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Daily Archives: February 20th, 2014

The Old Economics

The Old Economics


International Initiative for Promoting Political Economy

“The Crisis: Scholarship, Policies, Conflicts and Alternatives”

L’Orientale, Naples, Italy
September 16-18, 2014

The Crisis: Scholarship, Policies, Conflicts and Alternatives


Call for Papers

The economic crisis that started in 2007 has become the deepest global contraction since the Great Depression, and the economic recovery has been the slowest and weakest on record. The costs of the crisis include a wave of unemployment that may take another decade or longer to clear, and higher taxes and reduced public services for working people, such as healthcare and education, in order to bail out wealthy bankers and bondholders. A whole generation, especially the youth, has been blighted by the crisis, which has had devastating consequences for hundreds of millions of people across the world. Protests and violent conflicts have flared up on several continents, in particular in Southern Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, which may develop into larger scale conflicts. From the viewpoint of political economy, the current strategy of ‘adjustment within neoliberalism’ is economically inconsistent, socially dysfunctional and politically intolerable:

It is built on the premise that neoliberal capitalism is intrinsically stable, even though every finance-driven expansion since the 1970s has ended in a crisis requiring a large state bail-out. In other words, neoliberalism is dynamic only between crises, and it depends in boom and recession on extensive, supportive government intervention.

It is built on a misguided position on the role of the government in the economy, which assumes that massive fiscal spending is appropriate to support finance in crises, while it is never appropriate for governments to spend even much smaller amounts to protect employment, incomes, living standards and public services, either in better times when obtaining government revenue would be easier or – even – as a more effective response to crises.

It is also built on the notion that economic and social provision should be subjected to the self interests of the financial system, an unacceptable proposition in itself that becomes absurd when the financial system has clearly demonstrated that it has become highly dysfunctional under neoliberalism.

The Fifth Annual Conference in Political Economy will examine the global crisis from the complementary angles of scholarship, policies,confl icts and alternatives. Papers on all aspects of poitical economy are welcome, while those on these topics are especially encouraged.

Practical Information

IIPPE welcomes the submission of (a) proposals for panels (or streams of panels) and (b) proposals for individual papers (which IIPPE will group into panels).

All proposals can be submitted to either the Working Group coordinators or directly to the Conference Programme Committee, as indicated on the application form (see below). Any papers or panels which cannot be accepted by the Working Groups will be forwarded for further consideration by the Programme Committee, without prejudice.

Each proposal must be submitted through this application form (if your browser has problems with this link, please contact Niels Hahn,

Note that an individual can normally only present only one paper at the conference, although multiple co-authorship is allowed. Please contact Al Campbell ( if there is a pressing case for someone to present more than once. On the Conference Programme only the designated presenter will be listed, and co-authors will only be listed on those papers submitted and posted on the IIPPE site.

The deadline for submission of proposals for papers and panels is 1 April 2014. Successful submissions will be confirmed by 1 May 2014. The deadline for registration for the Conference is 15 May 2014. The deadline for the submission of full papers, which will be posted on the IIPPE website, is 1 September 2014.

If you have any questions concerning your submission, please contact Al Campbell at: (

Local Organising Committee

Pietro Masina (

Michela Cerimele (

Lorenza Monaco (

Conference Programme Committee:

Alfredo Saad Filho ( ),

Al Campbell (

Niels Hahn ( (



IIPPE Financialisation Working Group

Call for Papers

The Fifth Annual Conference in Political Economy.

Università degli Studi di Napoli “L’Orientale”, Naples, Italy

16 to 18 September, 2014

Over the last three decades developed and developing economies have gone through significant structural transformations under the ever increasing influence of finance. In critical political economy, the resultant mode of accumulation, and its corresponding social effects, have been analysed under the heading of financialisation and neoliberalism.  Whether the financial crisis that started in 2008 was the end or only an interruption to financialisation  and/or neoliberalism, its costs are still borne by governments and the general public.

The International Initiative of Promotion of Political Economy (IIPPE) organises its Fifth Annual Conference in Political Economy. The conference will be held at Università degli Studi di Napoli “L’Orientale”, Naples, Italy, from 16 to 18 September, 2013 and the theme of the conference is “The Crisis: Scholarship, Policies, Conflicts and Alternatives”.

