Kipper und Wipper

           In early modern Europe, currency was far less standardized than it is today. There were several different metals with monetary significance: gold, silver, and copper. Countries usually struck coins from all of these metals and often combinations of them together. In addition to local coins, circulating in any given place would be foreign coins made

New Zealand’s Long Depression

           The economic fate of Argentina, a foodstuff exporter supporting one of the richest populations just over a century ago, is well known. New Zealand’s late 19th and early 20th century history is similar in many respects. Like Argentina, faraway New Zealand was also exposed to the dramatic fluctuations of commodity prices and financial conditions intrinsic

Revolution Rentes

           Throughout the 18th century, French public finances teetered on the brink. The state then found itself in deep financial ruin within a few years of the beginning of the French Revolution, culminating in a default on the debt in 1796-97. With this, the outlook for the next century would hardly seem promising. The 19th century

Dialogus de Scaccario

           In the 12th century, a senior official in the English treasury wrote a book describing the inner workings of his institution, likely for the benefit of decades of successors. It is also of great help to historians. The Dialogus de Scaccario, or ‘Dialogue of the Exchequer’, is a window into the English treasury in the

Geneva, Watches, and Banking

           When cities not previously known as banking and financier centers become such, they usually adopt something from the incumbent financial centers of the era. New banking cities mimic the old and often import talent from them. In the 14th century, Bruges became the first banking center in the north of Europe to match the scale

Jacques Laffitte

           It is easy to overestimate the role finance had in setting off the Industrial Revolution. To some extent, the early stages of the Industrial Revolution took place in spite of the financial system rather than because of it. Industrial enterprises in the first half of the 19th century had little access to the capital markets

Early Soviet Money and Banking

           The general role of banks in free market economies is no mystery. However, listing what a banking contributes to a state-led economy, or even a wholly state-run economy, could require more thought. Thankfully, the early history of the Soviet Union reveals that banks had something to offer even in a system where the state budget

Medieval Annuities

           While lending at interest came under official scrutiny in medieval Europe, annuities did not. Though an annuity is usually thought of today primarily as a tool in retirement planning, in the Middle Ages, annuities were used to raise money for monasteries, property developers, merchants, artisans, landowners, cities, and countries. After receiving official sanction, life and

Sumerian Loans

           Loan contracts date as far back as the 3rd millennium BC and the oldest we know of today come from the same part of the world that gave us the first systems of writing. Examining these records reveals that lending was common even in ancient civilizations, and more surprisingly still, that even in a mostly

Tally Sticks

           How do you verify a debt or payment in a mostly illiterate society? What records can you rely on? Trade and credit in the medieval world required some way of tracking amounts due and paid without the aid of written records. In medieval England, wood sticks were used to represent debts and by a simple

Social Share Buttons and Icons powered by Ultimatelysocial
LinkedIn