Here’s my new project: a podcast! It’s titled How To Build a Stock Exchange: Making Finance Fit for the Future. It’s a story of stock markets and how they came to be so important in our world. It will feature my own work and showcase the research of the sociological studies of finance as it builds an account of the evolution of financial markets and their place in a responsible, sustainable future. I introduce it as follows:
Finance matters. We’re off to build a stock exchange, but first of all I’ll spend a little time explaining why financial markets matter. This episode explores how financial markets – a crucial mechanism for the distribution of wealth – are implicated in our present political malaise and looks at some of the ways that finance has squeezed us over the last three decades.
Episode One is called ‘Finance Matters and here’s how it starts…
A famous philosopher once said – ‘It is not from the benevolence of
the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we expect our dinner, but
from their regard to their own interest.’ It was Adam Smith, of course,
born not far down the road from me in Kirkcaldy, Scotland, and the
father of modern economics. He once walked to neighbouring Dunfermline
in his dressing gown, apparently, so deep was he in thoughts, musings
like this, and ‘Nobody but a beggar chuses to depend chiefly upon the
benevolence of his fellow-citizens.’
From those words, published in 1776, a whole global order has sprung.
We can call it capitalism, and at its centre lies a strange entity, so
much part of our lives that we simply take it for granted.
I’m talking about the stock exchange…
You can find transcripts and audio here, or follow on iTunes, Spotify, or Stitcher.
The title says it all! I’ve been shortlisted for the Deutscher Wirtschaftsbuchpreis, an award for non-fiction books on topics related to business, economics and markets, and sponsored by Handelsblatt, the German business daily, and Goldman Sachs. It’s a big deal, presided over by a jury of ten luminaries from the German business world. I’m on the list of ten finalists with, inter alia, Michael Lewis, for Flash Boys, and Thomas Piketty… That’s company!
Here’s the full listing and press release: Wirtschaftsbuchpreis press release
Postscript: Michael Lewis won the prize, and here he is discussing he book at the evening presentation which took place at the Frankfurt Book Fair on 9 October. Take a look at the books on the table, and I’m second from the right.
Photo from the Handelsblatt website, http://www.handelsblatt.com/panorama/kultur-literatur/wirtschaftsbuchpreis/zehn-klassiker-von-morgen-wirtschaftsbuchpreis-2014-so-wurde-der-sieger-gefeiert/10819918.html?slp=false&p=10&a=false#image
I wasn’t sure whether to be happy or not when tasked with reviewing ‘the big book that everyone’s talking about’, as Karen Shook, books editor of Times Higher Education put it. The Thomas Piketty review has turned into a flourishing genre of its own – phrases like magnum opus and a definite acquaintance with nineteenth century French literature are ‘de rigueur’. For a ten-step guide on how to do your own, see this brilliant piece in the Washington Post.
Still, at least it got me to read the book, and my review in THE is available here. I think I deserve a prize for spotting the Aristocats footnote too…