The IIPPE Financialisation Working Group intends to coordinate panels exploring the implications of financialisation on different aspects of the current crises. In our capacity as convenors of the IIPPE Working Group on Financialisation, we would like to encourage you to submit proposals for individual papers or complete panel to the Working Group for consideration for the Fourth International Conference in Political Economy. In accordance with the general call for papers, contributions could include, but are not limited to:

·       Financialisation of Middle Income Countries; the integration of Middle Income Countries into the global finance with the increasing international capital flows; manifestations and consequences of financialisation in emerging countries.

·       Financialisation of commodities; the increasing growth of commodity index investment and changes in the social relations along commodity chains.

·       Financialisaton of households and income distribution; unequal market and social power relations between classes with the increasing dependence on financial forms of meeting the needs of social reproduction.

·       Limitations of mainstream economic theory and; the role and use of alternative critical studies and methodology in financialisation theory

·       The evolution of financialisation after the crisis, the future of the Euro;  economic analysis of and policy alternatives for social policy as well as transforming financial regulations and international banking reforms

·       Financialisation, the state and conflicts across classes during the recent economic crisis and the ensuing global recession


We would particularly like to encourage the submission of panel proposals (2-4 presentations). Panels, which collectively present the work of institutions or other academic groups, provide an excellent opportunity to showcase work in a greater depth than is possible in single presentations. It is further hoped that the conference will provide an opportunity to deepen links between groups working on finance from a critical perspective.

Abstracts of individual papers (max. 500 words) or panel proposals (max. 500 words plus abstracts of the individual papers) should be submitted to by 17th March 2014.

Following the success of previous Training Workshops, the International Initiative for the Promotion of Political Economy is proud to announce TWO forthcoming training workshops in March 2014. It will run a two-day workshop on Class in London on the 24th and 25th of March 2014, at the School of Oriental and African Studies. And it will run a one-day workshop on Marx, Keynes and Economic Crises in the 20th and 21st Centuries in Leeds on the 31st of March at the LeedsUniversityBusinessSchool. For both workshops, we are seeking an audience of undergraduate and postgraduate students, junior academics and activists, who have a particular interest in acquainting themselves with the basic principles of Marxian political economy and heterodox economics more broadly. For the London workshop, participants include: Henry Bernstein, Adam Hanieh, Alfredo Saad-Filho, and Ben Selwyn, and limited funding is available to support travel costs (from within the UK). For the Leeds workshop, participants include: Andrew Brown, Gary Dymski, Annina Kaltenbrunner, Malcolm Sawyer, Gary Slater and David Spencer. If you wish to apply to attend either (or both) of these workshops, please send, before 1st of March 2014, your name and occupation, for the LONDON WORKSHOP to and for the LEEDS WORKSHOP to







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Call for Papers for an ephemera Special Issue on:

Consumption of work and the work of consumption
Deadline for submissions: 30 September 2014
Issue editors: Ekaterina Chertkovskaya, Rashné Limki, Bernadette Loacker

Work and consumption have always been intertwined, their interaction shaped by social and historical circumstances. The ‘consumer society’ (Baudrillard, 1998/1970) that we arguably live in is often associated with a fading interest in work. On this view, wage labour is seen simply as a way of funding consumption during leisure time (Berger, 1964; Gorz, 1985). However, the boundaries between consumption and work have become increasingly blurred. Consumption is no longer confined to leisure, having become central to the employment relationship (Korczynski, 2007; Dale, 2012), but also transcending it. At the same time, some consumption has become productive in the circuits of capital (Arvidsson, 2005). While both the themes of work and consumption have been discussed separately (including in ephemera, e.g. Beverungen et al., 2011; Dunne et al., 2013; Egan-Wyer et al., 2014), this special issue aims to bring them together by exploring consumptive aspects of work and productive aspects of consumption within and beyond organizations.

