Paper Money Through Four Dynasties

            The history of paper money in China began when merchants attempted to work around shortages of metal coins during the Tang Dynasty. Government issued paper money became well established during the Song Dynasty about 860 years ago, or about five centuries before paper money appeared at any particularly notable scale in the West. However,

Singapore as a Financial Center

           Today, Singapore ranks as one of the world’s largest financial centers. The city’s financial industry is underpinned by its role as a center for foreign exchange trading and foreign currency lending. It developed this role not so much organically or spontaneously but as a result of planning. Still, this doesn’t tell the whole story. A

Canton System and Hong Merchants

           It is understandable to presume, when the world first became better connected by trade, that this trade was an unregulated free-for-all. However, though governments then might have been weaker than those of today, they were if anything even more motived then than now to regulate and control trade. This was true in Europe, where governments

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

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

Japan’s 1980s Property Boom

           Financial bubbles become so large because they have the potential to self-perpetuate. When expectations for future prices are based on a recent trend, the best performing investments in the near future will usually be the same as those which have performed well thus far. If encouraged by greater publicity, credit availability, loose regulation, or an

The Shanghai Rubber Boom

           When commodity booms materialize, the effects are felt not only where the sought-after materials are mined or harvested but also in the financial centers of the world, the places where the commodities are marketed and traded and where production and trade is financed and insured. Rubber was a new gold in the late 19th and

The Iraq Stock Exchange

           Stock exchanges usually follow, rather than lead, fundamental developments in a country’s financial system. Indeed, up until the late 20th century, relatively few countries even had a single stock exchange. One of these recent introductions to the workings of a stock exchange occurred in Iraq with the founding of the Iraq Stock Exchange very soon

Agency Houses and Indian Trade

           Until the early 19th century, much of India’s financial and economic history revolved around European trading companies, most notably the British East India Company. However, there were other organizers of Indian trade besides these companies. Among them were the ‘agency houses’, financial and trading firms that got their start during the period of Company rule

The Great Kuwaiti Crash

           In 1982, the third largest stock market in the world crashed, losing 60% of its value over three months. This occurred not in America or Japan, but in Kuwait. The tiny Persian Gulf state of a million and a half people had become enriched by oil money which flooded into its financial sector from investors

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