Russia’s Voucher Privatization

           When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, the abandonment of socialism in its former republics accelerated. In Russia in particular, industries were privatized at a breakneck pace. At first, this was done by so-called ‘voucher privatization’ where shares were purchased by ordinary people using vouchers distributed to almost all Russian citizens. One might expect such

The Fuggers, Bankers to Emperors

           In the 16th century, European finance was dominated by a banking family whose wealth was far greater than their amusing name would let on. From their adopted home of Augsburg in Bavaria, they were creditors to emperors. These were not just any emperors too, but the Habsburgs, a dynasty that ruled much of Central Europe,

Trade Dollars

           American coinage, much like its paper banknotes, have changed little in decades, at least in regard to their design. This continuity, surely along with the US dollar’s role as a reserve currency, have made American money recognizable to many around the world for generations, especially those engaged in trade or finance. There was however, an

Million Adventure Lottery

           At the end of the 17th century, England was facing fiscal strain from decades of political and economic disorders just as it found itself engaged in yet another war against its historic foe, France. However, rather than bring about a default on its debts, the fiscal crisis ushered in an era of financial innovation. It

Benjamin Franklin, a Serial Entrepreneur

           Americans know Benjamin Franklin for his civic and diplomatic work spanning the first few years of the country’s history. Old enough to be the grandfather of some of the other American ‘Founding Fathers’, he was a national treasure even before playing his part in the struggle for independence from Britain. In addition to being a