Since the 1990s customer service and corporate branding have become central elements of organizational production processes (du Gay, 1996; Kornberger, 2010). In this context, concepts such as immaterial work and affective labour have gained in importance (Lazzarato, 1996; Virno, 2005; Dowling et al., 2007). Indeed, customer focus and branding tend to spread to all practices within organizations, from training and development to organizational decor and artefacts (Russell, 2011), while employees are encouraged to ‘live the brand’ (Pettinger, 2004; Land and Taylor, 2010). This tells us that consumption now takes place at work. For example, images of work have themselves become objects to be consumed (Dale, 2012; Chertkovskaya, 2013). These consumptive aspects of work are promoted via employer branding practices, which emphasise the symbolic characteristics of work (Backhaus and Tikoo, 2004). For example, skyscrapers often appear on the covers and pages of recruitment brochures in the banking sector, which can be seen as a sign-value of status. Such ‘opportunities’ for consumption are not only created within large organizations with distinctive hierarchies. ‘Fun cultures’ (Butler et al., 2011), self-management (Lopdrup-Hjorth et al., 2011) and the rhetoric of authenticity (Murtola and Fleming, 2011) may also facilitate the consumption of work-related sign-values as well as engagement in hedonist consumption (Campbell, 1987).

While consumption has certainly entered into the heart of the employment relationship (Korczynski, 2007; Dale, 2012), it also goes beyond it as work increasingly happens outside traditional organizational boundaries. For example, the rhetoric of personal branding (Lair et al., 2005) is becoming increasingly prominent and the ability to ‘sell oneself’ is in many cases now a condition for employment (Chertkovskaya et al., 2013). Moreover, when addressing modern modes of consumptive work, we should also reflect on how consumption can inform the meanings of work and work relations. For instance, we cannot lose sight of critiques of the degradation of work as the effect of consuming (other’s) vital capacities (cf. Barrett, 1999; Moten, 2003; Federici, 2004). Indeed, this ‘depletion’ (Rai, 2010) seems to be the condition of possibility not only for contemporary modes of production but also for conspicuous forms of consumption. Given the condition of precarity that increasingly structures global labour markets (Standing, 2010), we are thus asked to also think through the complex of worker/consumer relations and subjectivities; most notably the increasing debasement of selves into commodity forms.

However, consumption is not necessarily destructive but may also have productive elements to it. We can now talk of working consumers, who act according to their own interests and principles, and thereby serve themselves and other customers (Rieder and Voß, 2010). While drawing on co-creation and participation rhetoric, organizations often also build their brands on the ideas, creativity and work of their consumers or ‘brand communities’ (Arvidsson, 2005). Online social media, like ‘Facebook’, is a good example here: while the organization provides a (usually free) online platform for individuals and groups, their communication within it creates market value for the organization, for example via targeted advertising based on online user behaviour. The consuming employees, as long as they consume in line with the image and values of the organizational brand, may also contribute to the maintenance and strengthening of the organization and its brand, with their personal lives being mobilized for it (Land and Taylor, 2010).

In this special issue, we are looking for conceptual and empirical contributions that critically discuss consumptive aspects of work and productive aspects of consumption. We welcome studies that explore these issues within and beyond organizational boundaries, and in various forms and contexts of work. Possible topics include, but are not limited to, the following:

• Forms and meanings of consumptive work/productive consumption
• History of the relationship between consumption and work
• Consumption through work processes within and beyond the employment relationship
• Roles and use of (personal) branding in consumptive work/productive consumption
• Employer branding and the image of work in organizational self-presentations
• Depicting work through consumption
• Marketing and marketization of work
• Commodification of work and working subjects
• Consumption and production of affective/embodied labour
• Value creation/destruction trough consumptive work/productive consumption
• Ethical and political questions associated with consumptive work/productive consumption
• Implications of blurring boundaries between consumption and work for worker-consumer relations and worker/consumer subjectivities
• Work-life (im)balance of consuming employees/producing consumers
• Resisting consumptive work/productive consumption

Deadline for submissions: 30 September 2014

All contributions should be submitted to one of the issue editors:
Ekaterina Chertkovskaya (, Rashné Limki ( or Bernadette Loacker ( Please note that three categories of contributions are invited for the special issue: articles, notes, and reviews. Information about these types of contributions can be found at:

The submissions will undergo a double blind review process. All submissions should follow
ephemera’s submission guidelines, which are available at: For further information, please contact one of the special issue editors.


Arvidsson, A. (2005) ‘Brands: A critical perspective’, Journal of Consumer Culture, 5(2): 235-258.

Backhaus, K. and S. Tikoo (2004) ‘Conceptualizing and researching employer branding’, Career Development International, 9(5): 501-517.

Barrett, L. (1999) Blackness and value: Seeing double, Cambridge, New York: Cambridge UP.

Baudrillard, J. (1998/1970) The consumer society. Myths and structures. London: Sage.

