Debt for All: Towards a Critical Examination of Organizational Roles in Debt Practices and Financialization.
In Mir R, Willmott H and Greenwood M (eds) The Routledge Companion to Philosophy in Organization Studies, 2016
23 Pages Posted: 30 Sep 2015
Date Written: 2016
In this chapter, I lay the groundwork for a critical examination of organizations engaged in businesses surrounding debt practices and financialization in contemporary societies. I draw on the literature to discuss that in the business of debt, the winners are likely to be elite borrowers and powerful financial organizations; the losers are likely to be non-elite borrowers who face various constraints as evidenced by their debt profile, have low power compared to financial organizations in the contract and in terms of influencing regulations, are bound by personal responsibility in the face of systemic problems, and suffer the disciplinary effects of debt on their overall life. Building on this background, I argue that contemporary practices of debt have an overall impact on society that is largely in conflict with moral philosophy and I illustrate this with a discussion of Rawlsian philosophy. Furthermore, I critically examine the other side of debt – debt-ownership and its expansion through securitization. I draw on Bourdieu’s idea of “illusio” to argue that the project of financial democracy via financialization as it is currently executed, while supported by the rhetoric of access and opportunity, may actually serve to strengthen the dominant positions of elite actors in society.
Keywords: debt, financialization, economic inequality
JEL Classification: H6, I31, J3, J6, L8
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation