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Why Digitalization is Prior to Financialization

From Rise of the Robots, by Martin Ford, loc 1053-1069:

Virtually all of the financial innovations that have arisen in recent decades—including, for example, collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) and exotic financial derivatives—would not have been possible without access to powerful computers. Likewise, automated trading algorithms are now responsible for nearly two-thirds of stock market trades, and Wall Street firms have built huge computing centers in close physical proximity to exchanges in order to gain trading advantages measured in tiny fractions of a second. Between 2005 and 2012, the average time to execute a trade dropped from about 10 seconds to just 0.0008 seconds, 64 and robotic, high-speed trading was heavily implicated in the May 2010 “flash crash” in which the Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged nearly a thousand points and then recovered for a net gain, all within the space of just a few minutes. Viewed from this perspective, financialization is not so much a competing explanation for our six economic trends; it is rather—at least to some extent—one of the ramifications of accelerating information technology.

Categories: Finance and Economy The Political Economy of Digital Capitalism The Technological History of Digital Capitalism

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