Berger, P. (1964) ‘Some general observations on the problem of work’ in P. Berger (ed.) The Human Shape of Work. New York: Macmillan.

Beverungen, A., B. Otte, S. Spoelstra and K. Kenny (eds.) (2013) ‘Free work’, ephemera: theory & politics in organization, 13(1).

Butler, N., L. Olaison, M. Sliwa, B. M. Sørensen and S. Spoelstra (eds.) (2011) ‘Work, play and boredom’, ephemera: theory & politics in organization, 11(4).

Campbell, C. (1987) The romantic ethic and the spirit of modern consumerism. Oxford: Basil Blackwell.

Chertkovskaya, E. (2013) ‘Consuming work and managing employability: Students’ work orientations and the process of contemporary job search’. Unpublished PhD thesis, Loughborough University.

Chertkovskaya, E., P. Watt, S. Tramer and S. Spoelstra (eds.) (2013) ‘Giving notice to employability’, ephemera: theory & politics in organization, 13(4).

Dale, K. (2012) ‘The employee as “dish of the day”: The ethics of the consuming/consumed self in human resource management’, Journal of Business Ethics, 111(1): 13-24.

Dowling, E., B. Trott and R. Nunes (eds.) (2007) ‘Immaterial and affective labour: Explored’, ephemera: theory & politics in organization, 7(1).

Du Gay, P. (1998) Consumption and identity at work. London: Sage.

Federici, S. (2004) Caliban and the witch. Autonomedia.

Dunne, S., N. Campbell and A. Bradshaw (eds.) (2013) ʻThe politics of consumptionʼ, ephemera: theory & politics in organization, 13(2).

Egan-Wyer, C., S. L. Muhr, A. Pfeiffer and P. Svensson (2014) ‘The ethics of the brand’, ephemera: theory & politics in organization, 14(1).

Gorz, A. (1985) Paths to paradise: On the liberation from work. London: Pluto.

Korczynski, M. (2007) ‘HRM and the menu society’ in S. Bolton and M. Houlihan (eds.) Searching for the human in human resource management. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

Kornberger, M. (2010) Brand society: How brands transform management and lifestyle. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Lair, D. J., K. Sullivan and G. Cheney (2005) ‘Marketization and the recasting of the professional self: The rhetoric and ethics of personal branding’, Management Communication Quarterly, 18(3): 307-343.

Land, C. and S. Taylor (2010) ‘Surf’s up: Life, work, balance and brand in a New Age capitalist organization’, Sociology, 44(3): 395-413.

Lazzarato, M. (1996) ‘Immaterial labor’ in P. Virno and M. Hardt (eds.) Radical thought in Italy: A potential politics. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Lopdrup-Hjorth, T., M. Gudmand-Høyer, P. Bramming and M. Pedersen (eds.) (2011) ‘Governing work through self-management’, ephemera: theory & politics in organization, 11(2).

Moten, F. (2003) In the break: The aesthetics of the black radical tradition. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Murtola, A.-M. and P. Fleming (eds.) (2011) ‘The business of truth: Authenticity, capitalism and the crisis of everyday life’, ephemera: theory & politics in organization, 11(1).

Patsiaouras, G. and J. Fitchett (2010) ‘The wolf of Wall Street: Re-imagining Veblen for the 21st century’, European Advances in Consumer Research, 9(6): 214-218.

Pettinger, L. (2004) ‘Brand culture and branded workers: Service work and aesthetic labour in fashion retail’, Consumption, Markets and Culture, 7(2): 165-184.

Rai, S. (2010) ‘Depletion and social reproduction’, Working Paper 274/11, Centre for the Study of Globalisation and Regionalisation, Department of Politics and International Studies, University of Warwick.

Rieder, K. and G. Voß (2010) ‘The working customer – an emerging new type of consumer’, Psychology of Everyday Activity, 3 (2): 2-10.

Russell, S. (2011) ‘Internalizing the brand? Identity regulation and resistance at Aqua-Tilt’ in M. Brannan, C. Priola and E. Parsons (eds.) Branded Lives: The production and consumption of identity at work. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.

Virno, P. (2005) Grammar of the multitude. New York: Semiotext.



‘Cheerful Sin’ – a song by Victor Rikowski:

Posted here by Glenn Rikowski

Glenn Rikowski at Academia:

The Flow of Ideas:

Online Publications at:

Glenn Rikowski on Facebook at: