The 2008 global economic crisis revealed how deeply the social life of the working class has been affected by deregulated finance.
Changes in corporate ownership, through waves of mergers and acquisitions, have created new business models where companies turn out to be bundles of assets and liabilities to be traded. In this scenario, corporate decisions have been increasingly subordinated to speculative financial commitments. Indeed, the financial conception of investment has increased in the context where financial innovations aimed to achieve fast growth with lower capital requirements could be used by managers to favor short-term financial performance. Managers and owners of firms have privileged short-term financial performance and shareholder value.
Along with these new business strategies, new perspectives on social reproduction have been driven by short-term profits and competition. Mergers and acquisitions have subordinated ownership changes, financial restructuring and company efficiency. Beyond the “rationalisation” strategies, social conflicts and tensions have been strengthened as restructuring actions reshape the control on workers and increase staff turnover, outsourcing and casual work. Workforce displacement and loss of rights are also part of the spectrum of business policies aimed at cost reduction. Indeed, working conditions have been constantly reorganized and reconfigured by finance.