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Palgrave Macmillan

The Government of Markets

How Interwar Collaborations between the CBOT and the State Created Modern Futures Trading

  • Book
  • © 2018


  • Shows clearly through the eyes of insiders that in the interwar years government officials worked together with key industry leaders at the Chicago Board of Trade, the dominant futures exchange, to effect real change on the markets with institutions developed at this time thriving in the present day
  • Provides important lessons for today’s industry and policy leaders caught in the current debate on how best to structure a post-crisis financial system
  • Includes newly-organised and rarely-used archive of thousands of letters and telegrams (sometimes coded) between the major industry and key government actors over the entire interwar period (1920-1936)

Part of the book series: Palgrave Studies in the History of Finance (PSHF)

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About this book

Absent evidence to the contrary, it is usually assumed that US financial markets developed in spite of government attempts to regulate, and therefore laissez faire is the best approach for developing critically important and enduring market institutions. This book makes heavy use of extensive archival sources that are no longer publicly available to describe in detail the discussions inside the CBOT and the often private and confidential negotiations between industry leaders and government officials. This work suggests that, contrary to the accepted story, what we now know of as modern futures markets were heavily co-constructed through a meaningful long-term collaboration between a progressive CBOT leadership and an extremely knowledgeable and pragmatic US federal government. The industry leaders had a difficult time evolving the modern institutions in the face of powerful reactionary internal forces. Yet in the end the CBOT, by co-opting and cooperating with federal officials, ledthe exchange and Chicago markets in general to a near century of global dominance. On the federal government side, knowledgeable technocrats and inspired politicians led an information and analysis explosion while interacting with industry, both formally and informally, to craft better markets for all.

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Table of contents (6 chapters)


“Using archival documents never meant to be public, Saleuddin tells how the ‘public good’ of government regulation and enforcement enhanced the ‘price discovery’ function of the Chicago market for commodity futures during the tumultuous price shocks of the Great Depression. The interactions between government regulators and the operators of the Chicago Board of Trade, the world’s leading market in commodity futures, show that central clearing-houses for financial derivatives may be able to monitor and control the growing hazards in today’s global financial markets – if they enlist the aid of enlightened and well-informed regulators.” (Larry D. Neal, Emeritus Professor of Economics, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, USA; and Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research, USA)

Authors and Affiliations

  • Centre for Endowment Asset Management, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK

    Rasheed Saleuddin

About the author

Rasheed Saleuddin is an author and researcher at the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance and an experienced investor and advisor. He previously spent ten years at Canadian hedge fund West Face Capital. He holds a PhD in history from Cambridge, U.K., and an MSc in regulation from the LSE, U.K. He has one book, Regulation of Securitized Products, published in 2015 by Palgrave Macmillan, and is currently involved in a new project on the history of private currencies. 

Bibliographic Information

  • Book Title: The Government of Markets

  • Book Subtitle: How Interwar Collaborations between the CBOT and the State Created Modern Futures Trading

  • Authors: Rasheed Saleuddin

  • Series Title: Palgrave Studies in the History of Finance

  • DOI:

  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan Cham

  • eBook Packages: Economics and Finance, Economics and Finance (R0)

  • Copyright Information: The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-3-319-93183-8Published: 14 January 2019

  • Softcover ISBN: 978-3-030-40362-1Published: 22 February 2020

  • eBook ISBN: 978-3-319-93184-5Published: 21 December 2018

  • Series ISSN: 2662-5164

  • Series E-ISSN: 2662-5172

  • Edition Number: 1

  • Number of Pages: XIX, 321

  • Number of Illustrations: 4 b/w illustrations, 1 illustrations in colour

  • Topics: Financial History, Investments and Securities

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