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About this book

The book analyzes the financialization of the Brazilian territory to identify its main actors, technical systems and processes. The work is divided into three parts, which correspond to the three main scales of analysis of the national financial system: 1. the global scale, which defines the relative position of Brazil in the international division of financial work, emphasizing the role of São Paulo as an international financial centre; 2 the national level, which demonstrates the recent development of the financial and banking system (after 1964), with emphasis on the location and regionalization of bank headquarters and branches, as well as the new electronic channels for the provision of banking services (ATMs, points-of-sales, mobile and Internet banking); and 3. the local scale, which shows how these new financial agents and technical systems affect the Brazilian urban population, emphasizing the indebtedness of the lower income classes, as well as the emergence of alternative ways of using finance, such as fintechs, credit cooperatives and community banks.

Table of Contents


Chapter 1. Financialization as a Global Process

The first chapter shows how the structural conditions for the current process of financialization of the Brazilian territory developed. On the basis of these new conditions are the process of liberalization of the economy in practically all countries and the diffusion of technical infrastructures with global reach that have allowed for more efficient, broad, and rapid circulation of information and financial flows. Attention is drawn to the formation of the first financial centers and offshore markets—mainly in Europe but also offshore jurisdictions in more peripheral areas—as well as the relative position of the city of São Paulo as a financial center in the context of Latin America, and in the international division of labor as a whole.
Fabio Betioli Contel

Chapter 2. Financialization of the Brazilian Territory

This chapter shows how the Brazilian financial and banking system has developed from a geographical perspective. The origin of the national banking and monetary system is discussed at a time when financial institutions were completely local or regional. Since World War II, but especially from the Reform of the National Financial System of 1964/65, a process of intensification of the financial division of labor began, and non-monetary institutions directly linked to the financialization of the territory (mainly investment banks and stock exchanges) arise and develop. The more regionalized character of the financial system is replaced by a national bank-based oligopolized structure, with its core area in the city of São Paulo. It is also analyzed the substitution of face-to-face/presential banking service channels to informational/remote ones.
Fabio Betioli Contel

Chapter 3. Financialization and Local Scale Dynamisms

This chapter analyzes some of the specificities of the financialization of Brazilian territory in the local scale. First, the process of credit diffusion to low-income populations is highlighted, showing also the importance of public income distribution policies carried out between 2003 and 2016. The recent development of three main types of “local” financial agents is also explained: credit cooperatives, community banks, and fintechs. It should be emphasized that each of these, in different ways, operates from decentralized—or non-monopolistic—logics. Two of them—the cooperatives and community banks—are not strictly financial, and encourage the engagement of populations in different aspects of their local everyday life, constituting in concrete forms of possible structural changes in financialization as we know it nowadays.
Fabio Betioli Contel


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