How to build a stock exchange: on the past, present and future of finance

    Research output: Book/ReportBook


    What is the stock market, and why is it always on the news? Why is finance so important? How do stock markets work and what do they really do? Financial markets are an inescapable part of the modern world but remain poorly understood. How to Build a Stock Exchange sets out to answer these questions by way of a journey through the histories and narratives of finance, combining meticulous historical-sociological research with anecdote, reflections on the narratives and ideologies of finance, and the author’s autobiographical reminiscences. The book takes the stock exchange both as an institution in its own right and as a rhetorical figure to explore finance more broadly. It focuses on the material and technological drivers of the markets, as well as the social relationships and rituals that keep markets functioning. It identifies exchanges as embedded in specific historical and political trajectories, showing the mutually constitutive relationship of modern nation states and financial markets. It shows how financial institutions are equally constituted by narratives, which work to set rules of participation, identity, and conduct. Most of all, it makes the case that stock exchanges – and the other institutions of finance – are products of chance and circumstance. Finance, it argues, is a social technology: a reflection of its makers. While the stock exchange as we know it is central to so many contemporary global problems it is not, the book suggests, entirely beyond change.

    Original languageEnglish
    Place of PublicationBristol
    PublisherBristol University Press
    Number of pages207
    ISBN (Electronic)9781529224344
    ISBN (Print)9781529224313, 9781529224320
    Publication statusPublished - 31 Mar 2023


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