Convened by Johnna Montgomerie and Clea Bourne, the Heretical Finance Reading Group meets monthly to discuss texts providing alternative, multi-disciplinary, non-disciplinary, cultural and critical perspectives on finance, including fictional representations.
Open to all – academics, non-academics, students – and no registration is required.
Meetings take place at 4.30pm on Mondays (the first Monday of the month) in the basement seminar room at PERC, 41 Lewisham Way, opposite the main Goldsmiths building (how to find Goldsmiths).
Heretical Finance 2018 dates
Monday 5 March
David Birch (2014) Identity is the New Money, London Publishing Partnership.
Birch argues that identity and money are both changing profoundly. The two trends are converging due to technological change, so that all we’ll need for transacting will be our identities captured in the unique record of our online social contacts. Social networks and mobile phones are the key technologies, enabling the building of an identity infrastructure that can enhance both privacy and security – there is no trade-off.
Monday 9 April
Kate Raworth (2017) Doughnut Economics: Seven Ways to Think Like a Twenty-First Century Economist, Random House Business
Raworth identifies seven critical ways in which mainstream economics has led us astray, and sets out a roadmap for bringing humanity into a sweet spot that meets the needs of all within the means of the planet. En route, she deconstructs the character of ‘rational economic man’ and explains what really makes us tick. She reveals how an obsession with equilibrium has left economists helpless when facing the boom and bust of the real-world economy.
Monday 14 May
Bill Maurer and Lana Swartz (Editors) (2017) Paid: Tales of Dongles, Checks and Other Money Stuff, MIT Press.
We’re repeatedly told that we’re heading toward a cashless society. Yet payment is increasingly dependent on things. Consider the dongle, a clever gizmo for processing card payments from magnetic strips. Or dogecoin, a meme of a smiling, bewildered dog’s interior monologue that fueled a virtual currency. Go further back to contemplate Benjamin Franklin’s paper currency printed with leaves to foil counterfeiters. ‘Paid’’s contributing authors describe these payment-adjacent objects so engagingly that financial ‘leftovers’ seem more interesting than finance itself.
Monday 4 June
Moshin Hamid (2013) How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia, Penguin Random House.
Hamid’s novel is a parody of the ‘financial self-help’ genre, written in the second-person. The ‘self’, or the directly addressed ‘you’ at the centre of the story is a likeable if thoroughly-troubled striver who migrates from a slum to a sprawling megacity. Over time, he uses his street-smarts and entrepreneurial instincts to join the South-Asian elite. But will our hero find happiness? In a satire? Hmm…
Monday 3 September
Marc Flandreau (2016) Anthropologists in the Stock Exchange: A Financial History of Victorian Science, University of Chicago Press.
Flandreau uncovers strange plots by early British anthropologists to use scientific status for stock market manipulation, thus marrying the birth of social sciences with the exploits of global finance. The book tracks a group of Victorian gentleman-swindlers from the corridors of the London Stock Exchange to the meeting rooms of learned society. Flandreau shows that anthropological studies were integral to investment and speculation, and that finance played a crucial role in shaping the contours of human knowledge.
Monday 1 October
Scott Patterson (2013) Dark Pools: The Rise of A.I. Trading Machines and the Looming Threat to Wall Street. Random House.
Dark Pools is a pacy, revealing, and profoundly chilling tale of how global markets have been hijacked by trading robots – many so self-directed that humans can’t predict what they’ll do next. It’s the story of the blisteringly intelligent computer programmers behind the rise of these ‘bots’. And it’s a timely warning that as artificial intelligence gradually takes over, we could be on the verge of global meltdown.
Monday 5 November
Brett Christophers, Andrew Leyshon and Geoff Mann (Editors) (2017) Money and Finance after the Crisis: Critical Thinking for Uncertain Times, Wiley-Blackwell
Money and Finance after the Crisis provides a critical multi-disciplinary perspective on the post-crisis financial world in all its complexity, dynamism and unpredictability. The contributing authors illuminate the diversity of ways in which money and finance continue to shape global political economy and society. The book demonstrates the centrality of money and finance to contemporary capitalism and its political and cultural economies.
Monday 3 December
Teddy Wayne (2010) Kapitoil, Gerald Duckworth & Co.
“Sometimes you do not truly observe something until you study it in reverse”, writes Karim Issar upon arrival in New York in 1999. Fluent in numbers, logic, and business jargon, yet baffled by human connection, the young financial wizard creates a computer programme named Kapitoil, which predicts oil futures and reaps record profits for his company. But those closest to him lead Karim to question the moral implications of Kapitoil. Karim’s next decision in this financial novel determines the course of the rest of his life…