Devil Take the Hindmost by Edward Chancellor: How the Book Shaped the Western World

1261 Words6 Pages
Devil take the Hindmost (A history of financial speculation) - by Edward Chancellor

Jason Murdoch

This book discusses speculation and how it has shaped the western world. The book spans from the Romans to Modern day but in keeping with the theme of this course observations will be restricted to the pre 1900 section as much as possible. The book focuses on western economies as the Asian world considers the whole stock trading for profit as being ruinous to a healthy economy. Individual profit taking does not contribute to the wealth of the community. Oddly modern Japan is viewed as a western culture and its economic woes of the late 80s is a sign that that it fell afoul of the demons of western capitalistic greed. (my portfolio is like a
…show more content…
Everyone bought railway stocks and often in quantities that were beyond their means. Most initial offerings were done at 10percent down the rest in payments over the next two or three years (4). The not so rich bought shares on the initial offering with the hope of selling them in the first couple of days and pocketing the profit. To float a railway on the stock market required an act of Parliament and all that was required was to offer shares to a majority of the hose to secure the vote of the house. The Dot Coms of recent memory are our equivalent of tulips, railways and the South Seas Trading Co. Proving that people don't learn from mistakes but just learn a new way to make the same mistake

The fiscal system is oddly matched to this topic of material culture system as it has no tangible artefacts. A stock exchange is not the grandiose buildings we see in Wall Street or the Square Mile. Historically bars, churches and alleys have all hosted stock markets. The behaviour of the security and future exchange traders is still the same shouting, waving and gesticulating that the Romans used. Well I can't personally attest for the Romans but I can for the New York traders. One thing that was missing from the NY exchange when I visited was the old amex hand signals. These evolved when the exchange floor was actually Wall Street and the jobbers conducted trades out on the street but the brokers were up in the offices in the surrounding buildings. There

    More about Devil Take the Hindmost by Edward Chancellor: How the Book Shaped the Western World

      Get Access