"Markets are disembedded from society and nature since the "great transformation" to a market economy in the 18th and 19th century. Financial markets are moreover disembedded from markets for real goods, services and labour: The monetary economy is "autonomised" and self-valorising, i.e., delinking from dynamics in the real economy. Financial markets are self-referential, they follow their own logics of development. The relations between social reproduction and the accumulation dynamics of the real economy on the one side and the working of financial markets on the other have widely been dissolved. This is a consequence of the all-embracing liberalisation of markets in general and particularly of finance since the end of the Bretton Woods regime in the 1970s.
Neo-liberalism is the theoretical background of liberalised and self-referential financial markets.
Karl Polanyi described disembedded markets in general as "satanic mills" , pushing labour into misery, nature into environmental destruction, and the monetary system into a malfunctioning state. Disembedded financial markets work even more than product- and labour-markets as satanic mills, because their horizon is not the "real" national economy but the world market, i.e. the economy on a global scale. In terms of time they are characterised by an endemic "myopia" . Financial actors only have a very short-term horizon. The higher the interest rate and the financial yield, the shorter the perspective of actors on financial markets. Therefore, the counter-movements against the destructive functioning of the satanic mill in order to protect labour (the emergence of the welfare state), nature (environmental regulations) and money (the monetary and financial authorities, i.e. central banks, national and international authorities of supervision etc.) must develop a global and long-term perspective.."
to read Elmar Altvater's address from October 15, 2008, click on