On July 22, TIME Magazine featured an interview with AAA member Karen Ho, assistant professor of anthropology at the University of Minnesota. Ho is author of Liquidated: An Ethnography of Wall Street, based on interviews with employees of Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch, Lehman Brothers, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan and other firms. In discussing potential changes to the US financial system, Ho notes:
I would hope that folks in the Obama Administration would somehow link bonuses to long-term corporate productivity or long-term shareholder value — long-term meaning four to five years instead of five months or a year — and reinstate the Glass-Steagall Act [that separated investment and commercial banking]. These are big reforms, but they’d give you a more stable landscape to make even more changes.
You can also see Karen Ho discuss her work on the University of Minnesota YouTube channel, or read her June 2009 American Anthropologist article “Disciplining Investment Bankers, Disciplining the Economy: Wall Street’s Institutional Culture of Crisis and the Downsizing of ‘Corporate America’” on AnthroSource (log-in required).
Filed under: Anthro in the Media