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A Brief History of the Vietnamese Dong

Wednesday, April 23, 2014 12:03:44 PM America/Denver

Vietnamese DongFor much of its history, Vietnam used the currency of those that ruled it.  The first declaration of an independent currency came in 1946, when the Viet Minh government (what would eventually become the government of North Vietnam) issued a currency, called the dong, to replace the current currency, the French Indochinese piaster.  The State of Vietnam (which would eventually become South Vietnam) followed in 1953, with its own version of the dong (eventually called the liberation dong after the fall of Saigon).  However, it wasn’t until Vietnam became unified in 1978 that the dong became the official, united currency.

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A Brief History of the Korean Won

Tuesday, April 8, 2014 11:59:25 AM America/Denver

Korean wonThe Korean Won has had a few different iterations.  The very first (short-lived) appearance of the Won was in 1902.  The name is derived from the Chinese yuan and the Japanese yen. In 1909, it began to be distributed by the new Bank of Korea.  However, with the Japanese annexation of Korea is 1910, the won was quickly replaced by the Japanese yen.

The yen remained the official currency of Korea until the end of World War II. After the defeat of Japan by the Allies, Korea was set free, with the states of North and South Korea eventually becoming officially recognized.  Both countries re-adopted the won as their official currency.

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A Brief History of the Lebanese Pound

Wednesday, March 19, 2014 12:48:48 PM America/Denver

Lebanese poundUntil World War I and the fall of the Ottoman Empire, the country of Lebanon used the official Ottoman lira.  However, with the fall of the Ottoman Empire, the currency of that area went through many rapid changes.

The first change was the adoption of the Egyptian pound, in 1918.  All states given to the care of France and Britain used the Egyptian pound, which was issued through the private, British-controlled National Bank of Egypt.

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A Brief History of the Turkish Lira

Wednesday, March 12, 2014 12:37:35 PM America/Denver

Turkish liraIn the world of currency, the Turkish lira is a fairly new addition.  While the use of currency has a long stronghold in that area of the world (the first golden coin was minted there in 1467), the lira itself was not introduced until 1844.  This gold coin was known as the Ottoman Lira as the country was still part of the Ottoman Empire.

The Ottoman lira, including both the original gold coin and the paper denominations that followed, remained in circulation until 1927.  At this time the Turkish lira was introduced, which included medium sized silver coins and paper notes in the denominations of 1, 5, 10, 50, 100, 500, and 1000.

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Scramble for Iraq's oil wealth

Thursday, December 27, 2012 2:01:11 PM America/Denver

A new oil rush is taking place in Iraq. The country is emerging as a new oasis of opportunity, while the rest of the world struggles to emerge from the global financial crisis. And as Al Jazeera's Jane Arraf reports from Baghdad, it is not just oil that is attracting hungry foreign companies.Read More


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Robert Mundell- Achievements and Honors

Tuesday, June 26, 2012 3:41:28 PM America/Denver

Robert Mundell has accomplished a great deal, during his long career in the field of economics and international and national policies. He has worked as a consultant and aid to several nations and international organizations. With his extensive knowledge based on research and history, he was able to predict the inflation that occurred in the 1970s.

Working with Marcus Fleming, who was a colleague at the IMF (International Monetary Fund), Mundell and Fleming put forth the Mundell-Fleming model, or the IS-LM-BP model. This economic model was presented as an extension to the IS-LM model. But the key difference is that the IS-LM model was based on a closed economy while the Mundell-Fleming model was based on an open economy.

Mundell also participated in the supply-side economics movement. He did extensive research into the historical gold standard and studied and theorized on optimum currency rates. And he paired up with James Tobin to come up with the Mundel-Tobin effect, describing the theory that people would hold money in other assets, rather than in bank balances, during a time of inflation and that nominal interest rates would thus not follow the rise of inflation because interest rates would be driven down by the lack of holding onto money.

Perhaps most notable was Mundell’s work on developing the euro, which revolutionized the money systems of European countries, a contribution which led to his 1999 Nobel Prize in Economics. But this was not the only honor Mundell received. Some of his awards and honors include an honorary doctorate from the University of Paris and honorary professorships and fellowships from several universities.

In 1971, he was awarded the Guggenheim Fellowship. In 1998, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences made him a fellow. Mundell earned the Global Economics Prize from the World Economics Institute in Germany, in 2005. That same year, he received a special title from Principe Don Carlo Ugo di Borbone Parma. And today he works at the Chinese University of Hong Kong as the Distinguished Professor-at-Large. Mundell’s contributions to the United States, Europe, other countries, and international organizations will stand as a legacy in the books of history for generations to come.Read More
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Robert Mundell- Education and Career

Thursday, June 21, 2012 4:06:13 PM America/Denver

Robert Mundell was born October 24, 1932 in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. He earned his Master’s degree from the University of Washington, in Seattle, Washington, USA. Not wanting to stop there, he also attended the University of British Columbia for continued education and went on to earn additional credits at the London School of Economics in 1956.

In the same year, he went on to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, earning his PhD in economics. Many years later, he went back to school at the University of Waterloo in Canada to gain his Doctor of Law degree in 2006. In the interim, he accomplished many other worthy goals.

