Fictional Expectations in the World of Technology, Entrepreneurship, and Finance

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Abstract

Combining insights from history of technology and history of finance, I compare the future orientation in four cases representing different themes, times, and places: - Saving for the unexpected. The founding of savings banks as an educational endeavour learning the poor to plan for an uncertain future.- Selling the future – the inventor Ellehammer, his dream of flying, and other examples of entrepreneurial make-believe-games. - Innovate! The fourth industrial revolution as innovation-speak with real-world consequences. - Staying competitive. The fictional expectations that changed savings banks from self-governing institutions to joint stock companies. The paper is inspired by the literature on futures imagined, especially Beckert’s concept ‘fictional expectations’ understood as a fundamental force fuelling the dynamics of modern capitalist economies (Beckert 2016). It is also inspired by the so-called Maintainers’ critique of ‘innovation-speak’ and buzzwords like disruption (Vinsel/Russell 2020). The cases are all examples of future orientation as a practice with far-reaching consequences. By combining them, I seek to explore fictional expectations as an ordinary way of promoting change and handling uncertainty, and to discuss these expectations as a kind of tightrope walking between necessity and delusion.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2021
Publication statusPublished - 2021
EventNordic Science and Technology Studies Conference 2021: STS and the Future as a Matter of Collective Concern - Copenhagen Business School, Frederiksberg, Denmark
Duration: 20 May 202121 May 2021
https://www.tilmeld.dk/nosts2021/conference

Conference

ConferenceNordic Science and Technology Studies Conference 2021
LocationCopenhagen Business School
CountryDenmark
CityFrederiksberg
Period20/05/202121/05/2021
Internet address

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