Yale Series in Economic and Financial History, edited by Geert Rouwenhorst and Will Goetzmann, along with several ICF fellows Howard Bodenhorn and Eugene White, raises the broad awareness of the importance of history in the consideration of current economy.
Hope Springs Eternal
French Bondholders and the Repudiation of Russian Sovereign Debt
Kim Oosterlinck; Translated by Anthony Bulger
In 1918, the Soviet revolutionary government repudiated the Tsarist regime’s sovereign debt, triggering one of the biggest sovereign defaults ever. Yet the price of Russian bonds remained high for years. Combing French archival records, Kim Oosterlinck shows that, far from irrational, investors had legitimate reasons to hope for repayment. Soviet debt recognition, a change in government, a bailout by the French government, or French banks, or a seceding country would have guaranteed at least a partial reimbursement. As Greece and other European countries raise the possibility of sovereign default, Oosterlinck’s superbly researched study is more urgent than ever.
Kim Oosterlinck is professor of finance at the Solvay Brussels School of Economics and Management, Université libre de Bruxelles. He lives in Brussels, Belgium.
Political Institutions, Sovereign Debt, and Financial Underdevelopment in Imperial Brazil
William R. Summerhill
Nineteenth-century Brazil’s constitutional monarchy credibly committed to repay sovereign debt, borrowing repeatedly in international and domestic capital markets without default. Yet it failed to lay the institutional foundations that private financial markets needed to thrive. This study shows why sovereign creditworthiness did not necessarily translate into financial development.
“Using a vast array of archival evidence, Summerhill convincingly shows that political commitment to a secure public debt was neither necessary nor sufficient to insure financial development in nineteenth-century Brazil. A must-read for economic and financial historians and for anyone interested in the politics of financial development.” —Jean-Laurent Rosenthal, California Institute of Technology
William R. Summerhill is a professor of history at UCLA. His research focuses on the determinants of long-run political and economic change in Latin America, with particular emphasis on Brazil.
Rogues, Swindlers, Frauds, and the Rise of Modern Finance
Vice is endemic to Western capitalism, according to this fascinating, wildly entertaining, often startling history of modern finance. Ian Klaus’s Forging Capitalism demonstrates how international financial affairs in the nineteenth century were conducted not only by gentlemen as a noble pursuit but also by connivers, thieves, swindlers, and frauds who believed that no risk was too great and no scheme too outrageous if the monetary reward was substantial enough. Taken together, the grand deceptions of the ambitious schemers and the determined efforts to guard against them have been instrumental in creating the financial establishments of today. In a story teeming with playboys and scoundrels and rich in colorful and amazing events, Klaus chronicles the evolution of trust through three distinct epochs: the age of values, the age of networks and reputations, and, ultimately, in a world of increased technology and wealth, the age of skepticism and verification. In today’s world, where the questionable dealings of large international financial institutions are continually in the spotlight, this extraordinary history has great relevance, offering essential lessons in both the importance and the limitations of trust.
Ian Klaus is a member of the Policy Planning Staff of the U.S. State Department and was previously Ernest May Fellow at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
The Great Mirror of Folly
Finance, Culture, and the Crash of 1720
Edited by William N. Goetzmann, Catherine Labio, K. Geert Rouwenhorst, and Timothy G. Young; With a Foreword by Robert J. Shiller
The world’s first global stock market bubble suddenly burst in 1720, destroying the dreams and fortunes of speculators in London, Paris, and Amsterdam virtually overnight. Their folly and misfortune inspired the publication of an extraordinary Dutch collection of satirical prints, plays, poetry, commentary, and financial prospectuses entitled Het groote Tafereel de Dwaasheid (The Great Mirror of Folly), a unique and lavish record of the financial crisis and its cultural dimensions. The current book adopts the title. It is a book about the book, a wide-ranging interdisciplinary collaboration that uncovers the meaning and influence of the Tafereel and the profound, lasting, and multifaceted impact of the crash of 1720 on European cultures and financial markets.
William N. Goetzmann is the Edwin J. Beinecke Professor of Finance and Management at the Yale School of Management.
Geert Rouwenhorst is Robert B. & Candice J. Haas Professor of Corporate Finance at the Yale School of Management.
Timothy G. Young is curator of modern books and manuscripts at Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University.
Catherine Labio is an associate professor of English at the University of Colorado at Boulder.
A Great Leap Forward
1930s Depression and U.S. Economic Growth
Alexander J. Field
This bold re-examination of the history of U.S. economic growth is built around a novel claim, that productive capacity grew dramatically across the Depression years (1929-1941) and that this advance provided the foundation for the economic and military success of the United States during the Second World War as well as for the golden age (1948-1973) that followed.
