In this book I trace the concept of profit from a market determined, limited rate in the the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries to a limitless return since the early twentieth. This transformation, crucial for the problem of social justice and the premises of democratic citizenship, can be linked, I argue, to broader changes in the economics discipline and especially the erosion of the economic problem of distribution in the aftermath of the marginal revolution. The book explores the great plurality in definitions of profit and identifies the ideological stakes behind its diverse attribution. Whether seen as the measure of abstinence, foresight, or exploitation, profit defined capitalism for good or ill in the name of broader world views.
The Price of Risk
This book manuscript focuses on the wide expansion of financial markets in the twentieth century, and the interwar period in particular, and their recasting as a market for risk. Combining an intellectual and institutional history, it foregrounds the gap between model and reality as the central epistemological, normative, and political tension driving both scientific and regulatory efforts. The book is organized around four major sites: the opposition of hedgers and speculators, the figure of the “market maker,” the discovery of market randomness, and the set of normative questions emerging from the commodification of risk.