Transfer stimulates dialogue between the European trade union movement and the academic and research community. It contributes research findings on issues of strategic relevance for trade unions, in particular with regard to developments at the European level. Transfer publishes original peer-reviewed research on issues such as new developments in industrial relations, social policy, and labour market developments.
Volume 15 Issue 2, Summer 2009
This special issue of Transfer is devoted to the financialisation of the economy. Given the complexity of the subject and this journal’s focus on industrial relations issues, we concentrate on the activities of private equity (PE) companies. For PE’s role in buying up often publicly owned companies, taking them private, restructuring and then selling them back to the market crystallises a number of the key features of the broader financialisation of the economy, such as: the predominance of a financial mind-set over more traditional values within companies, the key role of bonuses and incentive payments, and a prevailing insecurity and unpredictability for workers, but also for investors. Moreover, in contrast to the more abstract wheeling and dealing on esoteric markets, such as for credit default swaps, the activity of such buyout funds is also the most visible area where the labour movement has had to come to terms directly with a manifestation of financialisation, as PE funds take over the management of often large companies with established industrial relations traditions and institutions.