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The following content uses material from the Wikipedia article which can be viewed, along with the content contribution references and acknowledgements, at: Finance, and is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0. Please note that the GNU Free Documentation License may also exist on some text material. Images may not fall under either of the aforementioned licences and particular attention needs to be made when considering to use images or other media files. For full reuse and copyright policy details, please refer to: Wikipedia content reuse copyright information.

Finance is a term for matters regarding the management, creation, and study of money and investments.

Specifically, it deals with the questions of how and why an individual, company or government acquire the money needed called capital in the company context and how they spend or invest that money. Finance is then often split into the following major categories: corporate finance, personal finance and public finance.

At the same time, and correspondingly, finance is about the overall "system" i.e., the financial markets that allow the flow of money, via investments and other financial instruments, between and within these areas; this "flow" is facilitated by the financial services sector. Finance therefore refers to the study of the securities markets, including derivatives, and the institutions that serve as intermediaries to those markets, thus enabling the flow of money through the economy.

A major focus within finance is thus investment management called money management for individuals, and asset management for institutions and finance then includes the associated activities of securities trading and stock broking, investment banking, financial engineering, and risk management. Fundamental to these areas is the valuation of assets such as stocks, bonds, loans, but also, by extension, entire companies.

Given its wide scope, finance is studied in several academic disciplines, and, correspondingly, there are several related professional qualifications that can lead to the field.

Contents


History of finance

The origin of finance can be traced to the start of civilization. The earliest historical evidence of finance is dated back from 3000 BC. Banking originated in the Babylonian empire, where temples and palaces were used as safe places for the storage of valuables. Initially, the only valuable that could be deposited was grain, but cattle and precious materials were eventually included. During the same time period, the Sumerian city of Uruk in Mesopotamia supported trade by lending as well as the use of interest. In Sumerian, ?interest? was mas, which translates to "calf". In Greece and Egypt, the words used for interest, tokos and ms respectively, meant ?to give birth?. In these cultures, interest indicated a valuable increase, and seemed to consider it from the lender?s point of view. During the Reign of Hammurabi (1792-1750 BC) in Babylon, the Code of Hammurabi included laws governing banking operations. The Babylonians were accustomed to charge interest at the rate of 20 per cent per annum.

In the Biblical world point of view within the Jewish Civilization (1500 BC), Jews were not allowed to take interest from other Jews, but they were allowed to take interest from the gentiles. The reason for the non-prohibition of the receipt by a Jew of interest from a Gentile, and vice versa, is held by modern rabbis to lay in the fact that the Gentiles had at that time no law forbidding them to practice usury. As they took interest from Jews, the Torah considered it equitable that Jews should take interest from Gentiles. In Hebrew, interest is neshek. As opposed to other ancient civilizations, interest is considered from borrower's point of view.

By 1200 BC, Cowrie shells were used as a form of money in China, and by 640 BC, the Lydians had started to use coin money. Lydia was the first place where permanent retail shops opened. (Herodotus mentions the use of crude coins in Lydia in an earlier date, around 687 BC.)

In 500 BC, Pythius became the first banker that had records, and operated in both Western Anatolia and Greece. The use of coins as a means of representing money began in the years between (600-570 BC). Cities under the Greek empire, such as Aegina (595 B.C.), Athens (575 B.C.) and Corinth (570 B.C.), started to mint their own coins. Leading thinkers and statesmen, such as Cato the Elder, Cato the Younger, Cicero, and Plutarch were against usury. In the Roman Republic, interest was outlawed altogether by the Lex Genucia reforms. Under the banner of Julius Caesar, a ceiling on interest rates of 12% was set, and later under Justinian, it was lowered even further to between 4% and 8%.

The financial system

The Federal Reserve monitors the U.S. financial system and works to ensure it supports a healthy, stable economy.

As above, the financial system consists of the flows of capital that take place between individuals (personal finance), governments (public finance), and businesses (corporate finance). "Finance" thus studies the process of channeling money from savers and investors to entities that need it. Savers and investors have money available which could earn interest or dividends if put to productive use. Individuals, companies and governments must obtain money from some external source, such as loans or credit, when they lack sufficient funds to operate. Although they are closely related, the disciplines of economics and finance are distinct. The economy is a social institution that organizes a society's production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services, all of which must be financed.

