The Cotton Kings: Capitalism and Corruption in Turn-of-the-Century New York and New Orleans by Bruce E. Baker

The Cotton Kings: Capitalism and Corruption in Turn-of-the-Century New York and New Orleans

byBruce E. Baker, Barbara Hahn

Hardcover | December 17, 2015

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In the second decade of the twenty-first century, many Americans feel they are subject to economic forces beyond their control. Some critics of today's economy compare it to the rampant inequality of the late nineteenth century, when robber barons manipulated the economy to their own benefit.Others object to the remedies that were applied in the early twentieth century, insisting that markets work best when governed least.The Cotton Kings relates a colorful economic drama with striking parallels to contemporary American economic debates. At the turn of the twentieth century, dishonest cotton brokers used bad information to lower prices on the futures market, impoverishing millions of farmers. To fight thiscorruption, a small group of brokers sought to control the price of cotton on unregulated exchanges in New York and New Orleans. They triumphed, cornering the world market in cotton and raising its price for years. However, the structural problems of self-regulation by market participants continuedto threaten the cotton trade until eventually political pressure inspired federal regulation. In the form of the Cotton Futures Act of 1914, the federal government stamped out corruption on the exchanges, helping millions of farmers and textile manufacturers.Combining a gripping narrative with the controversial argument that markets work better when placed under federal regulation, The Cotton Kings brings to light a rarely told story that speaks directly to contemporary conflicts between free markets and regulation.

About The Author

Bruce E. Baker teaches at Newcastle University in England and is co-editor of the journal American Nineteenth Century History. His previous books include What Reconstruction Meant: Historical Memory in the American South, This Mob Will Surely Take My Life: Lynchings in the Carolinas, 1871-1947, After Slavery: Race, Labor, and Citizensh...
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Details & Specs

Title:The Cotton Kings: Capitalism and Corruption in Turn-of-the-Century New York and New OrleansFormat:HardcoverDimensions:288 pages, 9.29 × 6.42 × 0.03 inPublished:December 17, 2015Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0190211652

ISBN - 13:9780190211653

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Table of Contents

Introduction1. New Orleans and the Future of the Cotton Trade2. The Value of Information3. Building a Bear Trap4. Cornering Cotton5. Of Weevils and Wool Hats6. Of Scandals, Sunshine, and Manipulation7. Revenge of the Bears8. The Perpetual Squeeze9. The Cotton Futures Act of 1914ConclusionNotesBibliographyIndex

Editorial Reviews

"Entrepreneurs' greatest dream is to corner the market--and no market was a more tempting target in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century United States than the cotton market. In this fascinating history, Bruce Baker and Barbara Hahn tell the story of the cotton bears and bulls, andhow a more assertive federal government eventually tamed their epic struggles."-Sven Beckert, author of Empire of Cotton: A Global History