The Money Series

  • Carl Wennerlind, Associate Professor of History, Barnard College
  • Charly Coleman, Assistant Professor of History, Columbia University
  • Pierre Force, Professor, Department of French and Romance Philology, Columbia University
  • Erik Goldner, Associate Professor, California State University, Northridge
  • Arnaud Orain, Professor, University of Paris 8
  • John Shovlin, Associate Professor of History, New York University
  • David Bell, Professor, Princeton University

In an effort to marshal resources to meet the escalating demands of war, empire, and state formation, European governments developed a set of sophisticated financial mechanisms around the turn of the eighteenth century. Soon, however, the already impressively complex financial architecture nearly crumbled due to a series of cataclysmic stock market crashes. The South Sea Bubble in England and the Mississippi Bubble in France left the newly formed modern culture of credit in complete disarray. In this one-day workshop, six French historians explore the conditions that led to the creation of John Law’s financial scheme, the intellectual context in which it became possible for people to believe in modern finance, the role that political ideology played during the bubble, the experience of living during the immediate aftermath of the crash, and the overall geopolitical context of the rise and fall of Law’s system.

  • Christine Desan, Leo Gottlieb Professor of Law, Harvard University
  • Nigel Dodd, Professor of Sociology, London School of Economics and Political Science
  • Rebecca Spang, Associate Professor of History, Indiana University, Bloomington

Money is a notoriously difficult phenomenon to grasp. Why it works, how it works, and where it works are elusive questions that scholars have wrestled with for ages. In this event, we bring together the authors of three recent books on money and a set of respondents to stage a conversation about the social, legal, and political role and implications of money.

Good bookkeeping makes for good government—but not for very long—according to this history of accounting in the public sphere. Please note: Seating is limited for this event.

Mercantilism Through the Ages

Friday, November 15, 2013

Mercantilism is a strange being with an awkward past. The concept ironically owes a far greater debt to its foremost critic, Adam Smith, than to any of its supposed advocates. And, while most recent scholarship agrees that the Wealth of Nations painted a deceptively coherent portrait of 17th-century political economy and the commercial regulations these ideas supposedly engendered, Smith’s interpretation of a “mercantile system” has survived, informing the way we conceive both of early modern history as well as the nature of modern economy and politics.

This event has been moved to 304 Hamilton Hall, Columbia University. The drug war in the Americas faces two related crises: the dramatic wave of trafficker violence in Mexico and the rising challenge to U.S. strategies from a number of key Latin American states. Using the long history of hemispheric cocaine, Gootenberg will show how the sharply unintended impacts of prior U.S. drug interventions have brought the overseas drug war to this crossroads, and to the next phase of cocaine’s globalizing history.

Should Business Schools Have a Future?

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The recent financial crisis has raised disturbing questions about our nation’s business elite.   To what extent can this crisis be traced to the pedagogy of our business schools?   Can business education promote the public good?  If not, then how might we go about re-envisioning the education of the next generation of business leaders?

This conference on "The Culture of Credit" features two panel discussions, as well as a keynote lecture by Jeff Madrick.

An Anthropologist on Wall Street

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

This installment of the Heyman Center's "Money Series" features Gillian Tett, US managing editor of the Financial Times.

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