The Wild Midwest

  • Rasheed SaleuddinEmail author
Part of the Palgrave Studies in the History of Finance book series (PSHF)


This chapter introduces the business, institutional and governance problems at the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) during the interwar years. After World War I, the grain markets reopened in total chaos while, at the same time, the Board was under threat from (legal and illegal) competition, US State anti-gambling provisions, farmer-run cooperatives that could bypass the exchange, and general poor market function, both legal and manipulative. Additionally, no one, including the CBOT members themselves, understood how the markets as a whole did, should and could operate. Information was a scarce resource withheld due to monopoly tendencies, as well as ignorance, by the Board members. Importantly for the story of modern futures, the CBOT at the time was in no position to effect the necessary changes itself. This set the stage for the legislative solution that was to come in 1921 and then 1922, as well as other innovations in the mid-1920s.


Collective action Grain futures Manipulation 



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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Endowment Asset ManagementUniversity of CambridgeCambridgeUK

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