Investment broker Bernie Madoff ran what is still considered the largest Ponzi scheme in history, defrauding thousands of investors over a 20-year period of more than $20 billion. He worked his game almost entirely through kinship connections—relatives, friends of relatives, and relatives of friends. The relationship between kinship and capitalism has drawn renewed attention by anthropologists, part of a broader effort to rethink capitalism not as a free-standing ‘economy’ but as deeply embedded in a wide range of social relations. In this article I use the Madoff case to illustrate, and develop further, several aspects of the kinship/capitalism connection. I also consider briefly the boundary between fraud and ‘legitimate’ capitalism, which many economic historians consider a fuzzy boundary at best.
The Case of Bernie Madoff
Sherry B. Ortner
9/11 represents less a tear in the fabric of history, or a break with the past, than an inflection in ongoing historical processes, such as the continued expansion of capitalism that at some recent time has supposedly attained a level of globalization. This paper considers the relation of war and politics with respect to three instances arising in the wake of 9/11, including the war in Afghanistan, the war in Iraq, and finally the global war on terror (GWT). I argue that these wars are superficially dissimilar, but that on a deeper level they all relate to a single ideological position that is an important motivation in current US foreign policy, and that this position is further related to capitalism.
This article examines the process of neoliberalization in the Shenzhen special economic zone in Guangdong Province, China. Building on the case study of a former peasant and almost single-lineage village that has become a part of the city of Shenzhen, I show how neoliberal principles aimed at advancing the transition to capitalism are combined with and countered by other ethical traditions. Owing to the long-standing conception of the lineage as an enterprise, the maintenance of the lineage structure in the transformation of the rural collectives has offered fertile ground for the emergence of a local capitalist coalition. Yet the current discourses on the necessity of obliterating the remains of the collective economy and introducing individual ownership run counter to the collectivist values of the lineage village community and the embeddedness of its economy in kinship and territorial ties. I further illustrate this discordance by the way in which the villagers managed to save their founding ancestor's grave site following government requests to clear the land by removing tombs. These policies form a complex blend of state interventions in the economy, neoliberal governance, and Confucian principles.
Marxian anthropology resurgent
Patrick Neveling and Luisa Steur
modes of capitalist exploitation and thus mark a resurgence and advancement of the discipline’s long-standing, polyphonic Marxian approaches. Their shared focus is not only to record and analyze the vicissitudes of neoliberal capitalism but also to build
. Meillassoux wrote primarily about precapitalist agricultural communities, but in sketching on their basis a model of social reproduction that incorporates social investments and powers, and in foregrounding the reproductive orders by which capitalism sustains
On the Political and Ideological Implications of Capitalism's Subordination of Democracy
Rogers 2011: 13-15 ). Capitalism's defining principles imply that, despite liberal democracy's foundation upon freedom of speech and assembly, the presence of free and competitive elections, and so on ( Hawkesworth 2002: 298 , Haerpfer 2009: 314
Political Rhetoric around Capitalism in Britain from the 1970s to the Present
around capitalism , this article seeks to demonstrate the way in which political agents attempt to persuade the public by bringing positive and negative evaluative terms to bear on contentious political issues. While scholars frequently seek to (re
For a New Materialist Analytics of Time
, thermodynamics and Darwinism ( Wendling 2009 ; Magin 2010). He sought to act on time by identifying patterned regularities in capitalism, which could then orientate political action. Rejecting idealist utopias, he built a revolutionary project with a ‘timeliness
Towards a Frommian Critical Social Theory of Narcissism
far-right politics in the social context of capitalism. 1 Surprisingly, there is little scholarship on Fromm's theory of alienation, a Marxist philosophical concept, that refers largely to his theory of narcissism, a Freudian psychoanalytic concept
Le Nouvel Esprit du capitalisme is a socio-cultural response to the neoliberal explanation of the successes and failures of capitalism in France during the last three decades in terms of individual rational actors and markets. Luc Boltanski and Eve Chiapello draw their inspiration from critical readings of sociologists who interpreted earlier incarnations of capitalism, including Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, Max Weber, and Emile Durkheim.