Investees' Voices

Monday, 11 July 2016: 16:00
Location: Hörsaal II (Neues Institutsgebäude (NIG))
Oral Presentation
Jacques-Olivier CHARRON, Paris Dauphine University, France
Building on our prospective approach on investees’ capitalism (Charron, 2015) and Michel Feher’s work on investees’ activism, we will try to understand how investees are making their voices heard as such.

Valuation happens to be a topic that draws attention in social sciences, as shown for example by the recent creation of the Valuation Studies journal. However, studying what valuation actors and valuation formulas actually do on financial markets leaves a specific feature of these markets unnoticed: what is valued here are people, not things.

Consequently, valuation can be envisioned as a relationship between the valuers and the valued or, as we now say, the investors and the investees. We used the term investee (first in Charron, 2010) to designate, in a broad sense, any kind of actor, organization, state, etc. that is financed and valued by a financial market. Investees can be firms, states or households, in any case human communities that can be considered as actors. Therefore, in the case of financial markets seen as valuation relationships, what is valued may want to have a say about how it is valued.

This is what happened on several occasions in the recent years. We will try to show through several examples how investees chose, in hirschmanian terms, to voice instead of just exiting (defaulting) or being loyal (abiding by investor’s demands). The “Strike debt” movement, the “Escrache” movement in Spain, the Greek debt crisis can provide material showing notably how valuation criteria, but also the behavior or reforms demanded by investors are discussed, questioned, acted upon.

The project being at an early stage, we are just beginning to collect it. The general idea is to show in which ways finance may be made more symmetrical by making valuation political.