Lucrative Disaster: Financialization, Accumulation and Postearthquake Reconstruction in Nepal

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This article investigates long-term processes of financialization unfolding in the aftermath of the 2015 earthquakes in Nepal, engaging with literatures on financialization and political economy of disaster and development. The article probes the evolving financialized social relations in Nepal in the context of humanitarian relief and reconstruction, paying particular attention to processes through which wide-scale political economies enter into the daily lives of disaster victims and play key roles in transforming their economic practice and subjectivity. In the name of relief and reconstruction, foreign investment combined with urban surplus capital has circulated within Nepal as finance in rural, earthquake-affected areas—making the earthquakes a truly lucrative disaster. The article deploys a conjunctural approach to understanding disaster financialization as a multiscalar process constituted through geoeconomic logics, state–market complexes, and economic subjectivity. Each of these dimensions of disaster financialization is elaborated in separate sections of the article. We conclude by cautioning against both celebrations and outright rejections of finance as a viable and desirable modality for disaster reconstruction—calling instead for a more nuanced understanding of disaster financialization and its implications for affected populations.




Paudel, D., Rankin, K., & Le Billon, P. (2020). Lucrative Disaster: Financialization, Accumulation and Postearthquake Reconstruction in Nepal. Economic Geography, 96(2), 137–160.

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