The Fall and Rise of American Finance: From JP Morgan to BlackRock.
Stephen Maher and Scott Aquanno, Verso 2024.
This book tells the story of financial power in American capitalism, from the collapse of the J.P. Morgan’s vast empire to the rise of finance behemoth BlackRock. It traces the making and remaking of the American ruling class as the postwar “Golden Age” of industrial hegemony gave way to the powerful revival of finance in the neoliberal period. Following the 2008 crisis, this remaking culminated in the reorganization of our financial system around the unprecedented economic power of the “Big Three” asset management firms. Maher and Aquanno elucidate the transformations of ruling class power across these periods, highlighting how transitions from one phase to another were shaped by profound crises and marked by the restructuring of corporations and the state. Contrary to what has become the common sense view, advanced by figures from Hillary Clinton to Bernie Sanders, Maher and Aquanno insist that financialization did not imply the decline of capitalism, the hollowing out of the “real” economy, or the retreat of the state. Rather, it served to intensify competitive discipline to maximize efficiency, profits, and the exploitation of labor – all with the support of an increasingly authoritarian state.