In general, an entity whose income exceeds its expenditure can lend or invest the excess, intending to earn a fair return. Correspondingly, an entity where income is less than expenditure can raise capital usually in one of two ways: (i) by borrowing in the form of a loan (private individuals), or by selling government or corporate bonds; (ii) by a corporate selling equity, also called stock or shares (may take various forms: preferred stock or common stock). The owners of both bonds and stock may be institutional investors financial institutions such as investment banks and pension funds ? or private individuals, called private investors or retail investors.

Bond issued by The Baltimore and Ohio Railroad. Bonds are a form of borrowing used by corporations to finance their operations.

The lending is often indirect, through a financial intermediary such as a bank, or via the purchase of notes or bonds (corporate bonds, government bonds, or mutual bonds) in the bond market. The lender receives interest, the borrower pays a higher interest than the lender receives, and the financial intermediary earns the difference for arranging the loan. A bank aggregates the activities of many borrowers and lenders. A bank accepts deposits from lenders, on which it pays interest. The bank then lends these deposits to borrowers. Banks allow borrowers and lenders, of different sizes, to coordinate their activity.

Investing typically entails the purchase of stock, either individual securities, or via a mutual fund for example. Stocks are usually sold by corporations to investors so as to raise required capital in the form of "equity financing", as distinct from the debt financing described above. The financial intermediaries here are the investment banks. The investment banks find the initial investors and facilitate the listing of the securities, such as equity and debt. Additionally, they facilitate the securities exchanges, which allow their trade thereafter, as well as the various service providers which manage the performance or risk of these investments.

Areas of finance

Personal finance

Personal finance is defined as "the mindful planning of monetary spending and saving, while also considering the possibility of future risk". Personal finance may involve paying for education, financing durable goods such as real estate and cars, buying insurance, investing, and saving for retirement. Personal finance may also involve paying for a loan or other debt obligations. The main areas of personal finance are considered to be income, spending, saving, investing, and protection. The following steps, as outlined by the Financial Planning Standards Board, suggest that an individual will understand a potentially secure personal finance plan after:

  • Purchasing insurance to ensure protection against unforeseen personal events;
  • Understanding the effects of tax policies, subsidies, or penalties on the management of personal finances;
  • Understanding the effects of credit on individual financial standing;
  • Developing a savings plan or financing for large purchases (auto, education, home);
  • Planning a secure financial future in an environment of economic instability;
  • Pursuing a checking and/or a savings account;
  • Preparing for retirement or other long term expenses.

Corporate finance

Corporate finance deals with the sources of funding and the capital structure of corporations, the actions that managers take to increase the value of the firm to the shareholders, and the tools and analysis used to allocate financial resources. Short term financial management is often termed "working capital management", and relates to cash, inventory and debtors management. In the longer term, corporate finance generally involves balancing risk and profitability, while attempting to maximize an entity's assets, net incoming cash flow and the value of its stock. This entails three primary areas:

  1. Capital budgeting: selecting which projects to invest in (here, accurately determining value is crucial as judgements about asset values can be "make or break");
  2. Dividend policy: the use of "excess" capital;
  3. Sources of capital: which funding is to be used.

The latter creates the link with investment banking and securities trading, in that the capital raised will generically comprise debt, i.e. corporate bonds, and equity, often listed shares.

While corporate finance is in principle different from managerial finance, which studies the financial management of all firms rather than corporations alone, the main concepts in the study of corporate finance are applicable to the financial problems of all kinds of firms. Although financial management overlaps with the financial function of the accounting profession, financial accounting is the reporting of historical financial information, whereas as discussed, financial management is concerned with increasing the firm's Shareholder value and increasing their rate of return on the investment. In this context, Financial risk management is about protecting the firm's economic value by using financial instruments to manage exposure to risk, particularly credit risk and market risk, often arising from the firm's funding structures.

Public finance

Public finance describes finance as related to sovereign states, sub-national entities, and related public entities or agencies. It generally encompasses a long-term strategic perspective regarding investment decisions that affect public entities. These long-term strategic periods typically encompass five or more years. Public finance is primarily concerned with:

  • Identification of required expenditure of a public sector entity;
  • Source(s) of that entity's revenue;
  • The budgeting process;
  • Debt issuance, or municipal bonds, for public works projects.

