"Stories of Capitalism: Inside the Role of Financial Analysts"
To be held on Wednesday, 14 February, 2018
5.00-6.30pm, S1.50 (Social Sciences)
New book Stories of Capitalism hot off the press (published this year by University of Chicago Press):
The financial crisis and the recession that followed caught many people off guard, including experts in the financial sector whose jobs involve predicting market fluctuations. Financial analysis offices in most international banks are supposed to forecast the rise or fall of stock prices, the success or failure of investment products, and even the growth or decline of entire national economies. And yet their predictions are heavily disputed. How do they make their forecasts—and do those forecasts have any actual value?
Stories of Capitalism is an ethnography of financial analysis. Drawing on two years of fieldwork in a Swiss bank, Leins argues that financial analysts construct stories of possible economic futures, presenting them as coherent and grounded in expert research and analysis. In so doing, they establish a role for themselves—not necessarily by laying bare empirically verifiable trends but rather by presenting the market as something that makes sense and is worth investing in. Stories of Capitalism is a nuanced look at how banks continue to boost investment—even in unstable markets—and a rare insider’s look into the often opaque financial practices that shape the global economy.
Dr Stefan Leins is senior lecturer at the Department of Social Anthropology and Cultural Studies of the University of Zurich and a member of the research program Anthropology of Economy at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).
His research interest is in the culture of economies and theories of capitalism. He works on financial analysis, forecasting, science and technology, Islamic finance, socially responsible investing, the history of economic knowledge, and the narrative dimension of finance.