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Aerial of housing suburb

The asset economy: inclusion, exclusion, debt

Asset ownership and the new inequality
Young Australians are in danger of being the first generation in memory to have lower living standards than their parents’ generation. Is generational progress no longer guaranteed?

Pre-pandemic, “precarious” was commonly used to describe many Australian’s lives: those balancing the debt required to be in the housing market; those in insecure work; and the future of many young Australians. COVID exposed the fragility of a system has become increasingly short term and precarious.

What is the future of asset-sharing? How is the line of inheritance redrawing our society – are we going back to an old class line – those with property and those without? 


The speakers

Lisa is Head of the School of Social and Political Sciences at the University of Sydney. Her home Department is Sociology and Social Policy. She is also an Academy of Finland Distinguished Professor (2015-19). She has previously held Chairs in Sociology at the University of Manchester and at Goldsmiths, University of London. She has served as a member of the Australian Research Council's College of Experts (Social, Behavioural and Economic Sciences Panel), 2011-13.

Lisa’s contributions and interventions in the discipline of Sociology lie in the areas of economic sociology, social theory and feminist theory. Her recent research has focused on the restructuring of labour, money and time in the context of the growth of finance. A book based on this research –The Time of Money – was published in 2018 by Stanford University Press as part of the Currencies: New Thinking for Financial Times series. Along with Melinda Cooper and Martijn Konings, she is currently Directing a Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences Strategic Research Theme on Asset Ownership and the New Inequality. This is one of six Faculty Strategic Research Themes collectively known as FutureFix. Lisa is also joint editor-in-chief of the journal Australian Feminist Studies (Routledge/Taylor&Francis).

Gareth is a political economist at the University of Sydney. He works as a senior lecturer in the Department of Political Economy and as economist-in-residence with the Sydney Policy Lab.

Gareth researches how public policy and public finance can create more sustainable, equal and democratic economies. His research has focused on issues including climate change, higher education, housing, labour and Indigenous justice. This research crosses the disciplines of heterodox economics, economic geography and economic sociology.

Gareth is the author of Carbon Markets in a Climate-Changing Capitalism (Cambridge University Press, 2019). His research has been published in a range of academic journals including Environment and Planning A: Economy and SpaceAntipodeEnergy Policy, the Annals of the American Association of Geographers and New Political Economy.

Martijn's research interests are at the intersection of political economy and social theory, with a focus on money and finance especially in the US context. He has published books on the historical development of American finance; the psychological dimensions of money and capitalism; neoliberalism; and risk and speculation in contemporary financial governance.

Martijn's current research is on the way logics of asset ownership are transforming contemporary capitalism, which is linked to his SOAR fellowship “Towards a democracy of asset-owners?” and the FASS Strategic Research Theme “Asset ownership and the new inequality”. With Melinda Cooper, Martijn is editing a new book series, Currencies: New Thinking for Financial Times, published by Stanford University Press.

Sophia is a lecturer and the Ian Fell Post-doctoral Research Fellow at the University of Sydney, where she is researching the role of technology in ‘smart homes’ as a locus to address future environmental and social challenges.

Prior to joining the University of Sydney, Sophia was a postdoctoral researcher on the EU funded Programmable City Project where she investigated the digital transformation of cities and urban governance. In particular, she worked on the development of the Dublin Dashboard, a city metrics indicator designed to provide Dublin City Council and the residents of Dublin with real-time and relevant data on the City’s performance.

Sophia has also worked in the Enabling Built Environments Program at the University of New South Wales, specifically on a project that investigated how and why people with a disability were undertaking DIY home modifications. Her particular expertise is in understanding the intersection of the material, digital and the human and how this effects lived experience.

Laurence is Lecturer in Urbanism in the School of Architecture Design and Planning. His research focuses on urban renewal, the governance or urban change, the economies of housing and urban development, and the role of urbanisation in shaping modern society.

Laurence’s recent research focusses on the role of the higher density multi-unit residential development sector in Australia in driving urban change, funding models for social affordable housing, and the relationship between precarious employment and housing and implications for modern Australian society.

Prior to joining the University of Sydney, Laurence was a research fellow and lecturer in at City Futures Research Centre, UNSW Sydney, where he worked on a range of housing, urban renewal and urban governance research. He was part of a team that was awarded both the NSW (2016) and National (2017) Planning Institute of Australia (PIA) Award for Planning Excellence in Research and Teaching.

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