STS.002 | Spring 2016 | Undergraduate

Finance and Society


Part I: Finance Before 1800
1 Introduction: Studying Finance as a Social Technology  
2 Italian Innovations: Late Medieval and Renaissance Technologies of Finance  

The “Golden Age” of Dutch Finance

Recitation 1: Introduction; Finance as Technology; Italian and Dutch Sources

4 Credit and Credibility in Britain’s “Financial Revolution”  

First Crashes: The Bubbles of 1720

Recitation 2: North & Weingast; The Bubbles of 1720; Discuss Paper 1

Part II: Making A Financial World, 1800-1945
6 Financing a New Nation: The U.S. “Financial Revolution” of the 1790s  

Capitalizing on Lives in the 19th Century, Free and Unfree

Recitation 3: Hamilton vs Logan; Finance and Slavery

8 Making Money in 19th Century America Paper 1 due

Financial Empires and Global Crises in the Late 19th Century

Recitation 4: Andrew Jackson; Fowler on Wall Street; Lawson on “Gaucho Banking”

10 Pricing the Future: Chicago and the Commodities Trade, 1850-1900  

Other People’s Money?: Big Banks and Big Bankers in the Early 20th Century

Recitation 5: “A Corner on Wheat” (film); Conant vs Brandeis on Bankers

12 Before Black Tuesday: Marginal Investments and the Roaring Twenties  

Black Tuesday and Beyond: The Crash of 1929 and the Great Depression

Recitation 6: Crowther & Raskob, “Everybody Ought to Be Rich”; Reacting to the “Great Crash”

Part III: Mathematization and Financialization, 1945-2000
14 Random Walks and Wall Street: A New Mathematics of Finance  

Performing Financial Theories: The Black-Scholes Model and Its World

Recitation 7: Fama on Efficient Markets; Mackenzie on the “Performativity” of Black-Scholes

Paper 2 due
16 “Greed Is Good?”: Finance Takes Over in the ’80s  

Financialization and Deregulation at the End of the 20th Century

Recitation 8: Friedman, Jensen, Clinton

18 In-class Exam  
Part IV: Finance and Its Futures in the 21st Century

Financial Globalization and its Discontents

Recitation 9: Discuss paper revision; Debating Debt and the Debt Vultures


Arbitrage: The Philosophy and Practice of Trading in Modern Finance

Recitation 10: Two Perspectives on Arbitrage

21 (In)Securitization: Financial Engineering and the Great Crash of 2008  

Meltdown: Thinking About Risk and Regulation in Finance

Recitation 11: Explaining the Crisis of 2008; “The Big Short”; Was 2008 a “Normal Accident”?

Paper revision due
23 High-Frequency Trading and the Materiality of Finance in a Digital Age  

Engineering Alternative Futures: Islamic Banking and Bitcoin

Recitation 12: Finance, Technology, and the Future

25 Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained: Finance, Innovation, and Philanthropy  
26 Finance and the Limits of the Technological Paper 3 due