Race-making and Risk-distribution in Coffee Derivatives: An Extended Case-study of the International Commodity Exchange (ICE).

15 November 2023 → 14 November 2027
Regional and community funding: Special Research Fund
Research disciplines
  • Social sciences
    • Financial economics
    • Anthropology of economy and development
    • Postcolonial studies
    • Economic geography
Derivative Markets Financialization of Commodities Racial Capitalism
Project description

Considering derivative markets increasing influence in ordering social and political realities the proposed research explores the ideas and struggles underpinning market-driven social change. Whereas the economist or trader tend to assume the emancipatory potential of markets, I contrast their perspective with an anti-colonial critique that argues for a more thorough interrogation of the processes and arrangements underpinning derivative markets. Specifically, I draw on research that examines the interrelation between race-making and capitalism to argue that derivative markets rely on a racialized distribution of risk that ensures profit margins for derivative traders but remains dependent on the precarity of coffee producers in the Global South. Despite an issue that is recognized among the practitioners and scholars of derivative markets, it is increasingly being reframed as a problem of lacking market access and rationality. A reframing that is in turn used to sustain projects of financial inclusion that, according to authors writing on racialized finance, only increases the racial difference underpinning financial markets. Seeking to engage in three debates on (1) Market-Driven Social Change (2) Racial Capitalism and (3) Financialization of Commodities, I set up an inductive research design that responds to the generality in the existing discussions by grounding them in an extended case-study of the International Commodity Exchange (ICE) in the City of London.