Virtue, Fortune, and Faith
A Genealogy of Finance
Publication Year: 2005
Published by: University of Minnesota Press
Series: Barrows Lectures
Series Page, Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
This book discusses how modern finance has acquired the reputation of economic necessity and scientific respectability when less than two centuries ago it stood condemned as irreputable gambling and fraud. The United States Magazine and Democratic Review argued that trading in stocks and credit certificates “has opened a road to the possession of great means ...
Introduction: Money and Representation
In November 1987 American artist J. S. G. Boggs was ordered to appear before London’s Central Criminal Court (also known as the Old Bailey) to face charges brought against him by the Bank of England under the 1981 Forgery and Counterfeiting Act. Boggs was charged with neither forgery nor counterfeiting but with reproducing British banknotes without consent of the Bank of England. ...
1. A Genealogy of Finance
In the same week in May/June 2000, two international reports statistically assessing Western societies, including Britain, were published. The first report was published by the United Nation’s children’s fund, UNICEF, and presents a comprehensive study of children’s health, wealth, opportunities, and education in twenty-three industrialized countries ...
2. Mastering Lady Credit
I have argued that the representation of financial history as a legend, in which the use of shells, the minting of coin, the invention of paper money, and the creation of credit are seen as logical subsequent steps in monetary evolution, abstracts modern financial instruments from their political, and often violent, histories. ...
3. Finance, Gambling, and Speculation
In April 1998 a Moscow Court declared certain financial instruments in breach of Russian antigambling laws. The court argued that a certain type of derivative, called a “nondeliverable forward contract,” was best viewed as a betting contract as it did not lead to any exchange of underlying assets and was therefore not enforceable under the Russian Civil Code. ...
4. The Dow Jones Average and the Birth of the Financial Market
In DeLillo’s novel Underworld, this dialogue takes place between a white Italian American from the Bronx and a black American from St. Louis, Missouri. Although both men are in their forties and have well-paid corporate jobs, ...
5. Regulation and Risk in Contemporary Markets
As I have argued, the political contestations surrounding the boundary between finance and gambling, the morality of speculation, and the meaning of the free market lasted well into the twentieth century. ...
6. Repoliticizing Financial Practices
The purpose of this final chapter is to discuss how resisting a linear and frictionless history of finance opens up possibilities for political dissent and alternatively imagined financial futures. I have argued that financial practices exist as exclusionary discourses—which, historically and continually, exclude that which is deemed external to the financial domain. ...
Conclusion: Objectivity and Irony in the Dot-Com Bubble
In the midst of current controversies, triggered by the end of the so-called dot-com boom, the collapse of Enron, and the U.S. analysts scandal, the legitimacy of financial practices is to be rescued again with appeals to objectivity and disinterestedness. ...