Politics in the Interest of Capital

Politics in the Interest of Capital

A Not-So-Organized Combat
by Cornelia Woll
  • Amsterdam Stock MarketAmsterdam Stock Market

Politics in the Interest of Capital

a MaxPo Discussion Paper Series, by Cornelia Woll


The rise in inequality has been explained with reference to organized groups and the lobbying of the financial sector. This article argues that the image of politics as organized combat is contradicted by empirical evidence on lobbying in the United States, and does not travel well to Europe. The power of finance does not operate through organized political influence. Rather, politics in the interest of capital unfolds as a struc tural feature of advanced economies over time. Tellingly, at the height of the financial crisis, one of the most promising strategies of institutions seeking government support was not organizing for combat, but collective inaction. Our challenge, then, is to explain how the power of finance has built up and is playing out in creating inequality. A more
structural, less agency-focused perspective highlights how the rise of finance has been
supported by actors that few would accuse of being finance-friendly, such as the European center-left parties and consumers. Reconceptualizing the power of finance has important implications for political solutions to rising inequality.

Read the paper (Pdf, 740 Ko)


Cornelia Woll, Professor of Political Science, recently named Vice President for Studies and Academic Affairs of Sciences Po, focuses her research on international and comparative political economy. In particular she  investigates regulatory issues in the European Union and the United States and the transformation of State capacity in financialized economies and the inequalities that result from this transformation. More

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