London Orphans and Credit

           In the early days of government borrowing, public borrowing went hand-in-hand with estates and inheritances. Bonds and annuities, both means by which states in early modern Europe borrowed, were also convenient ways of transferring wealth to widows and heirs.            Perhaps nowhere was this association clearer than in London, especially in the 17th century. The City

Shibusawa Eiichi

           In 1850, Japan was an economy intentionally closed off from foreign trade. Even Japanese merchants and bankers were not well regarded in the country, let along foreign ones. By 1900, Japan had come a long way industrially and financially, possessing a developed banking system and large industrial firms. Shibusawa Eiichi was responsible for much of

Genoese Finance

           Financial development comes in waves, often washing up in the same place, whether 17th century Holland or 18th century London. In the Late Middle Ages, the centers of European finance were largely in Italy. Many innovations in finance during this era, from bills of exchange to insurance and double-entry bookkeeping to public bonds, either originated

The Coulisse and the Paris Bourse

           For the entirety of the 19th century, Paris had two stock exchanges. One was the official Paris Bourse, relatively well-regulated and selective in its listing of securities. The other was an unregulated market called the Coulisse. The Paris market was big enough for both exchanges and perhaps needed both of them, in contrast to the

Loyalty Loan

           During the First World War, governments were financially strained to an unprecedented degree by the costs of war. Across Europe, governments introduced new taxes, including income taxes, suspended the link between gold and paper money, and raised new loans by appealing directly to the patriotism of the public. While these drastic maneuvers in times of

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

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