State financialization: Permanent austerity, financialized real estate and the politics of public assets in Italy

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Abstract

Inspired by Streeck’s consolidation state theory, this paper develops a theoretical framework of the restructuring of the state in late-stage financialized capitalism. It observes how in Italy, an emblematic consolidation state, the use of public real estate investment funds supports assetization, that is how state properties are gradually transformed into financial assets via multilevel and multi-sector politics of public assets. As it explores the institutional and material rearrangements underpinning the restructuring of the Italian state, the paper shows how permanent austerity and financialization mutually reinforce each other, with the result that state organizations internalize a financial investor’s viewpoint, while statecraft increasingly rely on financial actors, instruments and capital. The conclusion discusses how this theoretical framework can be extended beyond Italy and to other public assets.

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Adisson, F., & Halbert, L. (2022). State financialization: Permanent austerity, financialized real estate and the politics of public assets in Italy. Economy and Society, 51(3), 489–513. https://doi.org/10.1080/03085147.2022.2073064

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