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Finance and the Good Society by Robert J. Shiller

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Chapter 9

Derivatives Providers

In recent years, the term derivatives has become a dirty word, blamed by many for real evils, including the severe financial crisis that began in 2007. But a derivative is merely a financial product that derives from another market, and it is not inherently good or evil. Those specialists who drive the derivatives market may have gained a bad reputation, but in fact they are involved in some of the most creative and sophisticated aspects of finance.

One example of a derivatives market is a forward market for a commodity, in which one can sign a contract to buy from another a commodity or a property for future delivery at a specified date at a specified price. Another example is a futures market for a commodity, ...

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