Conference: “Global Commodities: The Material Culture of Early Modern Connections, 1400-1800”
Global History and Culture Centre – University of Warwick – 12-14 December 2012. This International conference held at the Global History and Culture Centre of the University of Warwick seeks to explore how our understanding of early modern global connections changes if we consider the role material culture played in shaping such connections. In what ways did material objects participate in the development of the multiple processes often referred to as ‘globalisation’? How did objects contribute to the construction of such notions as hybridism and cosmopolitanism? What was their role in trade and migration, gifts and diplomacy, encounters and conflict? What kind of geographies did they create in the early modern world? What was their cultural value vis-à-vis their economic value? In short, this conference seeks to explore the ways in which commodities and connections intersected in the early modern world.
Conference: “Society of Catholic Social Scientists”
The Society of Catholic Social Scientists (SCSS) will hold it 20th annual national conference—one of its largest ever—at Kellenberg Memorial High School, Uniondale, New York, on October 26-27, 2012. The conference will feature nearly 200 presentations by Catholic scholars and social science practitioners. They will present on a wide range of topics including, “John Paul II and the African American Community,” “Initiatives Confronting the New Age Culture,” “Jacques Maritain’s Scholasticism and Politics,” and “The Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services.”
Conference: “Turning to the World: Social Justice and the Common Good since Vatican II”
St. Thomas More College, Saskatoon, SK, Canada, is pleased to host a conference on social justice and the common good March 8-9, 2013, to mark the 50th anniversary of Vatican II. We will draw an interdisciplinary audience of scholars in areas such as sociology, history, philosophy, religious studies, economics, and political studies whose research has focused on documenting and comprehending changes in the field of social justice that stemmed from this momentous historical event.
Working Paper: “Incentivizing Calculated Risk-Taking: Evidence from an Experiment with Commercial Bank Loan Officers”
By Shawn Cole, Martin Kanz, and Leora Klapper, HBS Working Paper 13-002 (PDF)
“When you look at the portfolio of loans made by loan officers who were paid an origination bonus, it actually looks less risky than a portfolio of the exact same set of loans made by officers who were penalized when the loans defaulted, because their ratings were distorted,” Cole explains. To Cole, that finding is significant because it suggests that irresponsible lending practices are based not just on greed, but also on inadvertent delusion. “It’s informative for thinking about the financial crisis and how we got there,” he says. “A cynical view is that mortgage originators in the United States made a lot of loans that they knew for sure were going to fail, but they issued them anyway because they just wanted to collect their bonuses. And certainly that happened sometimes. But based on our research, it also could be that people’s true judgment was distorted because of their incentives.”
Book Review: “The Financialization of American Capitalism”
Michael Zakim, Gary John Kornblith, eds. Capitalism Takes Command: The Social Transformation of Nineteenth-Century America. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2012. Reviewed by Corey Goettsch (Emory University)
This collection of essays represents a stark departure from the historiography on capitalism from twenty or thirty years ago. Many of the themes that once dominated the study of American capitalism are noticeably absent: the authors largely ignore the proletarianization of labor, factories, working-class resistance, the moral economy, consumerism, and the hegemonic role of middle-class respectability. Rather, they focus on the ways in which corporations, financial instruments, and modern bookkeeping came to dominate the American economy and shape how Americans perceived economic change. By shedding light on neglected topics in the study of American capitalism, this essay collection deeply enriches our understanding of the process through which the United States became a capitalist nation.