The Baltic, Britain’s Sociable Exchange

           In the world’s oldest market economies, securities and commodities exchanges have been in operation for centuries. Of those founded in Britain and America, quite a few have their origins in coffee-houses. In an era when Puritan sensibilities made alehouses and taverns unseemly places to do business, coffee-houses provided a place for social diversion. However, this

The Troika of 1898

           From 2009 to 2015, a troika of organizations were involved in arranging the bailouts of several countries, most notably that of Greece. These entities, the European Commission, European Central Bank, and International Monetary Fund, not only lent money to nearly bankrupt sovereign governments but also made aid contingent on policy changes in the rescued countries. The arrangement

The Convoy that Sank London’s Insurers

           Over three centuries ago, Britain had just overtaken Italy to be the center of the world’s insurance trade and it nearly came crashing down. At the time, marine insurance was the largest insurance sector; it was virtually synonymous with insurance itself. The dominance of London’s insurers almost led to ruin as many new underwriters complacently

A Money Changer’s Paradise

           Through much of the history of paper money, banknotes were issued by private entities operating in a decentralized system of money and finance. In whatever country and whatever their denomination, banknotes even traded at discounts to their face value that varied according to their liquidity and the health of the issuing bank. In the 19th

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