Chapter 29: Business
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Business is approached as a mental orientation directing human activity towards making profit. In terms of Braudel's three tiers of economic historical development, business in this sense is barely discernible in the first tier, takes shape in the second and becomes luminous in the third. The chapter briefly reviews the recent rise of business anthropology and considers the role of anthropology within business enterprises and business schools. It then suggests that the mental orientation of business arises out of recognition that cultural flows are driven by the forces of interest and inertia, with profit occurring through unsettling inertial flows and capturing those driven by interest. From this perspective, the modern for-profit corporation is an institution designed to capture interest-driven flows. The chapter concludes with speculations about the future of the business mindset, with capitalism routinising social relations while simultaneously re-enchanting a rationalised world through forms of magic.

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