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Chapter 4 returns to London’s jobbers in the final years of the London Stock Exchange’s face-to-face trading (circa 1960 until October 1986). The stockjobbers practised an ambulatory form of trading, circulating around pitches on the floor of the Old House, and using a system of spoken deals based on ‘my word is my bond’. Conservative social structures made the institution durable but prevented change. This chapter introduces the hierarchical structures of the exchange, the apprenticeships served by new clerks, and the subsequent career progression of its members. These are presented through oral testimonies and archival sources. The chapter characterizes the Exchange as a struggling institution, little able to adapt to difficult economic times. Yet its long-standing traditions and practices were soon to be swept away by the changes of the 1980s.
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 anecdotes, 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.
Chapter 9 moves to the dotcom bubble of 1999. It introduces an autobiographical element, reflecting on the author’s own experiences as a financial journalist during this period. It then picks up the story of the founding of OFEX, a small company-focused stock exchange, which emerged from the London Stock Exchange’s own over-the-counter (OTC) rules. It highlights the role of technology in this development, centring on the Stock Exchange’s ‘non-SEAQ’ screen. The chapter concludes with an account of the growing business of financing dotcom start-ups, and the cultural circuit in which the author was active as a journalist, all of it paid for by other people’s money, or OPM.
Widespread outrage at police violence, fatal shootings, and deaths in police custody created the current international protest movements and calls to Defund the Police. However, as shown in previous chapters, there is a long history to protests against police violence, and there are multiple movements to change policing globally which draw on localised contexts. Police violence is experienced at a local level, however, it has global reach and is pervasive to the institution. It directly costs the lives of tens of thousands of people annually – and many more if we include the numbers of forced disappearances – and leaves incalculable numbers of people with permanent injuries and disabilities. The victims are overwhelmingly from the most marginalised communities whether defined by race, religion, class, Indigeneity, gender, sexual orientation, disability, citizenship, or immigration status, and their various and compounding intersections. One of the main causes of death, disability, and injury for people deprived of their liberty are the acts of violence and use of force by police and other state agents. This chapter sets out what we know about the nature and context of police violence, shootings, and deaths in police custody – including overt violence and the violence of neglect – and it attempts to do so with reference to contexts of both the global north and south. It considers some of the wider drivers which are international but impact on domestic policing such as expanded militarisation, the impact of the war on drugs and the intersection of policing with security forces, border control, and other law enforcement bodies.
Luck greatly influences a person’s quality of life. Yet little of our politics looks at how institutions can amplify good or bad luck that widens social inequality. But societies can change their luck.
Too often debates about inequality focus on the accuracy of data or modeling while missing the greater point about ethics and exploitation. In the wake of growing disparity between the 1% and other classes, this book combines philosophical insights with social theory to offer a much-needed political economy of life chances.
Timcke advances new thought on the role luck plays in redistributive justice in 21st Century capitalism.
Due to his deep engagement with the problem of contingency, this chapter examines the scholarship of Bernard Williams. Williams advanced one of the most nuanced and subtle treatments of contingency, drawing attention to its implications for an ethical evaluation of political practices. His suspicion is that ethical commitments are not subject to a degree of reason but rather turn on inexplicable preferences. Therefore, there is little productive discussion to be had from attempting to reconcile, amalgamate or rank these preferences. That said, Williams’ pessimism in the authority of universalizing moral claims could do with a touch of ironism, as exemplified by the virtues of fortitude, wisdom, self-affirmation and labour. This is not to release either reason or experience from ethical deliberation, but rather to show that they take their orientation from humanistic impulses. The same temperament can be used to address matters of luck in political theory that deal with social inequalities that arise due to luck.
The Prologue takes the reader to the violence and expropriation at the heart of modern finance, via the massacre on the slave ship Zong and the ensuing legal action against the ship’s insurers. It explains how slave merchants built a transatlantic banking system on the bodies of the enslaved, a mechanism that allowed financial flows to break free from the bodily trade and circulate safely, cleanly and swiftly. It suggests that these patterns exist in modern finance, and that they underpinned the 2008 credit crisis. The Prologue introduces the argument of the book, that stock exchanges are social and material technologies with distinct histories.
One of the core public rationales for policing is that it provides a necessary institutional response to protect citizens from crime and to maintain order. This is a powerful rhetoric that plays on people’s fears and insecurities, even where they have witnessed or experienced police violence or the failure of police to provide protection or assistance. This chapter considers perhaps one of the most contested points of argument in calls to Defund the Police: are police necessary to ensure the safety of women against harassment, violence, and sexual assault, and do they provide these outcomes? It is argued that the evidence shows that police as an institution fail to protect women and this particularly (although not exclusively) impacts on specific groups of women from Black, First Nations, Brown, racialised, poor, and other minoritised communities. Rather than protecting women from violence, there are significant failures by police in taking violence against women seriously – through the failure to record reports, to act on information, to investigate serious crimes and through the use of demeaning stereotypes of racialised women. In addition, police are a major source of violence especially for Black, First Nations, women of colour and other marginalised women. The chapter discusses the problems with carceral feminism which underpins the public policy approach to violence against women and its reliance on stronger policing, criminalization, and penal sanctions.
The demonstrations, protests, and uprisings against police internationally, and the rise of the BLM movement, are inextricably connected to police violence and deaths in custody, and especially the deaths of Indigenous, Black, and people of colour. While there is a long history to policing as the violent arm of colonialism and slavery as discussed in Chapter 2, the more recent history of the struggle against police violence arises in the global revolutionary movements of the 1960s and 1970s. The anti-imperialist struggles against the US war in Vietnam and opposition to its interventions and support for dictatorships in Latin America and elsewhere, the anti-apartheid movement, the civil rights movements, the rise of worker’s and student’s militancy, and the women’s rights and gay rights movements, brought a generation of people into direct contact with the ferocity of state power. Police in various countries were at the forefront of often violent repression of these popular movements. The other important lesson from the resistance to police violence is that the popular movements were not simply oppositional – they were concerned with responding to the needs of communities in areas such as access to health, education, legal services, and housing, and in building solidarity across groups. Taking Australia and the US as examples, the struggle against police and state violence was central to the radical politics of the Black Panther and Indigenous liberation movements. The Chapter also explores the Black struggle against police violence in the UK and the various strategies that developed as a result. The chapter concludes that new forms of community-based organisations and resistance grew out of the activist movements which developed in opposition to police violence and racism.
This chapter examines the thought behind the inclination or disinclination to use institutional means to collectivize risk and bad luck. Through providing an overview of the distribution of luck to dispel simplistic analyses of rising inequality, as well as make the case that power and mystification are mechanisms that appeal to the idea of individual bad luck, this chapter shows how appeals to luck enable institutions to back out of welfare commitments.