Wheels of Fortune: The History of Speculation from Scandal to Respectability / Edition 1

Wheels of Fortune: The History of Speculation from Scandal to Respectability / Edition 1

by Charles R. Geisst
     
 

For over 150 years, speculation in the financial markets, especially the futures markets, has contributed to both celebrated and infamous moments in this country's financial history-from Benjamin Hutchinson's corner of wheat in the 1860s to the Hunt brothers' cunning efforts to control the silver market in the 1980s. But from the very beginning, even after the

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Overview

For over 150 years, speculation in the financial markets, especially the futures markets, has contributed to both celebrated and infamous moments in this country's financial history-from Benjamin Hutchinson's corner of wheat in the 1860s to the Hunt brothers' cunning efforts to control the silver market in the 1980s. But from the very beginning, even after the economic value of futures was confirmed, the men who traded them and their motives have constantly been questioned.

Wheels of Fortune is an engaging and original story that traces the rich, colorful, and often scandalous history of the U.S. futures market in its quest for respectability and profit. Set against a backdrop that begins prior to the Civil War and continues through the twentieth century, renowned business historian and bestselling author Charles Geisst takes you on an incredible journey that brings the personalities and strategies behind the futures markets and speculation in general to life.

You will discover how daring nineteenth-century traders such as "Old Hutch," P. D. Armour, and Jay Gould set the standard for speculation with their bold attempts to corner the wheat and gold markets, and watch as other inspired individuals, companies, and even foreign governments quickly entered this arena during the twentieth century-as fundamental commodities in society would eventually be measured in basis points, not bushels. But this is only the beginning. Wheels of Fortune swiftly moves through the decades to recount the uphill battles these markets have faced, from political pressures mounted by the Sons of the Wild Jackass, legal rulings handed down by the Supreme Court, and FBI sting operations to fiascoes such as the salad oil swindle, Ferruzzi Finanziera, Orange County (California), and Long-Term Capital Management.

The history of the futures markets, derivatives, and speculation is full of misunderstandings and false assumptions. Wheels of Fortune seeks to clarify these misconceptions by capturing the spirit of these markets from their earliest days, chronicling the events and individuals that brought scandal and skepticism into the markets, and exploring the laws and governing bodies that were established to rein them in. This lively account offers an accurate picture of how the futures and derivatives game has been played over the years and tries to answer the question: "For whom are the futures markets dealing-the public or themselves?" Ultimately, the decision is yours.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780471212225
Publisher:
Wiley
Publication date:
10/01/2002
Pages:
416
Product dimensions:
6.26(w) x 9.28(h) x 1.26(d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vi

Introduction vii

Chapter 1 A Tale of the Pits 1

Chapter 2 Futures and 'Wild Jackasses' 49

Chapter 3 The Great Bear Hunt 99

Chapter 4 Expanding the Menu 143

Chapter 5 Metals and Money 187

Chapter 6 Chicago Follies 243

Chapter 7 Rogues' Gallery 297

Postscript 353

Bibliography 355

Index 360

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