Edited by Ingo Barens, Volker Caspari and Bertram Schefold
ERICH W. STREISSLER
The Field to Survey As Jules Verne tells us, Phileas Fogg was not only willing but able to travel around the world within 80 days. Not a mean feat in 1873, the year of the greatest ﬁnancial crash of the nineteenth century. I have been assigned the altogether more daunting task of presenting an historical perspective of ﬁnancial institutions as well as technological progress. And I can only hope that in the near future a worldwide ﬁnancial crash of the dimensions of that which started in Vienna on May 8th and 9th 1873, the other side to the story of Phileas Fogg, will be avoided. In order to make my task a little more tractable I shall only speak of international ﬁnancial markets and their institutions. I hope this will be in conformity with our general topic, the single ﬁnancial market. Is the development of international ﬁnancial markets mainly technological? And is this development progress? These would actually have to be our ﬁrst questions. The doubts expressed in these questions I shall leave unanswered, and merely, after a short prelude, approach my topic in four ways. First, I shall argue that within (roughly), the last three centuries there were only two or three great innovations which shaped international ﬁnancial markets. The ﬁrst was institutional, in fact, and only the latter one or two innovations were technical in the narrower sense. Second, I shall show that there actually was destabilizing institutional retrogression during the twentieth century, now happily past. Third, I...
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