For the last five years, the press has been sounding alarms about high-frequency trading (HFT), a practice in which investors use fast computers driven by secret algorithms to rapidly trade securities.Time wondered in a 2012 headline whether the practice is "Wall Street's Doomsday Machine." Mother Jones in 2013 worried it could "set off a financial meltdown." In March of this year, 60 Minutes aired an infomercial-toned segment promoting the new Investor's Exchange (IEX) trading venue, which, according to IEX's website, is "dedicated to institutionalizing fairness in the markets" by slowing down trades. Now, writes Holly Bell, we have Flash Boys, Michael Lewis' highly lauded attempt to explain the dark ways of Wall Street to the masses.
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