Sweden’s 1990s Banking Crisis

            There was an international trend towards the deregulation of many industries from the 1970s to the 1990s. In Britain and America, these changes were associated, excessively by both their friends and foes alike, with Thatcher and Reagan. In any case, the liberalization of commercial life, and finance specifically, was far from unique to these

London, Telegraph, and the World

            Improvements in infrastructure had tremendous effects on both trade and finance, perhaps most notably in the 19th century. Canals and railways first connected cities within countries and then connected continents. These improvements made trade in merchandise and commodities more efficient, creating opportunities for exchange that did not previously exist.             Even communications technology, like

Temple Loans of Classical Greece

            The advent of a market for credit relies on a supply of and demand for surplus financial resources. The demand for credit can be driven by trade or investment or even large consumer purchases. The supply of credit can come from deposits with banks or the reserves of insurance companies. Today, the endowments of

American Dollar Securities Committee

            Under a gold standard regime, exchange rates were understood to be self-regulating courtesy of the ‘price–specie flow’ mechanism. Expansions or contractions in the money supply from trade surpluses or deficits would bring about stability in exchange rates without threats to the gold standard and with minimal or no need for changes in interest rates.

The Insurance Revolution

              Insurance was one of the first financial products to achieve a level of sophistication recognizable to practitioners today. In the Late Middle Ages, insurance was widely traded in Italian port cities and life annuities were sold across Europe. However, insurance requires a calculation of risk that is rarely straightforward in a world where information

16th Century Seville

            For the most part, the financial history of Europe, and perhaps its commercial history generally, from the 14th century to the 19th century, is a northward travelogue as the paramount financial center moved from the cities of Northern Italy to those of the Low Countries and then to London. However, a caveat to this

Loans and Diplomacy in the 19th Century

           As leading commercial cities developed more active and sophisticated financial markets, some cities became centers for global finance. London and Paris became such cities in the 19th century, serving the financial needs not only of their own countries but even those of the continent and the world. Governments of other countries turned to these cities,

Railway Mania

           In the 1840s, Britain was gripped by a mania for railway company shares that saw share prices double before a change in prospects caused the market to give up all of these gains and more. Given the scale of the transformations promised by new railways were so substantial, railway mania was perhaps an inevitable frenzy.

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