Engine, Not a Camera by Donald MacKenzie
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Engine, Not a Camera
By Donald MacKenzie

An Engine, Not a Camera

How Financial Models Shape Markets

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Format: Paperback

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Engine, Not a Camera by Donald MacKenzie

Book Awards

  • Winner of BISA International Political Economy Group Book Prize 2007.

Book Description

In An Engine, Not a Camera, Donald MacKenzie argues that the emergence of modern economic theories of finance affected financial markets in fundamental ways. These new, Nobel Prize-winning theories, based on elegant mathematical models of markets, were not simply external analyses but intrinsic parts of economic processes. Paraphrasing Milton Friedman, MacKenzie says that economic models are an engine of inquiry rather than a camera to reproduce empirical facts. More than that, the emergence of an authoritative theory of financial markets altered those markets fundamentally. For example, in 1970, there was almost no trading in financial derivatives such as "futures." By June of 2004, derivatives contracts totaling $273 trillion were outstanding worldwide. MacKenzie suggests that this growth could never have happened without the development of theories that gave derivatives legitimacy and explained their complexities. MacKenzie examines the role played by finance theory in the two most serious crises to hit the world's financial markets in recent years: the stock market crash of 1987 and the market turmoil that engulfed the hedge fund Long-Term Capital Management in 1998. He also looks at finance theory that is somewhat beyond the mainstream -- chaos theorist Benoit Mandelbrot's model of "wild" randomness. MacKenzie's pioneering work in the social studies of finance will interest anyone who wants to understand how America's financial markets have grown into their current form.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780262633673
ISBN-10: 0262633671
Format: Paperback
(229mm x 152mm x 20mm)
Pages: 392
Imprint: MIT Press
Publisher: MIT Press Ltd
Publish Date: 22-Aug-2008
Country of Publication: United States

Other Editions...

Books By Author Donald MacKenzie

Material Markets by Donald MacKenzie Material Markets, Hardback (December 2008)

Financial markets, processes, and instruments are often difficult to fathom; the credit crisis highlights both their importance and their fragility. In this book, MacKenzie, one of the most perceptive analysts of the financial world, puts forward a material sociology of markets, rooted in the actors and agents that shape modern finance.

Do Economists Make Markets? by Donald MacKenzie Do Economists Make Markets?, Paperback (July 2008)

Dedicated to the controversial question of whether economics is performative - of whether, in some cases, economics actually produces the phenomena it analyzes, this book features case studies that intend to offer substance to the notion of the performativity of economics in an accessible, nontechnical way.

Mechanizing Proof by Donald MacKenzie Mechanizing Proof, Paperback (March 2004)

A sociological approach to the history of proof, as applied to and performed by computer systems.

Social Shaping of Technology by Donald MacKenzie Social Shaping of Technology, Paperback (June 1999)

Demonstrates that technology is affected at a fundamental level by the social context in which it develops. This book features arguments about the relation of technology to society. It examines different types of technology and argues that social scientists have tended to ignore the question of what shapes technology?

» View all books by Donald MacKenzie


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Author Biography - Donald MacKenzie

Donald MacKenzie is Professor of Sociology (Personal Chair) at the University of Edinburgh. His books include Inventing Accuracy (1990), Knowing Machines (1996), and Mechanizing Proof (2001), all published by the MIT Press. Portions of An Engine, Not a Camera won the Viviana A. Zelizer Prize in economic sociology from the American Sociological Association.

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Recent books by Donald MacKenzie close
Material Markets by Donald MacKenzie
Do Economists Make Markets? by Donald MacKenzie
Mechanizing Proof by Donald MacKenzie
Social Shaping of Technology by Donald MacKenzie
Knowing Machines by Donald MacKenzie
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