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The connexionnist nature of modern financial markets. Challenges and possible outcomes

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  • Isabelle Huault

    ()
    (DRM - Dauphine Recherches en Management - CNRS : UMR7088 - Université Paris Dauphine - Paris IX)

  • Hélène Rainelli-Le Montagner

    ()
    (GREGOR - IAE de Paris)

Abstract

The recent financial crisis has triggered radical criticism against financial markets. In this paper, we propose to analyse this criticism in the perspective drawn by Boltanski and Thevenot (1991/2006) around the notion of justification. We see the main debate as opposing the critics and the defenders of what can be identified as a Market order (Boltanski and Thevenot, 1991/2006). While the former regret the consequences of deregulation in financial markets, the latter insist on the preservation of regulatory options favouring market activity as much as possible. This debate however relies on the hypothesis that financial markets in general fit the ideal-type of the Walrasian market model. While this hypothesis might make sense as regards the description of stock markets (this refers to the so called market efficiency issue), it appears unrealistic when applied to the majority of modern financial markets. At least 80% of those are OTC markets where bilateral contracts are exchanged between counterparties in the absence of any centralized structure. Our thesis is that to be useful, a critical perspective on financial markets should take full account of the nature of OTC markets, which guarantees neither the transparency of prices nor the efficiency of competition mechanisms. We propose to characterize this nature using Boltanski and Chiapello's concept (1999/2008) of the Connexionnist World. We then emphasize the difficulty of the connexionnist grammar of worth to develop principles of justice in OTC markets, which are characterized by their despatialization and the infinity of potential members. We suggest potential tracks to struggle more efficiently against the drifts of the connexionnist logic as they arise on financial markets and their spillover effects on societies. The contribution of the paper is thus to provide a more precisely targeted critique of modern financial markets.

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Paper provided by HAL in its series Post-Print with number halshs-00506961.

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Date of creation: 01 Jul 2010
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Publication status: Published - Presented, Egos colloquium, 2010, Portugal
Handle: RePEc:hal:journl:halshs-00506961

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Keywords: connexionism; social studies of finance; critical theory;

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