From Tea Panic to Tea Party

      Over two centuries ago, a single speculator set off a chain reaction that triggered a global financial panic. Perhaps surprisingly, that speculator was reacting to history unfolding thousands of miles away and his bet had effects across continents. Linking these events was a single commodity of great importance to 18th century trade, tea. The Crisis

How a Cable Changed Finance

           Whether in finance, or in other professions, the most transformative changes happen gradually. To be sure, many of the triggers of these changes may be discrete events, absent today and here tomorrow. However, for the effects to filter through to the methods of ordinary professionals, and the markets they operate in, some time must usually

From Thaler to Dollar

           When currencies became divorced from the gold and silver that used to determine their value, their utility ceased to be global in extent. From then on, currencies became national phenomena. However, there was a time when the precious metal content of a coin was the sole determinant of its value. In that era, money was

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.

Atlantic Charter, GATT, and the WTO

       Even before the 20th century, punitive restrictions on trade were quickly being lifted. In Europe, tariff barriers had receded significantly since the mid-1800s. However, the trend towards free trade became global and more permanent with the creation of new international organizations after the Second World War. These institutions were born out of the economic and

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