Million Adventure Lottery

           At the end of the 17th century, England was facing fiscal strain from decades of political and economic disorders just as it found itself engaged in yet another war against its historic foe, France. However, rather than bring about a default on its debts, the fiscal crisis ushered in an era of financial innovation. It

The Sound Toll

           From the end of the Middle Ages to midway through the Industrial Revolution, ships passing through the narrow strait connecting the Baltic Sea to the North Sea were required to pay a toll to the Kingdom of Denmark. Seems mundane, but for centuries, this toll was perhaps the most controversial in the world, going so

Britain’s IMF Crisis

            Financial crises have the potential to change history. This is obvious in regards to true depressions, like that of the 1930s, but even smaller tremors can change the way economies are managed, or are left unmanaged. One of these lesser crises was the 1976 IMF Crisis in which Britain was forced to seek a

Eastern Bloc Hard Currency Shops

           During their last two decades under socialism, the economies of Eastern Europe struggled with current account deficits and limited access to credit with which to finance them. In most of these countries, this spawned efforts to acquire foreign ‘hard’ currency whenever it entered their borders, undertakings that involved a lot of creative thinking and government

Revenue Act of 1913

           The roots of globalization, which has defined the world economy for at least the last 30 years, extend far back. Along with improvements in logistics and the spread of capitalism, the recipe for globalization called for reductions in tariffs and other trade barriers. Already in the mid 19th century, tariff barriers were coming down across

Orphaned Soviet Bonds

            The ability of financial markets in a free-market system to raise capital is virtually unrivaled. So much so that even communist governments have turned to them for loans. The Soviet Union was no stranger to the sovereign debt markets and the Soviet state raised money by selling bonds in Western financial capitals during the last

The First Sovereign Bonds

           The borrowing needs of governments usually exceed what any one creditor is able to lend. For centuries, governments have worked around this by selling bonds with standardized terms to investors, millions of them. However common this practice is today, it was absent in most ancient and medieval civilizations. It was not until the Late Middle

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