Inger Leemans (Amsterdam)
Making Sense of Finance in the Early Modern Period: How wind and air research helped to understand share trading and speculation.
14.01.2021 16:00 Uhr – 18:00 Uhr
Ort: Onlinesitzung (via Zoom)
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Making Sense of Finance in the Early Modern Period: How wind and air research helped to
understand share trading and speculation
In the lecture, Inger Leemans will analyze how the concept of wind came to embody speculative trade in the Dutch Republic. During the financial crisis of 1720, the term windhandel (‘wind trade’) suddenly gained momentum as the preferred term in reference to high risk trading in shares and derivatives. The use of this concept appears to be limited to the Netherlands: in France and England the term ‘wind trade’ is rarely used. The quite sudden introduction of wind in the realm of finance in 1720 triggered an explosion of cartoons and texts full of wind symbolism, which effected the traditional iconography of wind and helped the public to take temperature of the economy.
In this lecture, this rich cultural material is not seen as mere satire but analyzed in the context of the history of knowledge. By combining arguments from economic history and the history of science, the sudden and nationally confined rise of ‘wind’ as a financial term can be explained. In order to do so, the lecture will explore contemporary wind and air research, the economization of wind in windmill industries, the development of the stock market, as well as the artistic techniques deployed for imagineering wind as a financial concept.