Chris Hann and I are writing a short book with the above title. We hope to submit a manuscript of around 55,000 words by the end of this month. What we have right now is pretty rough. It doesn't seem right to run a discussion group on the topic while keeping quiet about it. So I am inviting readers of partial drafts with feedback in mind (but not compulsory). Here is the table of contents. At least it may give you an idea of the shape of the thing and we could maybe talk about that.

Preface
1. Economic anthropology
2. The economy from Aristotle to Marx
3. The rise of modern economics and anthropology
4. The ‘golden age’ of economic anthropology
5. The critique of unequal society
6. Development
7. Socialism, post-socialism and reform socialism
8. The triumph of liberal economics and the cultural turn
9. After the crash: money in anthropological perspective
10.Ethnography, history, critique
Further reading

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An early version of our argument can be found at A short history of economic anthropology. Since it will be a few days before drafts chapters are available, any commentary or questions on this would be very useful.
Dear Chris,
I would be more than willing (and honoured) to read your chapters 5 and 6 ("Critique of unequal society" and "Development"). If you want, I could pass it around to some heterodox economists at my university.
Miguel
Will the "development" chapter be about the neoliberal idea of development? Why does it come before socialism, and not in relation to liberal economics? Makes me wonder when the notion of developed vs. developing countries--and the whole infrastructure of "development" came into being. For some reason I thought it was post-colonial...
Lily, The order of chapters 6-8 is not yet fixed. Either socialism or development could follow Unequal society and the periodization of the postwar era will be spelled out in the first chapter. Chronology is only a loose guide to our sequence. Neoliberalism comes before the crash because what happened to economic anthropology over the last few decades should precede what we feel is possible now. The idea of development is as old as modern capitalism. It goes where it is now because the unequal society chapter culminates in the fairly recent formation of world society as a racial order and development was originally an attempt to do something about it. But your question is legitimate.

Lily Hope Chumley said:
Will the "development" chapter be about the neoliberal idea of development? Why does it come before socialism, and not in relation to liberal economics? Makes me wonder when the notion of developed vs. developing countries--and the whole infrastructure of "development" came into being. For some reason I thought it was post-colonial...
Miguel, Thanks! I am Keith, not Chris... I hope to have preliminary versions of those chapters ready by early next week. But Ning doesn't allow attachments, so I will need an email address.

Miguel Loureiro said:
Dear Chris,
I would be more than willing (and honoured) to read your chapters 5 and 6 ("Critique of unequal society" and "Development"). If you want, I could pass it around to some heterodox economists at my university.
Miguel
Dear Keith,

that the book is that short to completion is good news! Thanks for the invitation to read and (possibly) comment. If I should have anything to contribute it would be to the chapters 1, 8 and 10, I guess

Best regards

Benedicte.
Thanks, Benedicte. Chapters 1 and 10 will be written last, but I would be glad to have an exchange on this quite soon. Chapter 2 will probably be next to last. Chapters 3, 4 and 8 are quite fully addressed in the 'short history of economic anthropology' paper. I am currently working on Chapters 5 and 6 with 9 to follow soon, I hope. Chapter 7 is being revised, but exists in fairly full draft.

Benedicte Brøgger said:
Dear Keith,

that the book is that short to completion is good news! Thanks for the invitation to read and (possibly) comment. If I should have anything to contribute it would be to the chapters 1, 8 and 10, I guess

Best regards

Benedicte.
Dear Keith,

first of all my compliments (and thanks) to you and Chris, I like this 'opening' of scholalry production. Usually one asks to comment on their work people they trust in some measure, so this underlying tone (as I see it) is admirable.

Though I'm not sure I'll be able to provide feedback, I would be interested in having a look at chapters 5 and 6. Chapter 9 is tempting because, apparently, it deals with the future and not the past, which is common - to say the least - for academics. Is it solely on the future of money?

