Started this discussion. Last reply by John McCreery Dec 19, 2012.
I have recently posted two pieces on the potential for an anthropology of world society using the resources made available by the internet.
The digital revolution and me
Studying world society as a vocation
I have made two other attempts at telling my story (both sung to an old Hoagy Carmichael tune):
Manchester on my mind
Africa on my mind
About my website.
Banks are slower-moving deposits of fast-moving flows, whether of water, information or money. This website is my Memory Bank, but it is meant to reach out to a public that shares my aims. The two great human memory banks are language and money which are converging into a single network of digital communications in our time. The idea of a 'New Commonwealth' refers to the possibility that money might serve the purposes of economic democracy more fully than it has; but beyond that to the need to make a world society fit for all humanity.
We face an extraordinary moment in history when the old structures are palpably failing. The formation of a global civil society, even a world state, is an urgent task. Anthropology has a distinguished past, but it has an even greater role to play in future, not necessarily as an academic discipline, but perhaps as an interdisiciplinary project: to discover what we need to know about humanity as a whole if we would make a better world. Such a project depends on making full use of the emerging social and technical synthesis entailed in the digital revolution.
I will first explain what I mean by saying that the informal economy, a concept I was associated with coining in the early 1970s, has taken over the world, largely as a result of neoliberal deregulation over the last three decades (pp. 1-3). After a brief account of my own early exposure to West Africa (pp. 3-5), I turn to the question of how and why Africa has long been a symbol of global inequality. Even after independence, Africans are still waiting from emancipation (pp. 5-10). Even so…Continue
Posted on June 6, 2013 at 3:24pm
Posted on May 19, 2013 at 9:30am
Ronald Coase, an American economist of British origin, won a Nobel prize for inventing the idea of transaction costs in his famous paper "The nature of the firm" (1937). He is now 102 years old and has just announced his desire, with a young Chinese associate, to found a new journal called "Man and the economy" (well he was born in 1910).
A century ago, Alfred Marshall, author of Principles of Economics (1890) and Keynes' teacher at Cambridge defined economics as “both a study of…Continue
Posted on January 18, 2013 at 1:14pm — 11 Comments
I am a fully paid-up member of the Karl Polanyi fan club. In the past few years I have published, with my collaborators, a collection of essays on the significance of The Great Transformation for understanding our times (Blanc 2011, Holmes 2012) and have made him a canonical figure for my versions of economic anthropology, the human economy and the history of money. I have also published two short biographical articles on him. I have contributed in this way to the recent outpouring of…Continue
Posted on January 16, 2013 at 6:37pm
The idea of an informal economy was born at the moment when the post-war era of developmental states was drawing to a close. The 1970s were a watershed between three decades of state management of the economy and the free market decades of one-world capitalism that ended with the financial crisis of 2008. It seems now that the economy has escaped from all attempts to make it publicly accountable. What are the forms of state that can regulate a world of money that is now essentially lawless?…Continue
Posted on October 17, 2012 at 6:30pm — 4 Comments