Wheels of Fortune: The History of Speculation from Scandal to Respectability
From Jay Gould's attempt to corner the gold market in the 1860s to the Hunt brothers' scandalous efforts to control the silver market in the 1980s, Wheels of Fortune traces the rich, colorful history of the futures market on its quest for respectability and profit. This comprehensive account shows readers why the markets have been grabbing headlines for over 100 years as both respectable economic institutions and hotbeds of gambling activity and scandal. Charles Geisst brings the personalities and strategies behind the futures market and speculation in general to life, against a backdrop of American life that begins prior to the Civil War.
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
On the other hand, traders face extraordinary temptations to manipulate their markets, because what they buy and sell is information, far removed from the products it represents and yet easily converted into real cash. The result, as charted in this detailed but nonanalytical history, has been an ongoing seesaw between self-regulation and government intervention. The maturing economy has tamed the "cowboy" proclivities of traders a bit; still, corrupt traders now have the potential to disrupt the broad economy in ways undreamed of in earlier decades. The entrepreneurial drama continues. (Harvard Business Review, December 2002)
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