Where Culture Meets Money

(Carlo Allegri/Reuters)
How Wall Street became Wall Street, and how to build on it.

NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLE H ave you ever wondered how Wall Street became . . . Wall Street? It is an interesting story in that it contains a genuine unicorn: a government “investment” — two of them, in fact — that actually turned out to be pretty good as something more than a make-work program.

The story of high finance begins on boats. In the ancient Mediterranean world, shipping loans were developed as the first real risk-hedging instrument, without which much of the trade of the time might have been too financially risky to undertake. That would have left the Greco-Roman world needlessly impoverished. (No doubt

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