Events Calendar

What Stage of Capitalism is This?

Wednesday, January 25, 2023
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
FIMS and Nursing Building (FNB)
Room: 4130

"What Stage of Capitalism is This? On the Meaning of Corporate Scandals"

Presented by Professor Tom Streeter as part of the FIMS Seminar Series 2022/23.

Everyone is welcome.

Attend in-person: FNB 4130
Attend online: register to receive the Zoom link

Abstract: Enron and Ken Lay, Theranos and Elizabeth Holmes, Nikola Trucks and Trevor Milton, FTX and Sam Bankman-Fried. Spectacles of multibillion dollar corporate criminality seem to have become a slow drum beat to the world system. This presentation draws together threads from works-in-progress to ask questions about the role of language and changing patterns of interpretation in the organization of capitalism. One thread concerns the legal status of email. The Enron case hinged on getting the courts to recognize casual emails (e.g., “this POS stock”) as evidence of intent to defraud rather than locker room braggadocio, which required establishing practices of interpretation for transplanting email exchanges from their original conversational context into the more formal context of the courts. Another thread concerns managerial buzzwords, which facilitate the creation of new market structures while obscuring the political character of the process. Together, these threads point to a third, concerning what capitalist failures might tell us about capitalist successes. There’s a certain amount of “muddling through” in capitalism, the analysis suggests, which in turn might point toward ways beyond it.

Faculty of Information and Media Studies
FIMS Communications

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