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By Sasha Breger Bush

Breger Bush argues that derivatives markets paintings within the improvement context as engines of inequality and instability, irritating poverty between these they're imagined to support and highlighting a number of the risks of neoliberal globalization for the terrible.

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Extra resources for Derivatives and Development: A Political Economy of Global Finance, Farming, and Poverty

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For example, a farmer who sells short (bets that prices will fall) in an environment of rising future prices may have to make margin calls daily. His losses are a function of the size of his open position and the daily rise in the future price. Margin calls, in addition to the initial margin deposit, can be costly for market participants and are sometimes a financial impossibility. 15 The World Bank has also begun partnering with multinational banks to extend lines of credit directly to potential hedgers, partly to cover margin calls (more below).

These prices are in turn the basis upon which subsequent bets are made. Illustrating the relationship between such “price discovery,” hedging, and speculation, Bryan and Rafferty note, “If you could precisely estimate the price of risk . . [it] would, to all intents and purposes, be reduced to a conscious choice. ” In theory, these future price discoveries permit cash market participants to transact and make investment decisions efficiently on the basis of “rational” forward prices—they have a glimpse of what the future holds and can thus make decisions with more certainty.

18 Like most financial markets, derivatives markets are characterized by constant innovation, new product offerings, expansion into new markets, and new operating rules and procedures and technologies. The reader should be aware of the diversity of exchanges, as well as their tendency to change and innovate very rapidly. As will be seen, differences across exchanges are important in considering the accessibility of derivatives markets to small, local players. That said, it will also become clear that derivatives markets are homogeneous in significant ways, not least in that they are dominated by very large, sophisticated, and wealthy multinational corporations and are generally exclusive of smaller, poorer Southern actors.

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