Central banks, such as the Federal Reserve System banks in the United States and Bank of England in the United Kingdom, are strong players in public finance. They act as lenders of last resort as well as strong influences on monetary and credit conditions in the economy.

Financial theory

Financial theory is studied and developed within the disciplines of management, (financial) economics, accountancy and applied mathematics. Abstractly, finance is concerned with the investment and deployment of assets and liabilities over "space and time"; it is about performing valuation and asset allocation today, based on risk and uncertainty of future outcomes while appropriately incorporating the time value of money: determining the present value of these future values, "discounting", must be at the risk-appropriate discount rate. Since the debate as to whether finance is an art or a science is still open, there have been recent efforts to organize a list of unsolved problems in finance.

Financial economics

Financial economics is the branch of economics that studies the interrelation of financial variables, such as prices, interest rates and shares, as opposed to real economic variables, i.e. goods and services. It thus centers on pricing, decision making and risk management in the financial markets, and produces many of the commonly employed financial models. (Financial econometrics is the branch of financial economics that uses econometric techniques to parameterize the relationships suggested.)

The discipline has two main areas of focus: asset pricing and (theoretical) corporate finance; the first being the perspective of providers of capital, i.e. investors, and the second of users of capital. Respectively:

Financial mathematics

Financial mathematics is a field of applied mathematics concerned with financial markets. The subject has a close relationship with the discipline of financial economics, which is concerned with much of the underlying theory that is involved in financial mathematics. Generally, mathematical finance will derive and extend the mathematical or numerical models suggested by financial economics.

The field is largely focused on the modelling of derivatives ? see and ? although other important subfields include insurance mathematics and quantitative portfolio problems. Relatedly, the techniques developed are applied to pricing and hedging a wide range of asset-backed, government, and corporate-securities.

In terms of practice, mathematical finance overlaps heavily with the field of computational finance, also known as financial engineering. While these are largely synonymous, the latter focuses on application, and the former focuses on modeling and derivation; see Quantitative analyst. There is also a significant overlap with financial risk management.

Experimental finance

Experimental finance aims to establish different market settings and environments to experimentally observe and provide a lens through which science can analyze agents' behavior and the resulting characteristics of trading flows, information diffusion, and aggregation, price setting mechanisms, and returns processes. Researchers in experimental finance can study to what extent existing financial economics theory makes valid predictions and therefore prove them, as well as attempt to discover new principles on which such theory can be extended and be applied to future financial decisions. Research may proceed by conducting trading simulations or by establishing and studying the behavior of people in artificial competitive market-like settings.

Behavioral finance

Behavioral finance studies how the psychology of investors or managers affects financial decisions and markets, and is relevant when making a decision that can impact either negatively or positively on one of their areas. Behavioral finance has grown over the last few decades to become an integral aspect of finance.

Behavioral finance includes such topics as:

  1. Empirical studies that demonstrate significant deviations from classical theories;
  2. Models of how psychology affects and impacts trading and prices;
  3. Forecasting based on these methods;
  4. Studies of experimental asset markets and the use of models to forecast experiments.

A strand of behavioral finance has been dubbed quantitative behavioral finance, which uses mathematical and statistical methodology to understand behavioral biases in conjunction with valuation.

See also

Notes

References

External links



The following content uses material from the Wikipedia article which can be viewed, along with the content contribution references and acknowledgements, at: Economy, and is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0. Please note that the GNU Free Documentation License may also exist on some text material. Images may not fall under either of the aforementioned licences and particular attention needs to be made when considering to use images or other media files. For full reuse and copyright policy details, please refer to: Wikipedia content reuse copyright information.

An economy (from Greek ????? ? "household" and ???o??? ? "manage") is an area of the production, distribution and trade, as well as consumption of goods and services by different agents. In general, it is defined 'as a social domain that emphasize the practices, discourses, and material expressions associated with the production, use, and management of resources'. A given economy is the result of a set of processes that involves its culture, values, education, technological evolution, history, social organization, political structure and legal systems, as well as its geography, natural resource endowment, and ecology, as main factors. These factors give context, content, and set the conditions and parameters in which an economy functions. In other words, the economic domain is a social domain of interrelated human practices and transactions that does not stand alone.

