New report: Rogue Capitalism and the Financialization of Territories and Nature

Blog post by AGRA Watch Intern Connor Nakamura

A recent report published by FIAN International, the Transnational Institute, and Focus on the Global South examines how finance capitalism is driving environmental destruction by transforming land and nature into financial assets. 

This commodification of land and natural resources has created a $217 trillion real estate market which serves financial institutions and ultra-wealthy individuals. Value extraction is carried out through methods such as agricultural monocultures, intensive aquaculture, infrastructure projects, real estate development, and mining and carbon markets, leading to displacement of local peoples, environmental destruction, and increased greenhouse gas emissions.

The report characterizes this process of deregulation and destruction – often referred to as ‘financialization’ – as ‘rogue capitalism,’ whereby global finance illegitimately seizes territory in order to facilitate profitable investment ventures. 

The authors also warn that digital technologies are increasingly being utilized to further codify peoples, lands, animals, and waters “to calculate risks and rates of return,” posing new threats to local communities.

Shalmali Guttal of Focus on the Global South says, “Our governments have created the conditions for rogue capitalism to flourish through public-private partnerships, public pension funds and development cooperation. They have further conceded a privileged seat at the table of global decision-making to financial companies like BlackRock, Blackstone and Vanguard.” 

But rogue capitalism is not without opposition. These government-backed corporate takeovers have fueled powerful resistance movements across the globe, from Indonesia, to Argentina, Mali, Spain, and the United Nations, which strive to center the needs of local communities instead of profit-seeking corporations.

Read the full report here.

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