Gregor MacGregor, the Cazique of Poyais

           Two centuries ago, an entrepreneurial Scot used his imagination to mint great profits, only unlike the inventors and industrialists who characterized that era, he was a con man. Gregor MacGregor was an adventurer chasing money and fame and he separated many from their hard-earned money with tales of riches in a faraway place called Poyais.

Quaker Origins of British Banking

           The goldsmiths of 17th century London are among those who can be said to have invented modern banking. Though goldsmiths by trade, they played the part of bankers too, taking in deposits and loaning them out at interest to the public. Nonetheless, banks remained rare in Britain before 1750. That was soon to change however,

The 280-Year-Old Pension

           For over a century, life annuities were sold as a means of financing government deficits. In the 18th century, the French state would sell these annuities to fund its wars in Europe and abroad, often at very generous implied interest rates. Though they experimented most with life annuities, in contrast to Britain’s perpetual consolidated annuities

Henry George and the Land Value Tax

            Few economists are as broadly appreciated today as Henry George. Economic thinkers and ideologues of different stripes – conservatives, liberals, and leftists alike – usually look approvingly on at least some of his ideas. Over a century ago, he sought to explain the paradox of how prospering societies can leave so many in poverty;

Mr. Morgan’s Other Intervention

           Early in 1893, the American economy entered a prolonged economic slump from which a recovery would only truly get underway two years later. The financial panic ushering in this depression was global, but what was a mild downturn elsewhere was particularly severe in the US. The American economy, still largely agrarian, was hit by falling