Economic agents can be individuals, businesses, organizations, or governments. Economic transactions occur when two groups or parties agree to the value or price of the transacted good or service, commonly expressed in a certain currency. However, monetary transactions only account for a small part of the economic domain.

Economic activity is spurred by production which uses natural resources, labor and capital. It has changed over time due to technology, innovation (new products, services, processes, expanding markets, diversification of markets, niche markets, increases revenue functions) such as, that which produces intellectual property and changes in industrial relations (most notably child labor being replaced in some parts of the world with universal access to education).

A market-based economy is one where goods and services are produced and exchanged according to demand and supply between participants (economic agents) by barter or a medium of exchange with a credit or debit value accepted within the network, such as a unit of currency. A command-based economy is one where political agents directly control what is produced and how it is sold and distributed. A green economy is low-carbon, resource efficient and socially inclusive. In a green economy, growth in income and employment is driven by public and private investments that reduce carbon emissions and pollution, enhance energy and resource efficiency, and prevent the loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services. A gig economy is one in which short-term jobs are assigned or chosen via online platforms. New economy is a term that referred to the whole emerging ecosystem where new standards and practices were introduced, usually as a result of technological innovations. The global economy refers to humanity's economic system or systems overall.

Contents


Range

This map shows the gross domestic product (GDP) per capita for every country (2020).

Today the range of fields of study examining the economy revolves around the social science of economics, but may include sociology (economic sociology), history (economic history), anthropology (economic anthropology), and geography (economic geography). Practical fields directly related to the human activities involving production, distribution, exchange, and consumption of goods and services as a whole are engineering, management, business administration, applied science, and finance.

All professions, occupations, economic agents or economic activities, contribute to the economy. Consumption, saving, and investment are variable components in the economy that determine macroeconomic equilibrium. There are three main sectors of economic activity: primary, secondary, and tertiary.

Due to the growing importance of the financial sector in modern times, the term real economy is used by analysts as well as politicians to denote the part of the economy that is concerned with the actual production of goods and services, as ostensibly contrasted with the paper economy, or the financial side of the economy, which is concerned with buying and selling on the financial markets. Alternate and long-standing terminology distinguishes measures of an economy expressed in real values (adjusted for inflation), such as real GDP, or in nominal values (unadjusted for inflation).

Etymology

The English words "economy" and "economics" can be traced back to the Greek word (i.e. "household management"), a composite word derived from ("house;household;home") and ???? ("manage; distribute;to deal out;dispense") by way of ("household management").

The first recorded sense of the word "economy" is in the phrase "the management of ?conomic affairs", found in a work possibly composed in a monastery in 1440. "Economy" is later recorded in more general senses, including "thrift" and "administration".

The most frequently used current sense, denoting "the economic system of a country or an area", seems not to have developed until the 1650s.

History

Ancient times

Storage room, Palace of Knossos.

As long as someone has been making, supplying and distributing goods or services, there has been some sort of economy; economies grew larger as societies grew and became more complex. Sumer developed a large-scale economy based on commodity money, while the Babylonians and their neighboring city states later developed the earliest system of economics as we think of, in terms of rules/laws on debt, legal contracts and law codes relating to business practices, and private property.

The Babylonians and their city state neighbors developed forms of economics comparable to currently used civil society (law) concepts. They developed the first known codified legal and administrative systems, complete with courts, jails, and government records.

The ancient economy was mainly based on subsistence farming. The Shekel referred to an ancient unit of weight and currency. The first usage of the term came from Mesopotamia circa 3000 BC. and referred to a specific mass of barley which related other values in a metric such as silver, bronze, copper etc. A barley/shekel was originally both a unit of currency and a unit of weight, just as the British Pound was originally a unit denominating a one-pound mass of silver.

For most people, the exchange of goods occurred through social relationships. There were also traders who bartered in the marketplaces. In Ancient Greece, where the present English word 'economy' originated, many people were bond slaves of the freeholders. The economic discussion was driven by scarcity.

