Canadian Banking Stability through the Global Financial Crisis of 2007–8

A Classical Marxian Analysis

In: Historical Materialism
Geoffrey McCormack Center for Canadian Studies, Guangdong University of Foreign Studies

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One of the leading explanations for Canadian banking stability through the global financial crisis of 2007–08 is the Concentration-Stability Hypothesis (CSH), according to which the oligopoly of Canadian finance stabilised the credit system by cushioning it with above-average profits. These provided a buffer against fragility and incentives against excessive risk-taking. In this article, I critically examine CSH and show that classical Marxian analysis more effectively illuminates Canadian banking stability. I demonstrate that robust corporate profitability and capital accumulation before the crisis strengthened the balance sheets of the banks and supported them through those turbulent years. Thus, financial stability is linked explicitly to broader economic stability, and the latter is linked to the profitability of business enterprise.

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