Sound Speculators: Public Debates about Futures Trading in British India and Germany, 1880–1930

Laura Julia Rischbieter*, Christina Lubinski*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Considerations about the legitimacy of futures trading have been ubiquitous in the highly integrated world economy since the late nineteenth century. This article compares two national debates in Germany and British India from the 1880s to the 1930s. Despite significant differences in the cultural and economic contexts of the two countries and in the emergence of futures trading, there are interesting similarities. In both countries, individual futures exchanges were organized and controlled by small privileged groups of traders. These minorities were glued together by social ties, de facto controlling (or profiting from) access to futures markets and facing criticism because of their privileged position. While contemporaries and historians often focus on futures trading as trading without intent to deliver, the historical analysis in this article shows that an equally important issue was the conflict over distribution and power between more and less privileged interest groups and their respective market access.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEnterprise & Society
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)808-841
Number of pages34
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2021

Bibliographical note

Published online: 19. June 2020

Cite this