Date and time
Speaker: Shaina Potts, UCLA, USA
(Ph.D, UC Berkeley, 2017) Shaina Potts is an Assistant Professor in Geography and Global Studies, with research interests in post-colonial sovereign debt relations; financial, legal and political geographies; international political economy; American empire; and the politics of territory. She teaches classes on globalization, border studies, nationalism, political geography, and political economy.
In addition to a massive loss of life, the Coronavirus pandemic has devastated entire industries and caused untold economic suffering to workers, renters and small businesses around the world. Wealthy countries have offset some of this pain through debt-financed social spending and stimulus, leading to renewed debates about the future of neoliberal austerity beyond the pandemic. Low and middle-income countries, however, have been far more constrained, due not only to smaller total budgets but to the way existing debts to foreign creditors limit their financing options. In this talk, I consider sovereign debt relief efforts since the start of the pandemic, most notably the Debt Service Suspension Initiative. I show how past debt crises continue to shape geographies of sovereign debt under Covid-19, and I argue that the limited success of the DSSI is rooted in its replication of long-standing international approaches to sovereign debt crisis resolution that are designed to promote contract rights and creditors’ interests over substantial debt relief.
Speaker: Vladimír Pažitka, University of Oxford, UK
Vladimír Pažitka started working at the School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford, as a research assistant in May 2015, before beginning his doctoral studies later that year. In addition to his doctoral thesis, he has worked on several additional research projects and by the time he defended his doctoral thesis in June 2018, he had published four co-authored manuscripts. He currently works as a Research Associate in Finance and Geography on an ERC funded research project led by Professor Dariusz Wójcik. He has recently accepted a post at the Leeds University Business School of Assistant Professor in Banking and Finance, which he plans to start on May 1st, 2021.
I will discuss the insights from my research on financial centres and investment banking networks. This research has been published in a variety of journals including Economic Geography, Environment and Planning A and the Journal of Economic Geography. I primarily work with data on individual capital market transactions, which I use to build bespoke datasets covering hundreds of financial centres. I employ a variety of econometric and network analytical methods to study the impact of positioning in investment banking networks on the growth trajectories of individual investment banks as well as entire financial centres. Investment banking networks can reduce information frictions among countries and consequently increase both the volume and propensity for international trade in financial services. We have found that investment banks with a more central positioning in investment banking networks tend to grow faster and can restrict the growth opportunities of their lesser connected competitors. Naturally, many challenges and unanswered questions remain in this field of research. How will London be affected by BREXIT? Will Shanghai become one of the world’s leading international financial centres? Will the Covid-19 pandemic radically reshape the spatiality of finance? I am hoping to contribute to answering these questions in the future and I hope that others will join.
Speaker: Andrew Leyshon, University of Nottingham, UK
Andrew Leyshon is Emeritus Professor of Economic Geography at the University of Nottingham. His work has focused on money and finance, the musical economy, and the emergence of diverse economies and is the author and editor of numerous books that reflect these interests. They include: Reformatted: code, networks and the transformation of the music industry (Oxford University Press, 2014), which explores how P2P networks and MP3 software helped remake the musical economy; Money/Space: geographies of monetary transformation (with Nigel Thrift, Routledge 1997), which argued that not only does money have a geography, but that it is inherently geographical, and; Alternative Economic Spaces (with Roger Lee and Colin Williams, Sage, 2003), which sought to account for the diverse ways in which ‘alternative’ economies have emerged within contemporary capitalism. He is currently writing a book on Platform Finance with Paul Langley. He is a member of the Editorial Board of Environment and Planning A and Journal of Cultural Economy, and of the Editorial Advisory Board of Economy and Society, was elected as a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in 2007 and awarded the Ashton Prize for the most innovative paper in Environment and Planning A in 2010. He was Associate Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research & Knowledge Exchange in the Faculty of Social Sciences 2016-18, Head of the School of Geography 2011-2015, Visiting Eminent Research Scholar in the Faculty of Business and Economics at the University of Melbourne in 2015, Co-Director of the Creative & Cultural Industries Research Priority Area at the University of Nottingham (2015 to 2018). Since 2016 he has been an Associate Fellow of the Leadership Foundation.
Research on geographies of money and finance – or financial geography – is a now well-established sub-genre of economic geography. The numbers of academic researchers working on this subject has proliferated, and has produced new institutional structures, such as FinGeo, for example. This growing critical mass is reflected in the availability of undergraduate and postgraduate modules and courses that address the interplay of money, finance and geographical space that are offered at universities, particularly in the UK, but increasingly elsewhere. This paper attempts a preliminary critical reflection on the evolution of geographical research on money and finance over the past three decades or so, attempting to draw up – appropriately – a balance sheet of gains and losses. The paper argues for a continued focus on money, power and space, the key concerns that animated the initial engagements of economic geographers in writing new financial geographies.
