Marc Levinson - Guide to Financial Markets
Economist Books | 2006 | ISBN: 1861979568 | Pages: 256 | PDF | 1.17 MB
The word “market” usually conjures up an image of the bustling, paperstrewn
floor of the New York Stock Exchange or of traders motioning
frantically in the futures pits of Chicago. But formal exchanges such as
these are only one aspect of the financial markets, and far from the most
important one. There were financial markets long before there were
exchanges and, in fact, long before there was organised trading of any
Financial markets have been around ever since mankind settled
down to growing crops and trading them with others. After a bad harvest,
those early farmers would have needed to obtain seed for the next
season’s planting, and perhaps to get food to see their families through.
Both of these transactions would have required them to obtain credit
from others with seed or food to spare. After a good harvest, the farmers
would have had to decide whether to trade away their surplus
immediately or to store it, a choice that any 20th-century commodities
trader would find familiar. The amount of fish those early farmers could
obtain for a basket of cassava would have varied day by day, depending
upon the catch, the harvest and the weather; in short, their exchange
rates were volatile.
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