Friday, 31 August 2018

A history of Bitcoin – told through the five different groups who bought it

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The recent fluctuations in Bitcoin’s value are just the latest in a series of spectacular peaks and troughs since it was created in 2009. (Though its price has been falling recently, it remains five times higher than last April, before the latest major peak began.)
Commentators are often dismissive of Bitcoin buyers, writing them off as naive victims of a fraudulent bubble. But if we look more carefully, we can trace the history of Bitcoin through five key narratives. Each has drawn in a different group of buyers and in doing so contributed to its long-term growth in value.

Wednesday, 4 July 2018

Bourdieu, art and financial value

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The Painter on his way to work,
by Vincent van Gogh
Source: Wikipedia
Pierre Bourdieu’s work on symbolic value in the field of cultural production is surprisingly useful as a model for explaining the value of financial assets. As my recent posts have argued, financial value depends on symbolic narratives that claim certain qualities for the assets concerned and seek to associate them with particular theories of value. Bourdieu's account of the art market examines similar processes of attributing value to works of art.

Thursday, 7 June 2018

Conventions and the value of financial assets

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John Maynard Keynes
Source: Wikimedia Commons
For mainstream economists, the prices of financial assets like shares and derivatives are determined by objective assessments of the future revenue streams that the holder of the asset is entitled to. But it is far more plausible to see them as the outcome of interactions between a variety of different financial valuation conventions, or lay theories of value as I called valuation conventions in my earlier post. This post reflects on the contributions of John Maynard Keynes, André Orléan and Jens Beckert to explaining how valuation conventions influence financial asset values.

Sunday, 4 March 2018

Towards a new theory of value

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Source: Wikimedia Commons

The value of a thing, as I argued in my last post, is the price it ought to exchange at. Different people may assess the value of a thing differently, but to reach agreement on values, they need to offer explanations of those assessments in terms that other people can find reasonable. Usually this means that they will need to invoke socially acceptable standards of value to justify their assessments.

Saturday, 3 March 2018

What is value?

Economics needs a theory of value, but the existing theories are thoroughly inadequate. In this post I briefly introduce the key elements of an alternative theory. This is the first output from a one year project on the construction of financial value, which has been kindly funded by the Independent Social Research Foundation

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Source: R M Media Ltd