Capital Claims: Power and Global Finance

Benjamin Braun and Kai Koddenbrock (eds.)

23. Dezember 2022

MPIfG Book


New York: Routledge, 2023
282 pages
ISBN 9781032111131 (hardback)
ISBN 9781032111193 (paperback)
ISBN 9781003218487 (ebook)

» Publisher’s page


Capital Claims: Power and Global Finance analyses how global financialized capitalism operates and reproduces itself, exploring the remarkable ability of the financial sector to maintain its dominance through even the most severe economic crises.

The book defines international financialization as a process by which the number and value, the tradability, and the enforceability of cross-border financial claims increase and are successfully defended against competing social or political agendas. By focusing on financial claims, the volume develops a conceptual toolkit for the study of the political economy of global finance and the inequalities it sustains. The book brings together leading researchers whose work is geared towards opening the black box of cross-border finance. The authors suggest shifting the analytical focus from capital flows to capital claims – credit–debt relations between identifiable actors, embedded in social and political institutions, and infused with power and hierarchy. They show how financial actors wield leverage power, infrastructural power, and enforcement power, both vis-à-vis other private actors and vis-à-vis the state.

This book will be of great interest to students, teachers, and researchers of international political economy, critical political economy, and international relations, as well as those in the fields of finance, capitalism studies, activism, policymaking, and advocacy.


1 The three phases of financial power: leverage, infrastructure, and enforcement
Benjamin Braun and Kai Koddenbrock


PART I  Leverage power

2 Leveraging financial claims: transatlantic bank struggles and the power of US finance
Mareike Beck, Samuel Knafo, and Stefano Sgambati

3 Countering financial claims: on the political economy of definancialisation
Sahil Jai Dutta

4 Relational claims: offshore dollar and sovereign debt
Andrea Binder

5 Claims to sovereignty: MMT as a challenge to money’s technical imaginary
Aaron Sahr


PART II  Infrastructural power

6 The new gatekeepers of financial claims: states, passive markets, and the growing power of index providers
Jan Fichtner, Eelke Heemskerk and Johannes Petry

7 The benefits of network centrality: central counterparties, the enforceability of claims, and the securing of extra-profits
Matthias Thiemann

8 Geoeconomic infrastructures: building Chinese-Russian alternatives to SWIFT
Andreas Nölke


PART III  Enforcement power

9 Night of the living debt: non-performing loans and the politics of making an asset class in Europe
Daniel Mertens and Caroline Metz

10 The financialization of investor-state dispute settlement
Florence Dafe and Zoe Phillips Williams

11 Firm claims: reinterpreting the global race for foreign direct investment
Arjan Reurink and Javier Garcia-Bernardo

12 Claiming the wealth of a nation: creditor-enforced privatizations in Greece
Benjamin Lemoine and Marie Piganiol


PART IV  Conclusion

13 The rise of autonomous financial power
Katharina Pistor


Benjamin Braun

Benjamin Braun is a senior researcher at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies in Cologne, Germany. His research focuses on the political economy of financial and monetary systems.

Kai Koddenbrock

Kai Koddenbrock leads a research group on “Monetary and Economic Sovereignty in West Africa” at the “Africa Multiple” Cluster of Excellence at Bayreuth University, Germany. His research focuses on global hierarchies, financial dependencies, and questions of self-determination.


Capital Claims: Power and Global Finance cuts through the flows of global finance, revealing how financial instruments operate through law, state power, and hierarchy. A return to the best kind of political economy.”
Amin Samman, Senior Lecturer in International Political Economy at City, University of London, UK

“In this excellent collection, some of the sharpest minds in contemporary political economy help us understand the ways different modes of power saturate contemporary financial capitalism. The light they shine illuminates not just the rules and hierarchies that coordinate that power, but also the processes through which those who enjoy it make, and enforce, claims upon the world that reach far beyond the realm of ‘finance.’ In a moment in which private finance is hailed as the solution to everything from housing to climate change, this book does crucial work.”
Geoff Mann, Professor in the Department of Geography at Simon Fraser University, Canada

“Finance capital claims a central role in our political economy. This book unpacks its power/s to do so, through an impressive collection of brilliant contributions.”
Daniela Gabor, Professor of Economics and Macro-Finance at the University of the West of England, UK

“Capital Claims: Power and Global Finance succeeds in reconciling the different academic debates around financialization, financial power, and state capacity by creating a common glossary of terms and concepts and showing promising and important directions for further research. In doing so, it is an essential read for social scientists from all specializations and for anyone who is interested in understanding the underlying power dynamics at the heart of contemporary capitalism.”
Jonas von Ciriacy-Wantrup, Department of Sociology, Freie Universität Berlin (In: economic sociology. perspectives and conversations 24 (2), 2023)

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