Economic growth, low inflation, and financial stability are among the most important goals of policy makers, and central banks such as the Federal Reserve are key institutions for achieving these goals. In Asset Prices and Monetary Policy, leading scholars and practitioners probe the interaction of central banks, asset markets, and the general economy to forge a new understanding of the challenges facing policy makers as they manage an increasingly complex economic system.
The contributors examine how central bankers determine their policy prescriptions with reference to the fluctuating housing market, the balance of debt and credit, changing beliefs of investors, the level of commodity prices, and other factors. At a time when the public has never been more involved in stocks, retirement funds, and real estate investment, this insightful book will be useful to all those concerned with the current state of the economy.
Why—against his mentor’s exhortations to publish—did Charles Darwin take twenty years to reveal his theory of evolution by natural selection? In Darwin’s Evolving Identity, Alistair Sponsel argues that Darwin adopted this cautious approach to atone for his provocative theorizing as a young author spurred by that mentor, the geologist Charles Lyell. While we might expect him to have been tormented by guilt about his private study of evolution, Darwin was most distressed by harsh reactions to his published work on coral reefs, volcanoes, and earthquakes, judging himself guilty of an authorial “sin of speculation.” It was the battle to defend himself against charges of overzealous theorizing as a geologist, rather than the prospect of broader public outcry over evolution, which made Darwin such a cautious author of Origin of Species.
Drawing on his own ambitious research in Darwin’s manuscripts and at the Beagle’s remotest ports of call, Sponsel takes us from the ocean to the Origin and beyond. He provides a vivid new picture of Darwin’s career as a voyaging naturalist and metropolitan author, and in doing so makes a bold argument about how we should understand the history of scientific theories.
Somehow people continue to imagine a world of justice against the odds of a deck that has been stacked against them. In her urgent and perceptive book, Life in and against the Odds, Hoechst focuses on the particular circumstances and conditions of different phases of speculative expansion in the United States. She traces the roots of the nation-state to nineteenth-century land markets and slave exchanges. Hoechst also chronicles how these racial foundations extend through corporate capitalism from the 1920s and ´30s to the present era of financialized capitalism and the recent housing bubble.
Life in and against the Odds identifies where and how speculative nationalism creates roadblocks to freedom. Hoechst retells the history of the United States with a perspective on how human lives are made, destroyed, reconfigured, and claimed under the systemic violence of a nation that is rooted in the racializing futurity of speculative capitalism.
In Migrant Futures Aimee Bahng traces the cultural production of futurity by juxtaposing the practices of speculative finance against those of speculative fiction. While financial speculation creates a future based on predicting and mitigating risk for wealthy elites, the wide range of speculative novels, comics, films, and narratives Bahng examines imagines alternative futures that envision the multiple possibilities that exist beyond capital’s reach. Whether presenting new spatial futures of the US-Mexico borderlands or inventing forms of kinship in Singapore in order to survive in an economy designed for the few, the varied texts Bahng analyzes illuminate how the futurity of speculative finance is experienced by those who find themselves mired in it. At the same time these displaced, undocumented, unbanked, and disavowed characters imagine alternative visions of the future that offer ways to bring forth new political economies, social structures, and subjectivities that exceed the framework of capitalism.
Uncertain Commons Duke University Press, 2013 Library of Congress B67.U534 2013
Speculate This! is a concise, provocative manifesto advocating practices of "affirmative speculation" over and against contemporary forms of speculation that quantify and contain risk to generate financial profit for a privileged few. This latter mode of speculation is predatory and familiar, its fallout evident in ongoing environmental degradation, in restrictive legal claims on natural resources in distant lands, and in the foreclosures, evictions, and unemployment resulting from the financial collapse of 2007–08. While such exploitive speculation seeks to reduce uncertainty and pin down the future, the affirmative practices championed by the authors of Speculate This! engage uncertainty, contingency, and difference, and they multiply, rather than reduce, possible futures. In these affirmative practices, social relations and the creation of goods and knowledge are not driven by the desire for financial gain or professional status. Whether manifest in open-source software, eco-communes, global activist movements, community credit networks, or experimental art, speculative living affirms our commonality. As a collaborative work coauthored by a group of anonymous scholars, Speculate This! argues for and embodies affirmative speculation.
