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Uncertain Futures – Imaginaries, Narratives, and Calculation in the Economy - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Uncertain Futures: Imaginaries, Narratives, and Calculation in the Economy

Jens Beckert and Richard Bronk


Uncertain Futures considers how economic actors visualize the future and decide how to act in conditions of radical uncertainty. It starts from the premise that since dynamic capitalist economies are characterized by relentless innovation and novelty, they exhibit an indeterminacy that cannot be reduced to measurable risk. The organizing question then becomes how economic actors form expectations and make decisions despite the uncertainty they face. The current microfoundations of standard economics cannot handle genuinely uncertain futures. Instead, uncertainty requires an entirely new model ... More

Keywords: calculative devices, economic decision-making, expectations, forecasting, future, imaginaries, innovation, narratives, radical uncertainty

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2018 Print ISBN-13: 9780198820802
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2018 DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198820802.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Jens Beckert, editor
Director of the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies, Cologne

Richard Bronk, editor
Visiting Fellow, European Institute, London School of Economics and Political Science

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1 An Introduction to Uncertain Futures

Jens Beckert and Richard Bronk

Section I The Nature of Expectations in Modern Political Economies

4 Arctic Futures

Jenny Andersson

Section II The Strange World of Economic Forecasting

Section III The Role of Narratives and Planning in Central Banking

8 A Tractable Future

Douglas R. Holmes

9 Central Bank Planning

Benjamin Braun

Section IV Constructing Futures in Finance

10 Predicted Uncertainty

Elena Esposito

11 Uncertain Meanings of Risk

Natalia Besedovsky

Section V Managing Expectations in Innovative Businesses

12 Processing the Future

Martin Giraudeau