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The logic of neoliberal finance and global financial fragility: towards another great depression?

journal contribution
posted on 2023-06-07, 17:35 authored by Anastasia Nesvetailova
The article provides a comparative critique of the financial underpinnings of the Great Depression of the 1930s and the recent wave of financial crises. The collapse of the financial systems in many developing nations, the bankruptcies in the Anglo-Saxon corporate sectors and a threat of more sovereign defaults on behalf of emerging markets suggest that the current wave of global financial fragility and recession rivals that of the Great Depression of the 1930s. The paper examines key elements that account for the crisis-prone nature of global capitalism: the political discipline of neo-liberalism, debt-driven expansion of the privatised financial markets, and the profound disarticulation of the financial and real economies. These factors suggests that the risk of a global depression is by no means hypothetical, and unless effective and collaborative efforts are made to tame the inherently unstable regime of global finance, even major world economies are faced with a prolonged period of financial turbulence and economic stagnation. The paper concludes by pondering the possibility of a paradigmatic shift in the transnational political consensus that can prevent a global repetition of the 1930s. While the increased awareness of financial instability and crisis may indeed prompt some ad hoc adjustments in national and foreign economic policies of major capitalist powers, in the long run these measures will be insufficient to prevent a major financial and economic disaster.


Publication status

  • Published


Research in Political Economy




Emerald Group Publishing



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Department affiliated with

  • International Relations Publications

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Peer reviewed?

  • Yes

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