Frédéric Lordon

The Politics of Capital Publication date : October 1, 2002

Frédéric Lordon is a member of the “regulationist” school of economics of Michel Aglietta, André Orléan and Robert Boyer. In this book, he examines those economic events that regularly make headlines but whose economic usefulness is not always apparent: merger-acquisitions. He analyses take-over bids and other public exchanges, as well as hostile “raids” and “white knight” operations.
Lordon shows that economic theory is incapable of stating how a merger or outright purchase should be made — or even if it will have beneficial results. He argues that these events are not based on a strictly economic rationale. The reasoning behind them is metaphysical, for it is based on the desire to continue in the same state and to enhance grow, to whatever extent is possible.
This theoretical analysis is closely applied to a detailed examination of a specific example: the struggle between the French banks BNP and Société Générale to carry out a three-way merger with Paribas, or a two-way merger without the BNP. This is not a journalistic account of events, nor has the author set out to judge individuals or projects. Instead, he shows how different economic arguments have all failed to explain events, and how those same events become crystal clear when the argument of desire is advanced.
Of course, the example examined here is not an isolated one, for the number of mergers is bound to multiply as a result of globalisation during the years ahead. It is thus essential to understand them. Lordon offers the reader an original, in-depth and detailed analysis.

Frédéric Lordon is an economist and a research fellow at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique. He studied at the Ecole des Mines, in Paris.