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Spring 2024


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The Hegemony of Finance: A Conversation with Michel Feher

Ministry of Ideas / Harvard Divinity School 45 Francis Ave., Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138


Oct 22 / 6pm

Join us for an evening hosted by the Ministry of Ideas, as Michel Feher discusses his new book, Rated Agency: Investee Politics in a Speculative Age, in conversation with Lenore Palladino and Quinn Slobodian.


The hegemony of finance compels a new orientation for everyone and everything: companies care more about the moods of their shareholders than about longstanding commercial success; governments subordinate citizen welfare to appeasing creditors; and individuals are concerned less with immediate income from labor than appreciation of their capital goods, skills, connections, and reputations.

That firms, states, and people depend more on their ratings than on the product of their activities also changes how capitalism is resisted. For activists, the focus of grievances shifts from the extraction of profit to the conditions under which financial institutions allocate credit. While the exploitation of employees by their employers has hardly been curbed, the power of investors to select investees — to decide who and what is deemed creditworthy — has become a new site of social struggle.

In clear and compelling prose, Michel Feher explains the extraordinary shift in conduct and orientation generated by financialization. Above all, he articulates the new political resistances and aspirations that investees draw from their rated agency.


MICHEL FEHER, a Belgian philosopher, is the author of Powerless by Design: The Age of the International Community and the editor of Nongovernmental Politics and Europe at a Crossroads, among other titles. Founder of Cette France-là, a monitoring group on French immigration policy, Feher is also a founding editor of Zone Books.

LENORE PALLADINO is Senior Economist and Policy Counsel at the Roosevelt Institute, Lecturer in Economics at Smith College, and Of Counsel at the Law Firm of Jason Wiener, p.c. Her work focuses on shareholder primacy, how to rebalance stakeholder power within companies, and strategies for employee ownerships and worker cooperatives.

QUINN SLOBODIAN is Associate Professor of History at Wellesley College. He is the author of Globalists: The End of Empire and the Birth of Neoliberalism.