability associated with the subprime crisis and the ensuing credit crunch, whilst asking how liquidity structures currently affect the workings of the economy.

(MP3 format, 16 MB)


Embedded Liberalism is Dead, Long Live Embedded Liberalism: National Welfare Concerns and International Policy Responses to the Subprime Crisis

14:24, Thu 25 Sep 2008

Leonard Seabrooke looks at how the subprime crisis and resulting international credit crunch demonstrates how uniquely national welfare and financial systems can blend into broader world economy structures, in different ways providing both sources of stability and sources of instability for global finance.

(MP3 format, 16 MB)


Financial Innovation: Frame, Conjuncture and Bricolage

14:10, Thu 25 Sep 2008

Ewald Engelen, Ismail Erturk, Julie Froud, Adam Leaver and Karel Williams collaborate on a paper about how the type of financial innovation which eventually led to the subprime crisis is constructed in different discourses, in financial journalism and official reports as much as in mainstream academic finance or social studies of finance.

(MP3 format, 20 MB)


Good Inflation, Bad Inflation: The Housing Boom, Economic Growth and the Disaggregation of Inflationary Preferences in Britain and Ireland

13:58, Thu 25 Sep 2008

Colin Hay looks at the recent implosion of the house price bubble in the liberal market economies of Western Europe and asks whether this raises serious concerns about macroeconomic management there, focusing in particular on the counter-inflationary preferences of public authorities.

(MP3 format, 15 MB)


Asset-Based Welfare and the Financialisation of the Citizen

13:48, Thu 25 Sep 2008

Alan Finlayson discusses the ethics and political theory of response to the subprime crisis, situating his analysis with respect to the UK Government's attempts to create a 'financially literate' population suited to undertaking the move to an asset-based system of welfare.

(MP3 format, 14 MB)


The Role of Financial Risk in Privatised Keynesianism

13:29, Thu 25 Sep 2008

Colin Crouch analyses postwar economic and financial regulation against a series of changes in the fundamental character of macroeconomic regimes, linking the current subprime crisis to the development of a regime of privatised Keynesianism.

(MP3 format, 15 MB)


Headlong into the Polanyian Dilemma: Reaction and Overreaction to Banking Sector Distress

13:00, Thu 25 Sep 2008

Matthew Watson discusses how the world credit crunch which began in the summer of 2007 has been responsible for the explicit politicisation of the housing market amidst a moral panic surrounding the status of homeowner.

(MP3 format, 16 MB)


Specter of the Subprime Borrower: Moving Beyond the Credit Score Analysis

12:39, Thu 25 Sep 2008

Johnna Montgomerie asks the explicitly political questions of who are the subprime borrowers, how did they come to occupy such a position and what responsibility do public policy-makers and private sector creditors bear for their current status.

(MP3 format, 23 MB)


Buy-To-Let, Financialization and the Geographies of Risk

12:23, Thu 25 Sep 2008

Andrew Leyshon and Shaun French analyse the buy-to-let market and its economic implications, including social and financial advancement and the creation of distinct spatial trajectories of stress within post-credit crunch urban housing markets.

(MP3 format, 18 MB)


When Credit Becomes Debt: Foreclosure and Forbearance in Subprime Mortgages

11:57, Thu 25 Sep 2008

Paul Langley discusses the impact - both political and economic - of major US Federal Government programmes in support for forbearance by lenders of mortgage debt within the US subprime sector.

(MP3 format, 29 MB)


Man in the Black Hat: Who is to Blame for the Subprime Crisis?

11:35, Thu 25 Sep 2008

Timothy Sinclair analyses the way in which all financial crises seem to generate an explicitly political hunt for the culprit, and asks whether the American credit rating agencies legitimately fill such a role in the ongoing credit crunch.

(MP3 format, 16 MB)