The Kaleidoscope of Finance: Speculation, Economic Life, and Society

Alex Preda

in Framing Finance

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print July 2009 | ISBN: 9780226679310
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226679334 | DOI:
The Kaleidoscope of Finance: Speculation, Economic Life, and Society

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A device like the ticker, together with the associated interpretations, reinforced and put into practice the requirements formulated by investment manuals. The investor was represented as a kind of scientist. But how could this scientist integrate into the grand picture of national economies? This required ethical and political re-conceptualizations of finance. This chapter deals with the justification of financial markets as “functional.” The investor-cum-scientists could not be anything but a responsible family member and a good citizen, who contributes to the national welfare by their activities. Accordingly, political economists began legitimizing investment activities as fulfilling economic functions, a discourse which simply contrasted with the eighteenth-century view of investments as bad passions. Political utopias envisaged a better society based on financial investments. Finally, the chapter explores the functionalist justification of stock exchanges, as well as their transformation into national symbols, inextricably connected with state power.

Keywords: economic life; society; re-conceptualizations of finance; financial markets; national welfare; investment activities; economic functions; stock exchanges; financial investments

Chapter.  10635 words. 

Subjects: Sociology

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