Liquidated is a work of anthropology that treats an unusual, despised subculture – that of the Wall Street banker – much as anthropologists have traditionally treated remote ‘savage’ tribes. But using the techniques of ethnography, including interviews, analysis of daily lives, and fieldwork to investigate a modern western culture is not original; what sets Ho's work apart and gives it value is her mastery of the critical thinking skills of problem-solving and creative thinking to reconceptualize the way in which we understand the bankers' mindset.
Ho's great achievement is to ask productive questions, most obviously in drawing a distinction between bankers' self-image as capitalist warriors, freeing up value for themselves and shareholders by increasing the liquidity of the assets they invest in, and the social consequences of what they do. As Ho points out, not only is Wall Street institutionally inclined to embrace risk, in order to maximise profit; it is also prone to assume that increased liquidity (most often achieved by breaking up and selling off the parts of a large corporation) is a good in itself, irrespective of the outcomes for the workers actually involved in these disposals. Considering alternative possibilities, and generating fresh solutions, Ho determines that the capitalist principles that underpin Wall Street are myths, not the expression of some natural economic law..
Table of Contents
Ways in to the text
Who is Karen Ho?
What does Liquidated: An Ethnography of Wall Street Say?
Why does Liquidated: An Ethnography of Wall Street Matter?
Section 1: Influences
Module 1: The Author and the Historical Context
Module 2: Academic Context
Module 3: The Problem
Module 4: The Author's Contribution
Section 2: Ideas
Module 5: Main Ideas
Module 6: Secondary Ideas
Module 7: Achievement
Module 8: Place in the Author's Work
Section 3: Impact
Module 9: The First Responses
Module 10: The Evolving Debate
Module 11: Impact and Influence Today
Module 12: Where Next?
Glossary of Terms
People Mentioned in the Text
Dr Rodolfo Maggio holds a masters degree in anthropology from the London School of Economics and a PhD in social anthropology from the University of Manchester. He is currently a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Oxford.