About this blog

“Finance” is a loaded word. It immediately calls to mind emotions: fear (“how am I going to pay my credit card bill?”), achievement (“I’ve paid off my student loan!”), anger (“my bank is robbing me!”), safety (“I have a plan for retirement”), or maybe injustice (“why does Wall Street make so much money?”).

I’d like to take a step back and look at “finance” from a historical perspective, seeking to understand how and why our financial system came about. My inquiry will be largely focused on the American financial system, but not entirely. And it will (often) be quirky, and hopefully, a little fun.

Since three starting theses will underpin almost all of my writing here, I think they’re worth surfacing upfront for potential readers:

  1. By understanding how our financial system works and why it works the way it does, (a) we can better understand how it has shaped our lives and (b) empower and enable us to re-think how a system could be
  1. Finance is a technology (only its machinery is fund flows and money instead of gears and conveyor belts). As a technology, it can enable us to do more than we would have been able to otherwise. But that “more” can be both for social and individual gains (and sometimes both!)
  1. How we pay for things is often more impactful than what we pay for in ways we don’t often understand at the time. For example, the United States government assumed the Revolutionary War debts of all its states after the war. Some (Virginia, New York) incurred more than others (Maine, Georgia). By uniting the states’ debt, the federal government forged a bond – literal and metaphorical – that reinforced the federal system [0]

Ultimately, my goal is to look at something that surrounds us and impacts our understanding of the world, but we often overlook. For something that is so emotionally charged in our current cultural conversations, there’s a lot to understand.

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