Uncertain Futures: Imaginaries, Narrative, and Capitalist Dynamics — EVENT CANCELLED

4:00 pm on Thursday, April 30, 2020
5:30 pm on Thursday, April 30, 2020
Pardee School of Global Studies, 121 Bay State Road (1st floor)

**In an effort to curtail the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the area, all events at Boston University have been cancelled effective immediately. Please visit the University's - COVID-19 website - for more information.**

Dynamic capitalist economies are characterized by relentless innovation and novelty and hence exhibit an indeterminacy that cannot be reduced to measurable risk. How then do economic actors form expectations and decide how to act despite this uncertainty? This talk will focus on the role played by imaginaries and narratives, and argue that under conditions of uncertainty decisions in the economy and policy choices are often led by fictional (rather than rational) expectations. When expectations cannot be anchored in objective probability functions, the future belongs to those with the market, political, or rhetorical power to make their models or stories count. Fictional expectations are an important driving force of capitalist dynamics. They are also important to understand the current political situation in the United States and in Europe.

Jens Beckert is director of the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies in Cologne, Germany. He is currently Theodor Heuß Visiting Professor at the New School for Social Research in New York. Beckert works in the field of economic sociology with a special interest in the investigation of markets. In recent years his research focused on the role of expectations and imaginaries in economic decision making. His book Imagined Futures. Fictional Expectations and Capitalist Dynamics was published in 2016 with Harvard University Press.