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Spring 2024


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Ivan Ascher speaks at CUNY's 2018 Left Forum Conference

John Jay College of Criminal Justice 524 W 59th St, New York, New York 10019


Jun 1 / 4pm


Join us at CUNY’s 2018 Left Forum conference for a panel discussion on political economy and the current crisis with Ivan Ascher, Nell Abernathy, Alyssa Battistoni, Robert Wosnitzer, and Amy Traub.

About the event:

Karl Marx described capitalism in distinctly monstrous terms – describing “dead labor” as “vampire-like,” for instance, and as living only “by sucking living labor.” Over a century and a half later, these metaphors still resonate, with a journalist from Rolling Stone in 2009 describing Goldman Sachs as “a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money.” The financialization that we’ve seen in the past three decades has crept into every aspect of social relations, with the search for market “solutions” to a wide range of issues from education to military intelligence to environmental stewardship. On an individual level, we are tracked with every swipe of a credit card, online transaction, and loan application. Did it have to come to this? What are the consequences? Is this trajectory reversible? In the decade since the 2008 financial crisis, we have not seen the banks and financial firms held accountable for their actions and financial profits have reached new heights. The challenges we face now are as great as any we have encountered in the neoliberal era. This panel brings together writers, scholars and activists to discuss the implications of these unnerving trends.

About the speakers:

IVAN ASCHER is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. A specialist in modern political and social theory, his current research is on the continued relevance of Karl Marx and Max Weber for a critique of contemporary capitalism. He is the author of Portfolio Society: On the Capitalist Mode of Prediction, published by Zone Books in the Near Futures Series.

NELL ABERNATHY is Vice President of Research and Policy for the Roosevelt Institute. Her work focuses on U.S. economic issues, including financial regulation and the gig economy. She is a coauthor of “Rewriting the Rules,” “Work Benefits: Ensuring Economic Security in the 21st Century,” and “Defining Financialization”. Follow her @nellabernathy.

ALYSSA BATTISTONI is a PhD candidate in political science at Yale University and a member of the editorial board of Jacobin magazine.

ROBERT WOSNITZER is clinical assistant professor at New York University Stern School of Business. His research focuses on financial cultures, ethics, and regulation. He received an M.A. and Ph.D. in Media, Culture and Communication, both from New York University. Prior to joining NYU, he traded and placed debt instruments with institutional clients for over a decade at firms including Lehman Brothers and Wells Fargo Capital Markets.

AMY TRAUB is Associate Director of Policy and Research at Demos, where her work focuses on consumer debt, job quality, and public policies to lift up working people. She is a contributing editor of Demos’ recent policy book “Everyone’s Economy.”

Click here to learn more about the conference.