Animal Spirits Revisited: Toward an Affective History of Capitalism

Thursday Lecture Series, Hide and Seek

March 22, 2012 Thursday, 12:15pm EDT The Heyman Center, Columbia University

Professor Lears’s talk aimed to broaden and deepen the concept of “animal spirits,” which John Maynard Keynes used to identify the visceral urges motivating investors. Keynes challenged the rational actor model of classical economics, and Lears pushed the challenge further, to propose a historical framework for understanding the relationship between capitalism and emotional life—on the shop floor as well as the trading floor, for workers as well as managers.