Crop Insurance

            Governments tend to be very involved in supporting their country’s agriculture. In various countries, this intervention ranges from funding research programs and irrigation projects, setting stringent regulations and grading standards, managing supply, protecting use of certain names and geographic labelling, and even involvement in farm finance such as by providing credit to farmers. In

A History of Credit Cards in America

            As financial developments came about, they largely became available to businesses before consumers and often to wealthy consumers before the masses. As a result, the most ubiquitous financial products today are often among the newest. Credit cards, particularly general purpose credit cards of the sort familiar to us today, were relatively rare even fifty

Penn Central Railroad

           No business is risk free. It is remarkable how even monopolies, whether of a natural sort or those granted by law, are susceptible to challenge. The British East India Company possessed one of the most remarkable monopolies in history and even it struggled to make money for certain long periods in its history. Railroads were

Charles E. Mitchell

            There are some people whose biographies serve as chronicles of an entire time and place. During the financial bubble in American stocks in the 1920s, one such man was Charles Mitchell. He led one of the world’s largest banks as well as its securities division, the largest such operation in the world. During the

Franklin National Bank

            In 1974, a large American bank, Franklin National Bank, failed. Over the coming years, many others would follow. While there were some commonalities between Franklin National Bank and the other banks that failed, this bank was peculiar. It was peculiarly badly managed. What is illuminating though is how bad management seemed to self-perpetuate at

Jay Cooke and the Panic of 1873

            The market for railway company bonds grew quickly in the mid-to-late 19th century. Laying new track was very expensive and the returns would not come until a line was completed. For larger projects, such as those rail links crossing an entire continent, this could be years away. Thus, financing was as important an input

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