Fairground Capitalism

Fairground Capitalism

Arpad Szakolczai

April 22nd 2021 10:00 GMT

Modernity and the processes of capitalism appear to us from a position of calculative rationality.

Capitalism counts, assigns, assesses, streamlines, evaluates and otherwise organises and categorises the social world in a manner which appears to be empirical and open.

In this talk, Prof. Szakolczai will show how in its real practices, capitalism is more akin to a

fairground than an economic version of physics.

Making reference to his new book (Tricksterland – still at draft stage), Arpad will explain how

fairground capitalism produces and generates the character of the Trickster – an oft neglected

concept in the history of anthropology.

A trickster (anthropologically speaking) is someone with great (often quite secretive)

knowledge, which they use to trick others.

This is not as simple as lying, but rather is often a way to break conventionally accepted norms

or social rules.

Traditionally such analyses have been dominated by mythological accounts (famously of the

Norse god Loki), but Arpad expands the trickster to our political culture by examining the tricks

that politicians play on us, to our socio-economy by looking at the tricky accounts produced by

economists for how the economy works, and even to academia.