Inequality and the Wealth Management Profession

Public Lecture

Brooke Harrington (Professor of Economic Sociology, Copenhagen Business School) will give a lecture within the scope of the Summer School “Finanzsystem und Gesellschaft“ that is organized in cooperation with the excellence cluster “Normative Orders”. Afterwards Jan Pieter Krahnen (Professor of Finance, Goethe-Universität) will open the following discussion with a comment.

Short Description of the Lecture's Content

Eight people own as much wealth as the 3.6 billion people who constitute the poorer 50% of humanity. How did we get there? Who made this happen? These are among the main empirical questions motivating Brooke Harrington's research on offshore finance and wealth management. in her lecture, she will discuss how her research contributes to the sociology of stratification, law and professions. She will argue that wealth should be central in the study of inequality. Second, she will show how offshore finance and the wealth management profession are provoking a reconfiguration of state power relative to global economic elites; one consequence of this is an increasing lawlessness among the ultra-rich, of which tax avoidance is just one symptom. In addition, Harrington will discuss her method of immersion ethnography — training for two years to be a wealth manager, in order to gather data from 65 practitioners in 18 tax havens — and how this approach reveals aspects of inequality obscured by structural and statistical approaches.

The lecture is based on Harrington’s recent book, Capital without Borders: Wealth Managers and the One Percent (2016, Harvard University Press).

Please register here: info(at)finanzsystem-und-gesellschaft(dot)de

For further information please click here.

Lecture Poster (PDF)