Scandalous Economics: Gender and the Politics of Financial Crises

Scandalous Economics: Gender and the Politics of Financial Crises

Scandalous Economics: Gender and the Politics of Financial Crises

Scandalous Economics: Gender and the Politics of Financial Crises

Synopsis

Of all of the lies, fragile alliances, and predatory financial dealings that have been revealed in the wake of the Global Financial Crisis of 2008, we have yet to come to terms with the ways in which structural inequalities around gender and race factor into (and indeed make possible) the current economic order. Scandalous Economics is about "silences" - the astonishing neglect of gender and race in explanations of the Global Financial Crisis. But, it is also about "noises" - the sexual scandals and gendered austerity policies that have relegated public debate, and the crisis itself, into political oblivion. While feminist economists and movements such as Occupy Wall Street have pointed to the distributional inequalities that are an effect of financial deregulation, scholars haven't really grappled with the representational inequalities inherent in the way we view the politics of the market. For example, capitalism won't be made more equitable simply by appointing women to leadership positions within financial firms or corporations. And the next crisis will not be averted if our understandings of gendered inequalities are framed by sexual scandals in media and popular culture. We need to look at the activities and the privileges of the advantaged - the "TED women" of the crisis - as much as the victimization of the disadvantaged - to fully grasp the interplay between gender and economy in this fragile age of restoration. Scandalous Economics breaks new ground by doing precisely this. It argues that normalization of the post-GFC economic order in the face of its obvious breakdown(s) has been facilitated by co-optation of feminist and queer perspectives into national and international responses to the crisis. Scandalous Economics builds upon the Occupy movement and other critical analysis of the GFC to comprehensively examine gendered material, ideational and representational dimensions that have served to make the crisis and its effects, "the new normal" in Europe and America as well as Latin America and Asia.

Excerpt

This volume is ambitious. It explores how scandals—and scandalous uses of and/or neglect of gender—have helped narrate the global financial crisis (GFC) into political oblivion.

The GFC has brought to light connections between domesticity and the macroeconomy, between distributional and identity-based inequalities, between private choices of seemingly gender-neutral investors and public regulation of the economy, between individual homeowners and abstract, global financial markets. Surprisingly, however—and despite fascinating work on the crisis done by feminist economists and critical political economists —the bestselling books about the GFC have paid little or no attention to the gendered dimensions of the crisis. We, instead, argue that critical feminist perspectives on the GFC can help us understand both the root causes of the crisis and the failure to significantly reform financial and macroeconomic models since the crisis.

Let us consider some of the major works analyzing the crisis and its aftermath. For instance, Mark Blyth’s (2013) explanation of why flawed austerity policies were promoted by many governments after the GFC fundamentally overlooks how the gendered poor and the marginalized ended up as the disproportionate targets of austerity measures while the wealthy investors and financial institutions received massive bailouts. Similarly, Daniel Drezner’s (2014) study applauds the global governance “system that worked” to stave off the crisis, but never mentions its origins in the securitization of housing mortgages at the low end of the market, which preyed . . .

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