Summary of Cables, Sharks and Servers

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Cables, Sharks and Servers summary


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The ongoing disruptive effects of information and communication technology (ICT) transform industries and can determine how and where products and services get manufactured and delivered. Economists Barry Eichengreen, Romain Lafarguette and Arnaud Mehl analyze ICT’s impact on the sphere of foreign currency trading. Specifically, the team examines this market to determine whether ICT has concentrated trading activity in just a few large-scale geographic centers – such as London, New York and Tokyo – or whether it has diffused transactions across the globe. getAbstract recommends their robust, intriguing report to executives and policy officials looking to unravel the answer to a unique question.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How underwater cables influence currency trading,
  • How information and communication technology (ICT) has affected foreign exchange markets, and
  • Why ICT supports offshore trading activity in large metropolitan centers with cable connections to the oceans.

About the Authors

Barry Eichengreen is an economics professor at the University of California, Berkeley. Romain Lafarguette is an economist at the International Monetary Fund. Arnaud Mehl is an economist at the European Central Bank.



Underwater cables deployed in the late 1980s may hold the answer to whether information and communication technology (ICT) affects the delivery of services. Two theories dominate the debate: The “Flat World” hypothesis declares that ICT has dramatically reduced the need for proximity in completing transactions on the foreign exchange (FX) market, so the number of trading locations will grow. The “Flash Boys” hypothesis contends that, in today’s era of fast-paced electronic trading, the value of proximity to “data-matching servers” has heightened, so FX trading will tend to cluster in a few cities.

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