Ship Finance through Boom and Bust

             Ships are large expensive assets that are financed over long periods of time. Therefore, in the case of warships, they are physical expressions of a state’s fiscal power. Meanwhile, cargo ships, including tanker ships, require private financing which has been leveraged to greater degree just in the past sixty years or so. However, shipping

The Older Icelandic Banking Crisis

            In 2008, Iceland was afflicted by a banking crisis caused in part by its banks raising huge sums of deposits from foreign savers at high interest rates and the investing of these deposits in questionable assets marked at values that proved impossible to realize. Banking assets as a percentage of Iceland’s small GDP grew

Crop Insurance

            Governments tend to be very involved in supporting their country’s agriculture. In various countries, this intervention ranges from funding research programs and irrigation projects, setting stringent regulations and grading standards, managing supply, protecting use of certain names and geographic labelling, and even involvement in farm finance such as by providing credit to farmers. In

Paper Money Through Four Dynasties

            The history of paper money in China began when merchants attempted to work around shortages of metal coins during the Tang Dynasty. Government issued paper money became well established during the Song Dynasty about 860 years ago, or about five centuries before paper money appeared at any particularly notable scale in the West. However,

Medieval Trade Settlement and Credit

            If required to settle every payment immediately, trade can become a very capital-intensive business despite its small margins. This would have been especially taxing back when far longer travel times would have meant inventories had to be held for longer. When metal coins made up most of the money supply, immediate settlement of purchases

A History of Credit Cards in America

            As financial developments came about, they largely became available to businesses before consumers and often to wealthy consumers before the masses. As a result, the most ubiquitous financial products today are often among the newest. Credit cards, particularly general purpose credit cards of the sort familiar to us today, were relatively rare even fifty

A Short History of Bretton Woods

            After the First World War, the world set about restoring the international gold standard that existed before the fighting. It took years to bring to fruition and the restoration fell apart almost as quickly. After the Second World War, the world once again went about recreating a monetary order largely along pre-war lines, albeit

Glarus Fire and Swiss Re

            Growing populations, urbanization, and industrialization led to surging insurance needs in Europe in the 19th century. To meet this need, hundreds of new insurance companies were formed across the continent. However, these same trends also made insurance a riskier business. The growth meant that a factory or town burning down in 1860 could be

Dáil Éireann Loans

             When Ireland took on a renewed struggle for independence around 1920, it came with a need to raise money. So, the rebel government set up a loan drive and built a system of distribution that bore some resemblance to the war loans raised by governments elsewhere just a few years earlier during the First

Penn Central Railroad

           No business is risk free. It is remarkable how even monopolies, whether of a natural sort or those granted by law, are susceptible to challenge. The British East India Company possessed one of the most remarkable monopolies in history and even it struggled to make money for certain long periods in its history. Railroads were

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