This introductory chapter sets out the book's purpose, which is to demonstrate the complexities, intricacies, and subtleties of thinking afforded by the sensibilities of arbitrage. Arbitrage, sometimes called “relative value trading,” is ideally risk-free or low-risk trading in which traders aim to capitalize on economically significant variations in the market's valuation of what the traders regard as equivalent or linked assets. The book discusses the use of the category of arbitrage among a group of Japanese traders specializing in arbitrage operations in the Japanese financial markets since the late 1980s. It examines the thoughts, imaginations, and dreams inspired by theories and techniques of arbitrage. By drawing attention to the particular way the idea of arbitrage has inspired a broad range of thought experiments and imaginations in a Japanese securities firm's trading room, the book suggests that theories and techniques of finance could serve as a source of inspiration for a critique of capitalism.
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