Dr. Campbell Jones 'What kind of person is the market?'

Moore Institute Seminar Room (203)

Date & Time
28th September, 2010 @ 16:00:00

Dr. Campbell Jones, University of Leicester

'What kind of person is the market?'

We are today surrounded with talk about the market, about what it is doing and its consequences for us. More strangely, it is often said that the market itself can speak, that it can say things to us, it can ‘respond' to our actions, that it is sending us messages about what we ought to do. On 7 May 2010, the London International Financial Futures Exchange (LIFFE) opened at 1.00am for a special session so the markets could respond to the news of the UK election the day before.

Such phenomena are, I will suggest, both philosophically puzzling and of considerable political import. They raise perhaps obvious questions about democratic process, but beyond this raise all manner of issues regarding the hearing of voices and the psychopathologies of auditory hallucination, the question of who it is that is doing this speaking, and the continuation of theological motifs appear here in the form of the will and voice of the market.

Set within this broader frame of a concern with the idea that the market could speak, this talk will focus on the specific dimension of the personification of the market. If the market is a kind of person - who can will, respond, even speak - then we need to ask what kind of person it is. This will require consideration of the forms of appearance of the market and the nature of personhood, which might help us grasp some of the stakes of investing something like the market with the capacities of a person.

Campbell Jones, University of Leicester, UK, is author of a number of works at the intersection of philosophy and political economy. His most recent book is Unmasking the Entrepreneur (2009, Edward Elgar, with André Spicer), and his most recent paper is ‘The subject supposed to recycle' (Philosophy Today, 2010, 54(1): 30-39). He is currently writing a book called Can the Market Speak? for Zero Books.