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The Bang after the Boom: Understanding Financialization

  • Milton Friedman hung up the phone in disgruntlement. The most influential economist of the postwar era had just called three different banks, one in Chicago and then two in New York, in order to initiate a financial transaction. He wanted to sell short $300,000 in pound sterling. Short selling is a technique for speculating on falling prices. Initially, speculators can only speculate on rising prices: they buy something and hope that it gains value, so that they can sell it at a profit. If the price for this asset goes down instead, the speculator incurs a loss when he resells it. So in order to profit from falling prices, speculators need to sell first and buy later – which is indeed possible if what is sold now is in fact only to be delivered a few weeks later. If the speculator is right and prices fall in the interim, he can buy cheap just before delivery is due and thus profit from having already sold what, at the time, he had not yet owned.

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Author:Alexander Engel
Parent Title (English):Zeithistorische Forschungen - Studies in Contemporary History
Publisher:ZZF – Centre for Contemporary History: Zeithistorische Forschungen
Place of publication:Potsdam
Document Type:Journal Article
Date of Publication (online):2015/12/09
Date of first Publication:2015/12/09
Release Date:2019/07/17
Volume Number:12
First Page:500
Last Page:510
ZZF Regional-Classification:ohne regionalen Schwerpunkt
ZZF Chronological-Classification:1945-
21. Jahrhundert
ZZF Topic-Classification:Politik
Transnationale Geschichte
Global History
Internationale Beziehungen
Portal:Zeithistorische Forschungen
Zeithistorische Forschungen: Originalbeiträge:3 / 2015 Vermarktlichung
Licence (German):License LogoZZF - Clio Lizenz