Insurance is an important – if still poorly understood – mechanism for dealing with a broad variety of risks associated with modern life.
This book conducts an in-depth examination of one of the largest and longest-established private insurance industries in Europe: British life insurance. In doing so, it draws on over 40 oral history interviews to trace how the sector is changed since the 1970s, a period characterised by rampant financialisation and neoliberalisation.
Combining insights from science and technology studies and economic sociology, this is an unprecedented study of the evolution of insurance practices and an invaluable contribution to our understanding of financial capitalism.
Why is finance so important? How do stock markets work and what do they really do? Most importantly, what might finance be and what could we expect from it?
Exploring contemporary finance via the development of stock exchanges, markets and the links with states, Roscoe mingles historical and technical detail with humorous anecdotes and lively portraits of market participants.
Deftly combining research and autobiographical vignettes, he offers a cautionary tale about the drive of financial markets towards expropriation, capture and exclusion. Positioning financial markets as central devices in the organisation of the global economy, he includes contemporary concerns over inequality, climate emergency and (de)colonialism and concludes by wondering, in the market’s own angst-filled voice, what the future for finance might be, and how we might get there.
31 Mar 2023
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