Re: [SACC-L] more anthropologists on wall street
- What an excellent presentation; I'm so impressed! It looks like, thanks to these USF anthropology students and applied anthropologists, the state of Florida is in good hands in spite of its largely clueless governor.
On Oct 31, 2011, at 10:35 AM, JARRETT PHIPPS wrote:
> I don't know if you all saw this response from USF students, but it is very good - and address just what you mention here and more.
> Ms. Jarrett Phipps
> Tallahassee Community College
> History and Anthropology
> -----Original Message-----
> From: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com [mailto:SACC-L@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Deborah Shepherd
> Sent: Monday, October 31, 2011 11:15 AM
> To: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com
> Subject: Re: [SACC-L] more anthropologists on wall street
> And again, I can't quote my source, but I believe the daughter has gone on to business school. Maybe it was in Salon.com. However, that's exactly what one should often do with an anthro degree. College classmates I knew went on to law, medical, and architecture degrees. Anthropology is a perfect pre-professional degree for many people.
> On Mon, Oct 31, 2011 at 9:56 AM, Lloyd Miller <lloyd.miller@...>wrote:
> > Thanks for this article, Lori. I read somewhere that Scott's daughter
> > majored in anthropology. Do you suppose his apparent animosity toward
> > our discipline is because she can't find a job? Just wondering...
> > Lloyd
> > On Oct 31, 2011, at 9:17 AM, Lori Barkley wrote:
> > > An article from the economist, via a consumer anthropology
> > > listEducation policyMore anthropologists on Wall Street please Oct
> > > 24th 2011, 20:58 by M.S.
> > >
> > > APPARENTLY Rick Scott, the governor of Florida, called two weeks ago
> > > for reducing funding for liberal-arts disciplines at state
> > > universities and shifting the money to science, technology,
> > > engineering and math, which he abbreviates to STEM. (Amusingly, if
> > > you Google "Rick Scott STEM" you end up getting multiple references
> > > to Mr Scott's apparently non-operative campaign pledge to ban
> > > stem-cell research (
> > >
> > http://www.politifact.com/florida/promises/scott-o-meter/promise/1018/
> > ban-embryonic-stem-cell-research/
> > > ) in Florida. Between the two issues, you've got a sort of operatic
> > > treatment of the modern Republican love-hate relationship with
> > > science.) Mr Scott seems to have repeatedly singled out the
> > > discipline of anthropology for derision. On one occasion, he
> > > apparently told (
> > >
> > http://www.care2.com/causes/dont-know-much-about-anthropology-rick-sco
> > tt-criticizes-the-liberal-arts.html
> > > ) a right-wing radio host (
> > > http://www.marcberniershow.com/audio_archive.cfm ): "You know, we
> > > don't need a lot more anthropologists in the state. It's a great
> > > degree if people want to get it, but we don't need them here. I want
> > > to spend our dollars giving people science, technology, engineering,
> > > math degrees...so when they get out of school, they can get a job."
> > > On another occasion, he's quoted as telling a business group (
> > >
> > http://www.centralfloridafuture.com/news/gov-rick-scott-to-reallocate-
> > funding-to-stem-majors-1.2657314#.TqXC_ZzYiQs
> > > ) in Tallahassee: "Do you want to use your tax dollars to educate
> > > more people who can't get jobs in anthropology? I don't."
> > > Few would defend deliberately educating more people who can't get
> > > jobs in anthropology, as such. (Of course, giving people math
> > > degrees rather than anthropology degrees will render them even less
> > > able to get jobs in
> > > anthropology.) Many, however, would defend educating more people in
> > > anthropology, regardless of what they wind up getting jobs in. In
> > > Slate on Friday, Michael Crow, president of Arizona State
> > > University, gave the traditional and entirely accurate pitch:
> > > [R]esolving the complex challenges that confront our nation and the
> > > world requires more than expertise in science and technology. We
> > > must also educate individuals capable of meaningful civic
> > > participation, creative expression, and communicating insights
> > > across borders. The potential for graduates in any field to achieve
> > > professional success and to contribute significantly to our economy
> > > depends on an education that entails more than calculus.
> > > Curricula expressly tailored in response to the demands of the
> > > workforce must be balanced with opportunities for students to
> > > develop their capacity for critical thinking, analytical reasoning,
> > > creativity, and leadership-all of which we learn from the full
> > > spectrum of disciplines associated with a liberal arts education.
> > > Taken together with the rigorous training provided in the STEM
> > > fields, the opportunities for exploration and learning that Gov.
> > > Scott is intent on marginalizing are those that have defined our
> > > national approach to higher education.
> > > This is a solid response. What it lacks are rhetorical oomph and
> > > concrete examples. So here's a concrete example with a little oomph.
> > > Some of the best analysis of the 2007-2008 financial crisis, and of
> > > the ongoing follies on Wall Street these days, has been produced by
> > > the Financial Times' Gillian Tett. Ms Tett began warning that
> > > collateralised debt obligations and credit-default swaps were likely
> > > to lead to a major financial implosion in 2005 or so. The people who
> > > devise such complex derivatives are generally trained in physics or
> > > math. Ms Tett has a PhD in anthropology. Here's a 2008 profile of Ms
> > > Tett (
> > >
> > http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2008/oct/31/creditcrunch-gillian-te
> > tt-financial-times
> > > ) by the Guardian's Laurie Barton.
> > > Tett began looking at the subject of credit five years ago.
> > > "Everyone was looking at the City and talking about M&A [mergers and
> > > acquisitions] and equity markets, and all the traditional
> > > high-glamour, high-status parts of the City. I got into this corner
> > > of the market because I passionately believed there was a revolution
> > > happening that had been almost entirely ignored. And I got really
> > > excited about trying to actually illustrate what was happening."
> > > Not that anyone particularly wanted to listen. "You could see
> > > everyone's eyes glazing over ... But my team, not just me, we very
> > > much warned of the dangers. Though I don't think we expected the
> > > full scale of the disaster that's unfolded."
> > > There is something exceedingly calm and thorough about Tett. She
> > > talks with the patient enthusiasm of a Tomorrow's World presenter-a
> > > throwback, perhaps, to her days studying social anthropology, in
> > > which she has a PhD from Cambridge. "I happen to think anthropology
> > > is a brilliant background for looking at finance," she reasons.
> > > "Firstly, you're trained to look at how societies or cultures
> > > operate holistically, so you look at how all the bits move together.
> > > And most people in the City don't do that. They are so specialised,
> > > so busy, that they just look at their own little silos. And one of
> > > the reasons we got into the mess we are in is because they were all
> > > so busy looking at their own little bit that they totally failed to
> > > understand how it interacted with the rest of society.
> > > "But the other thing is, if you come from an anthropology
> > > background, you also try and put finance in a cultural context.
> > > Bankers like to imagine that money and the profit motive is as universal as gravity.
> > > They think it's basically a given and they think it's completely
> > > apersonal. And it's not. What they do in finance is all about
> > > culture and interaction."
> > > Another person with an anthropology degree who's been doing terrific
> > > work in recent years in a somewhat-related field is the Dutch
> > > journalist Joris Luyendijk, who produced a fantastic short book last
> > > year analysing the tribal culture of the Dutch parliament and the
> > > media circles that cover it. He's currently working on a study of
> > > the City as well. Anyway, the general point is that while studying
> > > human behaviour through complex derivatives has its uses, there's
> > > something to be said for the more rigorous and less egocentric
> > > analytical tools that anthropology brings to play, and it might be worth Mr Scott's time to take a course or two.
> > > It's never too late to learn.
> > >
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> > >
> > >
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