A Turbulent and Paradoxical Environment

The 1990s were the start of a new era, marked by two major revolutions: the advent of economic financialization, and the mass diffusion of the Internet.

1.1. Economic financialization and its challenges

In his latest book, Gomez [GOM 13] offers an original analysis of economic financialization and the manner in which it is manifested in the behavior of businesses. We have based this writing on his analysis. The roots of economic financialization lie in the investment of savings by households which, desirous of preserving these savings, aspire to the security and liquidity of their investments. This is what is offered to them by the finance industry, which transmutes household savings into financial products such as SICAVs (Société d’Investissement à Captial Variable, “investment company with variable capital”), common investment funds, and life insurance products. The finance industry’s task is to place the resources collected in safe and profitable investments: safe, so that the savings are not lost in risky business ventures; and profitable, so that the profits earned, rather than the businesses’ capital, procure a profit for the savers in the form of dividends. From this perspective, household savings are directed mainly toward large companies that are listed on the stock market.

The stock market, as a second-hand sharemarket, ensures the liquidity of investments; the preference given to large companies is justified by their perceived ...

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