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ABSTRACT

The financial crisis which crested in 2008/2009 sparked much debate regarding the future of global financial governance. Echoing the ways in which that crisis entailed a particular intrusion of ‘high finance’ into everyday lives, the main contention of this article is that critical analyses of finance would benefit from training attention onto the intersections between global finance and the level of the everyday and the mundane. To explore this intersection, this article reviews the increasing ways in which micro-credit has been financialized. This process of micro/financialization, I argue, has been accomplished in very particular ways which have brought micro-credit networks and their borrowers more fully into the spaces of global capital markets. This development, however, confronts vulnerable populations of micro-borrowers with serious risks of various sorts. Most importantly, micro/financialization risks exporting — and globalizing — some of the riskiest parts of financial practices to the ‘poorest of the poor’. I conclude the article by noting the ways in which this involves a particularly dangerous extension of what some commentators have referred to as the ‘democratization of finance’.