Sosc 1340 - 20 th
jan – lecture
“this prejudice [against bankers] has prove dangerous. Without money to grease them, the wheels of
commerce turn slowly or not at all...the rise of banking has often been accompanied by flowering of
civilization” (the economist, jan 7, 2012 pg. 60)
“the bank, the fifty-thousand acre owner cant be responsible. You're on land that isn't yours
“maybe there's nobody to shoot. Maybe the thing isn't men at all maybe like you said, the property's
doing it” (Joe Davis' son, the tractor driver)
Creative Readings: Steinbeck, Rice and Garret (The rest are social scientific)
−what do the creative readings tell us about the relation between business and society?
−'weaving biography into history' – mills
−i'll be using concepts drawn from past readings to analyze these creative readings
−'externalities' (unemployment, environment degradation, individual identity)
−2 'logics of value': market value vs social value
the great depression
the dust bowl
Historical Context: The Great Depression
−US State's response after the 1929 stock market crash informed by dominant economic theory
−economic results: Output fell by 30%, unemployment hit 25-30%, bankruptcies soared,
particularly among farmers in American prairies.
−Economic crisis intensified by the “Dust Bowl”
−Literal Reading: a story about tenant farmers (the Joad Family) being kicked off the land during
some hard times in Oklahoma
−How is the story told? What's a 'sharecropper'?
−Tragedy: not simply as unhappiness, but as the ruthless working out of a chain of events
−Symbolism: the corporation as 'monster'
−a parable of enclosures: kicking farmers off the land to add them to the reserve army of labour
(the rest of the tragedy unfolds in California)
−what is the bank doing and why?
−Banking is evicting tenant farmers from the land because it has found a more profitable way to
use it: “ one man on a tractor can tar the place of 12 to 14 families. Pay him a wage and take all
the crop.” (p. 34)
−tractor (technology) the cause of dispossession
−why cant the bank wait until the drought is over? “ they breathe profits; they eat the interest on
money” (p 33)