Birth and Growth of Life Insurance in Japan

           Insurance is easily imagined as a stable and delightfully boring industry but it is hardly so, certainly for property & casualty insurers who stand exposed to extreme events, natural or man-made, threatening them constantly with the threat of losses. Surely life insurance would be a calmer business. However, that industry too is still exposed to

The Great Kuwaiti Crash

           In 1982, the third largest stock market in the world crashed, losing 60% of its value over three months. This occurred not in America or Japan, but in Kuwait. The tiny Persian Gulf state of a million and a half people had become enriched by oil money which flooded into its financial sector from investors

India’s Indigo Crash

           Exporting commodities can be a precarious source of riches. From the 20th century to today, oil has been a blessing and a curse to nations that rely on it to sustain their standards of living. In the 17th and 18th centuries, colonialism added an extra dimension to the commodities curse, shaping raw materials booms and

A Money Changer’s Paradise

           Through much of the history of paper money, banknotes were issued by private entities operating in a decentralized system of money and finance. In whatever country and whatever their denomination, banknotes even traded at discounts to their face value that varied according to their liquidity and the health of the issuing bank. In the 19th

Japanese Pesos

           If you were shown a paper banknote with ‘The Japanese Government’ printed on top, albeit in English, and was for a sum of 500 pesos, you would probably be left scratching your head wondering from where this strange money came. A sensible person would presume it was just some kind of novelty; in a sense,

China’s Currency Revolution

           Over the past two thousand years, commerce has transitioned from using metal coins as the principal medium of exchange to using paper banknotes. Paper currencies started off as peculiar local institutions, often conceived as a type of debt obligation, and served as stand-ins for actual coins. Today, they have become the universal norm and are