Tax Justice Network

For decades academics, journalists and politicians have generally held that, when it comes to hosting a financial centre in your neighbourhood, bigger is better. But new research is overturning that orthodoxy. Studies are finding that financial sector development is healthy for its host country only up to a point - after which it starts to crowd out alternative economic sectors, sap productivity and growth, enable rent-seeking, and subvert the political system. A large financial sector, it turns out, behaves rather like a large minerals sector, which has caused a 'Resource Curse' in many mineral-dependent countries. It's time to start talking about a Finance Curse.

In the first article in this series, Nicholas Shaxson takes a broad look at the Resource Curse and shows some of the parallels with the Finance Curse. Next, renowned geographer Doreen Massey looks at how finance and financialisation now mould Britain's economy, geography, ideology and politics to an astonishing degree, and how it has come to the core of a new social settlement in which the fabric of its society and economy has been thoroughly reworked. Adam Leaver then looks at Britain in more fine-grained geographical detail, exploring the winners and losers in this financially-denominated economy, in an article aptly entitled "The metropolitanisation of gains, the nationalisation of losses.' Finally, Tamasin Cave explains how finance in Britain has become much more than a lobby: finance and the British state are now mutually embedded to the point that it can be hard to tell where one stops and the other starts.


The Finance Curse - introduction

Paying billions in tax revenues, the City would surely be an asset to any country. Wouldn't it? A new book, The Finance Curse, argues that far from being a "golden goose", having an oversized financial sector is seriously damaging to an economy.

More than a lobby: finance in the UK

Finance and the British state are mutually embedded to the point that it can be hard to tell where one stops and the other starts. Here, Tamasin Cave of Spinwatch gives us a brief tour of the tangled web that is public life in the UK.

The metropolitanisation of gains, the nationalisation of losses

The prosperous South East can no longer afford to subsidise the rest of the United Kingdom. Or so runs the conventional wisdom. The facts, on the other hand, are rushing headlong in the opposite direction.

The ills of financial dominance

The power of the financial sector in Britain has worked a transformation on the country’s ‘common sense’.  A successful challenge will require a radical change to the language we use to describe our shared life.

The resource curse, or the paradox of poverty from plenty

Is finance like crude oil? Countries rich in minerals are often poverty-stricken, corrupt and violent. A relatively small rent-seeking elite captures vast wealth while the dominant sector crowds out the rest of the economy. The parallels with countries ‘blessed’ with powerful financial sectors are becoming too obvious to ignore.

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