From Europe Entrapped by Claus Offe, pg 16-17. Recognition of this fact, as well as recognition of its recognition by non-financial agents, needs to underpin any adequate analysis of depoliticisation:
Financial institutions are first and foremost debtors , owing assets to myriads of private and public claimants. Therefore, if big banks go under, many other businesses (including other banks), households, employees, and possibly states will go under, too, as an inescapable consequence. Banks are a structural equivalent of hostage takers: if you want to save the life of the hostage, you had better do what banks request – a plain power relation. In order to prevent the catastrophic consequences of a major bank’s bankruptcy for depositors (potentially triggered by their “run” on the bank) and the entire economy, national governments and supranational institutions had no choice but to step in to rescue (“systemic”) banks, the business of which many of these same governments had just deregulated and liberalized in the early years of the century, thus enhancing the “hostage- taking capacity” of banks.
Categories: Post-Democracy, Depoliticisation and Technocracy