A Cultural History of Finance: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

A Cultural History of Finance

1st Edition

By Irene Finel-Honigman


352 pages

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The world of finance is again undergoing crisis and transformation. This book provides a new perspective on finance through the prism of popular and formal culture and examines fascination and repulsion toward money, the role of governments and individuals in financial crises and how the Crisis of 2008, like others since 1720, repeat the same patterns of enthusiasm, greed, culpability, revulsion, reform and recovery.

The book explores the political and socio-economic factors which determine fallibility and resilience in financial cultures, periods of crisis, transition and recovery based on cyclical rather than linear progression. Examining the roots of financial capitalism, in Europe and the United States and its corollary development in Asia, Russia and emerging markets proves that cultural and psychosocial reactions to financial success, endeavor and calamity transcend specific periods or events. The book allows the reader to discover parallel and intersecting reactions, controversies and resolutions in the cultural history of financial markets and institutions.

Table of Contents

Preface. Introduction Part 1. Dead Gages, Naked Debentures 1. Etymology: The Anglo-American roots of financial terminology and its impact on financial semantics 2. Instruments, Agents, Institutions and Financial Centers: Biblical, classical, and medieval to Renaissance references 3. Currency: Silver, gold, sterling, ducats, florins, guilders, ecus, bills of acceptance, letters of credit, bank notes to paper money, stocks 4. Agents: usurers, moneychangers, speculators, merchant bankers, financiers, bankers, jobbers to brokers 5. Institutions: fairs, money markets, exchanges, deposit, banks, central banks 6. Financial centers: Rome, Athens, Constantinople, Florence, Bruges, Amsterdam, London Part 2. Myths, Stigmas and Morality of "Dirty Sexy Money" 7. "Morality and Mammon": Societal, Political and Moral Marginalization 8. Anti -Semitism to Anti-Capitalism 9. Financial Women: Banker’s wives, Lady Speculators, Whores 10. Paper Money: Lure of the Devil 11. Dante’s Seventh Circle of Inferno: Counterfeiting, Financial Fraud 12. Financial Bubbles, Manias and Crisis: South Sea Bubble, Mississippi Bubble, Crash of ‘29 Part 3. Metamorphosis: Materialism to Capitalism (1640s to1780s) 13. Secularization, Science, Literacy, Literature: Reading the Market 14. Wealth Distribution and Societal Mobility: Merchants, Banking Dynasties, Financiers, Tax collectors, Bankers 15. Amsterdam, London, Paris: The Market and Society 16. Consumerism to Luxury 17. Moral and Legal Regulation 18. Market concepts, mores and beliefs: Jean Bodin to Adam Smith, Rousseau to Voltaire The Individual and the States Economic Impulses: Stock Exchanges, Central Banks 19. The Bank of England Part 4. Ambivalences of Modernity: British, French, German Capitalism (1815-1900) 20. British Financial Universalism: Dickens to Bagehot 21. Political-Financial Matrix: Capitalism in the name of the Nation 22. British and French Bankers to the Universe: Barings, Rothschild, International and Colonial banking 23. Forging Banking and Market Institutional Identity, Culture, Philosophy 24. Monetary Bipolarity: Saint Simon to Marx 25. French Financial Exceptionalism: Hate the Banker, Revere the Bank 26. The Middle Class: Ascension, Ambivalence, Nostalgia 27. Traders, Speculators, Brokers: The Rise of the Market 28. Prussian to German Financial Power: Institutions and Culture Part 5. Capitalism is Dead, Long Live Capitalism 29. First and Second Gilded Ages: "Dynamic of capitalism and its relationship to the state" 30. The Last Waltz of the Empires 31. Marxism and post Marxist societies: Deconstructing and reconstructing financial culture in former Soviet Union, China and emerging markets 32. Post WWI Cultural Manifestations of Financial Chaos, Inflation, Depression 33. WWII Wartime Finances 34. Bretton Woods: The Americanization of Financial Culture and Global Finance 35. International Finance and Economic Security: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly from Ambrosiano, BCCI to terrorism funding 36. Rogues on the Trading Floor, Knaves in the Boardroom 37. European Monetary Union: Inventing Europe, ECB, Euro, Banking Harmonization 38. Benign neglect to intervention, deregulation, privatization: French, German, British, Japanese Banking 39. Anti- globalization to Anti-Americanism 40. Art, Money, Financial Art Part 6. American financial culture: Model and Myth of American capitalism (1784- 2009). 41. Land of Opportunities: American Old and New Money 42. The New York Stock Exchange 43. Wall Street –Main Street myths and dichotomies 44. Debt to Creditor Nation: New Banker to the World, American banks and bankers in international finance, JP Morgan to the Federal Reserve 45. Crash of 1929 and the Great Depression: How do you Regulate American Finance 46. "Cowboy capitalism" from the Civil War to 2001: gold and silver standards, tariffs, monopolies, the "Almighty dollar" 47. Transformation of American Financial Culture: Banks and Bankers 1933-1983 48. American Financial Technology and Innovation: FOREX, NASDAQ, Futures, Derivatives 49. Great American Financial Scandals: Penn Square, S&L, Junk Bonds, Enron, Crisis of 2008 50. Traders Take Charge: Lehman Brothers, Road to Deregulation, Masters of the Universe 51. Too-Big to Fail to the End of Glass Steagall, LTC to Irrational Exuberance 52. The Second Gilded Age: American Wealth Distribution 53. American financial market places: Philadelphia, Chicago, New York 54. The Great Depression, Glass-Steagall Act and US regulatory structures Conclusion

About the Author

Irene Finel-Honigman is Adjunct Professor of International Affairs at the School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University, USA.

About the Series

Routledge Explorations in Economic History

This long established series provides a platform for books which break new ground in the understanding of the development of the modern world economy. Equally rooted in economics and history, the series is not limited to any particular period or region. Individual titles focus on particular countries, key industries, themes, or international economic relations.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Economic History