UCD Centre for Innovation, Technology & Organisation

CITO Lecture Series - Uncommon Economies

We started 2021 with a series of lectures inspired by "Uncommon Economies".

Uncommon Economies: Successes, failures, and the circulation of values

This lecture series presents diverse perspectives on the “uncommon economies” that intersect bodies, media, and technologies. These economic realities surround us everyday but mark the exception to ordered life and are, as such, commonly absent from academic scrutiny. This event brings together scholars from across the academy to discuss a set of uncommon socio-technical phenomena, ranging from algorithms to biomedicine.

The tie that binds these diverse approaches is an implicit problematization of the circulation of values. For some of the topics, the values are negative—economic failure, antisocial behaviour, and broken technologies. Yet, the same values offer lessons for designs and architectures that, in relief, portray a truer image of humanity as one with evolving values and norms.


CITO Lecture Series - Uncommon Economies 15

Tuesday April 20th, 2021 at 3pm IST/BST (10am EST)

Diane-Laure Arjalies (Ivey Business School, Western University)

"Cryptocurrencies, Accounting and The Real Economy: The Case of Impak Coin"

What if no money could be produced—hence debt allowed—if transactions in the real economy did not match the overall financial evaluation of the latter? What if the primary role of accounting was to allow a transaction to happen, instead of recording it? Would we see a new form of capitalism arise in which the land of our desires would match the land of our lives? What would be the conditions for such change to happen? This project is a first step towards such an understanding. By analyzing the cryptocurrency impak Coin whose explicit goal is to align the production of value in the real “impact” economy, it aims to uncover the mechanisms through which such a form of valuation and production could be obtained.

For more information, please contact Quinn DuPont (quinn.dupont@ucd.ie)


CITO Lecture Series - Uncommon Economies 14

Tuesday April 13th, 2021 at 3pm IST/BST (10am EST)

Primavera De Filippi (CNRS & Berkman Klein Center)

"Build your own economy: the tokenization of everything"

Blockchain tokens can be used for a variety of functions: from the funding of new initiatives via Initial Coin Offerings, to the selling scarce digital artworks through NFTs. These new value systems are not based on debt (as most fiat currencies are) but rather on value: new tokens are minted when new products or services are created, whose market value will depend on the perceived value that these products or services hold in the eyes of consumers. However, the tokenization of everything also brings the risk of promoting a process of hyper-financialisation of many facets of society that had until recently been protected from speculative dynamics.

For more information, please contact Quinn DuPont (quinn.dupont@ucd.ie)


CITO Lecture Series - Uncommon Economies 13

Tuesday April 6th, 2021 at 3pm IST/BST (10am EST)

Antonia Hernandez (Concordia University)

"On-Demand Intimacy: The Cost and Value of Intimate Exchanges on Chaturbate and OnlyFans"

This lecture examines money and intimacy on two of the leading on-demand intimacy platforms: Chaturbate.com and OnlyFans.com, a webcam sex platform and a platform that provides sexual content by subscription, respectively. While the two platforms share several characteristics, they diverge in their treatment of money and intimate content. While these two platforms have important differences regarding the use of money, they rely on a common infrastructure that includes app marketplaces and payment providers.

For more information, please contact Quinn DuPont (quinn.dupont@ucd.ie)


CITO Lecture Series - Uncommon Economies 12

Monday March 30th, 2021 at 15.00 GMT

Nicholas Bernards (University of Warwick)

"Kenya’s digital financial boom and the colonial histories of financial infrastructures"

Kenya’s digital finance boom is a paradigmatic case of the role of financial technologies (fintech) in development and poverty reduction, both for advocates and critics of fintech. Recent discussions, however, have tended not to closely examine the fundamental unevenness of this boom, in two senses. Drawing on engagements with Marxian conceptions of uneven development and recent debates on financial infrastructures, I link both of these patterns to the durable legacies of the distinctive political economy of colonialism in Kenya. Given the growing importance of Kenya’s digital finance boom in broader policy and academic debates about fintech, this case suggests a need for greater attention to the uneven nature of fintech applications.

