The History of Banking

Bankers aren’t especially popular these days. If you want to spend a few interesting hours, I suggest researching the history of banking. I just read an analysis of the banking crisis of 1819 and it wasn’t too different from a contemporary account. Spend some time thinking about banking and banking systems. I did, and came to two key conclusions:

  1. The improvement of our standard of living requires an extensive banking system.
  2. An extensive banking system will, of necessity, occasionally implode and cause great havoc for innocent bystanders.

Reality can be depressing. Banking seems to have a three steps forward, two steps back cycle. Sometimes everything just hums along and we’re fat, dumb, and happy. Then it all tanks and we hold the bankers in contempt. I’m smart enough to see why it works this way, but not smart enough to see how it could not work this way.

As an aside, remembering the banking is essential, how do we get people to be bankers, knowing that they will be reviled and despised? Hint: for enough money, some people will do anything.

English: Of Usury, from Brant’s Stultifera Nav...

Image via Wikipedia

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