Note to self: when writing a narrative account of a historical development or transformation, always consider the population for whom it transformed for the most, and form whom it transformed for the least. This reflection is in part a response to Davis (2009) Managed by the Markets: How Finance Re-Shaped America. In Davis’ historical account, Davis focuses on how the character of “the social institution of the corporation” seems to have changed as a result of financialization. Davis does not stop to ask for whom the corporate institution has changed the most, and for whom it has changed the least. Instead, the narrative Davis pursues is a narrative of how the institution of the corporation lost its sense of paternal responsibility to its employees. Regardless of one’s political stance, I think it is important to consider that there were always those for whom the institution of the corporation never performed paternal responsibilities and, likewise, there are still those for whom corporations do perform their responsibilities. Only telling one story of transformation is likely distortive and potentially alienating.
The first modern stock exchange was established in 1602 in Amsterdam to trade paper stock certificates of the Dutch East India Company. Stock exchanges have since transformed into complex digital infrastructures spanning the globe. There are now nearly 300 exchanges. In 2018 I began building a database of world stock exchanges based on data obtained from Handbook of World Stock, Derivatives and Commodity Exchanges. At http://automatedfutures.net/map/ you can explore the history of stock exchanges.
Thinking a lot about Fourier transform, compositionality, interference, and what it means for the process of history, as layers of the present invariably distort the past, even when the past is preserved in fragments of the present.