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19th September 2017
Title: From Forum to Futures: 2000 Years of Britain's Commodity Markets
Author: Courtney, David
Price: £12.50
Publisher: Hindsight Books Limited
Date Published: 2004
Specifications: Softcovers, 115pp., 5.5" x 8.", 175g.
ISBN: 0954156730
Condition: Softcovers, as new
Copies in stock: 943
Category: Finance More books in this category
Book type: Investment History
Hindsight ID: 1386
From Forum to Futures: 2000 Years of Britain's Commodity Markets

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Notes: This account of Britain’s commodity markets demonstrates the central role they have played in the development of the trade and wealth of this nation. The fora and emporia of Roman Britain were the first evidence of sophisticated trading that indicated an economy operating above subsistence farming. With the withdrawal of the Romans, so trade declined and economics tended toward a hand-to-mouth existence in the subsequent Dark Ages. From there the importance of markets was proven once more, with the rise from local to regional and eventually specialised markets, bringing regularity, greater reliability and increased scale to trade – a process that benefited both producer and consumer.
This development also marked the revival of Britain’s fortunes and co-evolved with the establishment of the political realm. The subsequent heights to which Britain was to rise was first evident with the growth of the woollen trade (associated with the unique “staple” system), the guilds and the trade in grains, and then new more exotic commodities from overseas.
With the Industrial Revolution, the balance of trade in grain was reversed, and this both supported and was consequent to the emergence of laisser-faire economics and which stood in contrast to the mercantilist era that preceded it. As a major trading nation, Britain innovated in market mechanisms and regulation just as it did in science and technology, and this is most evident in the development of futures trading that began in the Liverpool-based cotton trade. Courtney also details other markets including those based on auctions such as the trade in tea, and which continued into the present age.
Ultimately the sophisticated markets of London, armed with the mechanisms, the people, flexibility and integrity, have established Britain as the home of global markets in a range of goods and services way beyond the traditional commodities, and this role, in itself, is now a vital profitable contribution to the national economy as a whole. This book was first published in 1991, and has been republished in 2004 by Hindsight Books Limited, it differs in that it lacks the original illustrations, but has been updated with an epilogue by the author.

Keys: Commodities, trading, coffee, sugar, metals, resources, futures, swaps, auctions, markets, history
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