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INTRODUCTION TO PERSONAL INVESTING

HISTORY

How long have people been investing?

In approximately 1700 b.c.e., the Code of Hammurabi, discovered in 1902, laid out a set of rules for investing. Babylon, an ancient city in what is now Iraq, was ruled by various kings; the sixth king, Hammurabi, ruled for nearly 43 years. Under Hammurabi, a set of codes were enacted that helped the king rule his people. Although many of the codes described basic laws and governance, some codes described rules involving investing, loans, and financial transactions. Some copies of the original codes predate the main codes, which were etched upon a large stone, by several decades.

What do the Hammurabi Codes describe?

Some of the codes or laws describe what happens if commercial deals are not paid, the transfer of property, loan repayment, rent/lease arrangements, interest on property, and contract laws, among many other subjects.

What other city-states helped contribute to modern-day investing?

There are many other places around the world and in different periods of time that shaped and formed modern-day investing. In the 1300s, the city-state of Venice was a major center for the clearing or exchanging of obligations held by one owner, and exchanging them with another owner. Venetians began to do what today's modern brokers do: bringing buyers and sellers together in order to transact a financial obligation. These same Venetian traders even engaged in international finance by buying and selling obligations owned by various European governments.

Stock tickers like this one, invented by Edward Calahan in 1863, reported changes in stock prices by printing out long strips of paper. They were not replaced until computers came into more common use in the 1970s.

Stock tickers like this one, invented by Edward Calahan in 1863, reported changes in stock prices by printing out long strips of paper. They were not replaced until computers came into more common use in the 1970s.

When was the stock ticker invented?

Although it was invented by Edward Calahan in 1863, it was unveiled in New York City in 1867. The stock ticker machine was later improved by Thomas Edison in 1869 and was widely used until the 1970s, when it was gradually replaced by computer terminals. The machines were able to communicate current prices of stocks, which previously had been handwritten, or expressed verbally, and could transmit and ultimately print the quotes at one character per second. The great significance of the invention of the ticker machine is that it enabled the dissemination of prices across a large audience. Stock prices could be known by buyers near real time, allowing the markets to become more efficient and competitive.

 
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