Speaker: Jessie Poon, University at Buffalo, USA
Jessie P.H. Poon is Professor of Geography at the University at Buffalo, New York. She is currently an editor of Environment and Planning A. She was the North American editor of Papers in Regional Science from 2002 to 2006. She has published over 100 papers on multinational firms’ locational strategies, foreign direct investment, trade, and technological upgrading dynamics in Asia.
Until recently, financial globalization is thought to encourage state atrophy from neoliberal logics of privatization. Yet under President Obama, financial regulations in the United States (US) tightened than loosened. This paradoxical trend – re-regulation alongside spread of global finance – is captured in regulatory capitalism theory which posits that states have not retreated in their delivery of regulation in contemporary capitalism, but have transformed the organizational capacity of regulation itself. The presentation seeks to explain the financial organizational capacity of US regulations in the context of economic sanctions. Examining the geography of surveillance by US and Singapore, I show how state public agencies and regulatory intermediaries do the work of sanctions rule-making and enforcement through a multiscalar arrangement of financial control. Together, state and non-state agents help diffuse cognitive understandings of US sanctions while designing symbolic structures of financial compliance that track and monitor regulatory evasion globally. I further draw attention to financial compliance professionals as local control sites, and highlight the scalar division of labor that supports US’ geopolitical aspirations.
Speaker: Vincent Guermond, Royal Holloway, University of London, UK
Vincent is a Research Associate at Royal Holloway, University of London. He is involved in a Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) study in Cambodia and India (Tamil Nadu) which is taking a gendered lens to explore the relationship between climate resilience, credit-taking, and nutrition.
Prior to joining Royal Holloway, Vincent completed his PhD at Queen Mary University of London (QMUL). His PhD thesis explores a global migration-development agenda that aims to leverage remittances for development by incorporating remittance flows and households into global financial circuits. Based upon ten months of fieldwork in Senegal and Ghana, his research foregrounds a ‘hybrid’ understanding of uneven and contested geographies of financial incorporation in the global South that requires an integrative approach across economic, financial and development geography.
Arising from the consensus that remittances are now one of the most important sources to finance development, the last fifteen years have witnessed the emergence of a Global Remittance Agenda (GRA) that encourages the incorporation of remittances as well as their senders and recipients into global finance. Critical analyses of the GRA have emerged over the past few years calling into question the market-based approach to the project and its prioritising of the political and financial concerns of a broad coalition of global and national actors over the needs of migrant men and women and the people they send remittances to. While being sympathetic to these political economy takes on the ‘financialisation of remittances’, I question the extent to which remittances, as well as remittance senders and recipients, can be qualified as financialised yet. More specifically, I argue that little is said in the existing literature about the intricate and grounded operations that are required for such projects to materialise, leaving finance and the concrete formation of (remittance) markets black-boxed. Drawing upon research with institutional and private sector actors involved in the remittance, finance and FinTech industry as well as with remittance recipients in Senegal and Ghana, I make two key arguments. First, I put a light on the technical, legal, financial and behavioural engineering that is necessary for remittance markets to realise and show that these market-making processes are contingent, fragile, contested and always in the making. Second, I show how attempts at marketising remittances lead to processes of domestication, subversion and dissent from a various set of actors, including remittance recipients.
Speaker: Raquel Rolnik, University of São Paulo, Brazil
Full Professor at the Faculty of Architecture and Urbanism at the University of São Paulo. Graduated in Architecture and Urbanism from the University of São Paulo (1978), Master in Architecture and Urbanism from the University of São Paulo (1981), PhD in Graduate School Of Arts And Science History Department – New York University (1995), free teaching by FAUUSP (2015) and Titration by FAUUSP (2017). Since 1979 she has been a university professor in the field of architecture and urbanism, and is currently head of the Design Department at the Faculty of Architecture and Urbanism at USP. Urbanist, she was Planning Director for the city of São Paulo and consultant for Brazilian and Latin American cities in urban and housing policy. She was also the National Secretary for Urban Programs at the Ministry of Cities between 2003 and 2007. She was International Rapporteur on the Right to Adequate Housing at the UN Human Rights Council (2008-2014). She is the author of books and articles on the urban issue and since 2011, she has a research productivity scholarship from CNPq 1C.
2008 post-crisis global scenario is marked by market shifts and opportunities for investors to move their liquid capital freely across borders and sectors. Built space in general and housing, in particular, became again one of the new frontiers of speculation and rentiership. The same housing crisis in some cities in Europe and North America which resulted from the financialization of housing in the mortgage/homeownership phase became the basis to roll out a new asset class based on rental housing. New information technologies enabled investors to concentrate ownership of dispersed units, extract income flows and data and bundle them into capital markets, in operations managed by digital platforms and apps. Those changes enabled a new form of financialization of housing from above – via partnerships between corporate landlords and the State not only in those cities, but spreading over the world, with the active role of States in promoting it, including by designing new planning and housing policies. However, those chains of rentiership also generated new and perverse links between labor precarity, informality and financial capital, generating housing financialization not only from above, but from bellow, imposing new dynamics in popular economies.