The contribution of financialization discourse to capital and inequality is particularly interesting to economics in property and planning. Epstein’s (2005) ‘Financialization and The World Economy’ opens more contemporary thinking on the increasing importance of financial markets, institutions and motives in the world economy.
The costs (and benefits) of such financialisation to property such as housing is brought forward by Aalbers’ (2016) political economy work on ‘The Financialization of Housing’. In doing so, we see the centrality of housing as a capitalist instrument in the widening of financial capital.
The role of housing as a financial asset to raise debt is the focus of Mian and Sufi’s (2015) ‘House of debt’ where they look at housing debt as part of the 2007-8 global financial crisis and subsequent economic recession. The idea of financial and economic instability has generated a renewed interest in writers such as Minksy (1986) how in ‘Stabilizing an Unstable Economy’ considers that markets are prone towards a period of ‘crisis’.
Instability of finance and capital can be found in the theatre of property. For Lizieri (2009) in ‘Towers of Capital’ we see the interesting interdependence of finance and property. As such we can see finance manifest in many city centres that sit the supply of commercial buildings. It is in these properties that those who manage finance are further perpetuating wealth within those buildings.
Capital as wealth different from income is stressed by Stiglitz (2012) in ‘The Price of Inequality’ where we see a polarising of wealth groups and the negative economic effects of such widening disparity. What Dorling (2014) would popularise as the 1% ‘superrich’ who are concentrating a greater portion of the wealth. With the 1% gaining greater financial protection compared to the 99% are faced with greater austerity and economic vulnerability.
A leading articulation of the issues of capital and wealth (partially as backed by property) is by Piketty (2018) in ‘Capital in the twenty-first century’ where we see trends in the return on capital being greater than the rate of economic growth, and thus an unequal concentrated distribution of wealth causing social and economic instability. Progressive wealth taxes being one such approach to reducing minority concentration of vast wealth.