This paper challenges the recent suggestion that a new financial elite has evolved which is able to capture substantial profit shares for itself. Specifically, it questions the assumption that new groups of financial intermediaries have increased in significance primarily because there is evidence that various types of financial speculators have played a similarly extensive role at several junctures of economic development. The paper then develops the alternative hypothesis that, rather than being a recent development, the rise of these financial intermediaries is a cyclical phenomenon which is linked to specific regimes of capital accumulation. The hypothesis is underpinned by historical data from the US National Income and Product Accounts for the period from 1930 to 2000, which suggest that the activities of `mainstream' financial intermediaries have been accompanied by the frequently countercyclical activities of a `speculative' sector of security and commodity brokers. Based on the combination of this qualitative and quantitative evidence, the paper concludes that the rise of a speculative financial sector is a potentially recurrent phenomenon which is linked to periods of economic restructuring and turmoil.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Business, Management and Accounting (miscellaneous)
- Business and International Management