Length: 30 min.
9, 10, 11, 12, Adult Learning, Professional Development
Wall Street: World Financial Center
Wall Street has played a leading role in the growth and development of the United States of America. So too, it has helped to establish America as the center of world capital markets, albeit not without missteps. In this comprehensive collection, interviews with the world’s most highly respected economists, historians, professors, investors and business leaders provide an unparalleled insight into the development and power of the United States banking and finance industries.
1. The Wall Of Wall Street — The name Wall Street evolved from the earliest history of North America. Back then, a wall stood as a protective boundary between the wealth of the Dutch Settlement of New Amsterdam and the Native Americans. It’s a difficult challenge to find traces of that original wall from a time 400 years ago, especially in such a modern city as New York. But the wall of Wall Street perfectly parallels the history of New York City from its earliest beginnings as the world’s financial capital.
2. The Growth Of Wall Street — At one end of Wall Street sits Trinity Church. Behind the church is a cemetery. A young man named Alexander Hamilton, whose ideas were fundamental in making Wall Street into what it is today, chose this cemetery as his final resting place. Hamilton & Jefferson would debate how a young bankrupt country might best recover from the expense of the Revolutionary War. It would be a complex task to navigate a financial recovery between Wall Street and the US Treasury.
3. Wall Street & The Growth Of America — In the 19th century, America was divided by the Appalachian Mountains allowing the East and West to develop independent of each other, NY Governor DeWitt Clinton proposed building the Erie Canal helping to connect the country while also fueling its growth. He turned to the bankers on Wall Street for help. Shortly thereafter the issuance of bonds by Wall Street would help to build the nations railroads. The bankers on Wall Street even helped the North win the Civil War by providing a steady flow of money. Wall Street was a major contributor to the growth of America.
4. Wall Street & Modern Investing — NASDAQ founded in 1971 made it possible for young, high risk companies to go public creating a role for venture capitalists. Early venture capitalists included Queen Isabella of Spain who funded Christopher Columbus’ voyage to the new world and banker JP Morgan who funded Thomas Edison and the electric light. On the NASDAQ, high risk ventures in Silicon Valley could be shared with investors on main street accelerating America’s growth.
5. Wall Street & Main Street — Early Wall Street bankers could never have imagined the many different investment vehicles now connecting Main Street and Wall Street. People of varied age and backgrounds all come to Wall Street with the same dream. Modern investing is comprised of an important list of investment vehicles for turning risk to reward.
6. Shining A Light On Wall Street — Justice and transparency of information is the most efficient way to realize trade but there was really only one rule on Wall Street, “buyer beware”. For Wall Street bankers an important condition of their success was confidentiality and measured control of information. One man, a Mr. Dow responded to this problem by establishing the Dow Jones Index. He believed information was key to shedding some light on Wall Street.
7. Wall Street Never Sleeps — Movie director Oliver Stone hoped to reveal the inside of Wall Street; exposing the greed and questionable risks that seem to cast a curse on the street. With the advent of computers and electronic trading, trading on stocks and other financial instruments is available any time of day or night. Human traders may be substituted by electronic traders, shifting the focus from market managers to computer based R&D experts.
8. Wall Street & Subprime Mortgages — Getting from the early availability of credit to subprime mortgages is an interesting journey. It involves a fascinating look at the emergence of credit starting with immigrant banks and moving forward to various financial derivatives and the establishment of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Real estate loans became tradable securities and subprime mortgages were readily available. But the real estate bubble was soon to burst.
9. Wall Street & The Bubble of ’08 — Had history repeated itself? Lehman Brothers, a company with more than a 100 year history was gone. It’s portfolio of subprime mortgages worthless. 2400 miles away California was beginning to feel the effect. Within months the entire banking system of Iceland would collapse. The global impact catastrophic. What did “too big to fail” really mean?
10. Wall Street & The Emergence of Asia — The center of the capital markets is shifting from America to Asia, that’s what the future is going to be. China’s economy has been on a fast track of growth, rising in stature. The Industrial & Commercial Bank of China is the world’s largest by market value. Still there is a long way to go to make China a financial superpower. Yet Western bankers have hundreds of years of experience. They won’t be defeated easily by the current financial crisis.
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Assignment: The World has been discontinued by the producer and is no longer available for broadcast.
June 25-26 - Prairie Region Teacher Training Institute in Moorhead, Minnesota at Concordia College