For more information, please contact Quinn DuPont (quinn.dupont@ucd.ie)


CITO Lecture Series - Uncommon Economies 11

Tuesday March 23rd, 2021 at 15.00 GMT

Lana Swartz (University of Virginia)

"Scam: Shadowing the Digital Economy"

According to various reports in the popular media, the years 2016, 2018, 2019 were all “year of the scam.” Beyond the headlines and the podcasts, scams are particularly important to understand because the boundaries between legitimate and illegitimate capitalism seem to be in flux. I argue that in order to understand this contestation, we have to understand the role of the Internet in the production of an economy both legitimate and scammy. Social media has proven to be fertile ground for both the cultivation of a world in which scams make sense and the diffusion of scams themselves. Like all forms of economic activity, scams map to communication channels. Why are fictional and documentary content about scams so popular? How does the category of “scams” and the work of “fraud prevention” authorize surveillance and other forms of infrastructural power?

For more information, please contact Quinn DuPont (quinn.dupont@ucd.ie)


CITO Lecture Series - Uncommon Economies 10

Tuesday March 16th, 2021 at 15.00 GMT

Quinn DuPont (UCD)

"Responsibly Governing Consensus: How security technology makes space and place"

Current governance approaches are poorly suited to the remote, distributed, and highly dynamic environments many organizations operate in today. New, sophisticated governance technologies, led by blockchains, are thought to address governance challenges as part of the rising corporate responsibility movement. The key to these security technologies is an ability to create space and place, which can be governed very precisely. To explain how security technologies create and govern space and place, blockchain governance is presented as a case study.

For more information, please contact Quinn DuPont (quinn.dupont@ucd.ie)


CITO Lecture Series - Uncommon Economies 09

Tuesday March 9th, 2021 at 15.00 GMT

Alana Cattapan (Waterloo)

“Surrogacy and the Sharing Economy”

Harnessing the notion of `imagination' we identify a particular solutionist vision materialising across public documents from financial regulators, industry organisations, as well as RegTech and consulting firms. We draw out two failures of the RegTech imagination. First is a failure of dynamism in the way RegTech materialises visions of regulation. Second is a systems failure which focuses on narrower, individual problems in finance. We conclude that RegTech reflects continuities rather than the profound changes its advocates and observers exclaim.

For more information, please contact Quinn DuPont (quinn.dupont@ucd.ie)


CITO Seminar: Towards a Firm for Our Time

Friday March 5th, 2021 at 14:00 GMT

JC Spender

Prof. JC Spender, Research Professor, Kozminski University, Warsaw; Visiting Scholar, Rutgers University, NJ and Visiting Scholar, Fordham University, NY

Abstract

The widely accepted understanding of the firm is deeply flawed and is a serious impediment to policy-making. Indeed there seems to have been little advance in theory since 1937, when the youthful Ronald Coase tweaked economists, charging they could not explain why firms existed, let alone how they worked. Notions of managers making decisions 'scientifically' is not only narrow, it ends up erasing their practice's essential nature and socioeconomic significance. Spender revisits the nature of the firm and argues that managing might be more helpfully understood as entrepreneurship, a value-creating activity often supported by science's facts and reasoning but never 'dominated' by them. The human condition is one of uncertainty, of not-knowing and therefore questing for knowledge; Homo Inquirentes rather than Homo Sapiens. Taking this as the starting point, Spender goes on to explore the implications for the private sector firm and for managing.

Bio

JC Spender is Research Professor at Kozminski University, Warsaw and Visiting Scholar at Rutgers University, New Jersey and Fordham University, New York. He served in RN submarines and worked with Rolls-Royce on nuclear propulsion, IBM on financial computing, and as an investment banker before earning a PhD at the Manchester Business School (UK). Retired in 2003 as Dean of the School of Business & Technology at FIT/SUNY (New York).
He has published 8 books, and over100 journal articles and book chapters. His most recent book is titled Business Strategy: Managing Uncertainty, Opportunity, and Enterprise (Oxford UP 2014) and is about managing a business's creative responses to uncertainty (‘business model innovation’). He also writes about the theory and ethics of the firm, business strategy, and the history of management education. He is Commissioning Editor for the Cambridge University Press Elements in Business Strategy. In 2014 he was awarded an honorary doctorate in economics by the Lund University School of Economics & Management. https://jcspender.com


CITO Lecture Series - Uncommon Economies 08

Tuesday March 2nd, 2021 at 15.00 GMT

Malcolm Campbell-Verduyn and Marc Lenglet

"`#Imagination Fail': RegTech in Finance"

Harnessing the notion of `imagination' we identify a particular solutionist vision materialising across public documents from financial regulators, industry organisations, as well as RegTech and consulting firms. We draw out two failures of the RegTech imagination. First is a failure of dynamism in the way RegTech materialises visions of regulation. Second is a systems failure which focuses on narrower, individual problems in finance. We conclude that RegTech reflects continuities rather than the profound changes its advocates and observers exclaim.

