From Hudson’s Bay to eBay

Why Do Some People Like Going to Work?


In 1805, the venerable Hudson’s Bay Company was sinking fast. Since 1670, its Royal Charter had given it a monopoly on the best trade routes to Europe for fine Canadian furs, but the lucrative business recently attracted a new firm, North West. Its trappers and traders had to haul furs an extra fifteen hundred miles in birchbark canoes, often over killing portages. Despite that huge cost disadvantage, North West had somehow managed to seize over 80 percent of market share, and Hudson’s Bay’s stock was in freefall.


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© Daniel Friedman 2008

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