This Friday, Terreform co-director Deen Sharp will take part of SASE’s 30th Anniversary Conference, “Fathomless Futures: Algorithmic and Imagined”. Sharp will present on the wildly eccentric and insightful Thorstein Veblen. From his abstract:
In outlining this concept of capitalized urbanization, which I contend has become central to the workings of contemporary capitalism, I draw on central debates in old institutionalism and more recent work in Science and Technology Studies (STS).
Specifically, I engage the work of the American scholar Thorstein Veblen who argued that the corporation had more to do with the organization of social power than with economic efficiency or the production of material goods. Veblen claimed that the corporation was structured by capitalization, which represents the present value of a future stream of earnings, and is the central mechanism through which the corporation is able to order society.
More recent scholarship by Nitzan and Bichler, has extended Veblen’s insights, to argue that capitalization (the engine of capitalism) encompasses society’s interaction with the broader environment. In line with Veblen, Nitzan and Bichler insist that capital is not a material object or a social relationship embedded in material entities – capitalization is not a narrow offshoot of production but a broad representation of power.
I argue, however, that while capitalization may not be embedded in material entities, power–as STS scholarship has shown us–always is. Urbanization has emerged as central to the capitalization process because it offers the corporation a durable structure to guarantee a stream of income.
I focus on the corporation’s ability to organize socio-spatial relations through the capitalization of urban space, the urbanization process has been central to capitalization and therefore capitalism, as the railways were in the 19th-century.
Friday - 10:15am - 11:45am University Center U201
Veblen Seen Anew: Power, Social Class, and the New Economy
Session Organizers: Teresa Ghilarducci, The New School / William Milberg, New School for Social Research / Alondra Nelson, Columbia University
Moderator Teresa Ghilarducci, The New School
Building a Future into the Present: Capitalized Urbanization / Deen Sharp, MIT
On the Status Enhancing Potential of Invisible Consumption / Craig Lair, Gettysburg College
Veblen on Productivity: Reclaiming the Distinction between Production and Business / Jody Knauss, University of Wisconsin - Madison
Veblen‘s Theory of Predation in the Age of Algorithm. The Techno-feudal Hypothesis. / Cédric Durand, Université Paris 13
Discussant: Teresa Ghilarducci, The New School
The Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics (SASE) is an international, inter-disciplinary academic organization including disciplines such as economics, sociology, political economy, political science, organization studies, management, psychology, law and history.