Middle ages

10 Ducats (1621), minted as circulating currency by the Fugger Family.

In Medieval times, what we now call economy was not far from the subsistence level. Most exchange occurred within social groups. On top of this, the great conquerors raised what we now call venture capital (from ventura, ital.; risk) to finance their captures. The capital should be refunded by the goods they would bring up in the New World. The discoveries of Marco Polo (1254?1324), Christopher Columbus (1451?1506) and Vasco da Gama (1469?1524) led to a first global economy. The first enterprises were trading establishments. In 1513, the first stock exchange was founded in Antwerp. Economy at the time meant primarily trade.

Early modern times

Anders Chydenius (1729-1803) was known his the 1765 pamphlet called The National Gain (Den nationnale winsten), in which he proposes ideas of free trade and industry, explores the relationship between economy and society, and lays out the principles for liberalism, capitalism, and modern democracy. In the book Chydenius published theories closely corresponding to Adam Smith's invisible hand, eleven years before Smith published his book, The Wealth of Nations.

The European captures became branches of the European states, the so-called colonies. The rising nation-states Spain, Portugal, France, Great Britain and the Netherlands tried to control the trade through custom duties and (from mercator, lat.: merchant) was a first approach to intermediate between private wealth and public interest. The secularization in Europe allowed states to use the immense property of the church for the development of towns. The influence of the nobles decreased. The first Secretaries of State for economy started their work. Bankers like Amschel Mayer Rothschild (1773?1855) started to finance national projects such as wars and infrastructure. Economy from then on meant national economy as a topic for the economic activities of the citizens of a state.

Industrial Revolution

The first economist in the true modern meaning of the word was the Scotsman Adam Smith (1723?1790) who was inspired partly by the ideas of physiocracy, a reaction to mercantilism and also later Economics student, Adam Mari. He defined the elements of a national economy: products are offered at a natural price generated by the use of competition - supply and demand - and the division of labor. He maintained that the basic motive for free trade is human self-interest. The so-called self-interest hypothesis became the anthropological basis for economics. Thomas Malthus (1766?1834) transferred the idea of supply and demand to the problem of overpopulation.

The Industrial Revolution was a period from the 18th to the 19th century where major changes in agriculture, manufacturing, mining, and transport had a profound effect on the socioeconomic and cultural conditions starting in the United Kingdom, then subsequently spreading throughout Europe, North America, and eventually the world. The onset of the Industrial Revolution marked a major turning point in human history; almost every aspect of daily life was eventually influenced in some way. In Europe wild capitalism started to replace the system of mercantilism (today: protectionism) and led to economic growth. The period today is called industrial revolution because the system of Production, production and division of labor enabled the mass production of goods.

Recognition of the concept of "the economy"

The contemporary concept of "the economy" wasn't popularly known until the American Great Depression in the 1930s.

After the chaos of two World Wars and the devastating Great Depression, policymakers searched for new ways of controlling the course of the economy. This was explored and discussed by Friedrich August von Hayek (1899?1992) and Milton Friedman (1912?2006) who pleaded for a global free trade and are supposed to be the fathers of the so-called neoliberalism. However, the prevailing view was that held by John Maynard Keynes (1883?1946), who argued for a stronger control of the markets by the state. The theory that the state can alleviate economic problems and instigate economic growth through state manipulation of aggregate demand is called Keynesianism in his honor. In the late 1950s, the economic growth in America and Europe?often called Wirtschaftswunder (ger: economic miracle) ?brought up a new form of economy: mass consumption economy. In 1958, John Kenneth Galbraith (1908?2006) was the first to speak of an affluent society. In most of the countries the economic system is called a social market economy.

Late 20th ? beginning of 21st century

ESET (IT security company) headquarters in Bratislava, Slovakia.

With the fall of the Iron Curtain and the transition of the countries of the Eastern Bloc towards democratic government and market economies, the idea of the post-industrial society is brought into importance as its role is to mark together the significance that the service sector receives instead of industrialization. Some attribute the first use of this term to Daniel Bell's 1973 book, The Coming of Post-Industrial Society, while others attribute it to social philosopher Ivan Illich's book, Tools for Conviviality. The term is also applied in philosophy to designate the fading of postmodernism in the late 90s and especially in the beginning of the 21st century.