Interdisciplinary in design and concept, Speculation, Now illuminates unexpected convergences between images, concepts, and language. Artwork is interspersed among essays that approach speculation and progressive change from surprising perspectives. A radical cartographer asks whether "the speculative" can be represented on a map. An ethnographer investigates religious possession in Islam to contemplate states between the divine and the seemingly human. A financial technologist queries understandings of speculation in financial markets. A multimedia artist and activist considers the relation between social change and assumptions about the conditions to be changed, and an architect posits purposeful neglect as political strategy. The book includes an extensive glossary with more than twenty short entries in which scholars contemplate such speculation-related notions as insurance, hallucination, prophecy, the paradox of beginnings, and states of half-knowledge. The book's artful, nonlinear design mirrors and reinforces the notion of contingency that animates it. By embracing speculation substantively, stylistically, seriously, and playfully, Speculation, Now reveals its subversive and critical potential.
Artists and essayists include William Darity Jr., Filip De Boeck, Boris Groys, Hans Haacke, Darrick Hamilton, Laura Kurgan, Lin + Lam, Gary Lincoff, Lize Mogel, Christina Moon, Stefania Pandolfo, Satya Pemmaraju, Mary Poovey, Walid Raad, Sherene Schostak, Robert Sember, and Srdjan Jovanović Weiss.
Published by Duke University Press and the Vera List Center for Art and Politics at The New School
Speculation: Politics, Ideology, Event develops Hegel’s radical perspective of speculative thought as a way of reclaiming and revitalizing the sense of the future and its possibilities. Engaging with such figures as Alain Badiou, Quentin Meillassoux, Ernesto Laclau, Slavoj Žižek, and Fredric Jameson, Glyn Daly articulates the distinctness of speculative philosophy and draws its implications for new debates in areas of science, politics, capitalism, ideology, ethics, and the event.
In a confrontation with today’s fatalistic milieu, principal emphasis is given to Hegel’s idea of infinity as the intrinsic dimension of negativity within all finitude. Against the modern era’s paradigmatic tendency to externalize social problems in the form of antagonism and Otherness, Daly argues for a renewal of utopian thought based on Hegelian reconciliation and the affirmation of excess as the essence of all being. On these grounds, he advances a new kind of political imagination that in speculative terms centers on uncompromising notions of truth and reason.
Originally published as Le Mirage linguistique, this book remains the definitive study of the role of linguistics in structuralism and poststructuralism. Thomas Pavel examines recent French thought through the work of luminaries such as Lévi-Strauss, Lacan, Foucault, and Derrida. The "spell of language" for Pavel consists of three things: the promise that linguistics seemed to represent for the humanities and social sciences; the distortions, misunderstandings, and willful neglect incumbent upon the "linguistic turn"; and, above all, the break with traditional humanism. He isolates three modes of thought-moderate structuralism, scientific structuralism, and speculative structuralism-and shows how even as they diverge from each other, they all advocate an antihumanist point of view.
In this spirited book, Pavel shows that structuralism's flawed use of linguistic theory has rendered hollow the philosophical core of a whole generation of work in the human sciences.
Less than two centuries ago finance - today viewed as the center of economic necessity and epitome of scientific respectability - stood condemned as disreputable fraud. How this change in status came about, and what it reveals about the nature of finance, is the story told in Virtue, Fortune, and Faith. A unique cultural history of modern financial markets from the early eighteenth century to the present day, the book offers a genealogical reading of the historical insecurities, debates, and controversies that had to be purged from nascent credit practices in order to produce the image of today's coherent and - largely - rational global financial sphere. Marieke de Goede discusses moral, religious, and political transformations that have slowly naturalized the domain of finance. Using a deft integration of feminist and poststructuralist approaches, her book demonstrates that finance - not just its rules of personal engagement, but also its statistics, formulas, instruments, and institutions - is a profoundly cultural and politically contingent practice. When closely examined, the history of finance is one of colonial conquest, sexual imagination, constructions of time, and discourses of legitimate (or illegitimate) profit making. Regardless, this history has had a far-reaching impact on the development of the modern international financial institutions that act as the stewards of the world's economic resources. De Goede explores the political contestations over ideas of time and money; the gendered discourse of credit and credibility; differences among gambling, finance, and speculation; debates over the proper definition of the free market; the meaning of financial crisis; and the morality of speculation. In an era when financial practices are pronounced too specialized for broad-based public, democratic debate, Virtue, Fortune, and Faith questions assumptions about international finance's unchallenged position and effectively exposes its ambiguous scientific authority.