The pedagogical strategy behind this platform is the ambition to ground the operations of global finance in concrete places, sites and activities, and to unpack the often-far-flung relations through which institutional landscapes come into being. Among others, the journey will take us to a former socialist state farm in Tanzania turned into a private equity-asset or to New Zealand dairy farms taken over by asset management firms to ‘create value’ for retail investors on the other side of the world. By unravelling such global value relations, we must not lose sight of the bigger picture: Institutional landscapes are an expression of the expansion of a “global return society”, in which the reproduction of the better-off people of the Global North (and, increasingly, the Global South) has become tied to the reproduction of finance capital, both “at home” and abroad. Indeed, today a wide range of social, economic and ecological domains can become part of institutional landscapes and thus financial ‘assets’. Agriculture is only one of the more recent targets of asset class making, albeit one with old (and often underacknowledged) ties to operations of global finance.
My 2020 book “Farming as Financial Asset – Global Finance and the Making of Institutional Landscapes” is available as open access, a service co-funded by the German Research Council (DFG) and the University of Bayreuth.
The book is part of the “Economic Transformations” Series published by heterodox economics publisher AGENDA (Editors: Brett Christophers, Rebecca Lave, Jamie Peck, Marion Werner), distributed via COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY PRESS in North America. The series focusses on “Geography matters” in the diverse ways that economies work, for whom they work, and to what ends.
From financialized growth to climate change, from green production to gender rights, from union renewal to structural adjustment. This major series is publishing on these and related issues, creating a space to interdisciplinary contributions.
Reviews of the book appeared in leading journals such as Economic Geography, Economic Sociology: The European Electronic Newsletter, Journal of Agrarian Change, Review of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Studies and Society & Natural Resources. A book review symposium was dedicated to the book at the major Geography Journal Dialogues in Human Geography.
The research informing this project was funded by the Center for African Studies and the Chair of Economic Geography, Goethe University Frankfurt, as well as by the German Research Council (DFG) via the project “The Rise of Agriculture as an ‘Alternative Asset Class’: Global Economies of Financial Economization”, 2017–21; grant number: 363300598.