With the spread of Internet as a mass media and communication medium especially after 2000-2001, the idea for the Internet and information economy is given place because of the growing importance of e-commerce and electronic businesses, also the term for a global information society as understanding of a new type of "all-connected" society is created. In the late 2000s, the new type of economies and economic expansions of countries like China, Brazil, and India bring attention and interest to different from the usually dominating Western type economies and economic models.

Economic phases of precedence

The economy may be considered as having developed through the following phases or degrees of precedence.

In modern economies, these phase precedences are somewhat differently expressed by the three-sector theory.

Other sectors of the developed community include :

  • the public sector or state sector (which usually includes: parliament, law-courts and government centers, various emergency services, public health, shelters for impoverished and threatened people, transport facilities, air/sea ports, post-natal care, hospitals, schools, libraries, museums, preserved historical buildings, parks/gardens, nature-reserves, some universities, national sports grounds/stadiums, national arts/concert-halls or theaters and centers for various religions).
  • the private sector or privately run businesses.
  • the social sector or voluntary sector.

Economic measures

The main indicators used to monitor the performance of an economy are:

GDP

The GDP (gross domestic product) of a country is a measure of the size of its economy. The most conventional economic analysis of a country relies heavily on economic indicators like the GDP and GDP per capita. While often useful, GDP only includes economic activity for which money is exchanged.

Informal economy

Black market peddler on graffiti, Kharkiv

An informal economy is the set of economic activities operating as to partially avoid being taxed or regulated, in contrast to a formal economy. The informal economy is thus not included in that government's gross national product (GNP). Although the informal economy is often associated with developing countries, all economic systems contain an informal economy in some proportion.

Informal economic activity is a dynamic process that includes many aspects of economic and social theory including exchange, regulation, and enforcement. By its nature, it is necessarily difficult to observe, study, define, and measure. No single source readily or authoritatively defines informal economy as a unit of study.

The terms "underground", "under the table" and "off the books" typically refer to this type of economy. The term black market refers to a specific subset of the informal economy. The term "informal sector" was used in many earlier studies, and has been mostly replaced in more recent studies which use the newer term.

The informal sector makes up a significant portion of the economies in developing countries but it is often stigmatized as troublesome and unmanageable. However, the informal sector provides critical economic opportunities for the poor and has been expanding rapidly since the 1960s. As such, integrating the informal economy into the formal sector is an important policy challenge.

Economic research

Economic research is conducted in fields as different as Agricultural, Development, Econometrics, Environmental, Game theory, Industrial Organization, International, Labor, Macroeconomics, Mathematical, Monetary, Public, Regional and Urban, Education, and Economics History.

See also

References

Bibliography

  • Aristotle, Politics, Book I-IIX, translated by Benjamin Jowett, Classics.mit.edu
  • Barnes, Peter, Capitalism 3.0, A Guide to Reclaiming the Commons, San Francisco 2006, Whatiseconomy.com
  • Dill, Alexander, Reclaiming the Hidden Assets, Towards a Global Freeware Index, Global Freeware Research Paper 01-07, 2007, Whatiseconomy.com
  • Fehr Ernst, Schmidt, Klaus M., The Economics Of Fairness, Reciprocity and Altruism - experimental Evidence and new Theories, 2005, Discussion PAPER 2005-20, Munich Economics, Whatiseconomy.com
  • Marx, Karl, Engels, Friedrich, 1848, The Communist Manifesto, Marxists.org
  • Stiglitz, Joseph E., Global public goods and global finance: does global governance ensure that the global public interest is served? In: Advancing Public Goods, Jean-Philippe Touffut, (ed.), Paris 2006, pp. 149/164, GSB.columbia.edu
  • Where is the Wealth of Nations? Measuring Capital for the 21st Century. Wealth of Nations Report 2006, Ian Johnson and Francois Bourguignon, World Bank, Washington 2006, Whatiseconomy.com.

Further reading

  • Friedman, Milton, Capitalism and Freedom, 1962.
  • Rothbard, Murray, Man, Economy, and State: A Treatise on Economic Principles, 1962.
  • Galbraith, John Kenneth, The Affluent Society, 1958.
  • Mises, Ludwig von, Human Action: A Treatise on Economics, 1949.
  • Keynes, John Maynard, The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money, 1936.
  • Marx, Karl, Das Kapital, 1867.
  • Smith, Adam, An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, 1776.






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