Thursday, April 25, 2019

Monday, April 8, 2019

Week 13.1 & 13.2 Liar's Poker

Discuss this week's reading Liar's Poker. What do we learn about Wall street culture through this book?

Monday, April 1, 2019

Week 12.1 & 12.2 Bitcoin Miners and Boom Towns

[Politico article] What aspects of the bitcoin boom are covered in this article? In what ways do the bitcoin mining towns resemble boom towns in other examples of rushes to riches?
[NY Times article] Discuss the following quote from this article: "The paradox about Bitcoin is that it may well turn out to be a genuinely revolutionary breakthrough and at the same time a colossal failure as a currency." What, according to this article, might be the effects of Bitcoin on economic and other realms?

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Week 11.2 D'avella - Ecologies of Investment

How do different materialities and ecologies play/ed a role in Argentina's economic crisis discussed in this article?

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Week 11.1 Bruce Grant - The Edifice Complex

This week's readings focus on speculative construction projects in different cities in the world. Bruce Grant's article focusses on a building boom in Baku, Azerbaijan. What is the source of cash for this building boom? What are the various motives behind this boom--by private corporations but also by the government? How does the socialist experience of construction influence contemporary commentaries and imaginaries around these constructions by the residents?

Sunday, March 17, 2019

10.1 & 10.2 Musaraj & Woodworth/Ulfstjrne & McGregor - Social Networks and Speculative Finance

All readings of this week discuss how social networks -- of family, kin, migrants -- play a role in fueling speculative finance or are transformed/shaped by speculative finance or bubbles. Taking one of the articles, discuss how in this specific case are social relations important in the circulation, expansion and/or collapse of the respective speculative bubble?

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

7.2 Fast Money Schemes and Pentecostal Christianity in Papua New Guinea

The authors of this week's article note from the outset that: "[Their] research into Melanesian 'fast money shcemes' (Ponzi of pyramid scams) explores questions of social and economic change in relation to Christianity." Discuss the findings and examples of this research as pertains to changes in forms in Christianity in Papua New Guinea.

Monday, March 4, 2019

Verdery - Virtue, Fortune, and Faith

How did changes in the morality of money in postsocialist Romania affect the rise of the pyramid scheme, Caritas? What does Verdery tell us about the religious ethos that also accompanied these shcemes?

Thursday, February 21, 2019

6.2 Occult Economies (2)

After reading this article, reflect on the following statement: "I am saying we should contextualize Madoff as an effect of finance capital, rather than a bad apple, just as I am trying to suggest that el millionario's scheme "worked" by mixing development culture with "traditional" beliefs in ways that morphed human connections ("social capital") into money. In so doing I hope to transform the objects of the ugly stereotype of the gullible Maya (or the greedy Jew) into rational moral actors." (p. 216)

Saturday, February 16, 2019

6.1 Occult Economies

What, according to Comaroff and Comaroff, is the connection between the rise of so-called "occult economies" in post-apartheid South Africa and the expansion of a global economic regime of neoliberal markets?

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

5.2 The Magic of the Pyramids

How does the discourses of gender and ethnicity play out in the rise and fall of the pyramid schemes in postsocialist Albania?

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Lady Credit

The comparison of credit to a woman in this sense is quite interesting, facetious, and even charismatic despite its bitter nature. This term's origin came into play when people were engaging in financial speculation. In times of mass trust, there would be a bubble formed by hidden financial risk in banks, which led to economic fall outs. In general the notion of this re occurring all through history seems nonsensical, but when lady credit is offering you everything you could ask for, you'd probably say yes and buy into a mass trust scheme. This is where the wifelike aspect of lady credit is personified. However, no man should be foolish enough to trust the bank or a rising stock price to fuel his financial success (let alone develop the same type of relationship and trust in his money that he would have for a wife) but that's unfortunately what many people do. This is where we are introduced to the "prostitute" side of lady credit, where she leaves men that were once well off out in the cold with nothing as she, herself crashes to pieces. The main point being is that lady credit is the personification of a lustful attitude toward money in any form because this type of energy is what destroys homes and families.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

4.2 The passions and discipline of economic men

How does Zaloom describe the behavior or traders in the pits? How does she describe the discipline of their trade? More generally, how does Zaloom do an ethnography of financial markets?

Saturday, February 2, 2019

4.1 Discourses of Finance - De Goede "Mastering Lady Credit"

In this chapter, de Goede claims that the Financial Revolution that originated in 17th century Europe was not just about new financial instruments but, most importantly, it was about "a rearticulation of moral and political spaces in which these instruments were condoned" (p. 25). In other words, de Goede asks us to trace the shifting histories of the discourses of morality that surround finance. How, according to her research, did these moralities of finance change? How did these changes impact the legitimation of certain financial practices (such as speculative finance)?

Saturday, January 26, 2019

3.2 - Financial Bubbles and Crashes in History

Kindleberger and Aliber often discuss the notion of "euphoria" and "irrational exuberance" as an important aspect of financial bubbles. Discuss what do they mean by these terms and how do they see these influencing speculative bubbles?

Week 3.1 - Financial Bubbles and Crashes in History

How do Lewis and Einhorn discuss the systemic problems in our institutions of finance and regulation that led to the Madoff ponzi scheme and the World financial crisis of 2008? How can we compare these observations with Kindleberger and Aliber's analysis of bubbles in relation to other systemic economic factors?

Anthropology of Bubbles, Crashes, and Crises

Hi everyone and welcome to the Anthropology of Bubbles, Crashes, and Crises. We will be using this space to post weekly blog posts on the assigned readings. I will be posting a prompt on the week's readings. Please respond to the prompt in the comments section. Let me know if you have any questions. Happy blogging!