City Research Online

Financial eschatology and the libidinal economy of leverage

Samman, A. ORCID: 0000-0003-4721-4877 and Sgambati, S. ORCID: 0000-0001-7324-0724 (2021). Financial eschatology and the libidinal economy of leverage. Theory, Culture & Society, doi: 10.1177/02632764211070805


Apocalyptic thinking has a long religious and political tradition, but what place does it occupy within the temporal universe of contemporary capitalism? In this essay, we use the figure of the eschaton to draw out the loaded and ambiguous character of the future as it emerges through the condition of indebtedness. This entails a departure from political economy accounts of capitalist futurity, which stress the structural logic of financial speculation, in favour of an existential account that begins instead with the cosmology of money and debt. We argue that finance capital’s fixation on the future has produced a very specific form of apocalyptic imagination, characteristic of financial society and built on a libidinal economy of leverage. Rather than offering an ecstatic end to the global process of financialization, financial eschatologies bind the contemporary subject to debt and indebtedness to the very end: an endless apocalypse, premised on the ends of finance itself.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This article has been accepted for publication in Theory, Culture and Society by SAGE. Reuse is restricted to non-commercial and no derivative uses.
Publisher Keywords: Debt, eschatology, finance, futurity, money, leverage, libidinal economy
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
H Social Sciences > HG Finance
Departments: School of Arts & Social Sciences > International Politics
Date available in CRO: 20 Dec 2021 11:41
Date deposited: 20 December 2021
Date of acceptance: 7 December 2021
Text - Accepted Version
Download (221kB) | Preview



Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics

Actions (login required)

Admin Login Admin Login