Thesis ID: CBB873579988

Transaction and Message: From Database to Marketplace, 1970-2000 (2017)


The term 'transaction' is frequently used in discussions of economic activity, but is rarely the direct subject of examination, despite its apparent centrality. This is true whether its role is ascribed to the material mediation of money, to financial capital more generally, or to the rationalized technical activity at the core of large formal organizations. The modern representation of a transaction, however, began as a practical solution to a very specific technical question: how can a computer system successfully handle simultaneous requests contending to rapidly read and write from the same large data resource? This dissertation makes the case for the sociotechnical formalization of the transaction, along with that of message-oriented data communications, as fundamental prerequisites and facilitators for significant transformations in finance, including the development of electronic securities exchanges. However, these transformations were as political as they were technological. Through an examination of competition and regulation in the securities exchange industry, I show how markets—both in practice and in theory—are redefined by the prevalence and interrelation of reliable distributed platforms for automatically matching buyers and sellers, executing transactions, and broadcasting quotes and trade reports. The resultant redefinition of the exchange as a sociotechnical ‘platform’ then provides a novel framework for the analysis and regulation of contemporary marketplace platforms.

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Authors & Contributors
François Tessier
Vidan, Gili
Nicolas MacCordick
Gadys Bruyninx
Sandra Harrison
Robinson, Sandra
IEEE Annals of the History of Computing
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences
Osiris: A Research Journal Devoted to the History of Science and Its Cultural Influences
History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences
Historical Studies in the Natural Sciences
Configurations: A Journal of Literature, Science, and Technology
Johns Hopkins University Press
Computers and computing
Relational databases; management
Business and commerce
Information technology
Computer industry
Codd, E. F.
Time Periods
20th century, late
21st century
20th century
19th century
Hawaii (U.S.)
United States
California (U.S.)
International Business Machines Corporation

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