Profs and Pints presents: “Centuries of Financial Scandal,” with Trevor Jackson, assistant professor of economic history at George Washington University.
In 1720, a gambler and convicted murderer named John Law was appointed to the head of the French finance ministry, and, within six months, produced the world’s first international financial crisis by printing money from his own private bank and using it to buy out larger and larger portions of the French government. In 1822, the Scottish adventurer Gregor MacGregor successfully floated a loan of £200,000 in London for the sovereign nation of Poyais, which did not actually exist. From these early beginnings to the 2016 Panama Papers and Wells Fargo phony-accounts scandal and the Panama Papers, the world of international finance has been marked by numerous spectacular instances of fraud, malfeasance, and scandal.
Finance is often seen as an arcane subject, but it is also the lifeblood of the global economy. In its infancy in the 18th century, when the speculators and stock-jobbers of Exchange Alley were first inventing the tools and techniques of banking and stock trading, it was seen as somewhere between magic and gambling.
Each financial scandal has resulted in new laws and regulations which, in turn, have inspired financial innovations by bankers and speculators looking for new ways to turn a profit. The race between regulators and financiers continues today, but with much higher stakes, because as we now know, nothing connects the world quite like a financial crisis.
Learn from a professor of economic history the secret history of financial scandal, from the South Sea Bubble of 1720 to the LIBOR scandal of 2012. Have we learned anything from 300 years of fraud and swindles? Or are financial scandals permanent and inevitable? Come hear about the expensive lessons we’ve learned. (Advance tickets: $12. Doors: $15, save $2 with a student ID. Listed time is for doors. Please allow yourself adequate time to place any orders and get seated and settled in.)
Advance tickets available at https://profspintsbubbles.brownpapertickets.com