He taught at Stanford University and Johns Hopkins University. In 1961, he worked for the International Monetary Fund. Acting as a professor of economics and the editor of the Journal of Political economy for the University of Chicago, he stayed there from 1965 to 1972. He moved to the University of Waterloo in 1972 to become the Chairman of the Department of Economics. He served in that position for just two years before taking a position as a professor of economics with Columbia University.

In 1989, Mundell became a Repap professor of economics for McGill University. At this time, he began his international work on monetary policies. He helped form the euro, a pioneering development that helped the countries of Europe unite, stabilize, and compete in in the global economy. For this contribution, he earned the 1999 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics. Mundell’s international work did not end there. He served on the Federal Reserve Board, was a United Nations economic adviser. He worked for the International Monetary Fund. He did some work for the United Sates Department of the Treasury and various national governments including his homeland of Canada.Read More
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Milton Friedman

Tuesday, June 12, 2012 6:00:00 PM America/Denver

Milton Friedman was born July 31, 1912 in Brooklyn, New York. His parents were Jewish immigrants Jeno Friedman and Sára Landau from Austria-Hungary. Growing up in New Jersey, he graduated early from high school, at age 16. He went on to gain a mathematics degree from Rutgers University. Two of his professors, Homer Jones and Arthur F. Burns, instilled in Friedman the belief that proper economic management could resolve the Great Depression.

After he graduated, he had a choice to take a graduate-level mathematics scholarship from Brown University or an Economics scholarship from the University of Chicago. With his new passion in economics, he chose to attend the University of Chicago and there graduated with his Masters in 1933.

For the next year, Friedman worked in a fellowship position with Harold Hotelling at Columbia University, studying statistics. The year after that, from 1934 to 1935, he assisted in the research of Henry Schultz, who was writing, “Theory and Measurement of Demand.” It was during this time period, back in Chicago, that Friedman joined forces with W. Allen Wallis and Read More
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Louis Renault

Monday, June 11, 2012 2:56:48 PM America/Denver

Louis Renault was born May 21 of 1843 in Autun, France. His father was a Burgundian bookseller and bibliographer, offering his son exposure to and a love for books. Renault graduated high school and went on to the Collège d'Autun. There he took prizes for math, literature, and philosophy. From there he went to the University of Dijon and earned a bachelor’s in literature.

After that, his pursuit of higher education continued for another seven years, culminating in 1868 with three law degrees, including a doctorate, and receiving high honors in all of them. With his final graduation, he took a job as a Roman lecturer and a professor of commercial law. In 1873, he began teaching law at the University of Paris.

In 1874, he made another move when he was asked to fill in, teaching international law. It was the beginning of his true career, as he committed himself to the field of international law wholeheartedly, publishing a book and over 200 notes and articles in political science journals, law reviews and other publications. He received the position of chair of international law, in 1881.

Filling positions at the University of Paris and two military schools, he supervised 252 doctoral theses, inspiring many students who later went on to serve important positions in France and other nations. Becoming ever more involved in political affairs, Renault participated in conferences on everything from obscene literature to military aviation. He helped revise the Red Cross Convention of 1864 and argued for the abolition of white slavery.

He received the title of Minister Plenipotentiary and Envoy Extraordinary in 1903. His involvement only became more intense from that point on as he was placed on the panel of 28 arbitrators for the Hague Tribunal, a tribunal assigned to solving cases of international arbitration. He served in six major cases including the Japanese House Tax case involving Japan, Great Britain, Germany, and France, and the Canevaro case between Peru and Italy.

Renault was the reporter for the Second Commission at the initial Hague Peace Conference in 1899. He helped resolve issues on naval warfare and was the primary writer of the Final Act, the conference summary. For the second Hague Peace Conference, he handled many other important resolutions such as defining rights for neutral nations during naval war. For his services to so many countries, Renault was awarded many honors including being named to the Academy of Moral and Political Sciences in France and to the Legion of Honor. Renault won the nobel peace prize in 1907. He was decorated by 19 nations outside of his native France and became the President of the Academy of International Law in 1914.Read More
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History of the World Bank Part 2

Monday, May 28, 2012 1:03:03 PM America/Denver

The first president of the World Bank, John McCloy, decided to lend first to France, while turning down Poland and Chile. The $250 million loan was only half of what France had asked for, and the loan carried strict requirements. In addition, bank staff was to watch over France’s expenditures with the money and make sure that France would repay the World Bank before its debts to other nations.

Additionally, in order to receive the loan, France had to comply with the United States State Department’s demand that they eliminate the communist activities within their cabinet. As soon as France complied, the loan was approved.

When the Marshall Plan of 1947 brought competition to World Bank loans, the World Bank shifted its focus to countries outside of Europe, especially for projects like power plants, ports, and highway systems. These types of loans would be more easily paid back, and thus received priority.

In 1968, Robert McNamara was appointed by President Lyndon B. Johnson as President of the World Bank. McNamara had been the United States Secretary of Defense and the President of the Ford Motor Company.

He began working in earnest to help developing countries with humanitarian needs. Instead of servicing just infrastructure loans, social services and other interests were earning loans as well. McNamara set his sights on helping to build schools, expand agricultural programs, and improve literacy in developing countries.

With his emphasis on streamlining, he developed a system that sped the loan application process considerably. He also reached beyond just the northern banks for funding sources, to increase the amount of lending the bank could do. This allowed the World Bank to do a lot more good in its humanitarian efforts with developing countries.Read More


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