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Forging Capitalism: Rogues, Swindlers,…

Forging Capitalism: Rogues, Swindlers, Frauds and the Rise of Modern…

by Ian Klaus

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This might have been too big a topic to put into one book; the basis thesis is that frauds have always been with us, including during the rise of modern capitalism, and there were various attempts to deal with the risk of fraud that changed over time as capitalism matured. Reliance on the high status of gentlemen failed; reliance on the good reputation of traders failed; reliance on following reasonable and customary practices failed; reliance on case-by-case verification of claims failed; and the final iteration has been self-regulation or plain old government regulation in the form of standardized rules, particularly disclosure. It’s not perfect either, but better alternatives have yet to emerge. Tidbit: the influential newspaper Financial News published “answers to correspondents” in which readers’ questions were answered, but their questions weren’t published; thus they could get functionally anonymous investment advice with answers saying that X was a good investment or that “he” was a known swindler. But when the publisher invested in a scheme of its own, it put that company’s name in the positive answers. ( )
  rivkat | May 31, 2016 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0300181949, Hardcover)

Vice is endemic to Western capitalism, according to this fascinating, wildly entertaining, often startling history of modern finance. Ian Klaus’s Forging Capitalism demonstrates how international financial affairs in the nineteenth century were conducted not only by gentlemen as a noble pursuit but also by connivers, thieves, swindlers, and frauds who believed that no risk was too great and no scheme too outrageous if the monetary reward was substantial enough. Taken together, the grand deceptions of the ambitious schemers and the determined efforts to guard against them have been instrumental in creating the financial establishments of today.

In a story teeming with playboys and scoundrels and rich in colorful and amazing events, Klaus chronicles the evolution of trust through three distinct epochs: the age of values, the age of networks and reputations, and, ultimately, in a world of increased technology and wealth, the age of skepticism and verification. In today’s world, where the questionable dealings of large international financial institutions are continually in the spotlight, this extraordinary history has great relevance, offering essential lessons in both the importance and the limitations of trust.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:28 -0400)

Vice is the true father of Western capitalism, according to Ian Klaus in this fascinating, wildly entertaining, and often startling history of modern finance. Rather than the noble pursuit of gentlemen, international financial affairs in the nineteenth century were conducted in large part, the author suggests, by connivers, thieves, swindlers and frauds who believed that no risk was too great and no scheme too outrageous if the monetary reward was substantial enough. .… (more)

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