Algorithms and the Anthropocene: Finance, Sustainability, and the Promise and Hazards of New Financial Technologies

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This paper addresses how high frequency trading in financial markets is increasingly discursively related to climate change and producing peculiar iterative patterns of accommodation and reinforcement of climate change. Stock market trades have accelerated at a rate at which shares change hands in microseconds. This increases the risk of systemic crises. I examine the ways in which high frequency trading both reconfigures the dynamics of finance and changes the global financial system in different spatio-temporal ways, as well as produces political ecologies of engagement, divergence, and convergence between the financial and Earth Systems. Accordingly, I examine technological change and algorithmic strategies at stock exchanges. By analyzing algorithmic strategies, I interrogate the connections between algorithms at stock exchanges and the environment, and how algorithmic financialization intersects the Anthropocene debate. The analysis explains the nature of high frequency trading strategies and market responses to natural disasters, tsunamis, typhoons, draught and wild fires. In the final section, I discuss whether algorithmic economies singularly contribute to worsening environmental crises and how financial investment algorithms may adapt to climate change.
Original languageEnglish
JournalFinancial Geography Working Paper
Issue number16
Number of pages21
Publication statusPublished - 8 Oct 2018


  • Antropocene
  • Financial Markets
  • Climate Change
  • Algorithms
  • Nature and Space
  • Natural Disasters
  • Relational Economic Geography

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