Best
Chapters 5 and 6 and now available as drafts:
Attachments:
Hi Keith and Hi to all the people in this group,
I have read your outline and quite liked it, I must say! I am all for accounts of the history of connections and frictions between ideas and positionalities (be it academic or not) and where does that leave us now in the present.
At this stage, I would like to add a few general comments and pick up on 1 or 2 aspects from your outline to share with you and the other members of the group:
1. The relations between economics and anthropology as you describe them seem to be the ones between established mainstream disciplines and other disciplines, which have mostly been at the margins or normative thinking/action. What you say about economics as 'the dominant ideological and practical arm of global capitalism' could also be applied to science (as in hard science).
2. Though not an expert on economics, it seems to me that mainstream economic disciplines have (particularly since the rise of econometrics in the 70’s) evolved towards more normative, quasi-scientific procedures that are supposed to test and also predict future scenarios. In that way, the move in economics as a discipline has been towards the positivist science and mathematical models. Has the same happened to anthropology as a discipline and area of knowledge? Could one say that there is a parallel division (mainstream/heterodox) in anthropology as there is in economics or even in other areas? Where does that leave economic anthropology in terms of positionality?
3. The same sort of thinking led me to the relationship between anthropology and development. I am quite interested in this relationship. The work of David Moss comes to my mind. The tension between a critical approach that focuses on questions such as ‘what are the power arrangements of this situation?’ and a more normative, agenda setting approach that might imply questions of the type – ‘how do we make this project work?; how do we convince these people that this is the best course of action to take?’ – is also at stake here.
4. To sum up, is the role of anthropology and, for that matter, economic anthropology to challenge orthodoxy or is it a (even) more defiant role of trying to set a new agenda and find a place for it more at the centre (less at the margins) of power, if the advent of a ‘post neoliberal era’ becomes possible?
I think it is very timely to address these issues.
All best wishes,
Sónia
Sonia,

Thanks for these searching questions! I will keep it short in the hope of encouraging others to join the conversation.

The relationship between economics and hard science, especially physics, is interesting. Philip Mirowksi has written two books on this: More Heat Than Light shows how the new economics of the 1870s and 80s borrowed language, maths and ideas from thermodynamics in particular to create a pseudo-science; Machine Dreams is a very important work tracing the origins of the Cold War ideology that culminated in the intellectual and political dominance of neoliberal economics.

The key formative period for positivist economists was the Second World War where fighting on several fronts at once made operations research vital to the US. Two Dutch economists (who started out as physicists), Tinbergen and Koopmans established a mathematical approach which, with the aid of new computers, aspired to model the real world and make predictions about it. Before the war neoclassical economics had been an intuitive deductive discipline that aimed to show people what they ought to do, but had no basis in empirical analysis (which was the province of institutional economics). The debates at this time concerning what economics ought to be were fierce and illuminating. The postivists won. But again the conclusion one draws from Mirowski is that this was still a pseudo-science.

I have a physicist friend who uses a certain kind of equation to measure experimental changes in metals. He needs some two dozen to model a quite small change. The British Treasury uses 150 of the same equations to model the whole British economy which he thinks is absurd and unscientific. It is an interesting question if hard science plays the same role in capitalism as economics. I would say that economics is a religion that appropriates some of the rhetoric and style of science, but is not a science. One proof would be that economics still draws on a 17th century epistemology and has not absorbed scientific modernism (relativity and quantum mechanics) at all.

In economic anthropology there have always been strands that emulate mainstream economics, but they do so even less convincingly than the economists.Much more to be said about that. James Ferguson's Anti-politics machine is a wonderful post-structuralist critique of development institutions. Your last point goes to the nub of it. Economic anthropology has been mostly a critique of western capitalism and economics. I don't think we have got round to our own agenda yet, but it is high time we did!
An interesting piece of news on evaluating the economy beyond the usual GDP formula. The now famous report by Sen et al. which recommends inclusion of social and environmental factors. Check the New Scientist link: http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20427311.200-beyond-gdp-we-ne...

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