A financial market is a market in which people and entities can trade financial securities, commodities, and other fungible items of value at low transaction costs and at prices that reflect supply and demand. Securities include stocks and bonds, and commodities include precious metals or agricultural goods.
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- One recent history of economic thought (Jürg Niehans’s A History of Economic Theory) devotes twenty-four pages to Samuelson’s ideas. Adam Smith only gets thirteen. Samuelson’s work on stock markets and the random walk takes up less than two of those twenty-four pages. He was “the last generalist in economics,” as he liked to say, and for him financial market studies were just a side project that he at times seemed deeply ambivalent about. His intervention was, however, crucial to the triumph of the random walk. Here was one of the most important economists of all time, and he didn’t think the relationship between coin flips and the stock market was a dinner-speech triviality.
- Justin Fox, Myth of Rational Market (2009), Ch. 4 : A Random Walk from Paul Samuelson to Paul Samuelson.
- The U.S. stock market was now a class system, rooted in speed, of haves and have-nots. The haves paid for nanoseconds; the have-nots had no idea that a nanosecond had value. The haves enjoyed a perfect view of the market; the have-nots never saw the market at all. What had once been the world’s most public, most democratic, financial market had become, in spirit, something like a private viewing of a stolen work of art.
- Let us begin with a definition of economics. Over the last half-century, the study of economics has expanded to include a vast range of topics. Here are some of the major subjects that are covered in this book: