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Framing FinanceThe Boundaries of Markets and Modern Capitalism$
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Alex Preda

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780226679310

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: February 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226679334.001.0001

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

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

(p.172) Chapter Six The Kaleidoscope of Finance: Speculation, Economic Life, and Society
Framing Finance

Alex Preda

University of Chicago Press

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

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