For more information, please contact Quinn DuPont (quinn.dupont@ucd.ie)


CITO Lecture Series - Uncommon Economies 07

Tuesday February 23rd, 2021 at 15.00 GMT

Kalpana Shankar (UCD)

“Research funding, responsible evaluation, and missing data”

Although research funders wield enormous power over knowledge production and science policy, their decision-making processes are opaque. The inner workings of funding agencies involve numerous stakeholders, processes, and data; like other complex institutions they rely on an evidence base that supports and reflects individual and collective decision-making and personal judgement, but little of this data is available for scrutiny and what is available internationally is uneven. Building on some of the work my research team and I have been doing over the last two and a half years, I want to use this opportunity to think through how this gap in transparency and accountability of public sector funding bodies is intertwined with funding allocation and responsible evaluation - and why that matters for how and what research is valued.

For more information, please contact Quinn DuPont (quinn.dupont@ucd.ie)


CITO Lecture Series - Uncommon Economies 06

Tuesday February 16th, 2021 at 15.00 GMT

Koray Caliskan (New School)

“The Rise and Fall of Electra: An Ethnography of a Cryptocurrency Project”

Electra was developed in 2017 by a young man who use the pseudonym Electra01. Following its emergence in cryptocurrency markets in 2018, it’s market capitalization briefly reached 180 million USD as a result of its original supply mechanism. The coin was designed to lose value, yet to still retain enough to build a community of its own. In 2019, the coin and its community have been regarded as among the most successful projects, winning a prestigious vote organized by Binance, whose research department published a report about its community and technology. The project’s community had written its white paper, and released two new versions, updated its blockchain, developed and maintained a platform that has 40.000 members in a variety of channels, instituted a foundation in the Netherlands, introduced a payment system, and has become the only cryptocurrency project to be accepted to ETA (Electronic Transactions Association). However, following a controversy between its community leaders and its founder, the Electra collapsed as its founder Electra01 decided to dump his own Electras in November 2020, bringing the market capitalization down to less than a million dollars, effectively killing the project. This paper presents a discussion of the rise and fall of a cryptocurrency project drawing on two years of fieldwork among its community and interviews with its anonymous founder who accepted to meet me in person. It describes how actors see their engagement in a data money community, how they build and maintain a digital platform, innovate tools of new economization in crypto contexts and finally lose the very platform they stood. The paper ends with a discussion of the future of Electra community whose leading community members are now building a new platform.

For more information, please contact Quinn DuPont (quinn.dupont@ucd.ie)


CITO Lecture Series - Uncommon Economies 05

Tuesday February 9th, 2021 at 15.00 GMT

Vicki Lemieux (UBC)

“Multidisciplinary Blockchain Research and Design: A Case Study in Moving from Theory to Pedagogy to Practice”

The application of multidisciplinary theoretical models in an emerging field of study like blockchain can improve both collaborative learning and solution design, especially by creating a valuable shared language for colleagues from different disciplinary areas. This presentation traces a journey from theory to practice by outlining the origin and development of the theoretical ‘three layer trust model’ for blockchain technologies, discussing the pedagogical utility of this model within a virtual education setting, and describing a student’s application of the learned model in a technical blockchain product design setting. By providing a thorough grounding in the complex multidisciplinary balance involved in designing blockchain systems (and adding the reflections of participants in this multi-setting focal design application) the presentation outlines the potential value of such theoretical models to establish shared language for complex concepts across disciplinary divides.

