CANCELLED Taking the Floor: Morality in markets mediated by economic models and financial algorithms
Taking the Floor: Morality in markets mediated by economic models and financial algorithms
A talk with Daniel Beunza
Faced with the limits of the structural reforms enacted since 2010, central bankers in the US and UK have turned to culture to instill restraint on Wall Street and the City of London. Their efforts highlight a theoretical gap in our understanding of markets, namely, how to characterize morality in markets mediated by information technologies like economic models and financial algorithms?
While Zelizer's cultural approach to morality overlooks the effect of technologies like economic models, material approaches to markets like Callon’s have not explicitly considered morality. Taking the Floor addresses this gap with an ethnographic study of a Wall Street manager who sought to remedy the ethical shortcomings in his sector by reorganizing his own floor between 1999 and 2003.
The study revisits that manager and his trading room one decade later, from 2008 to 2015. Based on this revisit, it proposes the concept of model-based moral disengagement to designate the ways in which economic models contribute to systemic risk. It also outlines an approach to organize trading that addresses such disengagement, proximate control. It concludes by considering the implications for economic sociology and digital transformation in organizations.
Daniel Beunza is Associate Professor of Management at Cass Business School. Beunza's research explores the ways in which social relations and technology shape financial value. His award-winning study of a derivatives trading room on a Wall Street bank traced the roots of extraordinary returns to the use of space and internal organization. Beunza obtained his PhD from New York University, and has previously taught at Columbia University, the London School of Economics and Copenhagen Business School. His research has been published in Organization Science, Organization Studies and Economy and Society. Beunza is a leading contributor to the social studies of finance literature. He has served as Chair of the Academic Network of the Principles of Responsible Investment, and consulted with the UK Banking Standards Board on the use of ethnography and grounded theory research to enhance professional standards in the UK’s financial sector.
Wednesday 25 March 2020, 10:30 to 12:00
Kilevej 14 A/B