Financing America’s War of Independence

        Relative to the resources at their disposal, the struggle for independence by the American colonists was a massive undertaking. Not only did war mean bloodshed and material hardship, but in 18th century America, it also meant building from scratch the institutions necessary to fight a war. New diplomatic, military, and financial institutions needed to be

Gold’s Black Friday

           Imagine a cabal of speculators pushing the limits of legality, or even exceeding them, intent on generating great profits for themselves in the blink of an eye. Such stories are many in the history of finance. From insider trading to market manipulation, the pressure to outperform, or even just the allure of riches, have brought

The Fruitful Career of Benjamin Graham

           In numerous respects, Benjamin Graham transformed the investment profession. For decades a superstitious trade practiced by mystics believing the strangest of strategies would bestow them with riches, managing money has become a mathematical profession perhaps excessively at odds with human irrationality. It was Graham, more than anyone else, who made investing and security analysis systematic.

New York’s Streetside Exchange

           Due to its age and familiarity, the New York Stock Exchange is often regarded as the city’s most important trading institution and its only stock exchange of historic significance. Whatever innovations it brought to the business of securities trading, the NASDAQ is a youngster by comparison, having been established in 1971. However, for a century,

Revenue Act of 1913

           The roots of globalization, which has defined the world economy for at least the last 30 years, extend far back. Along with improvements in logistics and the spread of capitalism, the recipe for globalization called for reductions in tariffs and other trade barriers. Already in the mid 19th century, tariff barriers were coming down across

American Mortgages Through the Decades

           When it comes to financing real estate purchases, mortgages have been around for centuries. The first loans called mortgages developed in the middle ages; the word itself comes from Norman law books as “mort gage” or “dead pledge.” The word dead here refers not to any human death but to the fact that medieval mortgages

The Stock Ticker

           The flow of information is an important part of any financial system. Whether it be in the agglomeration of important institutions in a single financial center or the communications technology used, the need for information has left its mark on financial services. For centuries, business could only be done as quickly as a courier’s legs

Wells Fargo and the Gold Rush

           Much as it was for the country as a whole, the middle of the 19th century was a formative era for American finance. The Era of Free Banking was a period of very little regulation of banks and saw the founding of many of them. But two of today’s most massive American financial firms, Wells

Postal Savings Systems

           Like almost everything else, access to banking services is often unappreciated by those who have it. Yet, it is so important to economic development and improving the standard of living of ordinary people that it is often a key policy focus of developing countries, and not just their governments. From microfinance to fintech, new approaches

The Knickerbocker Trust Company

           Financial crises have been around longer than many realize. Imagine reading that the stock market plunges by 50%, recession follows, investment firms and banks fail across the country, and the government seeks to get to the bottom of what happened. Could that be describing the Great Depression or the most recent recession? In either case,

LinkedIn
Share