For Sale: European Democracy

Capital, climate and the long arm of finance

In samenwerking met
Neoliberalism has always been championed by financial elites to serve their interests. Today, however, these forces have a new face and a new strategy. A super-rich fraction of the financial sector has made a steep anti-democratic turn towards free market authoritarianism. Can we put a hold to the ongoing coup on European democracy?

In their important book, Alt-Finance, Marlène Benquet (University of Paris Dauphine) and Théo Bourgeron (University of Edinburgh) convincingly argue how the super-rich are using populist forces and nationalist sentiments to buy off democratic institutions. Following the money, the reveal the long arm of hedge funds and alternative finance and retell the histories of Brexit, Bolsonaro and Trump.

Benquet and Bourgeron provide fresh explanations for growing inequality and failing climate policies. And they present a bleak future: unless we halt the authoritarian power grab by investment capital, which is tightening its grip on Europe, we face imminent climate catastrophe. It is clear that those who care about democracy, equality, and the environment should take note and act accordingly.

More about the speakers

Théo Bourgeron is a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at the University of Edinburgh. He has published in international journals such as Economy & Society and Organization, and is the co-editor of Accumulating Capital Today: Contemporary Strategies of Profit and Dispossessive Policies.

Johan Heilbron is a prominent sociologist and scholar known for his extensive contributions to the field of sociology of culture, economics and democracy. He has held notable academic positions at renowned institutions such as the University of Amsterdam and EHESS-CNRS in Paris.

Reijer Hendrikse is a financial geographer, political economist and postdoctoral researcher at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB). In his research, Reijer has explored the ‘long arm of finance’, the financialisation of governments and the historical origins of the integrated European financial space.


Théo BourgeronSociologist, author of Geldschieters
Reijer HendrikseFinancial geographer, Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Johan HeilbronSociologist, professor at Uppsala University, Erasmus University, EHESS Paris.