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Futurity, Pro-cyclicality and Financial Crises

Palan, R. (2015). Futurity, Pro-cyclicality and Financial Crises. New Political Economy, 20(3), pp. 367-385. doi: 10.1080/13563467.2014.951427


Nearly a century ago, one of the leading forefathers of the school of evolutionary economics, John R. Commons, coined the term ‘futurity’ to describe an epochal change in the late nineteenth-century advanced economies. Futurity refers to the reorientation of economies towards the future, and specifically to the fledgling practice of treating businesses as ‘going concerns’ and measuring its value in terms of their anticipated future profits. Curiously, the implication of such epochal changes on the performance of the financial system had rarely been discussed, let alone addressed. This article presents a theoretical argument that suggests that futurity encourages pro-cyclical dynamics that are pulling the financial systems in ever more violent and disastrous swings.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in New Political Economy on 28 Oct 2014, available online:
Publisher Keywords: futurity, financial crisis, Old Institutional Economics, pro-cyclicality, Keynesianism
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HG Finance
Departments: School of Policy & Global Affairs > International Politics
SWORD Depositor:
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