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Financialization and Neoliberalism: A Snopes Genealogy

Financialization and Neoliberalism: A Snopes Genealogy

(p.59) Financialization and Neoliberalism: A Snopes Genealogy
Faulkner and Money
John T. Matthews
University Press of Mississippi

Faulkner charts Flem Snopes's career against the economic environments he exploits serially.If in The HamletFlem calculates the shift from agricultural labor to finance capitalism around the turn of the twentieth century, in The Town, set in the 1920s, Flem seizes on what appears to be a different kind of financialism.Unlike finance capitalism, in which lenders underwrite the production of goods by extending credit, financialization operates as if finance can be separated from nonfinancial activity.The ability to profit from intangible financial activities typifies many of the money-making ventures in The Town, from the machinations of insurance companies and banks, to opportunistic trade in social information.Writing in the 1950s, however, Faulkner suggests a longer genealogy for modern financialization, one that traces its origins to slave capitalism, and that exposes the roots of contemporary neoliberalism in illiberal exploitation.

Keywords:   William Faulkner, The Town, the Snopeses, financialization, neoliberalism

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