Lilley and Lightfoot examine a number of rhetorical accounts of the emergence and virtue of “futures” markets. They attempt to unpack the variety of legitimatory discourses that surround such markets to examine the precarious balance between uncertainty and knowledge that is supposedly managed by the skills of traders. The “reduction” of uncertainty through enhanced knowledge is, somewhat counterfactually, one of the key benefits ascribed to futures markets. These markets are made up of many players, with some seeking to “smooth” business cycles for their employers, while others seek short-term entrepreneurial gains through their “trading skills,” utilizing their second sight to exploit the volatility of the market. What we witness then is an unhappy marriage between brokers of stability and others whose raison d’être is precisely the opposite, the skilled surfing of tides of uncertainty. This has profound implications for the types of activities and rhetoric associated with such markets. Such implications may carry over from the financial world to the practice of management itself.
Simon studied for his first degree, in psychology, at University College London. His PhD, which considered the impact of computerization on the management of oil refineries, was awarded by Edinburgh University, being funded by the ESRC as part of their Programme on Information and Communication Technologies. Simon has taught previously at the Universities of Keele, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Lancaster, at the International Business School, Budapest and at the Manchester School of Management, UMIST. Simon joined the School of Management in 2003, becoming Head of School in 2010. Simon is editor of the journal Culture and Organization.