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date: 26 February 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This article looks at the ways in which housing finance has become incorporated into the heart of the capitalist economy, and does so by focusing on the United States, a country in which housing finance casts a very long shadow. The article is organized as follows. The second section provides a geographical account of money in general and of housing finance in particular. The third section looks at the rebuilding of the system of finance and its regulation in the US after the crisis of the 1920s and 1930s, and the central role afforded to housing within Keynesian growth models. The fourth section looks at the period from the mid-1970s onward when there was what Duménil and Lévy (2004) claim amounts to a financial coup d'état following the abandonment of Keynesian ideas, a shift to neoliberalism, and the empowering of financial capital through reregulation. The fifth section examines the social and geographical disparities of the subprime mortgage market and the disproportionate concentration of lending in nonwhite communities. The sixth section concludes by arguing that the story of subprime not only reveals the ways in which financial innovation has enabled the spatial and temporal stretching of the social relations of housing, but also highlights the unequal power relations that are at work in mortgage markets.

Keywords: housing finance, capitalist economy, financial crisis, Keynesian growth models, neoliberalism, subprime mortgage market

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