For more information, please contact Quinn DuPont (quinn.dupont@ucd.ie)


CITO Lecture Series - Uncommon Economies 04

Tuesday February 2nd, 2021 at 15.00 GMT

Wessel Reijers (EUI)

“Social Credit: The Circulation of Reputational Value”

Since 2014, China has been implementing a comprehensive programme to introduce a Social Credit System. The programme has a sweeping ambition, though it is to date only partly implemented, and aims to subject virtually all societal interaction to an assessment of trustworthiness. China’s initiative goes well beyond Western practices of credit scoring precisely because it stretches the notion of trustworthiness from the purely financial realm to the realm of reputation and morality. And yet, we see a similar shift in Western countries, considering the rise of reputation mechanisms on Internet platforms, in the crypto sphere, but also on the local level. On a speculative note, we might be witnessing a re-emergence of an ethics of reciprocity (think of the Thomist idea of a “just price”) in the political economy. In this talk, I will do three things. First, I will give a high-level overview of China’s Social Credit System. Second, I will situate this within a broader context of emerging reputational mechanisms. Third, I will raise some critical questions concerning the new trend: 1) what it means for the relation between the public and private sphere, 2) what it means for the distinction between law and morality, and 3) how it affects our understanding of civic virtue.

For more information, please contact Quinn DuPont (quinn.dupont@ucd.ie)


CITO Lecture Series - Uncommon Economies 03

Tuesday January 26th, 2021 at 15.00 GMT

John McCallig (UCD)

“Reporting on Receivables: Designing Trust into Accounting Systems”

Investors and other external users of financial statements need to be able to trust that the financial statements reflect the economic reality of the firm’s business. The research objective of this paper is to design a system that allows external users to trust that an entity’s individual receivables balances are accepted as obligations by these counterparties and are aggregated properly, without disclosing the individual balances that make up the total for receivables. The paper uses a design science research approach, to design and build an artefact that achieves its research objectives, by using Shamir [1979] secret sharing to provide privacy, and a blockchain and smart contracts to provide public access to total receivables.

For more information, please contact Quinn DuPont (quinn.dupont@ucd.ie)


CITO Lecture Series - Uncommon Economies 02

Tuesday January 19th, 2021 at 15.00 GMT

Ryan Deschamps (Waterloo)

“Schrödinger's Threats: Uncertainty and Risk in the case of Quantum and Side-channel Cybersecurity”

Since 2011, countries across the United Nations have been developing plans to increase their resilience against disastrous global cyberattacks to critical infrastructure with potential cost of life. While existing prevention efforts can help manage traditional cyberattacks, they are useless against the small but growing risk of cyberattacks via quantum 'supreme' computers and so-called 'side channel' attacks. While the technical solutions for many quantum and side-channel attacks are already underway, it is an open question about how little or much attention our social institutions should spend to address such low probability but high-risk concerns. This presentation provides a lay explanation of quantum and back-channel cybersecurity challenges, arguing that a policy design approach can offer a robust response to these and other problems where scientific solutions outmode the social and economic will to apply them.

For more information, please contact Quinn DuPont (quinn.dupont@ucd.ie)


CITO Lecture Series - Uncommon Economies 01

Tuesday January 12th, 2021 at 15.00 GMT

Paul Cuffe (UCD)

“The Electricity Industry: It's boringly reliable and we mostly trust the incumbents. So, is there a role for blockchain at all?”

For more information, please contact Quinn DuPont (quinn.dupont@ucd.ie)


CITO seminar: Meaningful Work and Hermeneutics

Wednesday December 9th, 2020 at 16.30 GMT

Todd Mei

Todd Mei is founder of the public philosophy and consultation organization Philosophy2u. He calls himself a `public philosopher’. It involves adapting abstract concepts and ideas from philosophy and employing them to frame new ways of understanding work as meaningful and virtuous beyond obligatory, functional or mere utilitarian views.

Abstract

Meaningful work is the idea that work holds an important role in the flourishing of societies and individuals. While there are many debates about what meaningful work is and whether we should take it seriously, this talk will focus on what I call the work-flourishing gap (WFG). Because work is a physical activity, there tends to be controversy as to how it can participate in those kinds of intellectual and imaginative activities we tend to associate with self-actualisation and flourishing. I will discuss how Paul Ricoeur’s hermeneutical theory of action (based on speech acts) can help dissolve the WFG by demonstrating how the activity of work bears features of linguistic meaning. This linguistic claim enables us to see work as more than just a bare physical phenomenon; it is communicative in the broad sense of being assertoric (locutionary), conventional (illocutionary), and transformative (perlocutionary). I will conclude with a reflection on some practical examples.


Discover our Rankings and Accreditations