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

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