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“The prominence of a new kind of speculative finance capital in organizing global order and disorder is a topic of vital contemporary importance. By addressing this topic, this short, clear account advances the somewhat muddled debates over economic globalization.” — Craig Calhoun, president of the Social Science Research Council
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LiPuma and Lee explain how derivatives are essentially wagers—often on the fluctuations of national currencies—based on models that aggregate and price risk. They describe how these financial instruments are changing the face of capitalism, undermining the power of nations and perpetrating a new and less visible form of domination on postcolonial societies. As they ask: How does one know about, let alone demonstrate against, an unlisted, virtual, offshore corporation that operates in an unregulated electronic space using a secret proprietary trading strategy to buy and sell arcane financial instruments? LiPuma and Lee provide a necessary look at the obscure but consequential role of financial derivatives in the global economy.
Edward LiPuma is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Miami. He is the author of Encompassing Others: The Magic of Modernity in Melanesia and coeditor of Bourdieu: Critical Perspectives.
Benjamin Lee is Professor of Anthropology and Philosophy at New School University and Dean of its Graduate Faculty of Political and Social Science. He is the author of Talking Heads: Language, Metalanguage, and the Semiotics of Subjectivity (published by Duke University Press) and coeditor of Semiotics, Self, and Society.
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