Alexander J. Field takes a fresh look at growth data and concludes that, behind a backdrop of double-digit unemployment, the 1930s actually experienced very high rates of technological and organizational innovation, fueled by the maturing of a privately funded research and development system and the government-funded build-out of the country's surface road infrastructure. This significant new volume in the Yale Series in Economic and Financial History invites new discussion of the causes and consequences of productivity growth over the last century and a half and on our current prospects.
Alexander J. Field is the Michel and Mary Orradre Professor of Economics, Santa Clara University, and executive director of the Economic History Association.
The Kipper und Wipper Inflation, 1619-23
An Economic History with Contemporary German Broadsheets
Martha White Paas; With Broadsheet Descriptions by John Roger Paas and Translations by George C. Schoolfield
This book is an economic analysis of the Kipper und Wipper inflation of 1619–23, the most serious German inflation before the hyperinflation following World War I, with a particular focus on how it affected people’s lives and behavior. The volume features full-page reproductions of rare contemporary broadsheets—early forerunners of the modern newspaper—with striking illustrations and engaging texts. Published here in their entirety and for the first time in superb English translation, they are a unique window on society at the time and give a voice to the people who were actually devastated by the inflation.
Martha White Paas is Wadsworth A. Williams Professor of Economics at Carleton College.
John Roger Paas is William H. Laird Professor of German and the Liberal Arts at Carleton College.
George C. Schoolfield is professor emeritus of Scandinavian and Germanic languages and literatures at Yale University.
International Trade and Labor Standards in History
It has become commonplace to think that globalization has produced a race to the bottom in terms of labor standards and quality of life: the cheaper the labor and the lower the benefits afforded workers, the more competitively a country can participate on the global stage. But in this book the distinguished economic historian Michael Huberman demonstrates that globalization has in fact been very good for workers’ quality of life, and that improved labor conditions have promoted globalization.
Michael Huberman is professor of history at the University of Montreal.
“I Am Not Master of Events"
The Speculations of John Law and Lord Londonderry in the Mississippi and South Sea Bubbles
Two of the greatest financial fiascos of all time took place at the same time and were instigated by two acquaintances: the Mississippi Bubble, on which John Law at first made a vast fortune and gained sway over French finances; and the South Sea Bubble, launched by Law and Thomas Pitt, Jr., Lord Londonderry, his main partner in England. This book tells the story of these two financial schemes from the letters and accounts of two leading personalities. Larry Neal, a distinguished economic historian, highlights the rationality of each person and also finds that the primitive exchanges of the day, though informal and completely unregulated, actually performed reasonably well.
Larry Neal is emeritus professor of economics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, research associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research, and visiting professor at the London School of Economics.
Financial Fraud and Guerrilla Violence in Missouri's Civil War, 1861-1865
Mark W. Geiger
This highly original work explores a previously unknown financial conspiracy at the start of the American Civil War. The book explains the reasons for the puzzling intensity of Missouri’s guerrilla conflict, and for the state’s anomalous experience in Reconstruction. In the broader history of the war, the book reveals for the first time the nature of military mobilization in the antebellum United States.
Mark Geiger is an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Sydney, and will also be a Kluge Fellow at the John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress for the 2011-12 academic year.
Shanghai's Bund and Beyond
British Banks, Banknote Issuance, and Monetary Policy in China, 1842-1937
As China emerges as a global powerhouse, this timely book examines its economic past and the shaping of its financial institutions. The first comparative study of foreign banking in prewar China, the book surveys the impact of British overseas bank notes on China's economy before the outbreak of the Sino-Japanese War in 1937. Focusing on the two leading British banks in the region, it assesses the favorable and unfavorable effects of the British presence in China, with particular emphasis on Shanghai, and traces instructive links between the changing political climate and banknote circulation volumes.
Drawing on recently declassified archival materials, Niv Horesh revises previous assumptions about China's prewar economy, including the extent of foreign banknote circulation and the economic significance of the May Thirtieth Movement of 1925.
Niv Horesh is lecturer, Department of Chinese Studies, University of New South Wales, Australia. He lives in Sydney.
Origins of American Health Insurance
A History of Industrial Sickness Funds
John E. Murray
How did the United States come to have its distinctive workplace-based health insurance system? Why did Progressive initiatives to establish a government system fail? This book explores the history of health insurance in the United States from its roots in the nineteenth-century sickness funds offered by industrial employers, fraternal organizations, and labor unions to the rise of such group plans as Blue Cross and Blue Shield in the mid-twentieth century.
Historians generally view the failure to establish universal health insurance during the first half of the twentieth century as an indicator of the political clout of insurers, employers, unions, and physicians who thwarted Progressive efforts. But the explanation is actually simpler, John Murray contends in this book. Careful analysis of the workings of industrial sickness funds suggests that workers rejected plans for compulsory state insurance because they were largely content with existing private plans. Murray revises our understanding of the evolution of health care insurance in the United States and discusses the implications of that history for the ongoing debates of today.
John E. Murray is professor of economics, University of Toledo. He lives in Toledo, OH.