Arbitraging Japan: Dreams of Capitalism at the End of Finance

Arbitraging Japan: Dreams of Capitalism at the End of Finance

Hirokazu Miyazaki

Language: English

Pages: 216

ISBN: 0520273486

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


For many financial market professionals worldwide, the era of high finance is over. The times in which bankers and financiers were the primary movers and shakers of both economy and society have come to an abrupt halt. What has this shift meant for the future of capitalism? What has it meant for the future of the financial industry? What about the lives and careers of financial operators who were once driven by utopian visions of economic, social, and personal transformation? And what does it mean for critics of capitalism who have long predicted the end of financial institutions? Hirokazu Miyazaki answers these questions through a close examination of the careers and intellectual trajectories of a group of pioneering derivatives traders in Japan during the 1990s and 2000s.

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long-distance trade (Iwai [1985] 1992: 17).7 Iwai points out that Antonio’s dual belonging to the Roman world of communal brotherhood, on the one hand, and to the world of merchant capitalism, on the other, is made possible by the dependence of merchant capitalism on spatial distance between communities engaged in trade (pp. 18–20). Long-distance trade is predicated on the existence and “arbitration” (chukai) of a difference in the price of a commodity in two distant locations (pp. 17–18). Iwai’s

“loss cutting”—that is, when to unwind a trading position in order to avoid further losses—and they regularly attributed their trading losses to their own lack of discipline to “stick to rules.” This formulation of discipline has a distinctive temporal dimension. A commitment to discipline assumes that undisciplined persons are almost always prone to diverge from their initial intentions as their action unfolds. Only through discipline would one be able to stick to the rule one sets for oneself.

paid for the option. If the value of the Nikkei 225 exceeds the combination of the strike price and the premium, however, the difference becomes the call option buyer’s profit. In a call option, therefore, the buyer’s losses are limited to the premium paid, while the seller’s losses are potentially unlimited.] I did not expect the Nikkei 225 to move too much today but if it moved, I thought, it would go up. . . . If that happened, I reasoned that the sellers of call options with a strike price of

critiques of capitalism based on their mutual interest in spirituality points to a radically different meeting of the economic and the spiritual in the midst of global capitalism. Both Aoki’s and Tada’s critiques of global capitalism point to their shared sense of ambiguity about the possibility of exiting capitalism. From my perspective, what united them was their sustained commitment to ambiguity and associated view of two opposing paths and their future convergence. The material I have

salto mortale as a seller of commodities” (p. 289). In other words, “[Capital] has to, at least once, stand in the selling position due to its self-reproductive nature” (p. 207). From this standpoint, Karatani argues for a movement of consumers and workers “posited in the context of the theory of value form and seen as a transposition from relative value form to equivalent value form (from seller of labor-power commodity to buyer of commodities); and further in the context of the capital’s

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