The launch of the Dutch East India Company in 1602 initiated Amsterdam’s transformation from a regional market town into a dominant financial center. The Company introduced easily transferable shares, and within days buyers had begun to trade them. Soon the public was engaging in a variety of complex transactions, including forwards, futures, options, and bear raids, and by 1680 the techniques deployed in the Amsterdam market were as sophisticated as any we practice today.
Lodewijk Petram’s award-winning history demystifies financial instruments by linking today’s products to yesterday’s innovations, tying the market’s operation to the behavior of individuals and the workings of the world around them. Traveling back in time, Petram visits the harbor and other places where merchants met to strike deals. He bears witness to the goings-on at a notary’s office and sits in on the consequential proceedings of a courtroom. He describes in detail the main players, investors, shady characters, speculators, and domestic servants and other ordinary folk, who all played a role in the development of the market and its crises. His history clarifies concerns that investors still struggle with today—such as fraud, the value of information, trust and the place of honor, managing diverging expectations, and balancing risk—and does so in a way that is vivid, relatable, and critical to understanding our contemporary world.
About the Author
Table of Contents
1. A World-Famous Book
2. A New Company
3. Early Share Trading
4. Angry Shareholders
6. The First Boom
7. Jewish Traders
9. Trading Clubs
12. The World-Famous Book Again
Acknowledgments and Overview of Literature and Sources
What People are Saying About This
Petram's book is a very good example of that rare specimen, a financial history book for a popular audience. The reader gets a very good feeling of atmosphere, of time and place, and of the specific society that gave rise to our contemporary financial structure.