Rai Stones

           It was in fairly modern times that money transformed from being purely a physical thing, tangible coins or paper changing hands, to an ethereal substance. Today, when money is used, it largely moves only in a digital sense and before the digital era, it may have changed hands without physically moving but instead by the

Biddle, Jackson, and the Bank War

           In spite of, if not because of, their importance, banks are not usually popular. They are frequently the target of zealous reformers. Yet, bold policies rushed into enthusiastically should be the most worrisome. Campaigning against any institution in the name of progress should bring into question what exactly will replace it. Left unaddressed or poorly

Barter and Money in Post-War Germany

           When a currency is discredited, people usually turn to substitutes. These are often foreign currencies. Sometimes though the economy functions only by resorting to barter. This is hardly a solution since bartering is usually impractical. During the late 1940s in occupied Germany, people traded goods for products like cigarettes, coal, and potatoes which were in

Soviet Education in Finance and Economics

           In the Soviet Union, university programs in finance and economics did exist but they were nothing like their Western counterparts. To be sure, Western economies and financial systems were studied but providing a thorough understanding of a capitalist system was not the natural objective of these programs.            Rather, the courses distributed to students evidence of

Philately and Investment

            Stamp collecting came about soon after the postage stamp itself. While the first postage stamp was introduced in 1840, within twenty-five years one could find for sale in London or Paris some of the earliest stamp albums, catalogues, and magazines. In recent decades, stamp collecting has garnered attention from more than just philatelic enthusiasts;

Seashell Money in America

              Today, coins and banknotes are the most common physical manifestations of money, but money does not need to take these common forms. Anything could be money, or at least exhibit some of the qualities of money, even seemingly common items anyone could produce. Consider that cowrie shells were used as money in Africa and Asia

Financial Crisis of AD 33

           In ancient Rome, lending was often secured by land, at least in the case of large loans to wealthy landowners. Naturally therefore, the credit and real estate markets were closely linked. These links could help propel large fortunes when times were good and could cause trouble when virtuous cycles gave way to spiraling losses, when

Recoinage Crisis of 1696

           In the late 17th century, a series of advances were made in finance. Though originating in England, this period of increasing sophistication became known as the ‘Financial Revolution’ even outside Britain. Long-term government borrowing, central banks, and stock exchanges were each either born or developed into more recognizable forms in this period. It was a

Spanish Stamp Scandal

           In 2006, authorities shut down the operations of two stamp dealing firms in Spain offering investment products that turned out to be fraudulent. The value of the products they sold to customers were overstated and the returns they offered could only be paid out of the investments made by new investors. This ponzi scheme was

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