Normalized Financial Wrongdoing

Normalized Financial Wrongdoing

How Re-regulating Markets Created Risks and Fostered Inequality

Harland Prechel


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In Normalized Financial Wrongdoing, Harland Prechel examines how social structural arrangements that extended corporate property rights and increased managerial control opened the door for misconduct and, ultimately, the 2008 financial crisis. Beginning his analysis with the financialization of the home-mortgage market in the 1930s, Prechel shows how pervasive these arrangements had become by the end of the century, when the bank and energy sectors developed political strategies to participate in financial markets. His account adopts a multilevel approach that considers the political and legal landscapes in which corporations are embedded to answer two questions: how did banks and financial firms transition from being providers of capital to financial market actors? Second, how did new organizational structures cause market participants to engage in high-risk activities? After careful historical analysis, Prechel examines how organizational and political-legal arrangements contribute to current record-high income and wealth inequality, and considers societal preconditions for change.


Harland Prechel:
Harland Prechel is Professor of Sociology and Liberal Arts Cornerstone Fellow and Energy Institute Fellow at Texas A&M University. He is the author of Big Business and the State (2000).