In recent years, studies on the financialisation of society – the rising impact of financial institutions and motives over the decisions and strategies of individuals and non-financial corporations – have been increasing.
Sociologists of work have been particularly concerned about the shareholder value orientation-labour process nexus. The main argument here is that shareholder pressures have been inducing the managers of non-financial firms to borrow and buy back their own company’s shares to maximise dividends. Then these rising financial payments lead to direct reductions in wages and the extensive use of casualised workers to improve the firm’s balance sheets. Yet, the relationship between the financialisation of households in the form of personal indebtedness and their behaviour at the workplace has been a largely unexplored area.
Surveillance is everywhere these days, but its punitive impacts are experienced unevenly. Police patrol minoritized communities, algorithms discriminate against people of color, borders screen out migrants and refugees, and identification systems mislabel gender nonconforming individuals.
Growing concern over surveillance has spawned many colorful forms of resistance. In my recent book, Crisis Vision: Race and the Cultural Production of Surveillance, I analyze dozens of resistance artworks that seek to interrupt surveillance abuses.
By paying attention to the work of artists, I argue that we can learn about the deeper logics of surveillance and become more reflexive about our responses.
The “one percent” are increasingly seen as an important point of debate in discussions on rising inequalities. But how do top income earners themselves perceive their income? Do they view top incomes as fair?
To answer this question, I conducted a study where I interviewed people in the United Kingdom with incomes that place them within the top one percent of the distribution. Most of the 30 top income earners I talked to were men, lived in London and worked in the financial industry. They worked in firms such as investment banks, hedge funds, and barristers’ chambers.
I found that the cultural process of performance pay is important for how top income earners perceive inequality.
The flaws of the modern economic system in the Western world have become pervasive with the dominance of the Big Tech firms, while antitrust regulation and enforcement struggle to restrain these firms. We cannot blame the Big Tech firms for mastering the rules of an economic system that allows profit maximization to override societal values such as sustainability and well-being.
What is the root cause of these challenges, and how can we cope with them?
In my recent book, I examine several grand challenges and identify one underlying cause: our economic system reinforces opportunistic behavior by prioritizing profit and utility maximization. Despite heterogeneity in individuals’ inclinations to behave opportunistically, this system rewards the opportunists while penalizing those who seek to benefit others. To remedy this, I propose an alternative economic system – the cooperative economy, which is instituted on prosocial behavior.
The world is facing several grand challenges. One only need look at the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals to see that, in our global society, critical barriers stand in the way of important global advancement. Climate change, societal aging, natural resource management, gender inequality, and health and well-being are some of the most important grand challenges of our time. The COVID-19 pandemic is perhaps the most salient, since it remains a “seemingly intractable” puzzle that does not offer straightforward solutions.
Addressing grand challenges requires coordinated and collaborative action toward a clearly articulated problem and goal, each calling for its own specific approach. Societal leaders need to be able to mobilize a variety of stakeholders and coordinate their efforts to secure a common goal that none could obtain without the efforts of one another. But are certain types of leaders naturally better positioned than others to successfully resolve these complex crises?