The Renaissance Connection Innovations: 1400-2020
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Time Telescope: Patrons and Lifestyles: Banking & Commerce


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IMF Managing Director Horst Köhler welcomes East Timor becomes the IMF's 184th member.  East Timor's Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri.
IMF Managing Director Horst Köhler welcomes
East Timor becomes the IMF's 184th member.
East Timor's Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri.
Image courtesy of the IMF.

Today—International Monetary Fund
The International Monetary Fund was conceived in July 1944 by the United Nations to set up a framework for economic cooperation designed to avoid another Great Depression. Today the international organization is comprised of 184 member countries and promotes international monetary cooperation in exchange and provides assistance to countries that need it.

A bread line in New York City
Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division.
LC-USW33-035391-C DLC

1929-1941—Great Depression
After the stock market boom in the early 1920's, the US Government tries to raise interest rates to discourage stock speculation. Companies pull out of the market crashing the market. The economy falls into a recession known as the Great Depression.

Photo of Charles Dow
Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division.

1896—Dow Jones Industrial Average
Charles Dow, a journalist, introduces the Dow Jones Industrial Average on May 26, 1896 listing 12 "smokestack" companies. The Dow Jones is a window into the stock market for the everyday person.

Hans Maler: Portrait of Anton Fugger
Hans Maler, (German)
Portrait of Anton Fugger
Oil on panel
Samuel H. Kress Collection, 1961.

1525—The Renaissance Connection
Schools of business along with manuals and guides providing useful information on how to conduct business flourished during the 15th and 16th centuries due to the emergence of capitalism. The Italian businessmen who invented capitalism during this period demonstrated a remarkable understanding of economics and the technical skills required to turn a profit from their businesses based on trade, manufacturing, and mining.

At first glance this the person depicted in the painting Portrait of Anton Fugger looks like a common citizen when in fact he was once considered the richest man in the world. During the late 15th century his uncle, Jakob Fugger known as "Jakob the Rich" of Augsburg, Germany, created a world wide mercantile, banking, and industrial empire. In 1525 Anton inherited the family business and continued to grow its holdings until his death in 1560.

The Fuggers are but one example of a family that embraced the capitalist entrepreneurial spirit of the time that resulted from the explosion of banking, business, and industry during the Renaissance. Today's banking, business and economic practices are firmly rooted in the Renaissance, a time when a better life was sought through the accumulation of both knowledge and wealth.

Royal Exchange

1500—Banking Expands
Italians expand banking particularly in manufacturing centers. By 1500s, trade centered at Bourse in Antwerp and Royal Exchange on Lombard Street in London (pictured here). Establishment of a Commodities exchange.

Medici bank 1397—First Banks
Giovanni Medici created a banking house for trade in foreign bills of exchange and commodities. Before long he held a network of banks that ran using conventional banking methods such as withdrawals, deposits, and transfers of funds.

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