The color of money at the financial frontier

Ilias Alami, Vincent Guermond

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This article takes up recent calls to further problematize race in international political economy by focusing on money at the frontier of global finance. We draw
upon the Black radical tradition’s theoretical formulations of racial capitalism, which we bring into dialogue with conceptualizations of money and finance as developed within the critique of political economy. Money is the most supreme and abstract incarnation of wealth and class power, yet it is also suffused with racial and colonial logics of differentiation. To explore this tension, we offer a relational-comparison of two sites of frontier finance, namely cross-border investment and digital financial inclusion in developing countries. We trace the mechanisms through which race affects the operations of money and finance across these two sites. We argue that racialized difference is mobilized and reproduced at three key moments in the construction of investibility at the financial frontier: (1) the re/making of a development ‘problem’; (2) the construction of racialized ideal-typical financial subjects; and (3) processes of risk valuation and the legitimation of surveillance, discipline, and extraction. This allows us to characterize the color of money at the financial frontier as a particularly potent and violent combination of the abstractive powers of race and money.
Original languageEnglish
JournalReview of International Political Economy
Early online date13 Jun 2022
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 13 Jun 2022

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