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Tulane Anthropology Colloquium Series 2018-2019

Uptown Campus

Featuring Bill Maurer, University of California Irvine, Professor of Anthropology, Law, and Criminology

Renaissance double-entry bookkeeping provided a vision of truth. It derived from a specific moral order (the subject as orator of his moral progress), instituted a new way of understanding "facts," and centrally animated the economic relations of capitalism. Others have argued that these relations found their fullest form––relying crucially on doubleentry––in the transatlantic slave trade. If double-entry heralded the slave trade, what do new technologies of accounting, like the distributed ledgers of blockchain, portend? They also derive from a specific moral order, arising in technolibertarian or anarcho-libertarian philosophies, and very specific notions of the economy as 'agoric' (an evocation of ancient Greek systems of political domination). This talk outlines the state of play of blockchain as an accounting device and its implications for new forms of political domination in computational guise.

Anthropology Department